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Breastfeeding Stress: One Boob or Two? HELP!

By Roni |

You’d think after breasfeeding my second breastfed child for two months I’d be more confident but the truth is I still doubt myself ALL the time.

Is he nursing enough?
Is he gaining enough weight?
Should I eat that?
Do I have enough backup milk?
Should I continue to pump?
Can I go that long without nursing?
Is my supply decreasing?

For as much as I try to trust him I’m constantly doubting myself.

After getting some great advice on Little Beans Gas problem, I moved to a one boob system to help balance the foremilk/hindmilk thing. It definitely helped!

But now I feel like some feedings he requires both. So I give him both. Then I worry.

Maybe he didn’t finish the first?
Will he get too much foremilk if I switch?
OMG what if my supply is decreasing?!?

AAACK!

Then my head explodes.

Seriously WHY is breastfeeding so stressful!

Ugh.

Ok, it’s not THAT stressful but these things do cross my mind all the time and I do worry about them.

Did you stress over breastfeeding? Did you nurse on one side per feeding or both? Did it depend? Would love to hear your stories!

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22 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Stress: One Boob or Two? HELP!

  1. Marie says:

    I didn’t stress about breastfeeding because my doctor told me to knock it off (the worrying, that is). If you are seeing that he’s hungry, give him some more. Many moms do just what you describe, empty one side and have a bit from the other at the end of a feeding (when your supply is well established). Unless you have a perpetually hungry kid who isn’t growing or otherwise seems listless, your body will figure it out and match his appetite. It’s actually a lot less stress in my book to never have to sterilize a thing or run out to the store because you’re out of formula.

  2. Roni says:

    @Marie – Oh My I TOTALLY agree. No bottles for me! I just don’t know why I worry so much. Tomorrow is his appointment. Can’t wait to see how the little bugger is growing.

  3. gwyn says:

    I’m bfing #2 and am a breastfeeding educator and still have doubts and questions at times. but i can assure you that you don’t need to worry about foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, your milk composition changes as needed for your baby and you don’t have to manage it. it sounds like you were super responsive and started feeding more on one side before switching and it got good results, and now you are feeding from the second side when needed, it’s all good.

  4. Jeannie says:

    Yes, I remember stressing over these things with my 3 kiddos! With my last, I didn’t stress near as much but there were times I would question if I was really doing the right thing. But I learned to go with my maternal instincts. As you said, he seems to be gaining weight well and has plenty of diapers so your supple is obviously fine and he is getting enough. I did mostly the one book per feeding because I had a big supply and a definite foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. However, I found I did need to nurse on both sides from time to time, mostly during growth spurts. I took my cues from my babies. If they finished or came off, I would offer the same boob again to see if they wanted a little more. If they popped right off and were fussy or still seemed hungry, then I offered the other side. If they seemed satisfied, then the feeding was over. I think it is best for supply to empty one breast as much as you can so it doesn’t hurt to offer the same side a couple times. But if baby doesn’t seem to want that side anymore and is fussy, then I assume baby needs more from the other side.

  5. CrazyLady says:

    Oh Roni, this is so me for the last 5 and a half months! She is my first and I swear breastfeeding has completely done my head in! I just can’t seem to trust my own judgement at all. I have to keep reminding myself that she is happy and healthy even though her weight gain has slowed down over the last month or so. What’s the term “look at the baby and not the scale”.
    I currently offer both sides when feeding her because I have no sense of being full or empty at this stage. For the next feed though I start on the side that I finished last time. I figure in case she didn’t have a full feed from that breast the last time it’s better and she will get more hindmilk? I also started her on solids a few weeks ago in just case I wasn’t confused enough. :)

    I must admit this mothering business is hard work even with a quite content baby. She’s a real cutie though (as is Evan!) so it’s all worth it.

