7 Ways to Remember Which Side to Breastfeed on Next

Whether you offer one side or both sides at each feeding, you should alternate the breast that you start each feeding on. If you nurse from only one side at each feeding, it may be a little easier to tell which breast you should start the next feeding on because the opposite side will most likely be larger and fuller when the next feeding time comes around. However, if you breastfeed from both breasts at each feeding, it may not be as obvious. If you can't rely on the fullness of your breasts to remind you of which side you should begin the next nursing session on, here are seven more reliable ways to keep track. 

1

Try a Safety Pin, Ribbon, or Barrette

Safety Pin. One way to keep track of which side you breastfed on last.
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You can attach a safety pin, a ribbon, or a clip barrette to the strap of your nursing bra on the side that you began the last feeding on. Every time you breastfeed your baby, move the item over to the opposite side.

The clip barrette is a safer choice than a pin, and it's quicker and easier to move compared to a ribbon. However, a ribbon may be the most comfortable to wear.

2

Use a Homemade or Special Nursing Mother Bracelet

Bracelet. A way to remind yourself which side you nursed on last.
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A bracelet is the perfect breastfeeding reminder. Wear a bracelet on the wrist that corresponds to the side you started breastfeeding on last. When you sit down to breastfeed, you can slide the bracelet off and move it over to the other side.

Choose a bracelet that is soft and comfortable. You can make your own bracelet, or if you have older children, have them make a special bracelet for you. There are even bracelets that you can purchase online designed just for nursing mothers.

3

Use a Hair Elastic or Scrunchie

Hair tie
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Instead of a bracelet, you can wear a hair elastic, or a scrunchie, on your wrist on the same side as the breast you started the last feeding on. When you breastfeed your baby, move the hair tie over to the opposite wrist.

Hair ties are usually soft and comfortable but don't wear one on your wrist if it's tight. You should also try not to use your reminder hair tie to put up your hair. If you tend to put your hair up and down throughout the day without thinking about it, you may accidentally use your reminder.

4

Try a Special Ring

Ring
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If you have a special ring that you like, you can designate it as your breastfeeding reminder. Just wear it on the hand that represents the side that you started on last. Move it from hand to hand each time you breastfeed your baby. A ring that fits comfortably on both hands will work the best.

5

Leave a Reminder in Your Nursing Spot

Woman nursing in chair
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Do you have a certain place where you always breastfeed? You can leave a reminder right in your favorite nursing spot. If you nurse in a rocker or glider chair, you can leave a baby blanket or burp cloth draped over the arm of the chair on the side you started with last. If you use a nursing pillow on the couch, place the pillow to the right or to the left of where you nurse to remind yourself which side to start on the next time. After you breastfeed your baby, move the item to the opposite side.

6

Try One of the Breastfeeding or Baby Care Apps

Apps. How to remember which side you breastfed on last
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With all the technology we have today, it should come as no surprise that there are baby care and breastfeeding apps that you can download right to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. These apps can help you keep track of which side your baby began the last breastfeeding, how long your baby nursed on each side, and so much more.

7

Keep a Baby Journal

Journal notes. Ways to remind yourself which side you nursed on last.
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Keep a pen and paper on hand so you can write down all the information you need at each feeding. A baby journal is an excellent tool to keep track of your baby's diapers, sleep and awake times, and milestones. You can also record information about each feeding including the amount of time your baby spent nursing, and which breast your baby started breastfeeding last. The time goes by so quickly, a baby journal can become a beautiful keepsake that you can look back on and read for years to come.

Do What Works for You

These seven ways to remember which side to breastfeed on next are just a few suggestions. You can try one, combine them to fit your needs, or come up with your own unique way to keep track of your nursing. However, the most important thing to remember is that you should do what works the best for you.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to breastfeed your baby, switching breasts, your breast milk supply, or your baby's health, talk to your doctor or your baby's doctor for advice and assistance.

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Article Sources
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. New York: Bantam Books; 2011.
  • Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding: A Guide For The Medical Profession. 7th ed.  Mosby; 2011.