Breastfeeding: Is it important to offer both breasts at a feed?

I breastfeed my 13-week-old son from one breast per feed, alternating each feed. I have never offered him both breasts at one feed. It has now been "suggested" by several baby nurses to offer him the second breast. My baby is gaining weight beautifully and is growing normally. His output is perfect and all seems to be well so does it make sense to upset the apple cart?


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It sounds like you have figured out just what is best for you and your baby! I am unsure why anyone would recommend upsetting the apple cart if you and your baby are happy and healthy, and your little guy is growing normally.

The nurses who counseled you may advise all their patients to nurse at both breasts for each feed. This recommendation is quite common -- though not necessary for everyone. This feeding pattern may be indicated for a baby with a history of poor weight gain, or a mom with suspected insufficient milk supply. Each situation needs to be looked at individually. You might want to ask their rationale for advising you to change your baby's nursing pattern. This may help you to make sense of the situation.

It can be very confusing when a health professional tells you something that seems contrary to what you feel is right. If a similar situation arises in the future, and you question the advise you are being given, don't hesitate to ask the following questions:

  • Why is this being recommended?
  • Is there scientific research to back up this recommendation?
  • What are my options in this situation?
  • What possible outcome might I expect if I choose not to comply at this time?

My very best wishes in mothering!

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