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When to change breasts?

(16 Posts)
KeepOnSwimming Fri 08-Jul-11 20:09:02

OK I've got myself confused - initially I was told offer one then the other in one feed, then this week I've been told to stick to one breast per feed.

My DD is 11 days old and lost 10% of her weight initially, but is now gaining. Part of the problem is when to define when one feed ends and another begins, because she can feed for 10-20mins, then have a 10min break, then feed for a further 10-15mins, then another break, then feed again etc on and off for hours!

So what do I do and why?

Felicie Fri 08-Jul-11 20:52:09

Hi - I was told the same thing by my health visitor, offer one breast at a feeding. But, I ignored her, my instinct told me otherwise. My little one is now nearly 8 months and has always fed from both breasts at each feed. The left breast is always a quick feed, not sure why but then the right breast seems to be her bigger feed. But she always has both breasts at every feed and it hasn't done me or my daughter any harm.
It is entirely normal for babies to lose weight initially and you will see that your baby gains weight. Is she definitely drinking or do you think she might be comfort suckling? My little girl was a guzzler, fed for 8 minutes but did this on and off for a couple of hours. Sometimes I felt like I was permanently feeding but then it settled down. I was told all babies are different. All I would say is trust your instincts - if you want to offer both breasts, do it and if you feel like your baby is permanently feeding and you need a break maybe give La Leche league a call - they come out to your house, have support groups and just offer friendly and helpful advice.
Hope this helps. By the way, I can remember when my little one was 11 days old and now she is nearly 8 months - trust that what you are doing is right.

thisisyesterday Fri 08-Jul-11 20:55:06

k what you need to do is offer first breast until she comes off. when she comes off (or when you take her off if she is asleep/not sucking really) then offer the second breast

if she takes it then great, if she doesn't take it that's fine but start with that breast for the next feed (switching back to the first one once she is done with it)

does that make sense?
with a small baby i would always offer both sides at a feed, but don't worry if she doesn't want both

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 21:20:00

Where you told to stick to one breast per feed for a particular reason?

I have always done as TIY says - when the baby comes off one side offer the other. In the early days I'd often forget which side he last had (lots of that 10 mins feeding/15 mins dozing/20 mins feeding going on!) but as long as you offer both sides frequently it doesn't really matter.

It's a good idea to offer both sides as this increases your supply and increases the amount of milk the baby gets. It's important to let the baby come off when they're finished and then offer the other side instead of trying to engineer the baby staying on one side for a set amount of time, so the baby can regulate it's own milk intake and isn't frustrated by being kept on one side when they're done with it.

KeepOnSwimming Fri 08-Jul-11 21:28:13

I was told to stick to one to make sure she gets the hind milk to put weight back on....

I didn't feel right sticking to one breast though so I'll go back to switching at each pause? So I may end up during one long feed going L, R, L then back to R again - is that right?

thisisyesterday Fri 08-Jul-11 21:32:13


milk changes gradually throughout a feed, so the longer she feeds the fattier the milk becomes. but as long as she is staying on for as long as she wants then there is nothing wrong with then switching sides.

i think it would only be a problem if she was literally on one side for a couple of minutes and then the other side for a couple of minutes and nothing else.

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 21:57:19

I wouldn't switch at each pause if she is just having a rest/pausing for breath - I'd switch if she comes off or falls asleep.

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 21:58:14

This is a good explanation of foremilk and hindmilk:

KeepOnSwimming Sat 09-Jul-11 01:46:41


JollySergeantJackrum Sat 09-Jul-11 04:19:47

That's a great link, Rita.

I had a massive oversupply and DS had green nappies more often than not, so from about weeks 2 - 9 I only offered one breast a feed. After this my supply began to even out, so I started offering both in the evenings and gradually increased it to both at every feed.

fraktious Sat 09-Jul-11 04:45:36

I still have massive oversupply and started block feeding when DS was about 2 weeks old. Still doing it in fact as I'm not entirely sure how the heck to get back to feeding on both sides each feed. He inky takes bith if very hungry.

So basically unless you produce so much that your DD is ready to burst after one side and milk is still dribbling out then I'd offer bith at each feed.

fraktious Sat 09-Jul-11 04:46:56

inky takes bith? hmm

Only takes both.

KeepOnSwimming Sat 09-Jul-11 05:43:22

Well I do wonder if I am doing something wrong according to that link as DD is very windy, and sicky with it....

Tonight tried both breasts an shr had loads of trapped wind - couldn'y get it out, shr then overfed and was properly sick. then slept 3 hours!

Typing one handed = feeding

BertieBotts Sat 09-Jul-11 06:19:04

I think what the article was saying was pretty much you can't get it wrong if you're following your baby's cues. Certainly ignoring their cues and doing it a different way is much more likely to cause problems - even if you are advised to switch or not switch for supply reasons, you wouldn't be encouraged to ignore your baby's cues (and the latest research indicates that it's not as simple as staying on longer = getting more hindmilk anyway) - in fact in the peer support training I did last year we were told to disregard the idea of foremilk and hindmilk completely.

Some babies just get windy - I doubt it's anything you're doing smile

KeepOnSwimming Sat 09-Jul-11 09:49:08

Thanks for that - I do worry I'm doing it "wrong" the whole time!

takethatlady Sun 10-Jul-11 11:15:11

keeponswimming my mw told me to stick to one breast per feed too, as if this was standard advice. LO is thriving. But I will start offering the other breast now.

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