Only One Breast Producing Enough Milk, Why?

“My baby has been breastfeeding for a week since my milk came in on the third and fourth day postpartum. During this period, I encountered several problems that other breastfeeding mothers may have experienced too. I can only produce about 4 ounces of milk from one breast and hardly produce even an ounce from the other. My baby also had a hard time latching on the breast that produces less milk.”

Do these things sound familiar to you? If you are experiencing the same conditions, read on, learn, and understand the reasons why these happen and how to properly handle these situations.

Is It Normal to Experience Only One Breast Producing Milk?

Every angle of the human body is unique from the other. These differences may be minimal and at times very hard to tell and distinguish. For example, woman’s breast is asymmetrical in nature. Even though there are two breasts present, each of them functions independently and acts separately as if it is the only breast in the body.

Women who lost a breast due to biopsies and surgeries may experience the decreased rate of milk production or at times there is no milk present in one breast. In this situation, the other breast will do its job and give more amount of milk in order to compensate the needs of the baby. This condition is based on the “supply and demand” theory.

“Supply and demand” issues allow babies to favor and use only one breast even with normal functioning breasts. Mothers also tend to feed their baby on one breast only. This will signal the different senses of the body to produce more milk on one side in order to cope with the needs and demands of the baby. Moreover, babies prefer to feed on one breast which also leads to the same condition as above.

At times, this may also indicate a health condition known as mastitis. This causes the mother’s breast to have a temporary supply drop in the affected breast. Babies may not feed on the affected breast due to the saltier taste of the milk. However, the baby is still the best option for removing milk from the affected breast as compared to a pump. Don’t worry, your baby won’t be affected by the problem. When mastitis settles down, babies tend to feed more frequently. This will then increase and boost the supply of milk in the affected breast.

How to Handle the Irregularities of Milk Production?

For mothers encountering only one breast producing milk, several things can be done in order to change and improve the milk production of both breasts.

  • Start feeding the very hungry baby on the breast with the smaller size. This will allow stronger sucking to give more milk in the breast that produces less milk. The baby may cry and seem disappointed due to the effort needed to get milk. Then, mothers can switch breast for a few minutes to give better flow and afterward go back to the previously used breast.
  • Try to pump more milk on the breast with the smaller size in between the feeding time of the baby. This may help in stimulating the milk production without upsetting or adding disruption to the baby.
  • Ask a lactation expert for better guidance. This will help you with your issues on breastfeeding including how to produce more milk. They will also give assistance with the other things about nursing and caring for your baby.
  • Use new tactics and techniques to encourage feeding on the less preferred side. Change the baby’s preference by starting out with new nursing positions to add comfort. Also, try to offer the less preferred breast when the baby is already drowsy as they will be less aware and are more willing to feed on the side of the breast.

What If the Baby Still Favors Only One of the Breast?

For newborn infants who are below six weeks, it is important for mothers to maintain the supply of milk on both breasts. The production of breast milk depends on the needs of the baby, thus nursing the baby on one side only can lessen the milk present in the less used and favored breast.

If experiencing only one breast producing milk, to keep the flow of milk on both breasts, try to feed the baby on one breast while pumping the other one. Store the extra milk in the bottle which can be then given to the baby. This will also prevent too much breast sucking and congestion.

After doing this for a couple of days, observe the improvement in the less favored breast. During this period, try and encourage the baby to feed on the less favored breast. Give them time to nurse on the favored breast and switch again to avoid them from being cranky. Remember to switch when the baby is not very hungry or else they’ll end up fussy.

For babies that are at a young age, short feedings may be needed. The milk produced by one breast may already be enough to feed the hungry baby. Then use the least used side for feeding for the next set of feeding. Be sure to alternate them each time.

Troubles may be encountered during switching of the breasts. But still, try to give it a shot. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for as long as the baby is getting the necessary amount of milk during each feeding time. This will also ensure that the baby has a noticeable and healthy increase in the weight. And if your kid grows normally, you don’t need to worry too much even if only one breast producing milk. 

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