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Lopsided Moms – One-Sided Babies

Lopsided breasts are uneven in terms of size, shape, milk supply, or baby’s preference. Some women are physiologically lopsided. Such breasts are more prone to uneven milk supply.

Learn about lopsided breasts

Uneven breasts can be the result of your baby’s preference of one breast over the other. The more baby sucks on one breast, the more milk comes in, the larger the breast gets, and the smaller the non-favorite breast seems.

Your baby readily develops preference towards the easiest-to-get-milk-from breast. It is important, however, to encourage your baby to breastfeed successfully from both breasts.

Why One Breast, But Not The Other?

First of all, look for possible reasons why your baby prefers one breast over the other. Here are some ideas:

   ▪ Birth injury. Try to think of any possible injuries, even minor ones that your baby suffered. He/she may just be uncomfortable staying down on the injured side.

   ▪ Your preference. Did you breastfeed from one breast more frequently during the first days? Maybe the other one was engorged and painful to nurse from? Babies form habits easily.

   ▪ Surroundings. Check the place where you breastfeed. It may be that your baby doesn’t like the lighting or the sound of something. It could be anything. Try moving around or facing the other way and then offering the less favorite breast again.

   ▪ Physiological characteristics. You may be physiologically lopsided. Has one of your breasts always been smaller than the other one? Was there an injury or a surgery? Things like these may cause milk supply and flow in each breast to be different.

The baby may dislike one breast because the flow is too fast or too slow. Fast flow makes them gulp and swallow air. It prevents them from relaxing while nursing. It usually happens because of leaking breasts or oversupply. Try expressing some milk before the feeding to relieve breast fullness.

On the other hand, some breasts are hard to get the milk out. They are full, but milk flows slowly. Try compressing your breast areola with your fingers and massaging your breast during breastfeeding.

The breast may adjust to holding and releasing milk easily. Or you may need to do compressions and massage every feeding.

One of my breasts was like that. The only way my son stayed on it was if I was massaging and compressing it constantly to get a good flow.

Milk flow can also be slow because of low milk supply.

   ▪ Mom’s or baby’s illness. If your baby refuses one breast all of a sudden, it may be a sign of an ear infection, teething or some other condition. Your baby gets uncomfortable lying down on the side that hurts. Look for other symptoms.

Sudden breast refusal can be caused by mom’s illness too. In some cases mastitis or breast abscess may change consistency and taste of the milk.

These problems are temporary and go away once the condition is relieved.

Taking Measures

  • Whatever the reason of lopsided breasts is - keep offering both breasts in order to keep milk production stable.
  • Start with the non-favorite breast. While your baby is hungry, he/she may be willing to nurse on this side.
  • Try different breastfeeding positions.

Try This Trick: We had great success with the side-lying position. To feed your baby from the slowest breast - lie down on the opposite side with baby facing you. So that the slow breast is on top. In this position milk flow is the fastest. Also try compressing breasts during the feeding.

  • If your baby refuses the non-favorite breast even if you give it to him/her first, don’t insist. Positive atmosphere is the key to successful breastfeeding. So switch the breasts.
  • Try offering this breast again after the first one is emptied. Your baby may not mind the slower flow once his/her hunger is satisfied.
  • When switching to the less favorite breast, don’t change position. If you were breastfeeding in a lying down position, switch breasts by slightly turning your body. After having success with one breast in this position, your baby may be more willing to take the other breast in this position too. Another easy switching is from cradle to side (football) position. More on positioning here.
  • If your baby just woke up and it is time for a feeding, offer the non-favorite breast first. While still sleepy your baby may accept the breast.
  • If your non-preferred breast doesn’t get fully emptied, pump the remaining milk to keep up the supply.
  • If pumping doesn’t maintain milk supply - don’t panic. You are absolutely capable of keeping your baby well-nourished breastfeeding from just one breast. In fact, this breast will produce even more milk in response to the increased demand.

Try keeping the non-favorite breast working, but it is more important to keep breastfeeding a pleasant experience for both of you. You don’t want your baby to go on a nursing strike as a result of pressure and excessive trying. I know it is hard work, but try to relax and enjoy the journey!

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