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?