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Birth. 1993 Dec;20(4):182-5.

Breastfeeding patterns: comparing the effects on infant behavior and maternal satisfaction of using one or two breasts.


In the Western world advice given by breastfeeding consultants about the use of one or two breasts at each feed has resulted in apparently arbitrary changes over time. This study compared 1-month-old breastfed infants' reactions to single- and two-breast feeds in terms of restlessness, crying, sleeping, and frequency of feeds, wet diapers, and loose stools. Eighty mothers were randomly assigned at the maternity ward, 44 to the single-breast group and 36 to the two-breast group. At one-month follow-up no differences between the groups were seen regarding any infant behavior variables, or in terms of maternal satisfaction, confidence, and mood throughout the full 24-hour observation period or during a 6-hour period in the evening. Compliance with the assigned feeding method was better in the two-breast than in the one-breast group. This may partly be due to tradition, since the two-breast practice has been recommended by child health nurses in Sweden for over 50 years. It seems reasonable that a baby should be allowed to finish the first breast and, if still hungary, be offered the second breast. The baby's appetite is the deciding factor.

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