Baby Prefers One Breast
“My baby prefers nursing on my right breast. Why does he do this? Is there anything I can do about it? I am afraid my breasts will be permanently lopsided.”
- Nipple width and length may differ between breasts. A baby may prefer the side that “fits” him the best (ie: is easiest to latch onto).
- One breast may produce more milk. Sometimes a baby will prefer the breast with the fastest flow and most abundant supply. Other babies may have difficulty keeping up with the flow on the most abundant side and may prefer the breast with the lower supply.
- A baby can sometimes appear to favor a breast, when the baby actually prefers lying on a certain side to feed. For example, if baby’s right leg is uncomfortable from a vaccination, he may not want to feed on the left breast in a cradle position due to discomfort.
Knowing how to fix the problem depends on the reason for the preference. Sometimes we simply don’t know why a baby prefers one breast over the other!
- If one of the mother’s nipples is too large for baby to latch onto, she may need to express her milk until baby “grows into” her nipple.
- If a flatter nipple is the problem, she could try pumping or gently tugging her nipple just prior to latching to make the nipple more erect. If that doesn’t work, sometimes using her fingers to create a “sandwich” of breast tissue may help.
- If baby prefers the breast with the faster flow, try starting several feeds in a row on the breast with the lower supply to try to increase the supply.
- If baby prefers the breast with the slower flow, minimizing stimulation to the overproducing breast may help to slow its flow.
- If discomfort causes baby to prefer one breast, a simple change of position may help to make breastfeeding more comfortable. See this post for other breastfeeding positions you could try.
Whenever a baby refuses a breast and no reason can be determined, please notify your healthcare provider to rule out medical issues.
Having uneven or “lopsided” breasts can occur if baby stimulates more milk production on one side than the other. This is a temporary problem. Your breasts will return to their former size after weaning.
About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.