5 Normal Ways of Breastfeeding

5 Normal Ways of Breastfeeding

Each baby/mother breastfeeding relationship is unique. Like many wonderful aspects of parenting, there is no right or wrong when it comes to nourishing your baby with the very best nutrients on the planet. Breastfeeding should be a special experience and one that you and your baby will navigate together along your own sweet path.

There are many “normal” ways of breastfeeding. The truth is that pretty much anything goes as long as your baby is getting plenty of milk (as evidenced by weight gain, soiled diapers and overall satisfaction) and both of you are enjoying the breastfeeding journey. Some new moms get hung up on “the right way” to breastfeed. We’re going over five normal ways of breastfeeding to show you that any way you slice it is just fine.

#1: Both Breasts 50/50

The “traditional” method of breastfeeding – using both breasts for equal amounts of time – works for some moms and babies. Some babies naturally fall into this pattern and some moms enjoy it because it offers a consistent pattern and set expectations. This may also help drain breasts more thoroughly with each feeding. While there is no set time limit for breastfeeding, most babies average 20 to 40 minutes per feeding. In this case, that would be 10 to 20 minutes per breast.

#2: One Breast at a Time

Some babies stick to one side for an entire feeding. Once they’ve had enough, they unlatch and are uninterested in the other breast. Usually let-downs occur in both breasts at the same time so only feeding on one breast may cause moms discomfort as she will be full on the opposite breast. In this case, you may have to pump the opposite breast after the feeding. For mothers who have sore nipples, breastfeeding on one side per feeding may offer more time for nipples to heal between feedings.

#3: Ping-Pong Breasts

Another common breastfeeding practice is ping ponging back-and-forth between breasts. This may be a great strategy for mothers who feel their milk supply is low. As we mentioned, let-downs occur on both sides simultaneously. Therefore, as your baby sucks one breast, you’ll pool milk in the other. If you constantly re-stimulate your breasts, you may have more let-downs and therefore more milk readily available to your baby. If your baby is especially impatient waiting for your milk, try going back-and-forth between breasts several times during one session.

#4: Both Breasts 80/20

Another way to breastfeed is feeding mostly on one breast to ensure your baby is getting both the sugary abundant foremilk as well as the fattier denser hindmilk that comes later in a feeding. Both foremilk and hindmilk are important for your baby’s development. The first breast can be the main meal and the second breast can be dessert.

#5: Short Snacks

Some babies, especially newborns, may only want to nurse for short periods at a time. This may be based on interest level, sleepiness and having a very tiny tummy. Feeding on demand is highly recommended, especially as you establish your milk supply and nurture your breastfeeding relationship. Allowing frequent stimulation from “snacking” is completely fine and may help early milk production.

When you are wondering if your breastfeeding situation is normal, the answer is yes because the bottom line is breastfeeding is normal!