  6. Sue Petracek says:

    Think of the first side as the meal, the second side as dessert.

    suep
    bosombuddies.com

  7. Julie says:

    Hi Roni,

    Yes, I fretted about it all the time the first few months, but I ended up BFing my son for over 3 years (yes, really. It was actually awesome) and ended up getting a lot more confident about it. I haven’t read your other posts about it – are you worried about hindmilk/foremilk imbalance? Honestly, that’s truly not as much of a problem as it has been portrayed. I agree with the other posters who say to offer both if you think he needs both, and then start on the second side the next time.

  8. Laura Loving Life says:

    With my second baby it was really crazy because he pretty much only liked one boob. Like, literally one boob. The left one. The right one he didn’t care for. What I started to freak out about was “will my left boob be bigger than my right one for the rest of my LIFE???!!” I wasn’t sure I wanted to put up with that kind of deformity for his benefit. But I did, and he’s been done breastfeeding for 2 years now (he’ll be 4 this summer), and they did even out. (Thank God!!!)

  9. amanda says:

    I stressed so much with my first. I would call my cousin crying my eyes out because I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing. But I figured it out and as long as he was happy, I was happy and we were good. He nursed exclusively for 8m and weaned completely at 18m.

    With my second, he was such a finicky baby to begin with. We call him High Needs because he’s always needed something or someone, all.the.time. Poor kid comes by it naturally ;) But I would nurse him on one side completely. It took me a few months to be okay with this, but it worked for him and that was all that mattered to me! If I was super full on the opposite side after nursing, I would pump just enough to relieve the breast. We traded off and if he was really hungry, I would hand express some then he would at least get the hind milk from both breasts. He also nursed exclusively for 9m and weaned himself at 18m.

    Looks like Bean is growing and is just busy being awesome!

  10. Emily says:

    I still stress about it and he is 9 months old and my third breastfed baby! But my little man is a chunker, so I know he is getting enough. I am going to have pump during Fitbloggin so that I can come home and continue nursing. I guess it’s something we will always stress over since you can’t actually see how much they are getting. Just trust your little bean! He will tell you if he’s not getting enough. I pesonally always offered both breasts when nursing, but I know a lot of women do one a each feeding. I think it may be a personal preference? When my youngest was first born he “cluster” fed which meant he would eat for like 3 or 4 hours straight in the evening, so he would go back and forth from breast to breast. I think this helped my supply come in strong.
    Try and relax about it if you can! I know it’s easier said than done, but if he’s growing, you’re doing great!

  11. Lori says:

    I nursed both my boys one side at a time. It worked for us. They are 5 and almost 3 now. My sis has a 4 m/o and she does both sides. I stressed with my first i the begining since we had some trouble finding our stride but once we did, it was great and I nursed him for 15 months. My second was in NICU for a week and I was able to start nursing him after 4 days and he latched right on with no issues. I wound up nursing him for 19 months. I keep telling my sister, do what works for you and your family. You are a great Mommy and instinct will guide you and so will the lil bean.

  12. Swissmama says:

    We have done both. DS was refusing the second side for awhile but now takes it. I also offer the last breast first to keep it as even as possible. It depends on his mood – if he’s really hungry he likes the R side (faster) but the L (slower) is best for soothing him to sleep (and then I can switch afterwards). He’s still at the 98th percentile at 7 mos with limited solids since 6 mos – but I know how to worry! I still have times when I don’t think he’s taking enough…

  13. Lindsey says:

    I super stressed! My baby was eating every 1.5 hours and when I pumped I would only get like a half an ounce. But I kept at it, though stressed about it the whole time, and he is continuing to grow. You’re doing a great job, I promise he is getting enough.

  14. Jen says:

    I breastfed both my kids…..started on one side, finished on the other. At the next feeding I started on the one I finished on the previous feeding. I kept a nursing pin on the side I finished on so I would remember which one to start on the next feeding!

