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BFing on one side only

528 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Peppamint
Does anyone else BF using only one side?

DS is 13 months and still nurses many times each day.
Since his birth, I always felt MUCH more comfortable using the left breast. And DS seemed much more comfortable there too (probably because it was better for me).
After a few months of "favoring" one breast, I finally just gave in and "shut down" the right side. I didn't get much milk from it anyway, but that was probably because I didn't use it as much.
Anyway, it's never been a problem (aside from extremely uneven breast sizes), but the few people to whom I've mentioned it said that they had never heard of someone using only one breast.
I was just curious if anyone else has done this.

-Erynn (and Andrew, 5/9/03)
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Alec nurses almost exclusively on the right. He only nurses when I'm lying down and that's the side he sleeps on, so it's less work for him to just turn his head and latch on. He does nurse on the other side a little bit, but maybe only once or twice a day, and even then for less than a minute or two. As long as your son is satisfied and you're okay with it, I would say there's nothing wrong with it!
Yes! We're lefties here... once in a blue moon, I offer the right side... she can nurse there, but has a hard time latching well. She'll usually gag at first. And for some reason I just "feel" it more there, and even when she has a good latch it is slightly uncomfortable and distracting.

I've been struggling with whether I should "shut it down" completely or not, or start offering it more & try to increase my supply on that side. I have a weird fear that something might happen to my left breast, and then we'd be in trouble... but it's such a pain to use that side!

Nonetheless, I find it totally amazing that I can exclusively breastfeed a 20 lb 7 month old WITH ONE BREAST!
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A friend of mine has been bfing her son from her right breast almost exclusively since he was like 6 months old. He is almost 3 now. She says the only down thing is that her left breast is smaller. He has always gotten enough milk and all is well. She was concerned at first that maybe he had an earache and that was why he was favoring one side and then she wondered if she had an infection and the milk tasted wierd in her left breast but she got herself and her ds checked out and all is fine!!!
For the past 8 months, my 27 mos old ds has nursed 98% on the right breast. Doesn't seem to be a problem!
my first only nursed on one side from about 18-mos until she weaned. it never seemed to be a problem.
Thanks moms.
I feel a little more "normal" now (whatever that means).
Just nice to know I'm not alone with my lopsided breasts. :-D
Well, I'll call you "Lefty" and you can call me "Righty"
DS has a SERIOUS side preference and I can slide him onto the left only when he's really tired and has already nursed on my right. For the past few months, I've been pumping about 2x a day on the left (a) to build up a serious freezer stash in case my milk goes in my hopefully-soon pregnancy (I want DS to have BM for the health benefits for as long as possible and (b) in a vain attempt to keep my breasts from becoming a large C/small B
: (yes, I'm shallow, it bothers me...but to my defense I'm really anal and have this thing about symmetry - I straighten picture frames in random places as well

BUT - good news - we just got back from a 2 week vacation and ever since DS has been more willing to nurse on my left...the trip seemed to throw him off a bit and he forgot that he was refusing the left, apparently!!
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I used both sides, but it did seem that with dd#1, if I got a sore nipple or plugged duct, it always appeared on the same side (right side - I'm right handed.) I don't see any problem, if this works for you.

However, you may want to be aware of this published study:

TITLE: Unilateral breast-feeding and breast cancer.
AUTHORS: Ing R; Petrakis NL; Ho JH
SOURCE: Lancet 1977 Jul 16;2(8029):124-7.
CITATION IDS: PMID: 69205 UI: 77211568

ABSTRACT: Women of fishing villages in Hong Kong by custom breast-feed with only the right breast. The hypothesis that the unsuckled breast may have an altered risk of cancer development was investigated. Records of the radiotherapy divisions in Hong Kong between 1958 and 1975 were searched, and breast-cancer patients were interviewed for a detailed history of lactation.

The overall left/right ratio of cancer in the breasts of 2372 women with unilateral breast carcinoma was 0-97, indicating that breast cancer was equally distributed between the two sides. Of 73 patients with a history of exclusively one-sided breast-feeding, 27 of 34 patients aged 55 or over (79-4%) and 19 of 39 patients under age 55 (48-7%) had a carcinoma in the unsuckled breast. Comparisons of patients who had nursed unilaterally with nulliparous patients and with patients who had borne children but had not breast-fed indicated a highly significant increased risk of cancer in the unsuckled breast. No statistically significant differences in laterality of breast cancer were found in 52 patients who had for convenience nursed to a greater extent from one side than the other.

This study indicates that in post-menopausal women who have breast-fed unilaterally, the risk of cancer is significantly higher in the unsuckled breast and that breast-feeding may help to protect the suckled breast against cancer.

(The article is in Lancet, July 16, 1977 about page 124-126. The women are
from a group called Tanka, who customarily only BF from the right side.
The Tanka are fishing villagers, and the one-sided BF was related to breastfeeding while working.)
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I would view that study more as powerful evidence of the protective nature of breast-feeding than something to worry me about one-sided nursing...

Though I have decided to try to increase nursing on my right side, & I hope to nurse my next equally on both sides...
With my dd I alternated sides all day. With my ds, I alternate sides during the day, but only nurse on one side at night (the right). My dd co-sleeps with us on occassion and that's why I started nursing him on only one side, so that the two kids were separated.
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