There are several ways to increase breast milk production on one side. In most cases, it isn’t necessary to do so, and allowing one side to flow a bit more than the other will cause no long-term harm.
If it is uncomfortable or you prefer to balance out your milk flow, various methods for increasing supply on one side can be used, which we are going to look at in this article. However, it is important not to ignore your abundant breast until it becomes engorged.
Why Do Some Women Have More Breast Milk on One Side?
There are a few reasons why you may need to increase your milk production in one breast. Perhaps your baby prefers one breast over the other, or maybe it is easier for you to hold the baby on one side than on the other. Both of these can cause you to have more milk in one breast than in the other.
Some women have lowered milk production on one side simply due to anatomical differences. In fact, it is pretty common for women to have one breast with milk ducts and alveoli that produce more milk than the other.
Insufficient glandular tissue can also lead to less milk on one side. For unknown reasons, this is often, but not always, the left breast.
Different sizes or distinctions in the nipples can also cause one breast to have a greater milk flow. Flat or inverted nipples or variances in the size of the nipples can affect how much milk that breast produces. Plugged ducts can also lead to low supply.
Women may also have a greater milk flow on one side because their baby prefers to feed on that side or because the mother has this preference. Breast surgery or injury to a breast can also cause a greater supply in the other one.
It is essential, first of all, for new mothers to understand that it is perfectly normal for them to produce more milk on one side. Thankfully, there are a few steps that you can take to increase your breast milk supply, one side at a time.
Increase Milk Production on One Side by Nursing
One way to increase your milk supply in one breast is by encouraging your baby to nurse on that side. There are some other ways that you can do this:
1 – Massaging Your Breast as Your Baby Feeds to Enhance Milk Production
A breast with lowered milk supply can be encouraged to produce more if it is massaged while the baby is nursing. Use your thumb to gently rub your breast, beginning at the armpit and slowly moving down towards the nipple.
Continue this motion throughout the time that your baby is nursing from that breast. You can move to other parts of the breast and even circle the areola around the baby’s mouth to encourage milk production.
2 – Increase Breast Milk Supply on One Side By Offering That Breast First
If you have issues with breast milk production on one side, offer that breast first for 3 to 5 days. Most nursing infants will feed more vigorously from the first breast they are provided because they are the hungriest at that time.
That means that you can sometimes affect how much milk one side produces by simply offering it first. Then, once the breast with a low milk supply empties, you can move on to the other.
3 – Produce More Milk in One Breast by Switching Sides
You can also help balance the low milk supply in one breast by offering it exclusively for a while. Feed your child from the side with less milk for two or three feedings and then switch back to the other breast for one feeding. Continue to alternate this way until your milk supply replenishes on the side with less milk.
You might also alternate sides to increase milk flow in one breast. You can do this by first placing your baby on the breast that doesn’t have enough milk. Switch sides back and forth, allowing your child to nurse longer at the breast with a low milk supply.
4 – Produce More Milk on One Side by Trying Different Feeding Positions
Another way to overcome a low milk supply in one breast is changing your feeding positions. Babies who prefer one side often do so because they are uncomfortable when nursing on the other side.
This can often be overcome simply by changing your position when you have a young child feeding. However, many mothers have issues nursing their babies because they are unaware of the various positions they can try. Here are a few positions that are recommended for nursing.
- Cradle hold for breastfeeding – Turn your baby to face you and hold them in your arms in front of you. Allow the baby to latch on to the lower producing breast and continue to hold them this way as they nurse.
- Football hold for nursing – Position the baby underneath your arm on the side where there is lower production and allow the child to latch on from that position. Be sure that the baby is facing upwards and can breathe easily.
You can nurse in this position while sitting up by holding the baby under that arm or do so while laying down by placing the baby in bed next to you, facing your breast. Some mothers find this position comfortable for breastfeeding.
- Lying on your back to breastfeed – A mother may also lay on her back with her baby resting on her chest to nurse the child. The baby would be positioned face-down and allowed to latch onto the lower producing breast. Again, be sure that your child can breathe easily.
Increase Supply on One Side With A Pumping Session
You might also increase your milk in the lower producing side by using different pumping methods. The production of breast milk is determined by supply and demand, so the more the milk is demanded of one breast, the more it will typically produce.
You could increase some milk flow by pumping the side with less milk while the baby nurses on the higher producing side. There are other pumping session methods that you could also use:
1 – Stimulate Milk Production With A Pumping Session After Feedings
It is always best to allow your baby to nurse before pumping to ensure that they are adequately fed. Once the baby nurses normally, most women can use an electric pump to milk from the lower producing side for 5 to 10 minutes to encourage more milk flow.
It is a good idea to use the method for every other feeding. If your baby nurses at 8 am, 10 am, and 12 noon, you would pump milk after the 8 am and noon feedings, but skip the 10 am feeding.
If the baby completely refuses to nurse on one side, you will need to do this after every feeding. You may also need to call your doctor to ensure you aren’t suffering from an infection, mastitis, or some other medical issue causing the baby to shun one of your breasts.
2 – Increased Milk Supply on One Side by Adding A Pumping Session Between Feedings
Another way to compensate for a higher producing breast is by having a 10 to 20-minute pumping session scheduled between the baby’s regular feedings. This would only apply to the breast that is not producing enough milk.
If your baby feeds at 8 am, 10 am, and noon, for example, you would add in a pumping session for the breast with less milk at around 9 am or 11 am. You will need to do this only once or twice during the day, and be sure to relieve any added pressure that the higher producing breast may feel.
While it is normal for one breast to produce more milk than the other, some methods can increase milk flow on one side if needed. However, you must first consult with your doctor to ensure that there is no medical reason that the breast is not producing as it should.
Birth control pills, damaged breast tissue, polycystic ovary syndrome, mental health issues, an ear infection in the baby, or several other medical situations can affect milk production.
Some other common causes of a lowered milk flow include supplementing your baby’s milk with juice, formula, or other food or liquids in a bottle, using a pacifier, using nipple shields, interrupting the baby before they are finished nursing, or only offering one breast at feedings.
Milk flow will be much more productive with comfortable nursing for both the mom and the baby. You can try different positions, making sure that the breast offered first is the one that produces less. Once you begin nursing, be sure to be as relaxed and confident as possible.
We hope this article will help increase your milk flow in one breast. Be sure to look over our site for more informative articles!