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You’re a breastfeeding mom who has noticed she has a major slacker boob aka one breast always has less milk than the other. Now, you’re probably wondering if it’s normal to have uneven breastmilk output and how you can even things out a bit. This article will explain how to fix lopsided breasts when breastfeeding and how to fix your uneven milk supply.
I have some good news for you, it’s common for women to have one breast that produces less milk than the other.
In fact, I often experienced this myself when I breastfed my boys. The truth is, your milk supply will likely never be identical in both breasts, but there are ways you can increase your supply in the slacker boob if you are worried it’s not producing enough. First, let’s try to understand why this happens.
Is it Normal to Have an Uneven Breastmilk Output (aka, a Slacker Boob)?
It is very common and normal for women to experience having an uneven milk supply during their breastfeeding journey. I mean, think about this: asymmetry is a normal part of being a human (and a normal part of breast anatomy too).
Yes, we have 2 breasts, but they’re both not physiological identical. For instance, one breast may have more or fewer milk ducts. A woman’s breast also could have an inverted nipple which makes it harder to express enough milk. There could also be medical issues involved.
As you can see, it’s not uncommon for a woman to experience a ‘low milk supply’ compared to the other breast. One fun fact is that for some reason, women tend to find that their left breast is the slacker boob. I researched this and couldn’t find any good reason other than coincidence.
What Causes Uneven Milk Supply While Breastfeeding?
As discussed above, there can be quite a few reasons for having an uneven milk supply. Here are a few more possible reasons:
- Anatomical and symmetry differences: It’s not possible for a woman’s breasts to be created exactly the same. A woman could have uneven breast sizes, uneven milk duct sizes in each breast, and uneven glandular tissue — you get the point here.
- Baby has a preferred side for nursing: Sometimes, babies will develop a breast preference for nursing. If they’re often able to nurse from their preferred breast, it could cause an uneven milk production. However, suppose you are concerned about your baby’s preference to only nurse on one side. In that case, it’s important to notify their pediatrician about the baby’s preference in the event they have any issues such as an ear infection. Practicing different nursing positions might help in the meantime if it’s not a medical issue.
- Breast trauma or injury: If a mom has had any sort of medical procedure, previous breast surgery, or injury to one of her breasts, that could easily create a slacker side and make the baby prefer one side over the other.
- Forceful letdown: Sometimes, a woman might have a forceful letdown of milk. This makes it hard and uncomfortable for the baby to nurse on and they may develop a preference to nurse on the breast with slower milk flow.
How to Increase Milk Supply in Your Slacker Boob
Once you’ve established the amount of milk you’re producing is uneven, there are some ways you can increase breast milk production in your slacker boob.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re trying to stimulate your slacker boob to produce just as much milk as your other, which means you’ll need to remove more milk from the slacker side. There are quite a few ways to do this, here’s how:
1) Let Baby Nurse on Slacker Breast First
A hungry baby has the biggest appetite at the beginning of their nursing session. So, let them nurse on the lower supply side first! This will help empty the breast and ensure your body is being signaled to make more milk on that side.
Now, you don’t want to just nurse on one side and do nothing with the other side. Make sure you’re at least offering the other side or else you could end up creating a new slacker boob. If your little one only wants to nurse on one side at a time (regardless of it being the slacker breast or not), then pump the other side during or after the session.
2) Add an Extra Pumping Session for the Slacker Breast
Whether you pump or nurse, adding in an extra pumping session AFTER the first can signal your body that more milk is needed. Remember, milk production is a supply and demand process. More demand equals more supply.
If you try this out and don’t notice any increase after a couple of days, you might need to increase the demand more or discuss further steps with a lactation consultant.
3) Try Power Pumping the Lazy Boob
Another helpful way to try and boost an uneven supply is by power pumping the smaller breast milk producer. Whether it’s the right side or the left side, here is how to power pump:
- Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes, finished pumping.
Power pumping is a manual way of mimicking cluster feeding (often experienced during a baby’s growth spurt) in an effort to make more milk. Be sure to only focus on the breast with a low supply. If you pump both sides, you run the risk of creating an oversupply in the unaffected breast which could then lead to plugged milk ducts or even mastitis (a breast infection) if they’re not being emptied enough.
4) Apply Heat to Increase Breast Milk Output
If your milk supply is just barely off, you can try adding heat (these breast compressions work great) to your breast during a nursing session or pumping session. If you usually have a slow letdown, you might find by adding heat speeds up your letdown a bit too.
Here is how heat can help with milk production. Adding heat doesn’t trigger your body to make more milk. It does, however, increase circulation to the area, allowing your milk ducts to open up more and empty more milk. Remember, the more milk that’s emptied means the more milk your body will want to “restock”.
Applying heat directly is my favorite way, but you can also try taking a hot shower and massaging your breasts during the shower to get the ball rolling.
5) Try Vibration on the Low-Producing Breast
Not a fan of using heat to help? Try vibration instead! This vibrating tool is loved by so many breastfeeding moms. That’s because it helps soften and loosen up any backed-up milk stuck in the breast.
The key to massaging the breast is to massage down towards the nipple (as if you’re moving the milk down and out of the breast). Before you know it, you’ll be emptying out more extra milk than you were able to before!
Feel free to share the infographic above & tag me on social media to share these tips with more moms all around!
6) Other Ways to Correct an Uneven Breast Milk Supply
Knowing that breastfeeding is a supply and demand process, there aren’t really many other ways to correct an uneven breast size due to milk supply. You can always be sure to keep on top of your hydration and try out galactagogues if the worst comes to worst, but I’d highly suggest seeing a lactation consultant long before jumping to these routes.
Uneven Breastmilk Output Recap
It’s common for women to have a slacker boob due to a variety of reasons (explained at the beginning of this article). However, there are also ways to bring the milk supply back up to match the other side with a few simple tricks. If you’re struggling to even out your milk supply, reach out to a lactation consultant for help.
Have you experienced having an uneven breastmilk output thanks to a slacker boob? Which tips worked for you?
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