Saturday, September 24, 2016

Do you breastfeed more on the left side?

Breastfeeding on the left side so my right hand is free
for important swiping-related activities.
I was curious why button-down shirts tailored to women button right over left whereas men's button left over right, and I came across this article from The Straight Dope by Cecil Adams (emphasis mine):

"Buttoning left over right — the man's way — is supposedly easiest for right-handed people. According to legend, women button right over left because in medieval times they were dressed by their right-handed maids. Don't buy it? Can't say as I blame you, but the alternative explanation is no improvement: men had to keep their right hand tucked into their coats so as to be ready for cold-weather swordplay, whereas women always breastfed with the left breast (hey, that's what it says here) and protected their babies by covering them with the right side of the dress or coat."

Now, these might not be the real reasons for the button differential, and I don't really care. (I find theories just as satisfying as answers for some of these burning questions in my brain.)

What interests me more is the new question that formed: Do you breastfeed more on your left side than your right, too?

Obviously this question is going out to my currently or previously breastfeeding friends. Though if you even just hold babies, you can let me know whether you hold babies more in your left arm or your right, because another source I found suggested it was just about having babes in arms in general and still needing the dominant hand free.

Because here's the thing: My left breast has always been favored by my babies. Karsten, my current nursling, is so particular in his preference that I suspect my right breast is all but dried up.

I know other nursing parents who have similar disparate breast use, with one nursing breast then being larger. I've known some who've pumped on the less favored breast to keep up the supply and minimize the mismatching.

But I just figured it was peculiar to each person, with a 50/50 chance of being either the right or the left. My left breast has always been about a half to a full cup size larger (even pre-babies), so I assumed it just had more milk ducts or something. But now!

So I have to know: If you or your baby has a favorite side (breast or arm), which is it?

And in combination with that question, are you right-handed or left-handed?

Because I also wondered if I set my right breast up for failure, because I do prefer to nurse my babies on the left. It keeps my right hand free for important tasks like sipping drinks and playing Candy Crush!

Disco breastfeeding!


Unknown said...

Right-handed mama here. Left breast has always been bigger and I do feed more on that side.

Inder-ific said...

Yes, my left side was always my milk-maker, with the right side taking second place, even in the early days. I also noticed that I preferred to nurse on the left because I'm right handed, and figured that the difference was encouraged and increased through my preference. My mom says the left side produces more because that's your "creative side" (i.e., left brain). Who knows?!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Lizzie Fowler: Interesting! The theory holds so far.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Inder-ific: Cool, didn't come across that theory! Yeah, I figure preferring to nurse on the left encourages the supply there to stay robust, in a feedback loop.

Shannon said...

My kids both preferred my left side, to the point that my right side dried up when the youngest was under a year old. I write with my left hand, but I'm mostly ambidextrous.
The theory I've heard is that babies liked the left side because that's where your heart is.

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