It is not unusual for one breast to produce less milk than the other, but is it possible for one breast to stop producing milk when breastfeeding? Read on to find out.
Breastfeeding is challenging. As soon as you think that you and your baby are rocking it something comes up. Isn’t it?
You may be reading this article today because you think something is not right with your one breast. Either one of your breasts is producing less milk than the other, or you think it is drying up.
The side producing less milk is referred to as “slacker boob” or “lopsided boob,” and when you see your breast not producing enough milk, it can be easily perceived as a ‘dried-up’ side. You will be glad to know that your one breast can’t dry up completely unless you are totally ignoring it, a.k.a, not offering the lopsided breast to your baby at all.
No one is symmetrical, and your breasts are not excluded, so it is not surprising that many breastfeeding moms find that they have an uneven milk supply.
Let’s find out if it is possible for one breast to dry up while breastfeeding. And if your one breast is making less milk than the other, then we have solutions to increase milk supply in your slacker book. And by the end of this article, you will be convinced that your one breast is not drying up.
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Is it Possible for One Breast to stop producing milk or dry up?
Often time a breastfeeding mom perceives she has a low milk supply or her breasts are drying up based on the following feelings, but, actually, these feelings are not predictive of milk output.
- Pumping output is low
- Breasts are not leaking anymore
- Do not feel engorged
- Uneven size of breasts
- A sensation of “let down” when you latch the baby
- Fussy baby at the breast
In fact, a research study published in 2013 showed that 60% of mothers who started breastfeeding their baby at birth stopped before they desired it within the first few months, and one of the most common reasons to stop completely or partially was worry about “I am not making enough milk” among others.
So, if you are concluding that your one breast is drying up based both the fact that one of your breasts is not making enough milk compared to the other, then that is not true.
There can be many reasons why you are seeing a decrease in milk supply in one of your breasts. Here are some of the reasons why one breast is producing less milk than the other, and you are perceiving it as drying up.
- Mom’s preference for feeding
- Baby has a favorite side of feeding
- Not offering a lopsided breast to your baby
- Clogged milk duct
- You took a break from offering ‘that’ breast to your baby for the time being because you have a lipstick nipple or a cut in your nipple.
Other breastfeeding challenges can also make one breast produce less milk than the other, but that does not mean that your breast is drying up while breastfeeding.
Unless you abandon feeding your baby from the slacker boob completely, it is not entirely possible for your one breast to dry up.
So, now let’s look at why one breast makes less milk than the other.
Why does one Breast make Less Milk than the other?
Here are some possible reasons why one breast makes less milk than the other.
Variation in breast anatomy within women is common. Most women have one breast that has more working ducts and alveoli than the other. The Right side breast is usually more dominant than the left side, hence producing more milk. The research study also supports it.
Some women also have a difference in nipple size and shape between the two breasts, which may make it uncomfortable for a baby to feed on one side as efficeintly as on the other one.
For example, if you have a flat nipple or inverted nipple on one side, your baby may prefer the other side because the anatomy of the nipple makes it hard for the baby to get a firm grasp.
Prior sickness or surgery can also cause an uneven milk supply. Medical treatment like chemotherapy can damage milk ducts in a breast, causing low milk production.
Every mother has their preferred side for breastfeeding. I always liked to breastfeed my baby on the left side because I was more comfortable. So, I subconsciously offered the left side more often than the right side.
Just like mom, a baby has a preference too. A baby may like to be held on one side more comfortably so they would nurse more efficiently.
In my case, my baby loved to nurse on the left side because I had a flat nipple on my right side, and it would make latching difficult for my baby.
Many babies also refuse one side of the breast because the mom has a much faster or slower letdown than the other.
Is it possible if one Breast Producing Less Milk Suddenly?
A Sudden drop in milk supply in one breast may be alarming for the following reasons.
Clogged Milk Duct
Clogged milk ducts or other breast infections may cause one breast to stop producing milk. When you have a clogged milk duct, breasts become firm and hard for your baby to latch properly.
So when your baby is not latching properly and draining your breast efficiently, it may cause your milk supply to drop significantly.
If you think you have clogged milk ducts, you need to seek medical advice. Untreated clogged milk duct can cause some serious breast infections (mastitis). Here is an excellent article on how to unclog the clogged milk ducts naturally.
The baby is not Well
If your baby has an ear infection or cold, she may prefer one side over the other. For example, if your baby has an ear infection on the right side, she may refuse to nurse on the right breast because it is uncomfortable and painful for the baby.
Baby not latching and emptying one breast can cause your milk supply to drop.
How do I Increase the Milk supply in One Breast?
One breast producing less milk than the other simply indicates that the demand and supply cycle is not well coordinated on the slacker-boob side.
You might want to increase your milk supply on the slacker side because you don’t like the appearance of lopsidedness, or it is causing frustration for you and your baby while breastfeeding, or you just want to pump more milk.
Whether you are breastfeeding or exclusively pumping, the following tips will help you increase milk supply in the lopsided breast or slacker boob.
