Common Causes and Solutions When Experiencing Less Milk Production in One Breast
For most moms, uneven supply shouldn’t be an issue. Get more information here.
All moms are different – and so are breasts! No person is perfectly symmetrical, so it’s no surprise that many breastfeeding moms find they have an uneven milk supply or less milk production in one breast than the other. It’s very common to find that one breast produces less milk, and if you and your baby are comfortable, there’s no reason to try to change it. In fact, there may not be anything you can do about an uneven supply. However, if you have an uneven milk supply and are wondering how to increase milk supply in one breast to even production out, relieve discomfort, and make feeding more effective, check out the tips and information below.
Causes of Uneven Milk Supply
There are many potential reasons why one breast produces less milk than the other, which is usually completely normal! Some of the most common reasons that one breast produces more milk than the other are explained below.
It’s common for moms to have different amounts of milk-making tissue and different sized milk ducts in each breast, so one breast naturally produces more than the other.
Differences in Letdown
It’s possible to have one breast with a more or less forceful letdown than the other. A forceful letdown could cause your baby to pull away from the breast and prefer the other side, causing an uneven milk supply. When that happens, a less forceful letdown could be frustrating for a hungry belly.
It’s not uncommon to find that a baby latches better on one side or that your little one prefers one breast over the other. It may be more comfortable or easier for them to latch. If you think there is a physical reason your infant seems to prefer one side, ask your doctor to do a thorough physical exam to check for birth injuries or an ear infection that could cause your baby to reject certain nursing positions or prefer a particular breast.
Many moms unknowingly prefer feeding from one breast and spend more time nursing on that side, causing an uneven supply of milk as they do.
Previous Breast Trauma
If you’ve had breast surgery or an injury to your breast tissue, your supply could be affected.
How to Increase Breast Milk Supply in One Breast
It is possible to increase milk supply in one breast, though whether it will work for you is entirely dependent on the cause of your uneven breast milk supply. Some of the causes of less production in one breast, like how much milk-making tissue a mom has or prior breast surgeries, can't be changed. However, there are still things you can do that may help. The tips noted below may help increase your milk supply in the less productive breast.
Begin Nursing on the Less Productive Side First
Because babies tend to nurse more vigorously at the beginning of a feeding, you can use this to your advantage and begin feedings on the less productive side to encourage it to build a higher breast milk supply for future feedings.
Favor Your Less-Productive Side Throughout
Nurse on the lower-producing side more often during each feeding. Nursing frequently is key to increasing supply. However, be sure not to neglect the higher-producing breast as that could lead to engorgement, plugged ducts, or even mastitis.
Remember, an uneven milk supply is usually a totally natural occurrence - It's very common to find that one breast produces more milk and one is more of a slacker! But, if for any reason, you were wondering how to increase milk supply in one breast, these tips and tricks can help you accomplish this goal.
Hand Massage Your Less Productive Breast
Try massaging your breast from the base towards the nipple on the less productive side to help increase flow. For additional information and support, here's even more tips on hand expressing your milk when needed.
Supplement Feedings with Additional Breast Pumping
When there is less milk production in one breast, pump on the less productive side after feedings and in between your regular feedings. Remember, when it comes to breastfeeding, demand=supply. This is an excellent way to increase breast milk supply in one breast!
Encourage Baby to Feed on the Less-Preferred Breast
It is common for babies to latch better on one side. Luckily, tactics for encouraging the baby to feed on the less preferred breast, like trying new nursing positions, can bring added comfort to feeding on that side. Another strategy you can employ is offering the less preferred breast when your baby is drowsy and more willing to nurse on that side.
Use a Feeding and Pumping Log for Breastfeeding
Finally, using a printable feeding and pumping log can be helpful when changing your usual breast milk feeding routine. Most moms will begin to notice changes to an uneven milk supply in 3 to 5 days, but remember to be patient. Adjusting any behavior can take some time, so praise your little one when they nurse well and keep trying.