One Sided Nursing

Updated on August 15, 2009
K.H. asks from Seattle, WA
11 answers

Hello fellow moms,
I've posted before about the breastfeeding questions/issues I've had and you have all been so helpful. I have one more for you that I could use your advice on. My 3 month old daughter does not nurse on my right side because she does not latch well even after seeing a lactation consultant. I will nurse her on that side in a pinch (if I have a clogged duct or am not able to pump. When I do, I always end up with extreme soreness. My milk supply has been inconsistent lately even though I typically stick to a schedule - give or take an hour - of when I pump where I sometimes get 4-5oz and sometimes only 2oz. My question/issue is this:

- After having pumped the right side pretty much exclusively for about 2.5 months, lately it is taking longer and longer to express the milk. It takes awhile to get it going and then when it does, it's a "slow-going" boob where it takes about 20 minutes or longer. Even after 20 minutes, I still have a small stream coming out. Any suggestions/advice for getting the right boob to speed up?

- On the flip side, I return to work in September and would entertain the notion of letting the right side "dry up" so I can save time from having to pump in the moring, after work and again at night (I have a double pump and will be able to pump at work, but don't want to be away longer than necessary to keep pumping the right side). My left side produces plenty of milk (easy 4-6 ozs depending on time of day) and I've already frozen enough milk to fill half of a stand alone freezer. My goal is to freeze enough milk to feed her breastmilk until she's 6 months or so while slowly weaning. Has anyone dealt with letting one boob "dry up"? How lopsided do you get? And are there potential problems I should be aware of?

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So What Happened?

I took her to see my chiropractor and by the third visit, her latch was 99% perfect! I wish I had heard about this appraoch sooner. Oh well, but because I only nursed her on one side and pumped the other, I did manage to store a ton of milk, which is now allowing me to wean her.

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

My son really struggled on the right side too. He screamed when on that side since he couldn't latch on comfortably (his neck was always tilted to the one side because of how angled he was inside of me). I remember being in tears trying so hard to make it work on that side and trying every possible nursing position. I tried everything but refused to give up since the right side started to get painful and I couldn't seem to pump enough (it seems like very little came out of that side). I ended up nursing him in front of a running vacuum when he was on that side. That white noise calmed him enough to finally latch on. Still, the first 5 months on that side were hard for both of us to make work, but it did get easier over time. Ironically, that was his favorite side as he got older and that was the side where I started to produce more milk in the long run. I know of lots of mom who got really lopsided and stayed that way for life who just nursed on the one side (probably not every mom though so maybe you don't need to worry). I do understand your pain with not being able to get them to latch onto the one side. No lactation consultant could help me either and I called them constantly the first month since I was determined to make it work. Persistence does pay off though. Another trick I used on that side was to pinch that breast with my one hand so I could force the nipple to the roof of his mouth to help him latch on and that trick helped significantly.

Not sure if any of this helps. I just wanted to offer you some encouragement that the baby could nurse from that trouble side with A LOT of determination on your part and it can get better. Babies respond to different white noises to calm them though. My son liked the vacuum and hair dryer. I've heard of some like rock music and others like calming sounds.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I strongly suggest that you not let one side dry up. I really think you're going to end up with a misshapen breast/nipple issue. That might not seem like a big deal today, but down the road you are going to be kicking yourself in the butt! ;) I would say since that since you both are a bit more experience at the whole nursing thing, you should try to force the drying up boob on baby a bit more. Try to push both of yourselves through the frustration and get that one going! I had a breast that was more productive and one that was less. And I never gave up on the slow one, because it doesn't really matter which one is giving more. All that matters is that they are nursing on both sides and that they are getting enough total nourishment.



answers from Portland on

I know women for whom the breast size was dramatically different when one was filled with milk and the other wasn't, but I don't think any of my friends tried a one-breast thing. If it doesn't bother you, physcially, I wouldn't see why it would matter. I'm a little concerned abut the baby developing 'sidedness' that might be inappropriate for later balance or something ...?

