Breastfeeding: One-sided nursing in newborn
My three-week-old daughter feeds every couple of hours through the day, but usually on one side only. At night she sleeps five to seven hours at a stretch. This pattern causes a lot of engorgement and tenderness. Should I pump at night or when she finishes feeding on one side?Question:
- Engorgement is not uncommon for most mothers at 3 weeks postpartum, but if it is unresolved it can lead to a diminished milk supply. Your breasts get the message that they are making too much milk and may slow down production. Engorgement can also lead to plugged ducts and mastitis.
- When your baby sleeps through the night in the early weeks, you breasts lack the constant stimulation that helps establish your milk supply. If your breasts are very full in between feeds or in the middle of the night, offer your breast to your daughter. It's way easier and nice than pumping. If she's not interested in nursing, express just enough milk for comfort.
- Overabundant milk supply may be impacting your situation. Nursing at one breast per feed will be of help in controlling this situation.
It's not of great concern that your baby is nursing from only one breast per feed, but it is perferred that she finish the first breast on her own, rather than being arbitrarily moved to the other side at a set time. This allows her to control her feed, determining just how much of the richer, higher fat, hindmilk she receives. It may be different at each feed, depending on her needs at that time.
Continue to allow your baby to nurse from one breast per feed. Note the length of time she spends actively nursing (good suck/swallows). She needs to spend about 20 to 30 minutes, a minimum of 8 to 12 times a day at your breast. When she comes off, relaxed and satisfied, or falls asleep after a good feed, you can try changing her diaper and seeing if she will take a few sips (or more) from the other side. Just a few minutes at that breast may be enough to relieve any engorgement you are experiencing. If she does not want to nurse from the other side and you are feeling full and uncomfortable, again, express just enough milk for comfort.
Record your daughter's output for a few days if you are at all concerned that she is not getting enough milk. She should be stooling at least 2 times and wetting between 6 and 8 diapers each day (slightly less with disposables.) Average weight gain in the first 6 months is between 4 and 8 ounces each week. You can also see your pediatrician for a weight check.Answer: