It is not unusual for one breast to produce less milk than the other, but is it possible for one breast to dry up 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.
You have notices that your one breast is producing less milk than the other or you think that it is drying up.
No one is symmetrical and your breasts are not excluded, so it is not surprising that many breastfeeding moms find that they have uneven milk supply.
It is common for breastfeeding moms to panic when they see one breast producing less milk than the other or you can call it a “slacker boob” or “lopsided boob” and perceive it as drying up.
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.
Let’s find out why your one breast is making less milk than the other and how to fix it. I assure you that 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 Dry Up?
Often time a breastfeeding mom perceives she has a low milk supply, or her breasts are drying up based on 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 the Journal of Pediatrics,2013 showed that 60% of mothers who started breastfeeding their baby at birth, stopped before they desire within the first few months. One of the most common reasons to stop completely or partially was worry about “I am not making enough milk” among others (1).
So, if you are concluding that your one breast is drying up based on one of these common breastfeeding challenges then you might need to rethink.
Unless you abandon feeding your baby from the slacker boob completely, it is not entirely possible for your one breast to dry up.
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 of the 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 (2).
Some women also have a difference in nipple size and shape between the two breasts. I have a flat nipple on my right breast so my little one preferred to latch on my left breast better than the right.
Prior sickness or surgery can also cause 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 mom has a much faster or slower letdown than the other.
Is it normal 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 infection (mastitis). Here is an excellent article on how to unclog the clogged milk ducts naturally.
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 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 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 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 milk supply in slacker boobs, all you have to do is remove more milk from it.
Here are some tips,
Start the breastfeeding session with the Lopsided Breast When babies first start 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 the 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 the breast 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 increase 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 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 comes 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 flowing. 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 a 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.
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.
Is it possible for one Breast to Dry up? – Conclusion
Here you go, mama! Hopefully, this article has answered your question and give 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.
Do you have any tips on how to increase milk supply on one breast? Leave your comment below.
Before you go, check out the ” You may also like” section below for related posts.
- Odom EC, Li R, Scanlon KS, Perrine CG, Grummer-Strawn L. Reasons for earlier than desired cessation of breastfeeding. Pediatrics. 2013 Mar;131(3):e726-32. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1295. Epub 2013 Feb 18. PMID: 23420922; PMCID: PMC4861949.
- Engstrom JL, Meier PP, Jegier B, Motykowski JE, Zuleger JL. Comparison of milk output from the right and left breasts during simultaneous pumping in mothers of very low birth weight infants. Breastfeed Med. 2007 Jun;2(2):83-91. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2006.0019. PMID: 17661579
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