How often you should change sides when you’re nursing your young baby?

So to make a long story short, hindmilk is the thicker, creamier, and more nutritious milk that is at the back of your breast. It doesn’t come out initially. When you first start to nurse your baby the initial milk that comes from your breast is a little thinner, less creamy, and has less fat and this milk is actually called foremilk. So this is clearly a very, very important issue when it comes to nursing young babies. A lot of experts have studied it and there is a theory that many people believe in that what a nursing mom should do is fully empty her first breast before she goes on and feeds her baby from her second breast. And the theory is based on this notion of hindmilk. And the idea is that you want to make sure that your baby gets as full as possible with this richer, creamer, and more caloric milk.

Okay, so a lot of experts think that this is the thing to do. Now I actually haven’t done this with my own children what I have tended to do, I’ve done a version of it, what I’ve tended to do is to feed the baby for at least a good 20 minutes from the first breast and to make sure that a lot of milk has come out of that breast so that it feels soft, it feels like there’s not really that much left. I haven’t ensured that it was like bone-dry, however. And at that point I’ve gone to the second side and I started to feed from that side.

Then by the way, one little trick that one of my friends Deidra pointed out to me is that you can take a safety pin and you can attach this to your bra. And this will allow you to remember to go back and to begin the next feed from that second breast so that you are not always starting on the same side. Okay, now I have had four of my five kids who were actually early babies born before 37 and half weeks and they were small.

They were five or six pound babies. So the issue of their weight gain was very important. And I was watching it very closely as was my doctor and this is probably or could likely be the case with you as it is with all babies that you’ll be very concerned that they’re getting enough milk and regularly enough in the rights sorts of milk. So it wasn’t something that I took casually, but I found it for me doing this thing of nursing very, very well on one side until the breast was almost empty then moving to the second side and trying to nurse from that side as much as I could was actually very helpful because for me to go 6 hours without nursing at all from that second breast was just too difficult.

So think about all these things as you start to figure out your own style in terms of how you will nurse your baby. Now, if you decide that you really want to follow this theory and make sure that you’re fully, fully emptying one breast before you go to the second breast, one thing that you might want to try, check with your doctor, is pumping a little bit after each feed. Because that will allow you to continue to stimulate both breasts and you won’t fall into this problem, which was uncomfortable for me of having to go so long without feeding from that second breast. It’s very important that you change sides and you start from different sides when you nurse because you want to be stimulating each of your breasts to produce milk. You don’t want to continually favor one side over the other side.

We all tend to do that a little bit naturally we may be right-handed, we talk on our phone with our right hand, we put our bag over our right shoulder, the same thing happens with nursing. I’m a righty and I know that my right side always produces more milk than the left side and I think it’s has to do with this phenomenon of always favoring the right side so the safety pin thing is good. And you want to sort of keep track of what sides you’re using.

If you have been quite equal and then for a while you start to favor one side you can have issues with blocked ducts or mastitis, which is not really something you want to have. So this all something you should keep track of. So hindmilk, it’s the thicker, most nutritious milk, it’s very important for your baby. You want to get as much milk as possible out of that first breast.

You either want to empty the breast or you want to switch sides and go to the second breast, keeping track of making sure things are relatively equal between your two sides. This all sounds very complicated, but once you get into a rhythm of feeding your baby, you will find what works the best for your and you will find a good way to keep control of this situation so that you know, you feel healthy and good and your breasts don’t hurt you all the time.

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