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Breastfeeding From One Breast Only – Advantages And Disadvantages

4 min read

Many a times newborns prefer to feed from one breast of the mother. The child may become fussy and simply refuse to suck from the other breast. Please do not panic! It is absolutely normal and fine for an infant to prefer one breast over the other.
breastfeeding newborn

  • Why Does My Baby Prefer To Breastfeed From One Breast Only?
  • What Are The Advantages Of Breastfeeding From One Breast Only?
  • What Are The Disadvantages Of Breastfeeding From One Breast Only?
  • What To Do If The Baby Is Breastfeeding From One Breast Only?

Why Does My Baby Prefer To Breastfeed From One Breast Only?

There could be many probable reasons to it: a recent mastitis which could change the taste of the milk, latching problem, different shape and size of the nipples or uncomfortable position. An older child could reject feeding from one breast if the milk supply is poor. Sometimes, there could be other reasons too for the mother to breastfeed the child from one breast. For example, infection in one nipple, mastitis or blocked duct at one side, one breast producing less or no milk or any other physical issues that the mother may be going through. Some mothers find it more convenient to hold the baby feeding at one preferred side, making the baby used to that one breast.

What Are The Advantages Of Breastfeeding From One Breast Only?

Be it breastfeeding from one breast or both the breasts, unarguably, breast milk is the best food for the baby. It not only gives nutrition, but is a loaded with substances that help the baby to fight against diseases and help build his/her immunity. Exclusive breastfeeding for first six months is strongly recommended for newborns. Despite what you might have heard, there are certain advantages of breastfeeding from one breast only:

  1. Adequate nutrition: The most common question for moms who breastfeed from one breast only is: is my child getting enough nutrition? Well, if you are in your early weeks of breastfeeding, most likely, you are producing enough milk and so single breastfeeding is enough for your child
  2. Comfort feeding: Many babies suck for comfort; breastfeeding from one breast only is advantageous in such occasions
  3. Mother’s preference: Many moms find it easier to make the baby latch onto one breast, and find feeding easier. Mothers in such a case prefer to breastfeed from the breast that is more comfortable to them
  4. Feeding frequently: Some babies may feed frequently, which could be up to 20 times in a day. If the frequency of feeding is high, the quantity would be lesser for each feed. In such occasions, single breastfeeding is what the baby needs. If you keep on switching the breasts, the baby may just get the foremilk and not enough hind milk- the calorie rich, thick milk that comes in later
  5. Thirsty babies: If the baby is thirsty, he/she will need to breastfeed just to quench his/her thirst. Single breastfeeding is sufficient in such occasions

What Are The Disadvantages Of Breastfeeding From One Breast Only?

Though there are no major disadvantages of breastfeeding from one side only, some minor discomforts that may arise due to breastfeeding from one side are as under:

  1. Size difference: If the baby has a breast preference and refuse to feed from the other, one breast will produce more milk than the other which may lead to noticeable size difference of the breasts
  2. Lopsidedness!: If the baby is continuously fed from one side, there could be some amount of lopsidedness; however, it will be fine once the baby weans off completely
  3. Cracked nipples: One of the biggest disadvantages of single breastfeeding is the nipple may become cracked and painful. Because the baby continuously sucks on one breast, the nipple could get cracked and painful because of the stress
  4. Engorged breast: Moms who feed from only one breast often complains of engorgement in the other breast. An engorged breast can cause leakage anytime. This could be an embarrassing situation for the mom
  5. Painful breast: If the baby is not feeding from one breast, there could be overfull which can lead to a painful breast. Moms can express some milk to ease the pressure and the pain


What To Do If The Baby Is Breastfeeding From One Breast Only?

  1. If the baby completely rejects feeding from one breast, moms may want to pump that side, to keep the supply ready and unaffected
  2. Encourage the baby to feed from the side, he/she prefers less. If the flow is less, breast compression could be helpful
  3. Try to offer the other side while you sway or rock the baby, until the correct latching happens
  4. If the baby is constantly rejecting one side, try to feed him/her when he/she is sleepy and hungry. Most likely, the baby will feed instantly
  5. Try different feeding positions, until both the mother and the baby find a mutually comfortable position

Studies have shown, babies who feed only on breast milk have better immunity to fight against infections and diseases like ear infection, meningitis, lower respiratory infection and stomach viruses. Breastfeeding also boosts in cognitive development. Researchers have found that babies who are breastfeed have better IQ scores. Babies who are born preterm, breast milk is the best medicine for them. It helps them become stronger, gain weight and make them less susceptible to infections.
Not only for the baby, breastfeeding has lots of positive effects on the mother too. Nursing triggers the release of oxytocin hormone which is associated with relaxation. Hence, many mothers say they feel relaxed after nursing. Several studies have also shown that moms who stopped breastfeeding or didn’t breastfeed at all, are at a higher risk of postpartum depression. Many researchers are also of the opinion that mothers who breastfeed are at lesser risk for developing ovarian and breast cancer.
And above all, although it is not easy, but breastfeeding is natural and helps the mother and the newborn to bond which only grows stronger over the years.

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