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Thread: alternating breasts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default alternating breasts

    Hello everyone
    i just realised that I'm not so sure about the rules of alternating breasts when feeding.

    I was told that if you last fed on the left breast then the next feeding should begin on the right. Is this correct?

    My question though is how do you manage that during a feeding session when baby feeds for maybe between 5 - 10 minutes on the left breast. Then pauses for a burp break or to rest. When she's ready to go again, do I put her back on the left breast or should I start her on the right?

    Feeding for such a short period of time on one breast ends up in a bit of frustration for me though as the milk just runs while she's feeding on the other breast.

    What is the best way to manage both breasts?
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: alternating breasts

    Let your baby finish the first breast first. When she comes off on her own (looking happily "milk drunk") she is finished on that side. Burp and switch. On the next feeding, start out on the first breast if she took a full feeding second or on the second if she only nursed for a minute or two. Some mothers just take out the guess work by feeding on the side that feels the fullest. Really, there are no hard and fast rules on switching as long as both breasts are being used fairly equally. Do what feels most comfortable to you.

    If she comes off the breast before she was "finished" with the first side, you could put her back on the first side.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: alternating breasts

    Thank you Jolie
    The reminder that comfort is key is very liberating.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: alternating breasts

    Some babies only nurse on one breast per feeding- that was my son until recently. So in those cases obviously you just use the breast you didn't use the last time.

    Like Jolie said, it kind of depends on how the previous feeding goes. I think most often babies take the most out of the first breast, so for the next feeding it may be best to start with the second breast. Does that make sense? So a hungry baby eats lots from left breast, then kind of sucks for a bit at the right. So for the next feeding, start with the right breast so it receives the hungry baby sucking that time! I think everyone has times where they "mess up" and offer the wrong breast and your supply may be lop-sided for a little bit but it will also easily sort itself back out as you get back on track.

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09

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