A baby may:
- Never need the second breast.
- Sometimes need the second breast.
- Always need the second breast.
Feed the baby at the first breast and then wait to see if the baby gives hunger signs. This is usually within ten minutes.
Nearly all newborn babies need the second breast. Once the milk comes in most babies need the second breast most of the time (Kent 2007).
If a mother has a lot of milk, the baby will tend to take only one breast. These babies also tend to feed more often and have 9 – 12 feeds in 24 hours instead of the more typical 7 – 10.
Do not worry about the baby emptying the breast or getting the “hindmilk”. If the baby has had a normal feed on the first side, do not return the baby to the first side. Rather offer the second side if the baby is still hungry after the first side.
After finishing a feed and being awake for an hour or so, babies sometimes return to the breast to breastfeed to sleep. This is a short feed and the baby will be asleep within 5 – 10 minutes.