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!