Here is what you need to do if you are
Breastfeeding is a supply and demand cycle. The more your baby removes from the breast more it makes.
So, if you are looking for ways to increase the milk supply in slacker boob, all you have to do is remove more milk from it.
Here are some tips,
Start the breastfeeding session with the Lopsided Breast
When a baby first starts at the breast, they nurse more vigorously. So, start your breastfeeding session with the lopsided breast.
When they are hungry, they are more likely to feed well. Try offering lopsided breast first at each feeding for a few days.
Breastfeed more often on Lopsided Breast
You want to breastfeed your baby from the lopsided breast more than the other breast.
For example, if you are feeding your baby from both breasts at each feeding, you might want to start your nursing session at the lopsided breast, then switch to another side, and switch back to the lopsided breast.
Feed your baby when they are Half Asleep
You might want to try feeding your baby from the lopsided side when they are not fully awake. They are less picky when they are half asleep.
Trick them into nursing from a slacker boob first thing in the morning when they are about to wake up.
Change the Nursing Position
Changing the nursing position can help you draw more milk from the lopsided breast. Start nursing your baby at the slacker boob in the cradle hold, and once let-down subsides, change the nursing position. It will keep your baby interested in drawing more milk from the lopsided breast.
In addition to this, you can add a pumping session to the lopsided side for 5-10 min after each feeding to even thing out. Power pumping (explained below) is also a great strategy to increase milk supply in one breast.
The majority of breastfeeding women can even their milk supply out following the above tips within a few days.
While doing this, if you feel engorged at your other breast, you might want to hand express some milk to feel comfortable.
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If you are an exclusively pumping mom, trying to increase milk supply in a slacker boob, here is what you need to do.
You can continue with your pumping routine for both breasts as usual, followed by pumping an extra 5-10 min on the slacker boob.
Pumping extra will give your slacker boob a signal to produce more milk to keep up with the demand.
Power pumping is another great approach to increasing the breast milk supply. Here is what the power pumping schedule looks like,
- Pump 20 min
- Rest 10 min
- Pump 10 min
- Rest 10 min
- Pump 10 min
This is a traditional power pumping schedule used to increase milk supply in both the breast. However, you are employing this power pumping schedule only on one breast that is producing less breast milk than the other.
Resting 10 min in between power pumping allows the accumulation of milk to be pumped out when you resume pumping.
The amount you remove by power-pumping signals your slacker boobs to produce more milk. This will slowly increase your milk supply in the lopsided breast.
Other complementary ways to Increase milk supply in Lopsided Breast
Here are some useful tricks and tips to come in very handy regardless you are breastfeeding or power pumping to increase milk supply in the lopsided breast.
Breast compression can increase the milk flow when your baby is nursing or you are pumping.
Massaging your breast with your thumb towards the nipple on the lopsided breast will increase the milk flow and, in turn, keep your baby interested in drawing more milk from the breast.
Applying heat to your breast can help your milk flow. Try taking a warm shower before you breastfeed or pump and make sure to let the warm water run through your slacker boob.
Babies are handful and It may be hard to get into the shower every time you breastfeed or pump, so here is an alternative hands-free device you can use to apply heat to your slacker boob.
This heating device is specifically designed to aid in milk letdown while pumping.
Vibration during pumping can greatly trigger your letdown, unclog milk ducts, and aid in the production of milk.
Try LaVie Lactation Massager on the slacker boob while breastfeeding or pumping to boost letdowns.
Here is a video on how LaVie Lactation Massager helped a real mom with breastfeeding challenges.
Pin this infographic to your baby board
Why does one Breast stop producing milk after a clogged milk duct?
Clogged ducts or plugged ducts do not allow milk to flow freely out of the milk duct, so it is common to see a decrease in output on the affected side and after it is cleared.
The main reason why you are seeing a decrease in your milk supply after a clogged milk duct is cleared is that the demand and supply cycle is disturbed when you are dealing with a clogged milk duct.
If you see your breast producing very little milk after a clogged milk duct, you need to get back to the routine of feeding your baby more often from the affected side. As mentioned earlier in the post, power pumping, heat compression, and massager all work in combination to bring the milk supply back after a clogged milk duct.
Losing milk supply in one breast after a clogged milk duct is temporary, and once you start feeding your baby from the affected breast, the milk will return.
Is it possible for one Breast to stop producing milk? – Conclusion
Here you go, mama! Hopefully, this article has answered your question and given you some solid tips to increase milk supply in one breast.
The most important points of these articles are that it is normal for one breast to produce less milk than the other, and it doesn’t mean that it is drying up.
All you need to do is demand more milk supply from the slacker boob or lopsided breast by breastfeeding often and adding a pumping session or power pumping. Applying heat and vibration is also a simple yet effective method.
I know it can get pretty frustrating for you and your baby to deal with one breast producing less milk than the other. But with these tips and little patience, it is possible to correct the uneven milk supply. Before you go, check out this post on how to make your breast milk fattier if you are struggling with quality of your breast milk.
Do you have any tips on how to increase milk supply on one breast? Leave your comment below.
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