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Thread: Feeding only from one breast

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Feeding only from one breast

    Is it possible to sucessfully breastfeed from only one breast? I have one very sore nipple on my left breast that just won't heal. This nipple is inverted and also larger than the right side so I beleive this to be why it is causing me problems. It is so so painful today that it has brought me to tears and I just dread it when feed time comes ffrom that side! We are being treated for thrush which I believe can slow the healing process? We have been on the medication for a week now and the soreness is no better I think actually worse. The latch has been checked by 2 different lactation consultant and both say it's fine so I don't believe the sore nipple to be from this now-originally it was hence the damaged nipple. I really enjoy feeding from the non sore side and wonder can I just use this breast only? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Feeding only from one breast

    Yes, it is definitely possible to feed on just one breast. Think about moms of twins- that's one breast per baby, right? However, if you can avoid using just one breast, it's very much worth it to do so, for the following reasons:
    - Symmetry. Nursing on just one breast means you're likely to end up with one breast much larger than the other, since one breast is going to be producing a lot of milk and the other almost nothing.
    - Having a spare is nice. If you suddenly have a problem with one breast, it's always good to have the second side available in reserve.

    If you choose to wean from the damaged side, you're going to need to slowly reduce the amount the baby is using the damaged side while slowly increasing the amount the baby uses the undamaged side. This will allow your supply on the damaged side to slowly decrease, reducing your risk for nasty things like plugged ducts and mastitis. It will also prevent your baby from having some hungry days as the supply builds on the undamaged side; if you've been nursing on both breasts thus far, you're unlikely to be able to transition to using just one breast in a single day or even a day or two.

    You could try feeding mostly on the undamaged side while using the damaged side for just a couple of feedings per day, and pump that damaged side the rest of the time. That would allow you to maintain the option to use the hurting breast in the future, once it is healed, and once the baby's mouth grows enough that she can give you a deeper latch. Pumping the damaged sidelight also really help that nipple evert. The more often you pump or nurse on that side, the more likely it is that the adhesions under the skin, which hold the nipple flat or cause it to invert, will break. I had very flat nips before I nursed my first daughter, but after several months of nursing they weren't flat any more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Feeding only from one breast

    I am doing this right now with my second daughter, just because I have a "bad side" that neither of my daughters liked - with my first we just powered through, but this time it was causing a lot of problems and I got tired of it! Just from this side of letting it "dry up," a few things you might want to consider:

    1. This only applies if you co-sleep, but I got really tired of (and sometimes sore from) lying on my left side ALL THE TIME at night. If I tried to roll onto my other side or back, she would wake up and want to nurse again! She is now almost 6 months and recently is beginning to let me change position at night!
    2. The leaking drives me crazy. My good breast has evened itself out and never leaks a drop between feedings, but I have to constantly wear disposable nursing pads or use washcloths/diapers against the bad side at night because it leaks a ridiculous amount when she nurses. I doubt there's much milk being produced because she hasn't nursed it for months, but it's certainly enough to be very annoying.
    3. She has started biting me and her latch is getting bad as she gets teeth, so I've had pain issues, and there is NO other side to switch to to give the one side a break. So if it's sore - too bad for me!

    Just some thoughts to consider. I still say it was worth it for me - there is basically no nipple on my bad side, so it was very prone to infection (nothing to keep bacteria out), and she just couldn't get a good latch on it and would protest and fuss and cry about it.

    We did take our time doing the transition from 2 breasts to 1 - she was about 3 months old and I wondered if it was too late, but it went just fine. It was very gradual, and on the last few days of getting down to only 2 or 1 feedings on the bad side, she was nursing constantly to get the supply up on the other side. Obviously I'm very lopsided, though, so if that matters to you, take that into account as well!

    Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions

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