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Thread: Single Breast Engorged

  1. #1

    Default Single Breast Engorged

    Hi,

    I'm a first time mother and now have a 5-week old baby - I very much want to breastfeed him but find that I am struggling. The most recent problem is that my breasts have become very uneven. One (the left) is around twice the size of the other. When I pump, this breast produces 3X's or 4X's as much milk as the other. It gets engorged every night between feedings. I've also just noticed that baby has problem with latching and staying latched on this breast and often gulps when he feeds from this breast. I'm not sure what I should do ... Please help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
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    940

    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    The early weeks of breastfeeding are the most challenging. I think it wasn't until DS was 8 weeks that I really felt like we knew what we were doing. After 3 months, things were going great and he was latching on with little help from me. At 9 months, it is now truly a pleasure to nurse him. Nursing was not always easy for us, in fact we had some pretty serious challenges. Whenever we were struggling, I would remind myself of all the hours I spent at the kitchen sink washing bottles for my 1st child. Breastfeeding gets much easier with time and in fact, once you've got the wrinkles ironed out, nursing is the most convenient way to feed your baby.

    From what you've said, it sounds like you have a bit of oversupply in your left breast. Its very common for one breast to be larger than the other. In fact, my left is quite a bit larger than my right and also produces more. I naturally prefer to feed DS on my left side, since I'm right handed. In many cultures, one-sided nursing is common and preferred.

    However, like you, I prefer things to be more even. When I notice my supply in my left getting too much, I've made a point of feeding him more often on my right side. The simple thing to remember is the more milk your baby removes from your left breast, the more milk it will make. So perhaps with every feeding if you always offer your right breast first, things will even things out more. If you are doing only 1 side per feeding, you could do 2 feedings in a row on your right side, then 1 feeding on your left side. You can use breast compressions to 'finish' when feeding on your right side. Your milk supply will adjust, although it is perfectly normal for 1 side to continue to produce milk more easily than the other side. If you feel engorged with your left, you don't want to be pumping. If you absolutely must, you can express a bit, but only 'to comfort'.
    Last edited by @llli*monika.h; December 28th, 2008 at 01:10 AM.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    Thanks so much for the reply! Your suggestion makes perfect sense and I will give it a try. My only concern is whether failing to drain my overproductive breast at each feeding could result in clogged ducts or an infection. Also, how do I know if baby is getting enough from the underproductive breast? How do I know if he is actually getting milk or just comfort sucking? And, when he falls asleep or releases latch from underproductive breast, should I offer him the overproductive breast to ensure that he is getting enough or should I encourage him to stick with the underproductive breast to stimiluate production? Sorry for all of the questions - previously met with a LC, but she did not help very much - unfortunately, she seemed mostly interested in taking our money and getting out the door.
    Last edited by @llli*mom.of.avi; December 28th, 2008 at 01:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    19,894

    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    Monika.h gave you great advice!

    My only concern is whether failing to drain my overproductive breast at each feeding could result in clogged ducts or an infection.
    This is a possibility, so be vigilant and if you feel a plugged duct coming on, make sure you nurse more on that side. Soy lecithin is also supposed to be good for preventing plugged ducts.

    Also, how do I know if baby is getting enough from the underproductive breast? How do I know if he is actually getting milk or just comfort sucking?
    If you feed him on demand, he will get enough. And he will let you know if he's hungry!

    And, when he falls asleep or releases latch from underproductive breast, should I offer him the overproductive breast to ensure that he is getting enough or should I encourage him to stick with the underproductive breast to stimiluate production?
    It's up to you. Starting every feed on the underproducing breast and finishing it on the overproducer will eventually increase supply in the underproducer and decrease supply in the overproducing breast, but it's a slower road to a more even supply. Skipping the overproducing side will make the supply on that side diminish a lot faster, but it does carry an increased risk of ending up with a plugged duct or even mastitis.

    Hang in there! Nursing will get a lot easier as time goes on!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    Thank you so much! I let baby stay on the underproductive breast until it was completely empty, pumpted the overproductive breast for a minute, and put baby on the overproductive breast, which he nursed on for a little while, but did not drain, and have already seen a improvement in the sizes.

    Also, I think, previously, baby was not draining the underproductive breast, was getting a lot of foremilk, and was very fussy and gassy after nursing. Last night, fell sound asleep after all nursings and slept longer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    34

    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    well done for sticking with it I have one breast way bigger and way milker then the other, my bubs is 3 1/2 months and my still hasnt sorted itself out yet so I pretty much always have to feed left to right she seems to cope with it better if I give her the less milkier one first, or pump afew oz off first before giving it to her

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Gulf Shores, AL/Oxford, MS
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    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*monika.h View Post
    From what you've said, it sounds like you have a bit of oversupply in your left breast. Its very common for one breast to be larger than the other. In fact, my left is quite a bit larger than my right and also produces more. I naturally prefer to feed DS on my left side, since I'm right handed. In many cultures, one-sided nursing is common and preferred.
    Well said, monika!!

    My left is also larger than my right and produces more milk. DD prefers the left side to the right for this reason, and because the milk lets down faster from the left side. I prefer to feed DD from the left for many reasons, because I am right handed, she is less fussy at the left breast, and feeding from the left breast keeps me from leaking onto my clothes, as the left leaks more than the right. I have considered only one-sided nursing for these reasons but haven't made that commitment yet.

    Meanwhile, my relatives and I have humorously nicknamed my left side "Milkior" and my right side "Boobior" after the notorious YouTube video of the British lady who still nurses her 7 year old daughter. Her children gave the name "Milkior" to the breast that produced more milk and "Boobior" to the breast that lagged behind.

    I still struggle with oversupply (on both sides) and my DD is 4 months old. I have struggled with it for quite a while now and have tried everything to calm it down but nothing has worked!! So I know where you are coming from, avi. I hope this does not discourage you, but I've found that oversupply is something that I must learn to live with...it doesn't seem to be going anywhere but, on the plus side, I never have to worry about not producing enough milk. It is a gift and a curse all at once, but don't go thinking that you are abnormal because one breast is larger and more productive than the other. This is very common in breastfeeding mothers, and you are certainly not alone!

    P.S. I have had plugged ducts in both my most productive and least productive breasts, although not very often. Applying moist heat the plugged area helps me immensely, as does nursing on the affected side as much as possible. My daughter usually has no problem clearing a plugged duct, and the heat is just an added comfort.

    I'm a full-time single mama and a full-time law student!! Loving every minute!!


    Mommy to Izzy , born 8/23/08!!! Check out our blog!

    BW: 8lbs. 8oz., 20 in.
    3 months: 11 lbs. 14oz., 23 1/4 in.
    6 months: 17 lbs. 9oz., 26 1/2 in.
    9 months: 20 lbs. 0 oz., 27 in.
    12 months: 22 lbs. 12 oz., 28 3/4 in.
    15 months: 25 lbs. 12 oz., 29 3/4 in.

    for 18+ months! Now we only nurse on one side because mama's other side is predisposed to recurring mastitis!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Single Breast Engorged

    Glad to hear things are turning around so quickly for you!
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

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