Breastfeeding From One Side: Why This Happens & How To Overcome It

A mother breastfeeding her baby

Whether it is an unexplained preference shown by the baby or the mother’s level of comfort while feeding, breastfeeding on one side is a common habit mothers and babies get into unconsciously. Read on for all you need to know about why this happens and whether it is advisable.

Video: Breastfeeding From One Side Only – Reasons and What to Do

Is One-sided Breastfeeding Normal?

Many mothers find it more comfortable and convenient to feed from one breast in comparison to the other. This happens because sometimes you may find one position of holding your baby more comfortable than the other. We all are either left or right handed and thus we may find it easier to perform various tasks from our preferred side. Therefore, one sided breast feeding is very normal.

Reasons why Mothers Breastfeed from One Breast only?

A mother breastfeeding her baby

There are various reasons that may make mothers breastfeed from one breast only, such as:

1. Variation or Difference In the Nipple

Sometimes your baby may find one nipple easier than the other to latch on, this could be due to a mole, hair or other thing that may be bothering your baby.

2. Breast Engorgement

The tightness and stiffness of one nipple may make latching on difficult for your baby.

3. Difference In Flow

Sometimes the flow of breast milk in one breast can be more than the other, thus your baby chooses the one with easier and better flow.

4. Forgetting To Switch Over

You may forget to switch on to the other side while feeding and the neglected breast will have a low milk supply.

5. Breast Milk May Taste Different In One Breast

If you have feeding more from one side, then the other side has a lesser supply and thus the milk may taste different. You may use breast pump to improve the milk supply.

6. If You Have Mastitis

In case you have mastitis in one of the breasts, the milk may taste different (because of more sodium content) and thus your baby may refuse that breast.

7. If You Have has Breast Surgery

Breast surgery may affect the milk supply of that breast and your baby may prefer the other breast for feeding.

8. If Your Baby is More Comfortable Feeding From One Side

Sometimes your baby may get comfortable in feeding from one breast and thus would choose the more comfortable one over the other.

9. You May Feel More Comfortable To Feed From One Side

Sometimes you may feel comfortable feeding from one breast than the other.

10. If Your Baby Chooses One Breast Because of Being Sick

Sometimes due to your baby’s health condition, such as stuffy nose, ear infection or a sore inside the mouth, your baby may choose to feed from one side only.

11. Due To Some Medical Condition

Sometimes due to some medical condition such as stiff neck because of trauma during the birth, your baby may feed from one breast.

12. If You Have Has Breast Cancer Treatment

Sometimes you may prefer to feed from one breast because of some surgical treatment on your other breast.

13. If You Have Darker Color Milk In One Breast

This may happen due to broken or injured capillary and this may cause the difference in taste of the breast milk.

14. If Your Ducts Do Not Open

Sometimes the reason for low milk supply may be because of cancerous cells in the milk ducts, and thus your baby chooses the breast with more milk supply.

What to do if your Baby has a Breast Preference?

Sometimes you may find that your baby has a breast preference and chooses one breast to feed over the other. But if your baby is less than six weeks, it will be a good idea to keep your milk supply intact in both the breasts, as the milk is produced on supply-and-demand basis.

You may make use of breast pump to pump out milk from the neglected breast as your baby feeds from the preferred breast. If you find it cumbersome, you may express milk after your baby has fed from the favourite side.

It is a good idea to keep encouraging your baby to feed from the less preferred side even if your nursing baby prefers one side. But refrain from doing so, if your baby is too hungry or irritable. The best way is to, let your baby begin from the favourite or the preferred side and then gradually slide from the more preferred to the less preferred breast.

Will your Breast Look Lopsided?

No your breast will not look lopsided if you are feeding only from one breast. You may know that one of your breasts is making more milk than the other, but the others do not know. With the passage of time and after you have weaned off your baby, your breasts will be more or less the same size.

Why your Baby Refuses another Breast?

If may notice your baby not feeding from right breast or your baby is refusing to feed from the left breast, then you need to find out the reason behind it. Check if your baby has an ear infection or stuffy nose. You may also check your milk supply and the latching position. Even the mother’s health condition, such as mastitis, may make the baby refuse to feed from the infected breast.

If your Baby only Nurses on One Side will he Get Enough Milk?

Yes, your baby will get enough milk if you nurse only on one side only. This happens because as your baby starts to feed more from one breast, the milk supply in that breast increases. The increased milk supply satiates the baby. Therefore, if you are breast feeding on demand and your baby looks contended and gaining weight, you may feed from one breast.

How to Encourage a Baby to Nurse from both the Breasts?

You may encourage your baby to nurse from both the breasts, in the following ways:

  • Offer the neglected or the less desired breast every time before feeding.
  • Offer the less preferred breast to the baby if your baby is feeling sleepy.
  • You may massage your less preferred breast for a good milk supply.
  • Refrain from force feeding on the less desired breast as it may cause complete aversion.
  • You may offer the undesired side after your baby has fed from the other breast, for comfort feeding.
  • If the shape of the nipple is the problem, then you may use nipple shield.
  • You may try different feeding position, such as lying down position.

You may encourage your baby to feed from both the breasts, but if your baby still refuses one breast, you may consult your doctor and know the reason for the same.

Also Read:

Breastfeeding with Small Breasts
Tips for Breastfeeding with Large Breasts
Supplementing Breastfeeding with Formula