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Thread: Decreased milk supply in one breast

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Decreased milk supply in one breast

    My right beast doesn't seem to be making as much milk as my left. Baby is irratable when feeding on the right, spends 45mins+ on right and still comes off hungry, i've been putting her on the left then to top her up&she comes off within 10mins and seems full and satisfied. Ive been trying to pump off the right then as to stimulate it a bit an hr or so after finishing on the right and only get about 10mls after 20mins of pumping. I went back on the mini pill last week and have been spotting for the last 3days, could it be due to this?

    I have stretched her feeding out a bit to 2-3 hourly on the advice of a breastfeeding advicer as she felt she was just snacking (was feeding 10-12 times+), and she has been more content since i've done this. She's also been sleeping regulary at least 6 hours per night for about a week, which I thought could also be the cause of my spotting. Even after this long sleep my right breast still doesn't seem full and is probably half the size as my left!

    Wondering what the best approach to take is? To keep offering her the right breast first and then top her up with the left?

    She's 9weeks old and has been gaining about 70z per week.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Decreased milk supply in one breast

    Best thing you can do is to immediately take your baby off the schedule. Snacking is a totally normal and healthy eating pattern for a breastfed baby. In fact, I once read an anthropological study of babies' breastfeeding habits in societies where moms carry their babies all day long. Those babies nursed, on average, every 17 minutes. The idea that babies should routinely go hours and hours between nursing sessions is an exclusively modern, western idea, and is not based on anything other than convention and a general disapproval of responsive parenting styles. In addition, stretching the time between feedings is a terrific way to end up with a lowered milk supply. Because supply = demand, the moment you start restricting demand you also start restricting supply. I especially suggest getting rid of the schedule because you started a new form of hormonal contraception, which can lower supply for some moms. (It is also likely the cause of the spotting, since breakthrough bleeding is one of the top side-effects of the mini-pill.)

    Lopsidedness is common in breastfeeding moms. The way to deal with it is to increase stimulation to the underperforming breast. The 2 best ways to do this are:
    - Offer the underperforming breast first, topping up with the overachiever as necessary
    - Pump the smaller side in addition to nursing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Decreased milk supply in one breast

    This happened to me. I am sure my left breast has some different physiology that affects it, and I think my DD preferred the right, so there was sort of a vicous cycle where the left one needed more stimulation to make as much milk, also just wasn't capable of storing as much milk as righty, and was used much less by DD. Later, I found that lefty also was difficult to let down for the pump (often pumped on the bad left side for 15 minutes, fully emptying other breast and still no let down on lefty, even when full).

    Anyway, after fighting this with varying success over several months, I eventually just gave up and basically became a one-boob nurser, with no issues except some lopsidedness. If you don't want that to happen I would be diligent about emptying that breast frequently and getting a good amount of stimulation on it via pump or baby, with the knowledge that it may never produce quite as much as your other and that can be very normal.

    What concerns me a bit more about your message is that I would advise against stretching out BF feedings to every 2-3 hours at only 9 weeks. Nursing 10-12 times per day is normal at that age. And even comfort nursing has the function of helping baby to regulate your supply, release oxytocin, and soothe themselves. I don't know why any good BF advisor (lactaion consultant?) would advise against "snacking" since their tummies at that age are just tiny tiny, and you are still developing and regulating your supply too. The best way to establish and maintain a good supply is to nurse on demand.

    ETA - I stepped away from the keyboard in the middle of posting and noticed mommal covered the schedule too - totes agree with her as always!
    Mom to Taiga born 6/2010

    Pocket cloth diapers. Baby led solids. Full-time working mom. I my DH, DD, kitty Dr. Benway, and my working border collie Odin!
    BF for 1 year and she and I still love it !!!!

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