My toddler has preferred one breast over the other since she was an infant and eventually it became established that she only fed from the left as it also allowed me to multitask more easily while breastfeeding.
And this has been fine/working for us.
Except that my nipples are super sensitive at ovulation and during menstruation and I want her back on two breasts, just to take the strain off the one nipple.
Only, the milk is now salty (it's been about a year since she breastfed from that breast, she just slowly stopped). It is yellow-ish, and as I said salty. And she won't take it, obviously. I have hand pumped occasionally, usually in the bath but never keep up at it to establish supply.
So, can I just hand pump to get the milk flowing again? And if so, how often should I pump to get the supply back up. My left breast has been the only supply, but the right has not stopped producing milk.
FWIW, I am aware of the association between breast cancer and breast rejection, and I do plan to get that checked out. Although it was not a sudden rejection , I do not have a family history of cancer and I do not have any symptoms to suggest anything is wrong.
Many thanks for any perspective offered.
Re: Salty milk
The milk from the less-used breast is salty and yellow because of a process called mammary involution. When milk removal is slowing to a stop, you get a decline in water and lactose (milk sugar) concentration- which means that the milk will taste more salty and less sweet- and an increase in protein concentration, particularly in lactoferrin, serum albumin, and immunoglobulins. The proteins happen to be hugely important for immune support- so this process is probably nature's way of ensuring that the baby/toddler gets one last, super-concentrated shot of immunities before being completely weaned.
You can reverse the involution process by pretending that you're nursing a newborn again- at least on the right. Nurse more on the right, and pump it more in between feedings, and your body will start putting more lactose and water into the milk. I'd aim for 10-12 pumping sessions per day- but that would be ideal, and you have to do what is realistically possible for you! A hand pump probably is not sufficient for the job- I would use a good electric pump. You'll get more milk in less time, and that will mean you'll be more likely to pump.
Just to reassure you on the cancer angle, a lot of babies will reject the salty involution milk because it is salty, not because it is cancer-y. ;) Since you ended up with salty milk through a very natural, normal process of preferential one-sided feedings, I really think it unlikely that this is evidence of a problem.
Re: Salty milk
Thank you for getting back to me.
I have never pumped and do not have access to a pump, other than buying one.
From the bit of reading that I have done, the Medela Mini Electric looks like a good fit for me. I won't be using it for long, and it is not too expensive.
I really hope this will work, as I need her on two nipples, not one.