  15. Nellie says:

    Roni, I just have to share this with you. The last time I did any breastfeeding it was for twins. Each one had a side, so I didn’t have any possibility of worrying about how much from which side.:) I managed this three months and didn’t feel a bit of remorse when I stopped breastfeeding. That is as long as I breastfed the our first one. She was 20 months old when her sisters arrived! We were very busy for a long time.:-)

  16. Nellie says:

    Roni, I just have to share this with you. The last time I did any breastfeeding it was for twins. Each one had a side, so I didn’t have any possibility of worrying about how much from which side.:) I managed this three months and didn’t feel a bit of remorse when I stopped breastfeeding. That is as long as I breastfed the our first one. She was 20 months old when her sisters arrived! We were very busy for a long time.:-)

  17. Nellie says:

    Roni, I just have to share this with you. The last time I did any breastfeeding it was for twins. Each one had a side, so I didn’t have any possibility of worrying about how much from which side.:) I managed this three months and didn’t feel a bit of remorse when I stopped breastfeeding. That is as long as I breastfed the our first one. She was 20 months old when her sisters arrived! We were very busy for a long time.:-)

  18. Nellie says:

    Roni, I just have to share this with you. The last time I did any breastfeeding it was for twins. Each one had a side, so I didn’t have any possibility of worrying about how much from which side.:) I managed this three months and didn’t feel a bit of remorse when I stopped breastfeeding. That is as long as I breastfed the our first one. She was 20 months old when her sisters arrived! We were very busy for a long time.:-)

  19. Nellie says:

    Roni, I just have to share this with you. The last time I did any breastfeeding it was for twins. Each one had a side, so I didn’t have any possibility of worrying about how much from which side.:) I managed this three months and didn’t feel a bit of remorse when I stopped breastfeeding. That is as long as I breastfed the our first one. She was 20 months old when her sisters arrived! We were very busy for a long time.:-)

  20. Michelle says:

    I am a die hard BF. I have had six kids and have BF them all. It wasn’t until my last baby that I finally stopped worrying. She was healthy and happy and I took her cues that all was well! I found that a one breast per feeding worked better for us. She would go longer between nursings and seemed happier longer if she got a lot of hind milk. She also had less gas as when you first have let down they do so much gulping until they and your milk settle down. The two things I always had to remind myself was that one missed feeding is not going to mean that I dry up nor is one bad day. Kind of like when you are trying to lose weight (one bad day or meal does not completely through you off!) The other thing is that if you feel that you are drying up a little co-sleeping or napping works wonders. A few long nursing naps or extra pumping sessions and you can bump your milk supply right up in a day or two.

    Best of luck! Your little one is so precious and I the time goes by so fast!

  21. Jessie Brown says:

    Hi Roni,
    I’m a BFing educator, counselor and just wanted to let you know that you’re doing great! If you’re worried about your milk supply decreasing, do some good skin-to-skin time with that cutie and don’t ever feel like you can’t have someone take a look. As long as he seems satisfied after a feeding, your breast feels softer than it did before the feed, and he has a good sucking pattern, (and he’s gaining weight), you should be just fine. If you’re worried about supply, I would certainly not go too much longer than your normal feeding times during the day. Your breast knows to supply milk through stimulation. So if it’s not getting any, your breast will think it doesn’t need anything else. Hope that helps out!

  22. Ronni says:

    I can’t believe how similar our situations are(right down to our names, lol). My son was born March 11. he is baby boy #2. I felt the same way about thinking “i’ve nursed before, this should be easy!” nope! I am constantly worried, even contemplated just going to formula so that I would know how much he was getting. My main concern is that he is ravenous. sometimes eating every 90 minutes, which made me think he wasn’t eating well. His 2 month check up is a little late, this coming thursday, but we were at the dr. about 3 weeks ago and he went from 7.2 at his 2 week to 10.9! we are doing just fine even when we think we are failing. Since knowing he is gaining(and growing, already out of 0-3 months), I have calmed down a bit. It’s a lot different with 2, you don’t have all day to devote to just the baby, my other son is 2 1/2 and more of a handful than the newborn!

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