Alternate Breasts Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Question: How Often Should I Alternate Breasts Breastfeeding?

How often should you switch breasts while breastfeeding is a common breastfeeding question. It is important to understand that alternating breasts during breastfeeding is for your comfort. Breastfeeding on one breast does not maintain the milk supply in both breasts. Switching breasts prevents painful breast engorgement in the unused breast.

Determining the amount of time spent nursing before alternating breasts is dependent on several factors:

  • Breastfeeding schedule
  • Length of breastfeeding session
  • Breast milk consumption

It is normal to have trouble recalling the last breast used to nurse with all of the sleep deprivation and excitement of being a new parent. Here are some techniques I have used and shared by other readers to help you remember which breast to feed with next:

  • Alternate breasts in the middle of a feeding session (this is my preferred method because I am forgetful)
  • Place a small pin or ribbon on your bra to indicate which breast to start with 
  • Keep a baby journal of breastfeeding schedule, amounts and which breast

There is a conflict between breastfeeding experts whether it is better to alternate breasts in the middle of a session or only alternate breasts for each session. Theoretically using the same breast throughout the breastfeeding session will allow your child to consume more hind-milk, one of the types of breast milk with a higher fat content.

Whatever you decide it is important to pay attention to how your baby is eating. Do not worry about what the “breastfeeding experts” say, as new parent you are under enough stress. Work with your baby to find the method that works easily for you both. As long as your baby is in good health and growing you are doing just fine!

Read More:

How Long Does it Take to Nurse?
Is It Okay To Let My Baby Breastfeed For Comfort?
One Breast or Two?
How Often Should I Alternate Breasts?
How Often Should I Burp My Baby?

Related Reading


  1. Jennifer foxe says:

    In the early days or if baby is having green nappies it is important to make sure baby is emptying each breast and so getting enough hindmilk. This can usually be identified when they come off themselves. As they get older just switch when one feels empty or uncomfortable. Forget notebooks and the clock. Trust your and baby’s instincts. It is the newborn’s suckling action which lays down the prolactin receptors for the rest of the breastfeeding relationship and the amount and balance taken at each feed determines the nutritional content of the next.

Speak Your Mind