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Thread: Left side no longer triggering let down - help!

  1. #1

    Default Left side no longer triggering let down - help!

    I'm looking for advice, theories, ..anything really. My baby is 6 weeks old and about 2-3 weeks ago my left nipple stopped triggering a let down. Everything had been fine until I started supplementing with a dropper while he was nursing on the left side. Basically, I was squirting milk in his mouth while he was nursing. He was pretty sleepy at the time and I wanted to figure out a way to get extra milk in him while he was awake. After a few days of this, I noticed my left side was no longer triggering the let down. I have seen a very well-regarded LC and she was basically like 'why does it matter, baby is gaining fine'. I don't think my right breast is capable of supporting my son's milk needs for the next year+. I want to figure out how to get my left nipple to trigger again.

    My left nipple triggers when I nurse and pump on the right side. Also, the left nipple is capable of letting down milk when the breast is very full. (So, for instance, I just pumped and the left side had milk immediately. BUT I needed to start pumping on the right side to get the left to trigger/give up milk for the entire pumping session.)

    Part of the problem is, my left breast is the better producer. I just pumped both sides and the left breast had almost 4 ounces and the right less than 2. Part of that is because I can't easily get the left breast empty, but still.

    My history: I unfortunately had breast augmentation surgery about 7 years ago, through the nipple. I had my daughter 3 years ago and was able to exclusively nurse for 2 1/2 years. No problems. Left nipple triggered let down. About 1 year ago, I had surgery to have the implants removed. The incision is under the breast/in the fold. The surgery should not have impacted the nerves going to the nipple (??). (Also, for what it's worth, the implants had been under the muscle.)

    Any ideas?! I realize that I am very lucky to be able to nurse my children given my history, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful; but I HATE pumping. My baby hates bottles. I don't have time to pump. I just want to nurse my baby. I love nursing. And this sucks .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Left side no longer triggering let down - help!

    Hi, sorry it looks like your post was missed before. Before I try to offer suggestions, I was wondering, are you still around, and how are things going now? Any changes?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Left side no longer triggering let down - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Hi, sorry it looks like your post was missed before. Before I try to offer suggestions, I was wondering, are you still around, and how are things going now? Any changes?
    I am still around. No changes. I have seen a very well respected lactation consultant who has been zero help. Just tries to sell me stuff. Three appointments and zero advice. She just finds new issues to advise on and sell me related products.

    Weight gain has slowed big time. Only borderline ok. Pretty sure milk production is down. And I'm taking herbal supplements at this point, which I hate doing. I did not have to pump or take supplements with my daughter.

    Ugh. Not doing well mentally. Pumping sucks and I do not want to give formula. Not that formula is even an option because baby will not take bottles. Feeling very lost .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Left side no longer triggering let down - help!

    Ok, I am sorry you are feeling so upset. Unfortunately I have to start at square one, this may be frustrating to answer so many questions and to go over ground you probably already covered with the LC but I do not know how else to do it. I am asking so many questions because with such an unusual problem, I think the only way to approach it is to brainstorm. Please answer what you can and if you want to break it up over several posts that is fine.

    So my first question is how do you know the left breast does not let down when baby nurses? How do you know the right breast lets down?

    When you say letdown happens on the left when baby is nursing the other side, how do you know? Are you leaking, or are you feeling pressure or tingling or other typical letdown sensations, or is there something else?

    When you pump, does it take a long time for the milk to start to flow on the left, or is it basically the same as if you pump the other side?

    How old is baby now?

    Can you provide a complete weight check history with weight and baby age (day/week of life)? Please note if any checks were on different scales. As long as weight gain rate was normal at 2 weeks (baby back to birth weight or better) I will not need the checks for before that.

    Did you before or do you now ever feel engorged?

    Have you checked for plugs in the left breast?

    At this point, how many times in 24 hours does baby nurse?

    Does baby nurse just on the right or on the left sometimes as well?

    How many times in 24 hours do you pump?

    are you only pumping the left or also the right?

    How much milk overall do you pump over 24 hours?

    How much expressed milk (if any) does baby take in over 24 hours, and how is it given to baby?

    If you can pump and get a let down on the left that way, what happens if you then immediately offer baby the left breast? Same with when letdown happens when baby is nursing on the right. Have you tried switching baby to the left and what happens?

    Have you tried relaxation techniques when baby nurses on the left (deep breathing, visualization, etc.)

    Do you have any pain when baby nurses?

    have you tried different positioning and latch techniques?

    Have you tried fennel (reputed to help with letdown)

    Why do you think this might be happening? Why would you letdown for the pump and not baby? Is it something the pump is doing that baby cannot do? Have you developed some other theories?
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; May 3rd, 2017 at 09:37 PM.

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