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Thread: Can one breast start producing less milk?

  1. #1
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    May 2006
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    Default Can one breast start producing less milk?

    I pumped the other evening and was able to get 2 oz from my left breast, but nothing from my right. I generally get about 2 oz from each one when I pump so this was a bit of a shock to me. I pumped again the next evening and was able to get close to 3 oz from the left breast and 1 oz from the right one. Can you lose your milk supply in one breast? If so, is there anything special I should start doing so I do not lose the supply in my right breast?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    Hi there! How old is your baby? How often do you nurse/pump in 24 hours? Is your pump new or used? What kind of pump is it?

    This may just be a slight fluctuation due to time of day, or another reason. Keep in mind that a pump is not a good indicator of what the baby can take from the breast, as he is much more efficient than any pump! Your best indicator is baby's growth and output!

    If you truly have cause to believe that one side is lower, than increased feeding should boost that side!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    Thanks for your response! He is 8 weeks. I nurse 6 times and pump once in 24 hours. Pump is brand new and a Medela Pump in Style.

    I did increase the feedings yesterday and working on it today as well. I tried to not stress too much sense pumping in not a good indicator and he FILLS his diapers. The good news is that I pumped again last evening and was able to get 2 oz from both sides.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    Like the previous poster said, a pump is not a good indicator to how much milk you are producing. A baby is much more efficient at getting your milk out than a pump. That said, one side of mine does fill up more or have a better letdown. HTH

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    Some moms do find that one breast produces more milk than the other. If you are ok with being lopsided then this really shouldn't be an issue!

  6. #6
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    Default Kate - Can one breast start producing less milk?

    on this topic... i've had this lopsided production since the beginning and my DS is now 6 mos old.

    kate, lately i've found that sometimes he tends to bob off my left breast after just a while and i'm not sure if that's becos there's no milk becos he'll keep bobbing off when i put him back and eventually i'll switch sides, n he's fine... i'm worried that might affect the ss on the left. shd i start to pump the left once a day in addition to dd feeds? he's never had an issue with one-sidedness before.

    also, if i want to know how much milk he's actually drinking, what's a good way to do so? my bb nurses only for 5 MIN each time and from only one side. and he can last up to 3 or so hours sometimes till the next feed! i'm concerned becos i feel that he seems to be gaining/losing weight the past 3 mos. never been ill. he was 6.8kg at th end of 3 mos and just earlier this month, he was 8 kg but now he's back to 7.6kg? is that normal? he's still alert, happy and playful.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    Forgive me for the conversion, but LLL suggests weight gains in pounds and ounces (and that is more understandable for me!), so I changed over the figures you gave me.

    At 4 months: 14 pounds 15 oz.
    At 5 months: 17 pounds 10 oz.
    At 6 months: 16 pounds 12 oz.

    LLLI suggests that babies between 4 and 12 months of age gain on average, 4 to 5 ounces per week. If you look at ds's growth from 4 months to 6 months, he has gained 29 oz., which averages out to be 3.6 oz. per week. That may be just fine for him. If you doctor is not concerned about his growth, then a slight loss is probably nothing to worry about. If your doctor is worried about his continual loss of weight or slow growth, then you could consider other options, such as trying to increase supply. But one weight lag may not indicate a problem! You said he is well otherwise, so I would follow your instincts.

    At this age some babies do prefer one side to another. How you handle that preference is completely up to you. You can pump occasionally if you feel that you would like to increase production on one side. If it doesn't bother you he can nurse more from his favorite side. As long as he continues to grow then it probably isn't anything to worry about.

    HTH!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    My baby does the same thing... bobbing off of one breast but feeding contently on the other. It is no coincidence that the breast that produces less is the one that he bobs on. My solution is to always feed him first on the breast that produces less. Not sure if that will work, but am giving it a shot.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    thanks, kate. i think maybe pumping would be the option if this continues becos i'd need to pump soon to provide milk for his cereal anyway. is he bobbing off as a a result of preference or becos of milk ss? sometimes he can nurse for a longer period on that same side...

    you suggested increasing ss to help him gain weight? does that mean that currently he's only doing 5 min per feed BECOS that's all the milk there is? if i increase ss by pumping, will that mean that that same 5 min feed will yield more milk for him? if that's the case then i'll start pumping again. i pumped a lot in the initial 3 mos and his weight gain was most tremendous then. then i started to feed only on dd (without pumping) and that's when i notice his weight seems to (no entirely certain becos i didn't bring him to the paed for 3 mos to weigh) fluctuate. so, now it may be that his weight gain is related to my ss? oh dear... really confused.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can one breast start producing less milk?

    How have his wet/dirty diapers been? How often?

    Does he eat any solid foods besides BM?

    It is rare for a 6-month-old baby who has been otherwise nursing well to begin having a poor suck and therefore not demanding enough milk. He may just have a preference for one side, which is making the other side less productive. If you want to increase production on that side, you could pump it several times a day, in addition to his short feedings on that side.

    By no means does his shortened feedings mean you do not have enough milk. On the contrary, many babies begin to feed for shorter periods of time as they get older and more efficient at the breast. The only true way to tell that you are producing enough milk is that baby is wetting lots of diapers, and having regular (could be 5 a day, or every 5 days or more) bowel movements, and growing.

    Also, remember that babies this age do often slow their weight gain, while continuing to grow in length. This is very normal for babies who gained a lot of weight the first 6 months or so. So you should also look at ds's growth in length.

    If you truly wanted to increase supply you could encourage ds to nurse more, or pump more. If you think all is well, then you don't have to do either. Just follow his cues.

    I hope this has answered your questions.

    Let me know if it is not clear!

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