When Your Baby Prefers One Breast to the Other

When Your Baby Prefers One Breast to the Other

Anne P. Mitchell

It is not uncommon for a young baby to develop a preference for one breast or the other. Our son developed a definite preference, early on, for the left breast. There were times, during the first few weeks, when I couldn't get him to nurse at all on my right side, even though he would latch on and nurse like a trooper on the left.

Then one day, just for the heck of it, I tried the football hold (baby's body under your arm, like a person carrying a football, his head cradled in your hand, and latched on that way, his torso alongside yours (under your arm), and his legs and feet sticking out behind you), along my right side. It worked like a charm! For several weeks we would nurse that way...latching him on to the left via a traditional cradle hold, but using the football hold for the right breast.

When he got a bit bigger, I figured out that I could cradle hold him as if I was going to put him to the left breast, but twist my upper body around enough to actually give him the right breast.

Also, and this really helped, I figured out that if I was nursing him while we were laying down, I could lay on my left side, and feed him "normally" (from the left breast) or angle myself over him a bit and give him the right breast, which he would take with no problem from that position.

Eventually he started accepting the right breast in a traditional cradle hold, but to this day, if he's tired, or upset, or anything, really, only the left breast will do the trick.

So, in summary, if your baby expresses a strong preference for one breast over the other:

  • Try holding baby in the football hold when trying to get them to nurse from the disfavoured breast.
  • Try laying down with baby, you on the side your baby prefers (i.e. if baby prefers your left breast, lay on your left side, with baby facing you, vice versa for the right), and offer baby the disfavoured breast from that position, by twisting over baby a bit.
  • If you can comfortably do so, try holding baby in a cradle hold as if you were going to offer them the breast they prefer, but then twist around at the waist, and instead offer them the other breast (this is a bit easier for women who are larger chested and, shall we say, not quite so gravity-defying in that area).
  • And last, but not least, hang in there! This too shall pass!
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