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Thread: One side? Both sides?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default One side? Both sides?

    So DS is now about 7.5 months old. At his 6 month check up his weight had fallen from the 50th percentile down to the 5th percentile but, surprisingly, the pediatrician wasn't concerned.

    For a while now DS has only ever eaten on one side, not both. I guess I'm wondering if I should be trying to have him eat on both sides at every session? I'm not sure if maybe he's just not eating enough, but he always seems satisfied. I know that feeding on one side only is also a kind of block feeding and I'm wondering now if that had contributed to my difficulty in pumping enough milk for daycare (I pump on both sides when I pump).

    I don't know that i've ever seen anything that says whether or not you should always try and have baby feed on both sides every time so I thought I'd ask. Feels kind of foolish to ask nearly eight months in, but here we are... :P
    First-time mom to Markus, August 17, 2011.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: One side? Both sides?

    Around 7 months my son went from nursing on one side to both sides each nursing session. He always seemed content after nursing; I just decided one day to offer the other side just to see what would happen and he took it so we went with it. It doesn't hurt to offer and see what happens. That said, babies often get much more active around this time, and it is totally normal or weight to level off. I wouldn't worry about that.

    My pumping output dropped around 7-8 months despite starting nursing on both sides every session. So while nursing on both sides might help some people with pumping output, it did nothing for me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: One side? Both sides?

    Switch nursing (encouraging baby to take both sides per feeding) is a technique for increasing milk supply. (There are many others of course but this is one.) So if you are concerned about your baby's drop in percentage and suspect it is due to low supply, this may be helpful in building supply.

    Baby nursing on one side at a time is not really a form of block feeding. Block feeding is keeping baby on one side for 2 or more nursing sessions. One side at a time nursing is suggested to moms with oversupply to try as a first step IF they are usually nursing both sides at a time, especially if the impetus is coming from mom, since the nursing both sides at a time may well be causing the oversupply.

    In the normal course of breastfeeding, the usual suggestion is to let baby "finish the first breast first" which means following baby’s lead and offering the second breast when and if baby seems "done" with the first side. This general suggestion which allows baby to regulate intake usually helps keep milk supply appropriate (neither too much nor too little) and allows baby to get a good helping of both foremilk and hindmilk per feeding. Some babies prefer nursing one side all the time, some always nurse both, many do some kind of combo, or change their preference over time. It is individual.

    You may want to discus this with your baby’s pediatrician further. He or she examined your baby and is unconcerned. Why? Is baby healthy and growing well in all other respects? Reaching milestones as expected? Is baby gaining consistently but just at a slower rate? etc. Weight gain is important but it is one of many signs of good health in the infant.

    btw increasing pumping output is not the same as increasing milk supply, just as a slowed down or never great pump output is not a reliable indication of low supply. Many moms simply have from the start or develop later issues with pump output and never do great with the pump, sometimes the issue is the pump itself not working well or needing parts replaced, or where/when/how mom pumps, stress about output-the list goes on and on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: One side? Both sides?

    I've been wondering about this too...in a bit of a different way though. For a long time, DD nursed from both sides every 3 hours. She would empty the first & take what she wanted from the second. But in the last few weeks she has changed to nursing more like one side every 2hrs or so. She now nurses to sleep for her naps when I'm home (which she didn't do before, but now we are having much longer, better naps so I'm ok with it). So she will usually nurse one side before her nap and the other one after. She takes both first thing in the morning & at night before bed, and sometimes during the day too if she's gone closer to 3hrs. Depending on the day and how things fall, I feel more full than I used to, so I'm wondering if this new pattern has her eating less? Or maybe since each breast is getting really emptied every 4-5 hrs instead of every 6 I'm actually producing more? I'm kinda paranoid right now since her weight gain has slowed some so I'm just offering the breast all the time when I'm home

    So I guess what I'm wondering is, is it better to alternate sides & nurse more often (usually one side each feed) or nurse less often but LO eats from both breasts at each feed (only fully empties one though)?

    ETA: Hellchick, I forgot to respond to you, sorry! I would offer the second, it can't hurt. If he doesn't want it, fine. Sometimes he might though. Or maybe wait a bit but offer sooner than you have been? If you're worried about weight gain that is
    DD, 7-2-2011, "Little Owl" nursed for 21 months

    DS, 10-10-2013, "Mr. Man" EBF and going strong

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: One side? Both sides?

    I'd try transitioning to offering both breasts at a feeding. If it works, and baby is into it, great! If not, no worries.

    Many moms who start out needing to use only one breast per feeding eventually transition to using both. With my second baby, I had to block feed for months, offering the same breast for 2-3 feedings in a row. But after around 6 months I started needing to use both breasts to keep her happy.

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