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Thread: from 2 breasts to 1

  1. #1

    Wink from 2 breasts to 1

    Is there a good way to alter your baby's nursing patterns from taking two breasts at each feeding to taking only one breast?

    I have started donating breast milk which involves pumping out milk between my daughter's feeds. I do this 2-3 times a day getting about 7ounce maximum a day. I was wondering if there would be a safe way to start pumping one breast while baby feeds from the other, without my daughter still being hungry?
    My daughter is a day shy of 7 weeks and I don't want her to start missing out just because I am helping out other children, but I know that some people can feed their child on only one breast a feed. So.. is there a way I can start to do it? I have started eating lactation cookies with linseed meal, brewers yeast, fenugreek powder and fennel seeds in them as well as drinking one batch of tigers milk a day (started all this three days ago) to try boost my supply so I can attempt to work towards making enough milk to fill my daughter with one breast while filling the bottle with a pump from the other. I don't know if I should just suddenly start pumping at every feed or if I should change it gradually or if I should even be trying to change the nursing pattern at all...

    Does anyone have any advice or success stories for this sort of situation (or something similar)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: from 2 breasts to 1

    I think it is amazing you are donating your milk. I am not sure what you mean about pumping one side- do you mean, pumping while baby nurses, to take advantage of the letdown that occurs on both sides? And then switching as/whenever baby wishes? Or do you mean, dedicating one side to baby amd one side to the pump? I do not see any real issue with the first, as long as it is done at only some sessions and is not too awkward, making nursing sessions, an important bonding time, stilted and uncomfortable for you. But I see lots of issues with the latter.

    I would also question the use of galactagogues in order to make enough milk to donate, although lactation cookies are probably mild enough it is hardly a big deal, you do want to be aware of the potential side effects of any herb you take. Presumably, the extra milk removal you are doing by regular pumping will continue to keep your production higher than it would be if you were NOT pumping, and that is the milk you donate. Are you thinking you should donate more? It typically takes many donors to fully feed one baby. You do what you can.

  3. #3

    Default Re: from 2 breasts to 1

    Thank you for your reply.

    I am meaning that while baby nurses on one breast, I pump from the other. Then at the next feed, I swap sides and baby is on the previously pumped breast and pump is on the other. My concern was that my daughter would only be suckling from one breast each feeding instead of two breasts as per usual, and whether my one breast would be enough to fill her up when she is used to having two.

    The purpose of all this is to be able to donate more. I wouldn't be trying to boost my supply if it wasn't for the fact I'm donating.
    I am trying to see if making more milk is something I can do to help out more with the two children I already donate to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: from 2 breasts to 1

    OK, I think that if your daughter is typically nursing at both sides at a time, as her preference, I would not suggest trying to change that. Some baby's prefer one side and others prefer two, and many change this up over time or even over the course of the day.

    This is in part because sometimes baby wants more than at other times, and some babies are always snackers and some are not (always.) But it also has to do with the changing makeup of breast milk over the course of the day. These are nuances only baby can be 'aware' of, and baby nurses accordingly. This is why, in most situations, it works out best if at each nursing session baby nurses on one side as long as they want and switch when and if baby wishes. While also, of course, letting baby nurse as often as baby wishes.

    If it makes life easier for you, you could still pump while she nurses on the first side and then let her nurse on the other side as she wishes, even after you have pumped on that side.

    Watch her behavior, and if she seems unhappy nursing that side after you have pumped, you have your answer that this may not work. As far as her getting enough, pumping during a nursing session may or may not affect that- it is impossible to say, and it is likely to change over time. You will just have to watch her output and weight gain and behavior and use your best judgment.

    Do you have a good, double sided, electric pump btw?

    Please be aware that increasing your milk production well beyond what your own child needs is not a benign intervention. Overproduction itself may cause breastfeeding problems.

    I wish there were clearer guidelines for milk donors because it is a tricky area. I do not know the details of who you are donating to or why, but I assume this is an informal arrangement and not a milk bank since you know you are donating to two babies. In such situations, donor mothers may, sometimes, start to feel very invested and responsible to the point of putting pressure on themselves to donate more milk, or to continue to donate when it is no longer something they feel up to doing.

    But imo pumping and donating EXTRA, already naturally ‘available’ milk is potentially difficult enough. I do not see why you should feel responsible for increasing your milk production in order to donate more milk than you already do.

    Of course it is very individual what each mom can handle, and you are the best judge of this. And I admit I tend to be perhaps overly cautious about this. It's kind of my thing, because few people talk about the potential downside of milk donation for the donors, but it is a downside I have been made painfully aware of over the years talking to mothers.

  5. #5

    Default Re: from 2 breasts to 1

    Thank you

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