I echo the cranio-sacral suggestion with the addition of the more general chiropractic ... in case it is a spinal misalignment.

I had a duct in my right breast that plugged up once or twice with each baby within a month of birth ... got the Old Wives' advice that the lower jaw is the stronger suction ... I literally put the baby on the middle of the bed and my breast above their mouth and then rotated around until I got the painful duct and their lower jaw aligned, then lowering down to get them latched, then figuring out if I could pick them up (sometimes) or if i just had to kind of hover there ;). Crazy things we do ;)!!

There was one hold I don't know if you've tried, I think it was called the Football Hold in the book I read, where you essentially tuck the baby under your arm so its feet are behind you and its head is at your breast ... this might solve the side-preference issue? It's a lot easier when the baby is very small, unless you have a Boppy or some other pillow to help hold up the baby.



answers from Portland on

Something that helped me a lot was the Medela Supplemental Nursing System ( It's a bottle/canister that you can put milk in and it has long tubes that you can tape to your breast. Then your daughter is encouraged to latch because there is milk there for her. Because the breast never reacts to a pump quite as well as it might to a baby (natural instinct and all). This will also help to stimulate the production in that breast due to the skin-to-skin baby contact and sucking stimulation.

It takes a bit to get the hang of getting it in your baby's mouth sometimes, but IT IS SO WORTH IT and you get the hang of it in a short while if you don't give up.

Good luck!



answers from Portland on

I know a few people that ended up only nursing from one side. My right side has always been slower than the left. For me it seems to have a lot to do with relaxation.
So if you or the baby feel awkward on that side or you are just stressed about not having that side work so well that may be all.

My breastfeeding answer book says:
"For any mother whose let-down is inhibited or delayed, relaxation exercises, warm compresses before nursing, breast massage, and a calm, undistracted setting may help encourage her let-down setting may help encourage her let-down to occur. Focus on the baby, stroking his hair, enjoying the feel of his skin may help a mother relax and respond to her baby. Sometimes breastfeeding lying down relaxes the mother enough to help her let-down occur more quickly."




answers from Seattle on

Hi K.,
my first thought was to say. hang in there.. the right side will catch up. but every person has their own threshold on breastfeeding and certainly adding work into the situation can be a challenge.

Then it occured to me.. Have you tried different positions with Chloe? I'm sure you likely have, but just in case. Basically you are trying to recreate the very same latch on angle as you use on your left side.. ie.. baby is still looking at you at same angle,.propped up at same comfort level,. etc.. for some reason she does not prefer the right. fake her out and make her think she is going lefty :)

when you say it 'hurts' & there is soreness after you do finally want to use the right side. hot compresses work well..use before you nurse and then again after..only a few minutes don't make it chore. fill-up a sock with rice and pop in the micro for a minute and then just re-use it over and over.
The poor latch on bruises the nipple and surrounding tissue and IT does really hurt and if you don't nurse the right side regularly.. it's not unfilling and filling up properly and this causes pain in the ducts too . (my lactation consultant called it 'a re-filling pain).

lastly,. after going thru yeast and breast problems with my first son.... it took almost 3 months for things to finally balance out and so hopefully you are almost at this same point.

all the best,



answers from Portland on

I would suggest looking into craniosacral therapy....I've got some friends who have had similar problems and after a couple of craniosacral sessions, baby nursed well on both sides...its truly amazing.



answers from Portland on

My only suggestion is to pump and nurse at the same time. I had a difficult time pumping with my second child because let down was not strong enough. If you pump one side while nursing on the other, you can take advantage of natural let down and should get a stronger stream.



answers from Portland on

I had a similar issue with my kiddo. She absolutely refused to nurse on my left side! I pumped on that side for a while, but then it mostly dried up, and the pain of pumping wasn't worth it. Kiddo stayed right-sided for almost 2 years ;) As far as becoming lop-sided, I didn't notice a difference from just normal (non-breast-feeding) breast-size differences. Good luck!



answers from Eugene on

I would take her to a good craniosacral therapist.

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