This is a long email with ALOT of back story...sorry, but it has to be laid out..
I am 39 with 3 children, all extended breastfeeders. My older 2 are in high school now, and both self weaned sometime after they started pre-school. I'm not new to breastfeeding, or special situations. We did thrush, mastitis, breastfeeding babies in orthopedic harnesses, tandem nursing, hospitalized toddler (still nursing) with 5 week old new born, special needs infants, getting the picture, with my family, nothing is ever "normal." I have been active in LaLeche League for 18 years now. I am also sharing my home with my mom who has been a LLL Leader for over 30 years.
My youngest is 2 years old, still nurses up to 6 times a day. He's a typical toddler nurser..constantly developing new, creative & outright weird nursing positions. That being said when he was 3 days old, he began gagging when put to my right breast. For 3 days I tried everything under the sun to get him to accept it, but if he would latch on, at the first suck, he'd gag and spit it out, rooting for the left breast. He would gag before there was a let down. I tried cross nursing while lying down, football & cradle holds, nursing him while laying on my back, and then while he was on his back & I was on my hands & knees. I used no deodorant, never use lotions or perfumes, wiped my breast with clean water before trying to nurse him. I even tried putting some milk from the left on the right nipple before attaching him...didn't work.
I have a very plentiful milk supply, and he is an efficient nurser, needing only about 5 minutes on one side to get filled up. He had several visits to the doc during his first weeks, with no ear issues or mouth issues. He was born full term (9.5 lbs), no meds, at home, nursed great right away. No birth or pregnancy issues other than my being 37yo. Neither of us were on any meds, taking any supplements, or altering diet in anyway.
He continued nursing with gusto on the left breast, and would willingly accept the right nipple for a try. When he would refuse the rt breast, I'd pump, just to be sure that I didn't loose milk.
Then, just as suddenly as it started, he went back to normal nursing on both sides.
During the next year, he would intermittantly revert to one sided nursing, still gagging when encountering the right breast. Once when I started manual expressions before attaching him to the right, he threw up. I sought advice from my docs, his docs, all of our LLL friends, and no one had any ideas. (Four of the LLL Leaders I talked to about the issue have leader experience of over 30 years each!)
The last time he accepted the right breast was just after his first birthday, over a year ago now. I have stopped pumping, but there's still milk there. I have stopped offering the right breast. He occasionally seeks it out himself, latches on, spits it out, now following it with spitting like he's tasted something very foul. I have tasted milk from both sides and don't notice a difference.
I have been a LLL leader for 15 years now, and have seen MANY babies refuse a side, and there's only a few things that I've seen that have caused it, including ear infections, aversion to smell/taste of skin care products or structural problems with mom or baby.
I am concerned that there might be something seriously wrong with my breast or the lymphnodes on that side, but no one seems to understand/appreciate my concern. Does anyone have any OTHER ideas or know how I can get my milk tested to see what the difference is? I feel like I'm loosing my mind!