Low milk production from only one breast

Christine - posted on 12/24/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Has anyone had trouble with low milk supply only in one breast? My baby has latching issues so I've been double-pumping after every feeding (she's only 9 days old so I had to start her on formula as a supplement, but in the past couple of days have been able to provide enough milk to only have to fall back on formula once or twice, and mostly because she's hit a growth spurt and is ravenous). I'm averaging about two ounces from one breast at each session and am lucky to get a whole ounce from the other. Again, I've only been at this for about a week so I'm not sure if this is common or not. I've tried massaging and a hot wash cloth but nothing seems to be working much. Has anyone else encountered this problem? And is this something that may work itself out the longer I pump?

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Becky - posted on 12/26/2009

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I hadn't realized it but when I went back to work, and started pumping, I found out that one side would produce about half of the other one. I emailed my lactation consultant and she said it was normal to have low milk supply in one breast. They have never evened out, but I've had no problems. Just keep switching off which side you start each breastfeeding session on, treating them "fairly"lol will ensure that they will continue to produce the full amount they each can. During a growth spurt it always feels like you can't keep up. Don't give in and give formula. This is nature's, and baby's, way of getting your body geared up for giving your baby the amount she needs as she grows. If you give formula you are making your body think that it's making enough and either not increase in the supply, or actually decrease. It's normal for your baby to want to eat every 1/2-1 hour during these periods. It's going to be like that through out periods over the next year. Even if you go through something that might make your milk supply go down (get sick, stressed, etc.) your baby will respond but picking up the nursing sessions to get your body going again. It's a pretty awesome process! Good luck.

Carol - posted on 12/24/2009

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Going to cut and paste as I am NAK



It is NORMAL for one breast to produce more than the other. "Most women notice differences in milk supply, pumping output, milk flow and/or size between breasts. As with many other things (foot size, ring size, eyesight, etc.) asymmetry is normal in humans. In some women the difference between breasts is hardly noticeable; in others it is very noticeable. There is every variation in between. This is not usually a problem in terms of the breastfeeding relationship, so you certainly don't need to do anything about it if the asymmetry does not bother you or baby; however some mothers prefer to even things out, particularly if there is a very noticable difference in breast size." http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/...



Secondly, pumping 3 ounces is NOT low supply at all! The average mom that is BF full-time can pump .5 to 2 ounce per pumping session NOT per breast, so at 3 ounces, you are pumping ABOVE the average. more here on normal pumping amounts: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/pumpi...



Keep in mind baby only needs about 25 ounces of breastmilk in 24 hours - this is VERY different from the amount of formula a baby may need. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkc...



Lastly how to tell that baby is getting enough BM: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough...



What is normal in the early weeks of BF: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/newbor...



HTH!

[deleted account]

The best thing you can do for your supply is to STOP pumping and just keep putting the baby to the breast. I had a lower milk supply in one breast. My baby had a preferred side when he was a newborn and then a few months later his preferred side changed. So weird. The pump will give you way different results then the baby will and the baby suckling and being n the breast will help your production (the hormones and interaction from the baby). Just keep at it, you'll be fine! :)

Elanor - posted on 12/26/2009

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My first son would only feed 'rugby ball' style on one side for a good few months, My 2nd son fed better on one side than the other - luckily I am a breast feeding support, so as well having a good deal of training, I had shed loads of support, as long as you get the latch right, your supply should even up. It is quite normal that one side is easier for the baby to latch than the other, the Nomadic Masi women feed on one side when walking, and the other (harder side) when resting.

I did read in a book called 'Bestfeeding' about a family that had this problem, the mother just couldn't feed on one side so she fed 6 babies on one breast (including 2 sets of twins!!) Her daughter when grown up, had trouble with one side too, and nurtured 2 babies on one breast. None of the other girls had the problem. Pumping can in itself actually cause a problem - since it is not the same as a babies latch. The best way to clear any blockage is by baby suckling.

Jessie - posted on 12/25/2009

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don't worry too much! my breasts are the exact same way. one side is much larger than the other and the smaller side makes about half as much milk when I pump if not less (for instance I might get 3 ounces on one side and 1 ounce on the other) I normally get between 1-4 ounces total when I pump. keep it up, my son is 5 and half months and still getting plenty of milk!

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Rhonda - posted on 12/28/2009

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With my second child my left breast has continually been a lower producer than my right (by about an ounce). I did not have low milk production from one breast with my first daughter. Usually if I pump long enough I will get a second let down that is more prolific on the left side than the right, which essentially evens things out. Honestly, though, I don't always have time to do the extra pumping (and even when I do, I don't ALWAYS get the second letdown). My daugther is now 18 months old and I'm still breast feeding. So based on my experience, your low milk production from one breast may not work itself out. But, then again, everyone is different! Hang in there and keep at it -- at the end of the day if you have enough supply overall it doesn't matter which breast it comes from.

