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When in the womb, a baby gets all the nutrition it needs from the mother through the placenta. Once born into the outside world, most babies receive their food and nutrition from the breast milk provided by the mother. And during the first few months of the baby's life, mother's breast milk is the baby's only source of nutrition.
Mothers, especially first-time mothers, tend to have many different problems with breastfeeding. As a new mother, it is not easy to get the hang of breastfeeding. The baby's first feeding can be as soon as a few hours after the mother go through the hardship of child birth.
Once the mother starts breastfeeding, she is faced with problems of breastfeeding. These problems may range from a mild discomfort to the baby being unable to suckle. One of the common problems is that the baby refuses to nurse on both the breasts equally.
Ideally, the baby should be fed from both the breasts. Most mothers choose to feed their babies by alternating between the breasts. This way, the mothers make sure that one breast is emptied completely before feeding from the other breast.
But what can a mother do if her baby only nurses from one breast. The baby, in such cases, nurses well on its favourite breast, but as soon as the other breast is offered, all hell breaks loose. The babies cry and refuse to feed on the breast that they don't favour and mothers often give in and feed the baby their favourite breast.
What makes a breast more alluring to a baby? Why does a baby favour one breast over the other? Can feeding the baby with only one breast cause problems to the baby or the mother?
What can the mother do to cope with the situation? Can a mother make the baby consume milk from both the breasts? These are the questions that we shall attempt to answer in this article today. Stay with us to know more.
Is It A Normal Thing For A Baby To Have A Favourite Breast?
It is seen that newborn babies commonly favour one breast over the other. An older baby who had been feeding on both the breasts normally can also suddenly develop a liking to one of the breasts. This is mostly a phase that passes over. So, it is a normal thing for a baby to prefer one breast over the other.
Harder To Latch
A baby may avoid drinking from a breast because he is unable to latch properly. Without a proper latch on the breast, the baby will not be able to effectively drink the milk.
The absence of a proper latch can be due to the problems in the shape of the mother's breast or nipple.
The breast that the baby denies may have very little milk. The breast may be unable to produce milk as per the demands of the baby's appetite.
If it continuously has less milk for the baby, the baby learns to avoid that breast at feeding times.
Slow Let Down
If the flow of the milk from a breast is too slow, then the baby might just avoid it. If the baby tries hard to suckle and is not rewarded with a good amount of milk, then the baby will just not want to feed from it.
The Baby Is More Comfortable On The Side That He Prefers
Sometimes, the preference of the breast has nothing to do with the breasts or the milk. In some cases, the baby feels more comfortable when he is held on one side rather than the other.
If that is the case, the baby will not calm down and have his milk unless and until he is held in a way that makes him comfortable.
The Baby Is Hurt By Something
If a baby has been feeding on both the sides normally and suddenly insists on drinking from one side only, then it can be that the other side has something that hurts the baby.
The mother might always wear a bangle which seems innocent enough but when holding a baby; the bangle might be causing pain to the baby.
The Baby May Be Sick
An ear infection, a tooth pain and such can cause the baby to choose one breast side over the other. If you doubt that your baby has an infection of any kind, go to the doctor and make sure that the baby is fine.
Any kind of surgery on the breast can cause it to not have milk in it or have a slow production. Diseases like cancer can also affect the milk production and milk flow.
If you doubt that you may have low milk production in one of your breasts, make sure that you talk to your doctor about it.
Problems That Come With Breast Favoritism
Breasts Become Uneven In Size
If a baby feeds from only one breast, it is only normal that the other breast will be engorged and will look lopsided or bigger in size.
The Other Breast Tends To Leak
If constantly ignored by the baby, the breast can get so engorged that it can leak.
If the same breast is fed for too long, it may cause the other breast to develop mastitis or the inflammation of the breast.
What Can You Do To Cope With The Baby's Favoritism To A Breast?
Encourage The Baby To Feed From The Other Breast
When the baby is hungry, offer the breast that is usually avoided first.
Encourage the baby to feed from that breast. If the baby is really hungry, he might start feeding from it. If the baby insists on having his favoured breast for long, let him feed and then try again the next time.
Increase Production Of Milk
Talk to your doctor or use some herbal home remedies that help to increase milk production. This will help the baby get enough milk from the breast he previously avoided.
Correct The Baby's Latch
If the baby is not able to latch properly, try using other positions of holding your baby. This can improve the latch and help the baby feed. You can also talk to your doctor about the faulty latch.
Get Nipple Supports
If the anatomy of your breast or nipples do not favour breastfeeding, try using nipple supports.
These are easily available in the market and can be used to rectify the faulty anatomy of your breasts to assist breastfeeding.
You can pump or express the milk from the breast that is not used for feedings. This will help to relieve the pain and pressure of engorgement. This milk can be stored and be fed to the baby later
Your baby might not be comfortable enough to drink from the breast he dislikes.
Make sure that you try changing positions and the hold. This can sometimes help you find a position in which the baby is the most comfortable in to feed.