Newborn Breastfeeding Q&A: Do I feed from both breasts?

This month, one mum asks whether you need to feed baby from both breasts during each feed. Lactation Consultant, Sioned, explains and discusses milk supply in each breast, as well as the componenents of breast milk.

Breastfeeding tips from mums

Question: Do you need to feed from both breasts during each feed?

Answer: No, you don’t need to feed from both breasts at all times.

Sometimes your newborn baby may just be thirsty and others he may want a three course meal. What is important is that you listen to your baby and your body’s needs. Feeding from the first breast, you need to listen and see if you can hear your baby swallowing milk regularly, on average it takes your baby about seven minutes to feed from a breast but at other times your baby will pause and will stimulate the breast with his hands to trigger another milk ejection reflex. The longer he’s on the first breast the better he will drain the fat rich milk that comes as your feed progresses. If he is still rooting, then offer the other breast after you feel that the first breast is soft.

If you switch from side to side your baby will be receiving a lot of foremilk – which has protein, carbohydrates and water but not as much fat. As these fat globules are bigger and heavier they take a little longer to travel down the ductal network in the breast. This can affect your baby’s growth because it is important that they get the fat rich breastmilk.

When expressing breastmilk you can pump from both breasts but just be aware it takes approx. 45mins to start replenishing your milk supply after you finish a feed or pumping session.

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