[deleted account]

supply and demand...if you want to breastfeed, stop the supplements. Newborns have stages to up the supply, around 3weeks, 6weeks and 12weeks. At approximately these ages they feed more often. Because your baby is so young, being supplemented by formula, you will not be able to up your supply for baby's demand. If you feel you are a 24hr milk machine, stick to it, that is exactly what you are when your baby is hungry. If you feel it's not for you or getting in the way of your lifestyle, maybe formula feeding is for you. You can do both of course as you are now. I have done both. Our 1st child was premature and didn't have sucking reflex to be able to breastfeed. I pumped for 4weeks and gave up because it was time consuming and stressful at times cause my baby wouldn't latch. 2nd time round I breastfed for 13months with no problems.

Amber - posted on 12/26/2009

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My son had latching issues in the beginning and to get the hospital to release him, I gave him formula, but quickly got him off it once we got home. I know it might be hard, but practice make perfect. The more my son nursed, the better he got. I would suggest nursing him as often as he is indicating that he wants to nurse. Do you have a lactation specialist that you can consult? They really helped me out the first 3 weeks.

Another thing to remember is that your baby is much more effective when it comes to getting the milk out of your breast, so what you are pumping is not necessarily an indication of how much milk you have in your breast. For example. It is much easier to pump my right side than my left side. The other day I pumped my engorged left breast (I pump one at a time so I can massage the milk out) and got about an ounce and then switched to the right and got about three. When I was finished I put my shirt down and my left breast started leaking like crazy, so the ounce I got was not indicative of how much I really had. I had been nursing my son on the right most of the night, so my left was pretty engorged while my right felt empty. Luckily, my son woke up again right after that so on to the left he went so he could drain it. The thing that sucks is that my left didn't used to be so hard to pump, so I would say that it can pretty much change as you go.

You can also try oatmeal and mother's milk tea to up your supply.

Oh and I am also a NAK! Doing it right now in fact! I've gotten pretty good using the mouse with my left hand:)

Jamie - posted on 12/25/2009

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I have been breast feeding my son for seven months now. I have had somewhat of a same experience. I have found that whatever breast I put him on first most often is the one that is the fullest. It also takes a while to get a good supply going... that is one reason why young babies have to feed so often. I my doctor also instructed me that the baby's suction will help milk production better than pumping. Plus the more she sucks the more practice she will have latching on. Trying trusting in your baby's natural ability more and less on the pump and you should have some luck there.

Stephanie - posted on 12/25/2009

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Quoting Carol:

Going to cut and paste as I am NAK



I've never been able to do that!

 

Stephanie - posted on 12/25/2009

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Carol did a fabulous job answering your question, and she sighted one of my favorite websites, Kellymom. I also have one breast larger than the other and one that produces about 3-4 times as much as the other. I've successfully breastfed two boys--one until 14+ months, and I'm currently breastfeeding my 10 month old. They don't care at all :-)



If you still have questions about low milk supply in one breast, you might consider going to a La Leche League meeting or a breastfeeding support class at a nearby hospital. I've found both extremely helpful. I've also made many calls to lactation consultant at the hospital where my second was born. They tend to be a bit militant, but they have a lot of knowledge if you can take it with a grain of salt.

Christine - posted on 12/25/2009

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Carol that is extremely helpful - thank you so much!! This really helps put my mind at ease. It looks like I'm producing the perfect amount for her at each session and she is eating, pooping, and peeing absolutely perfectly!

Rhonda - posted on 12/28/2009

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With my second child my left breast has continually been a lower producer than my right (by about an ounce). I did not have low milk production from one breast with my first daughter. Usually if I pump long enough I will get a second let down that is more prolific on the left side than the right, which essentially evens things out. Honestly, though, I don't always have time to do the extra pumping (and even when I do, I don't ALWAYS get the second letdown). My daugther is now 18 months old and I'm still breast feeding. So based on my experience, your low milk production from one breast may not work itself out. But, then again, everyone is different! Hang in there and keep at it -- at the end of the day if you have enough supply overall it doesn't matter which breast it comes from.

Stephanie - posted on 12/25/2009

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Carol did a fabulous job answering your question, and she sighted one of my favorite websites, Kellymom. I also have one breast larger than the other and one that produces about 3-4 times as much as the other. I've successfully breastfed two boys--one until 14+ months, and I'm currently breastfeeding my 10 month old. They don't care at all :-)



If you still have questions about low milk supply in one breast, you might consider going to a La Leche League meeting or a breastfeeding support class at a nearby hospital. I've found both extremely helpful. I've also made many calls to lactation consultant at the hospital where my second was born. They tend to be a bit militant, but they have a lot of knowledge if you can take it with a grain of salt.

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