SHOULD I OFFER ONE BREAST OR TWO WHEN BREASTFEEDING?
Just as no rule says you must eat the same amount at every meal, there’s no rule that says your baby must eat from both sides every feeding.
- Factors that play a role in offering one side or two include your individual breast storage capacity, and milk supply, when your last feeding was, and your unique baby’s volume needs.
- Storage capacity is not indicated by breast size, but by glandular tissue in the breast. People with lots of glandular tissue have a higher storage capacity in each breast regardless of the actual breast size. Their babies may only want one side per feeding as each side makes plenty of milk. Some people have smaller storage capacities and their babies will want to feed off of both sides (maybe even multiple times!) to get what they want.
- You will get to know your breast storage capacity and how quickly your breasts make milk as you get to know your body and your baby. Every feeding can also be different. There’s no right or wrong. Sometimes a baby will want both breasts if they’re really hungry and sometimes they’ll want only one when they just want to comfort nurse to sleep. Some times you may feel like you’re offering each breast 5 or 6 times in a feeding, rotating constantly!! NORMAL!!! Trust your baby and your body. You can always offer the second breast/side but don’t feel stressed if your baby doesn’t always want it.
BREASTS ARE SISTER, NOT TWINS
You may also feel like baby always prefers one side or even does better feeding on one side!! That’s because breasts are sisters and not twins!!!! One side can be bigger, one side can make more. Nipples can even be different shapes and sizes, making one side easier to latch to from purely an anatomical perspective.
- Around 70% of us produce more milk on the right. Which means 30% make more on the left.
- It is VERY common for one side to produce more than the other, often double. This is not a reason to neglect one side. You want to make sure you rotate which side you offer first. This can also cause one breast to be significantly larger than the other especially if you continue to only feed from one side.
- Babies may prefer one side over the other for various reasons
- They like to lay with their head in a certain direction
- They prefer the flow (one side may flow faster or slower than the other)
- They may prefer the flavor (YES!! Milk can taste different from each side during the same feeding!!)
- They may have tension in their body from positioning during pregnancy or from trauma during birth.
- If you want to help balance out a slacker boob, you can try offering the slacker first more often.
- Ending on the slacker can also help, especially if baby just wants to use you like a pacifier.
- Pumping the slacker side after feedings can also help stimulate more milk production.
Don’t stress too much about a slacker boob if it’s not an issue. If baby is happy, there’s really no need to fret over differences between your breasts. If you start to notice one side is increasing in cup sizes significantly from the other, schedule a consultation and we can get to the root of why baby only wants one side and we can work on it together.