LO eating from one or both breasts at each feeding??? — The Bump
January 2012 Moms

LO eating from one or both breasts at each feeding???

So breastfeeding has been going pretty well for us, DS latch is great and he is gaining weight like a champ (birth weight was 8lb 11 oz now 10lb 9oz) He is currently 4 weeks old.  The lactation consultant at the hospital initially recommended feeding on one side then when DS unlatches burping and switching to the other side.  We did that for the first week or two but then noticed DS was gaining weight rapidly, gulping while feeding, feeding very frequently like every hour, and not sleeping very well.  The lactation consultant said those were signs of over active letdown, that DS was probably not getting the hind milk, and to start feeding on one side only every time you feed in a 3 hour period then switching sides.  We have been doing that, but I feel like now DS is gaining weight less quickly (although still gaining), my breasts are leaking way less, and I am nervous about my supply going down.  DS has been feeding 8-10 minutes on one side and usually 5-10 after being burped and put back on either from the same breast or the other side.

So my question is how long do your LOs feed on each side?  Do you feed from both breasts at every feeding or switch off?  Is 10 minutes on the breast long enough to get a sufficient amt of hind milk? I know as they get older babies become more efficient at feeding, but does that happen as early as 4 wks?

DS has been waking every 2 hours all night the last few nights (had been doing 4 hours) so I am guessing he has started his 4 week growth spurt and want to make sure he gets plenty.  TIA for the advice! 


Re: LO eating from one or both breasts at each feeding???

  • We've been doing only one breast at a time. My DD latches on and doesn't unlatch until like 20 mins later. For a couple of days, I was able to do both but that has stopped. I think my supply is going well still because I do also pump and get 4 oz btw both breasts. I haven't talked to a consultant or anything like that but thats what we've been doing. She was doing well on her 2 week check up but we don't see the pedi until she is 2 months old.
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  • I was doing one side exclusively because he wouldn't latch on the other side but he's taking both now so I'm trying to get to a 15/15 schedule. I don't ever try to pull him off I just wait until he comes off naturally, then I offer the other side. If he pulls off at 10 minutes I burp him and put him back on the same side though so he doesn't just get foremilk. If he's being extra fussy I'll just do one side and try to do the other the next time I feed him. 

    If you can't get him to eat for very long and he's 'snacking' every hour this is a trick I tried and it seemed to work - pump off some of the foremilk and then feed him so when he eats he's getting the good stuff. It seemed to fill him up and keep him full for longer.  

    I'm not completely sure, but I don't think your supply will end one one side. If anything it may be a little uneven but you're not going to completely lose one side even if you never use it.  


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  • I do one side at a time during the day and offer the other breast at night so he's full enough to sleep longer.  He will sometimes get hungry enough during the day ti want more within an hour, so I just feed him again from the other breast.  He often falls asleep nursing, and I feel bad waking him during the day just to spend 5 minutes on the other breast.
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  • I kind of do both - usually offer both sides but if he's extra sleepy or seems disinterested, I don't offer the other side.  He's a pretty quick, efficient eater and usually spends 10-15 minutes eating, maybe an extra 5-10min if I offer both sides.  DS1 was a "luncher" and would spend an hour or more at the breast... eating, hanging out, eating, hanging out (like you do when you go out to lunch with a friend).  DS2 was super quick, sometimes just 5-10min and done.

    I'd say as long as your LO is gaining weight don't worry too much about it.  It's really easy to over-analyze feeds.  Your breasts are probably leaking less because your body has adjusted to his schedule.  You likely won't leak the whole time you are breastfeeding, just until your body figures out the amount that your baby needs.  With DS1, I didn't leak for more than 2-3 weeks! 

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  • I only offer one breast at a feeding.   He can be done in as little as 5 minutes or take up to 15 minutes to finish, rarely does he go longer than 15 minutes and if he does he usually spits up a fair amount when burping.  
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  • I start with one and try to have her on there for awhile. She's a lazy nurser and it's like pulling teeth to get her to even stay on for 10 minutes or so. If she is only on for a few minutes, I burp her and put her back on the same breast. If she's on for longer than 10-15 minutes and still seems hungry, I offer the other breast. Otherwise, I just start with the other breast at the next feeding.
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  • I will have to talk to a lactation consultant, that's really interesting about the overactive letdown. In the last few days, my LO has had instances of choking while nursing because she's gulping away so much. She also used to go 3-4 hours between feedings until the last 5 days or so, and now I'm lucky if it's 2 hours, usually more like 1-1.5. I'd feel better about her only taking one breast if it satisfied her for a while, but since she wants to eat like an hour later, it's been frustrating. I do try to offer her the other one during the initial feeding, but she'll have none of it and usually just conks right out. Anyway, not to pull the attention to me - I'm just excited to have a new theory on what might be happening!

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  • imagelorahbora:

    I will have to talk to a lactation consultant, that's really interesting about the overactive letdown. In the last few days, my LO has had instances of choking while nursing because she's gulping away so much. She also used to go 3-4 hours between feedings until the last 5 days or so, and now I'm lucky if it's 2 hours, usually more like 1-1.5. I'd feel better about her only taking one breast if it satisfied her for a while, but since she wants to eat like an hour later, it's been frustrating. I do try to offer her the other one during the initial feeding, but she'll have none of it and usually just conks right out. Anyway, not to pull the attention to me - I'm just excited to have a new theory on what might be happening!

    Lorah, I know this post was from a few days ago, but I wanted to respond anyway. 

    I am also a massive overproducer with overactive letdown.  DS has to gulp to catch it all and was showing signs of colic, even though he is exclusively breastfed.  Poor kid - it was like he was trying to drink from a firehose. 

    I was feeding him from both breasts during feedings, but ever since I started feeding him from only one breast in a feeding he has been throwing up a lot less. If he wants to eat again within an hour or two, I give him the same breast.  That way I know he is getting the hindmilk, rather than just foremilk, which is sugarier. From what I've read, too much foremilk can cause indigestion. 

    Offering the same breast for multiple feedings is called block feeding.  Since we started block feeding, things have really improved for us.  Not only is DS less colicky, I'm not spraying everywhere quite as often and he isn't gagging and throwing up quite as much.  He also used to bite down on my nipple to try to stem the flow, which was making feeding really painful for me.  Since we started blockfeeding my flow hasn't been quite as overactive and his latch has improved. 

    I hope this is helpful.  Good luck to you!

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