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Thread: Being a one-sided nurser

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Smile Being a one-sided nurser

    I mean that literally - not just offering one side per feed, but nursing a baby with just one breast. I couldn't find a post about it, though I saw another poster refer to it in passing, so I thought I'd start a thread. For solidarity. But also for future moms' reference.

    I only have one nipple, and the one I have is flat and very small. My older daughter managed to use both my breasts (unfortunately the nippleless side makes more milk naturally) until she was over 2 years old, with lots of moaning and complaining on her part and 7 or so weeks of pumping and 3 months of nipple shields on my part to get her started.

    My second is now 3 months old, and she has an even stronger preference for the good side than my first daughter did. I did 6 weeks of pumping and she never did well on the shields. The bad side is prone to mastitis, maybe because it's just kind of a hole with a little flap of skin in it instead of a nipple - more chances for bacteria to hang out in there and get inside? Anyway, it also leaks like crazy, possibly for the same reason. So I much prefer the good side, too. So when this little one started refusing the bad side, I gradually went along with her. For several weeks now I have only been offering the bad side to put her to sleep at night, and for a few days now she has even refused it then. So I am now officially a one-sided nurser!

    I had thought about it early on and kind of wished, during all that pumping, that I had just started out only offering the one side and letting the other side dry up right away after the birth, but I didn't do it then. When I thought about it again, I knew it would have to be gradual so that I could make sure the left side alone was making enough milk for her. I am going to check her weight again today or tomorrow, but it seems to me that her gain rate is the same as it always has been (which is on the slow side - another reason why I was a bit wary of doing this in the first place). I think that for future children I might just start out being one-sided and not even go through all the hassle! Why not? The only question I wanted to ask is if, in that situation, you would recommend getting baby the colostrum from both sides since the colostrum is so important, and only then killing off the supply in the right breast by only ever nursing on the left?

    Oops, I forgot, one more question. The bad side still leaks quite a bit, and I know it won't totally stop producing milk unless I can get it to stop leaking, because by leaking, milk is being removed from the breast, which means it will always make just a little bit more, I assume. Any tips for getting the leaking to stop so that I can stop using so many nursing pads? I know about putting pressure on it when I feel a let-down and/or when it starts leaking, but is there anything else I can do?

    And now, just for fun, my little list of silly pros and cons.

    - I never have to remember (in the bleary early-morning hours, or ever!) which side we nursed on last!
    - no maneuvering over the baby in the bed at night to get the other side available.
    - the breast we use happens to be the left one, and I am right-handed. This means I can cradle her head with my left arm while she nurses and always have my good hand free.

    - LOPSIDED. Very lopsided.
    - I have to really hope I don't ever have twins!!

    Any other one-siders out there?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Being a one-sided nurser

    Yup! I nursed DS2 off of one breast since he was 2 months old to now (almost 3). He just started refusing the other one, and I really tried all the tricks I could to get him to take it, but in the end it was just way easier to just let him nurse from the one side and be sane.

    Exclusively pumped for Lance Oct 07
    Nursed until just before he turned 3 Levi Oct 09

    Do you have extra milk? Consider donating!

    "So I was welcomed by the consolations of human milk; but it was not my mother or my nurses who made any decision to fill their breasts, but you who through them gave me infant food, in accordance with your ordinance and the riches which are distributed deep in the natural order." -St Augustine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Being a one-sided nurser

    I had to wean off one side to recover from a breast surgery. I nursed off only one side for a while, but then I relactated the other side after it healed. For me, the "hurt" side continued to produce some milk and leak some, but it did slowly decrease. If I had continued nursing only one side for a long time, I imagine that would have slowed to a mere trickle. It might never stop leaking entirely - some women continue to leak a little milk even long after they've weaned both sides. However, it should decrease over time. I wouldn't worry too much about your supply staying high because you're leaking - milk removal is part of the supply equation, but so is stimulation. If you're not getting the stimulation on that side, the leaking should gradually decrease over time.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    SW Ohio

    Default Re: Being a one-sided nurser

    Not me personally, but a co-worker did it. She developed mastitis that hindered the output of one breast, so she used mostly one. We were talking about it just the other day and she mentioned how she could pump 10oz out of the one side! Breasts are cool
    JoEllen married to Jason 10-29-2005.

    Mama to Logan 12-26-2007
    Breastfed for 2 years and weaned on his own terms

    Our Lincoln 6-11-2011 to 9-12-2011
    my homebirthed-water baby, who was born with a broken heart

    And our special blessing, Leonidas 9-5-2012. A toddler who loves his "boops!"

    Come visit our blog here!

    SURPRISE!!! We caught the first PP egg and are currently baking baby BOY #4! Due to arrive late-Jan/early-Feb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Being a one-sided nurser

    My left side has never produced as well as the right. It's a little flat (didn't need a shield, but was drawn out via nursing). I was pretty militant about rotating sides with DD1 and DD2. Now that I'm nursing DD3, I don't care as much. Since left doesn't produce as much and is slower to let down, babe gets grumpy. I end up having to nurse off of both sides anyway. If I start with the right, she's happy with just one side.

    So I've backed off of bothering with the left during the day since it just makes her grumpy. I only nurse on it at night when she's sleepy, to take the edge off. It has made me a little lop sided which I hope will resolve itself after weaning; in a year or two.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Middle of nowhere in Ohio

    Default Re: Being a one-sided nurser

    I nursed on one side for 4 months with my son. When he turned 1 he wasn't nursing as much as he used to. My left always produced less anyway so I just breastfed on my right side. I was lopsided, but not too terrible. I really only noticed it in the morning going all night w/out nursing. He did just fine on my right only for 4 months. It can be done! Good for you for still breastfeeding on one side!
    Passed my CLC exam!

    Mother of 3: 12-25-04 12-3-07 1-13-2011

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Montreal, Canada

    Default Re: Being a one-sided nurser

    I wish I saw this when you first posted (spotted the link in another thread). I've been one-side nursing DD for 7 months!

    Surgery and radiation essentially destroyed the ducts in my right breast. During pregnancy I only had pigmentation changes; no changes in size and it never leaked or produced colostrum.

    I was terrified that my wanting to EBF was going to starve LO and I had to get over feeling selfish and inadequate. I probably saw more LC's than we needed to only because I was certain her constant newborn nursing meant I couldn't nurse on one side.

    I'm so glad I got over the fear and kept on nursing! My left breast more than compensated, answering her every single moment she demanded food, drink, and comfort. I love our BF'ing relationship (ok, maybe not so much when she sleeps with breast in mouth). It's one of the most life affirming things I've ever done... besides having a baby, of course.

    PS: totally agree with the pros. Being lopsided, sigh. Just comes with the territory.
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

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