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Thread: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    50

    Default Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    When DD nurses on my left, let down almost never happens. Also, she gets very fussy unless she's basically asleep when using that side. I'm assuming it's related to the let-down or flow. Suggestions?

    Other info: DD is 8.5months, EBF, with pumped breast milk at daycare.

    We had the normal beginning challenges ("colic", etc.) but she's great at nursing now, and eat solids as well. She's full term and has always been at the top of the growth charts.

    This issue is not new, but seems to be getting more ingrained.

    My right side (I call her the "cash cow") is bigger, and I can pump at least twice as much on that side, but I know that's normal. It's more the let-down thing I'm concerned with.

    I had a breast aug. about 3 years before getting pregnant, and the incision was in the areola. I never got full sensation back, and sensation was different on each side ever since the surgery. I had a hunch this would impact BFing, and I suspect it's now part of the "issue".

    So I can't really use the typical fix for lop-sidedness which is to start more often on the smaller side... because DD will not put up with waiting 10 or 15 minutes for let-down.

    I have no issues at the pump because it stimulates both sides. And once I let down, of course milk comes down on the smaller left side too.

    I just move DD to the smaller side while nursing after a while (arbitrary time) on the right, but she often just pops off and is "done" right after I move her.

    Advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    Could you not offer her the left first and hand express the right,whilst she is on the left, to get the milk to let down? Or hand express the right until let down before putting her on the left(so again, first side she has is the left).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    860

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    Tinismom,
    You are the expert pioneer in breastfeeding after breast surgery!
    your experience with one side out producing the other is important for other moms with a similar history to know about.
    What ever you have been doing for the past 8.5 months is what works.
    the breastpump has been a vital tool required to build and maintain a milk supply and it will probably still be needed until your DD weans.
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    EstherVevan,

    Lol I do sometimes feel like an expert now but sure didn't in those first months. Milk took 7 days to come in...I showed up haggared and confused to an LLL mtg at day 9, etc. but I never attributed any of those challenges to my breast augmentation. Nor was I EVER tempted to supplement - even after 7 days when DD had lost well over 10% of her birth weight. The amazing docs told me she was fine and "just keep nursing". The health system i'm in is connected to the University of California and is very natural in philosophy. I STILL have "The Womanly Art..." on my coffee table for frequent reference. Yeah for the most part the "issues" we face are normal and the solution is "just keep nursing - it will pass". (assuming healthy baby).

    But there are always kinks to work out and I'd love to know if another post breast aug mom has had the same thing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    I had breast augmentation, but under the crease under my boobs. I have SEVERE OS/OALD. My milk came in less than 24hrs after I gave birth. Still have too much milk that sprays everywhere 8 and half months post birth.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    I just tried hand expressing the cash cow while nursing on the left. Nothing. I also tried just stimulating the right nipple - still nothing. DD even seems to suck more gently on the smaller side so when I need more stimulation I get less. Maybe this weekend I'll hook the right one to the pump while I nurse on the left.

    Jah73 - that's awesome! I think in general breast aug does basically nothing. I might have had some nerve damage because of the surgery or I might have had this issue anyway. Either way my right breast makes enough to EBF my DD so I'm happy!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    I had breast augmentation with incision under crease. I have the same
    problem...my milk lets down but only when baby is on the right breast.
    What has worked for me is to always start him on the right side and when I
    feel my milk let down I put him on the left breast. Im guessing its a nerve
    thing from my surgery since he can suck for a long time on the left side but
    my milk wont let down. Maybe you can try that!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    Just wanted to let people know what I found that worked... in case anyone is having the same issue.

    I have DD nurse on the right (the good side) in cross cradle just long enough to trigger let-down. Then I break the latch and shift her over to the left, now in football hold, so that she's still laying the same way. I think she prefers to stay laying on that side. And having her suckly the non-preferred breast right after let-down makes it not so bad for her apparently.

    That way she finishes the left breast first, and then will always accept the right breast after.

    I can do the same thing while lying down by feeding her from the right side as the top breast until let down and then taking that away and switching to the left on bottom.

    OR I can feed her on the right, and then if she refuses the left, I just pump that side to empty it and fill my stash.

    Now my left is producing WAY more than it was before! She still doesn't like it and I still don't get a timely let-down from that side, but at least "the girls" can be more even.

    My next "issue" is speed of flow on the left which is very slow. I can pump for 20 minutes (milk spraying the whole time) and only get 1.5 oz from that side. that's the amount I can get from the right within 9 minutes. That's really time-consuming while at work... It never ends!!

    Anyway - good luck to all the other breast-augmented mamas!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Left Side Won't Trigger Let-Down

    So glad you found something that works! There's a solution to every problem - we just have to figure it out.
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

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