It is almost always a good idea to offer the second breast at each feeding cycle, even if baby doesn’t usually take it.
In order to really know if baby needs one breast or both at a feeding cycle, it helps to know your own unique milk supply. Your milk supply, coupled with your unique baby determines if baby will likely be satisfied with one breast or both at a feeding cycle.
Latch your baby on your boob and nurse him as long as he will actively drink. Use breast compressions to keep him actively swallowing. Aim for at least 10-15 minutes the boob, but time matters less than what baby is doing on the boob.
If they detach themself, first check to see if it was an accident. Sometimes babies just slip off. They will quickly look for it again as if to say, “Oops! My bad! I wasn’t done!”
If they detach themselves and don’t immediately look for it again and seem contented, go ahead call that boob “done.”
If they fall asleep after drinking well, call that boob “done.”
If you are compressing and they are rapidly nibbling, not drinking, no matter where you squeeze, you can choose to wait it out for baby to detach or you can unlatch them and call that boob “done.”
Often, babies need a little time to digest boob #1 before considering boob #2. Place baby up on your chest and try to burp. Change a diaper. Hang out for about five minutes, then offer the second breast. It is almost always a good idea to offer the second breast. If they don’t want it, fine, but you can’t know if you don’t offer.
They may take that second breast for a little bit of time or a long time. Just be sure to start on that second boob next time.