DISCLAIMER: It’s important to note that the posts in this page are NOT intended to be a medical reference or to replace professional care during pregnancy, labor, or birth.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Right-Left Breastmilk Imbalance

Dear Mummies,
Remember 4 days ago, I posted in my Facebook Page about Right-Left Milk Imbalance? Sorry this Mummy of Three kids has been busy so the follow up post is delayed. 

Anyways, you can see from the photo, on 4th of March my right side is way more than left side. And the photo below is today (8th of March), my Left side is way more than my right side.  How did this happen? 

TOP: 4th March 2015
BOTTOM: 8th March 2015

My personal experience aside, let's go through the CAUSES of Right-Left Breastmilk Imbalance:

  • Typical Anatomic Differences. It’s very common for mothers to have different number of milk ducts on both breasts. This can lead to variations in breastmilk supply and breast appearance.
  • Forceful or Weak Letdown. It’s also possible that you may have one breast with a more or less forceful letdown than the other. A forceful letdown could be overwhelming to your little one, causing them to pull away from the breast and prefer the other side. Likewise, a less forceful letdown could be frustrating to a hungry belly. To help your little one nurse on the less forceful side, do breast compressions to increase the flow while feeding.
  • Baby’s Preference. Some babies may, quite simply, just prefer one breast over the other. It may be more comfortable to them, or just easier for them to latch. If your baby refuses one breast, ask your doctor to do a thorough physical exam to check for birth injuries or an ear infection. This discomfort could cause your little one to reject certain nursing positions or breasts.
  • Mother’s Preference. Many moms may unknowingly prefer feeding from one breast and spend significantly more time with baby latched on that side. Some moms may prefer holding their little one with their dominant arm or having that arm free to do other things.
  • Breast Injury or Surgery. If you’ve ever had breast surgery or an injury to your breast tissue, your supply and milk flow could be affected. If you think this is the case, consider reaching out to a Lactation Consultant to help you and your baby nurse comfortably from that side.
How do I work towards getting almost the same amount of both sides?

Restoring Balance:
  • Begin feedings on the less productive side. Babies tend to nurse more vigorously at the beginning of a feeding, so start with the less productive smaller side to help increase milk production.
  • Nurse on the "less productive" side more often during each feeding. Nursing frequently is key to increasing and maintaining supply, so start pumping from your less productive smaller side more often. However, be sure not to neglect the "more productive" breast. Decreasing the time you spend nursing on that side could lead to engorgement, plugged ducts or mastitis.
  • Pump on the less productive side after feedings. At the end of your normal feedings, continue to pump for a few additional minutes, and store that milk for later use.
  • Pump in between feedings. If you can, try to add  a few extra pumping sessions throughout the day, in between your normal feedings. Consider using a hands-free breastpump so you can multi-task while pumping.
  • Use new tactics to encourage feeding on the less preferred breast. There are ways to begin to change your baby’s preferences. Start by trying new nursing positions on the less productive breast, because a new position could bring added comfort to feeding on that side. Also, try offering the less preferred breast when your baby is drowsy. They may be less aware and more willing to feed on that side.
Most moms will begin to notice changes in 3 to 5 days, but remember to be patient. Adjusting any behavior can take some time, so praise your little one when he or she nurses well and keep trying.

My Personal Experience

With both my elder daughters, I had right-left imbalance all the way with the right side being dominant or in other words "more productive". However, with my 3rd child, things are a bit different because I seem to have a balanced milk supply on both sides.

So what actually happened is on the 3rd of March 2015, I had mastitis on the left side which probably had caused some sort of injury to my milk ducts on that side leading to decreased milk supply on the 4th of March 2015. (photo above)

Since that day, I had done all necessary to restore balance on the left side that I think I actually overdid it, hence you can see on the 8th of March 2015, my supply on the left side is more that the right side :-)

Alhamdulillah, So I am actually glad to have had the experience of being unwell & getting to learn something new afterwards, which is the milk imbalance thingy can actually be "altered" or "restored" if we work towards it constantly. Glad to have had the experience and share it with all Mummies :-)

Much Love <3

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