Should I pump my left side?
I am a first time mother. My LO is 5 months yesterday. She has always preferred my right breast and will nurse on that side longer and more efficiently. Due to this, I have noticed that my right side does not fill as quickly and is much smaller and softer. When she does nurse on that side she is only frustrated if I am not completely full on the left side. She will also either not finish the breast because she is frustrated that the let down isnt forceful enough or she already had enough on the right side. I have tried to up my supply by pumping but when it comes time to feed my left seems to not have enough milk. She only likes it when I am full. I have also tried mothers milk and lactation cookies, I drink water most of the day, and I still deal with this issue. When she was a newborn I think I had an oversupply so she got used to having a lot of milk. Now that she is 5 months things I guess have regulated. My question is what are the best practices to increasing milk supply on one side? Should I pump and let her be frustrated on the left side or should I let the breast fill and leave it alone and let it do what its going to do? Oh I forgot, if I start her on the right side she is completely satisfied with the right and does not usually want the left (sometimes she will take it) but if I start her on the left she always needs to switch to the right. My other question is, should I just block feed and not switch sides so that it gives time for the left side to fill up?
Thanks so much in advance for all your help.
Re: Should I pump my left side?
Hi Keilahs.mama, welcome to the forum! How has your LO's weight gain been? If weight gain has been fine, then you know your supply is fine. It's common for there to be asymmetry between the breasts - often the case that one side is the "dominant" breast. Sometimes baby will prefer the side with the more robust supply, sometimes baby will prefer the side with slower letdown. In any case, none of this is a problem if baby is gaining well. If you want to encourage the supply in the breast that has less supply, you can continue offering on that side first. There's no need to pump if you have no indication that your overall supply is low - ie, if weight gain has been fine, no need to pump. With regards to block feeding, that is actually a technique to decrease supply. So if you just exclusively feed on your right side, the supply on your left side will diminish. In the short term, yes, there may be more milk, but not nursing off that side will send the signal to that breast to make less milk. Bottom line: it sounds like you are doing fine! You can offer the left side first to try to even things out; if she gets frustrated, switch her to the right. (Also, the fact that your right side is smaller and softer does not mean that it's making less milk - that's simply because it is getting emptied more often).
Re: Should I pump my left side?
Is the asymmetrical production causing a visible lopsidedness?
ETA: the best way to even out supply differences between breasts is to give the underperforming side more stimulation and remove milk from it more often. Offer the smaller side first at every feeding, and pump it after feedings if simply offering it first doesn't do the trick.