If you are wondering why your baby feeds on just one breast and always prefers that breast over the other; you are among the many mothers who are facing the same issue. Infants, especially newborns may have the preference of one breast over the other. Babies sometimes fuss, refuse and even pull away when turned to the other breast. This is quite normal. In this article, we will learn about why babies enjoy breastfeeding from one breast only.
There may be many reasons for having a preference. Sometimes one breast makes more milk than the other and it is easier for babies to fill their hungry tummies fast with that breast. Sometimes babies may completely refuse the other breast because he/she might have a blocked nostril or an ear infection and having to suck from the preferred breast is just a way to keep his other nose or ear away from the pain.
Also read: Breastfeeding Positions For Your Baby
The more milk that is taken from one breast, the more milk it will make. Thus preferring one breast over and over again over the other breast will only make that preferred one have more milk supply; making it a lot easier for the baby to get his/her required food. This does not mean that your baby will not be full if he/she latches on to just one breast. There are foremilk and hindmilk in both breasts and one breast is enough to fill your baby’s tummy.
Let’s take a look at why breastfeeding from one breast only happens:
Sometimes a mother may have an abundant supply of milk from both breasts. In such cases feeding on one breast does fill up your baby’s tummy fast and the baby will be reluctant to use the other breast. Thus, feeding on both breasts simultaneously becomes an important rule to follow. So if your baby sucks more from one breast than the supply of milk and milk production in the other breast will reduce.
Some babies have a preference of one breast over the other from very early on. Maybe they relate it to the first time you might have held the baby in your arms and fed him. Sometimes the baby will just completely refuse the other breast all together even if the other breast is having milk supply. In cases like these, you should speak to your doctor as to why your baby is refusing the other breast.
If your baby is having a lot of gas issues, pooping a greenish tinge, gaining weight very rapidly and is becoming very fussy and also just drinking from one breast; the issue might be that he may be colic. In such cases, you have to offer the second breast in order to feed the baby and do it simultaneously. Doing this over a period of time will reduce the colic symptoms as well.
Sometimes some mothers have milk production only in one breast while the other breast is either having extremely less or no milk supply. Sometimes mothers have had breast surgeries or mastectomy, which leaves them with only one functioning breast. These are rare cases but this does lead to one breast favour for the baby. Sometimes mothers have sore nipples, chapped nipples, skin issues on one breast which makes feeding on the other breast comfortable for the mom and the baby.
This is one of the most common reasons for babies breastfeeding from one breast only as they prefer one breast more. They are just too comfortable with the feeling of the breast that they like, They are cosy, feel closer to you and the breast relaxes them and puts them to sleep. Thus if your baby is comfortable in feeding on that particular breast, offer that to him first; especially during times when he is cranky, needs rest or just before naptime and sleeping hours. At other times when your baby is awake and playful, you can offer your other breast to him.
Also read: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Guide
You can always try to gently and persistently encourage your baby to nurse at the less-preferred breast. This can be done by always offering the less preferred breast first, when he’s hungriest or when he is just waking up from his sleep and is sleepy enough to take it. Experimenting with different positions, swaying your baby while nursing him and even talking to your baby while nursing him will distract him to take the other breast.
You need not worry about the lopsided look as your breasts would look normal as soon as your baby has weaned out. On the other hand, if you’re consistently nursing from one breast, you’ll want to pump or express milk from the other breast to keep up production. The expressed milk can be used to supplement your baby’s feeds. Pumping will also help if you’re concerned about looking lopsided.
There is no harm in letting your child have a breast preference if your child is getting enough milk and the and his breast preference poses no real adversity for you. There are plenty of women who have nursed successfully from one breast only.
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