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Lopsided Bustline

The Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Breastfeeding > Lopsided Bustline


June 2002

Throughout my entire nursing experience one breast has always produced twice as much as the other. I am now weaning my 7 month old son and the breast that does not produce as much has completely shut down. The other is quite large compared to this, and it makes for a very uncomfortable situation. Has anyone ever had this problem? Will they eventually go back to the same size, and how long will that take? I am now expressing to relieve, not to empty. Lastly, I have noticed that the one that has shut down is now smaller than before I was preganant. Is that normal too? Thanks.


I had the same problem. Once I started solid foods I noticed a huge difference in breast size (left much larger than right) and production. It kept up until weaning at about 13 months. Then, both breasts got small again (only slightly larger than before pregnancy) and a bit droopier, unfortunately. But, they now (about 2 months later) seem to be exactly the same size. I've heard and read that this happens a lot.
I can only answer the last part of the post -- yes, it's normal for some women to have smaller breasts after weaning, and as far as my experience goes, it is a permanent change. My doctor said that my body figured out how much breast tissue I need to support a nursing baby (not much, evidently, despite the fact that both my kids were extra big), and that's what I am left with. Took me a while to accept the grim truth that I have the same cup size now I had in 8th grade, but oh well. You probably won't stay lopsided, but I didn't have that particular experience. Don't fret; it'll be okay
Wendy
I had the same problem as you. DONT worry your breasts will go back to their normal size once you have weaned completely.
June 2002

Most of you are laughing right now, but I DO have a serious question if you'll read on...

My right breast has always been a bit larger than my left, though the difference, I think, is visible only to my husband and myself. While I was breastfeeding my first child, however, the problem steadily worsened. After about six months I also noticed a difference in the milk supply. In a typical pumping session (which I did fewer than ten times per week) I would easily get 4+ ounces from the right side and only 2 from the left.

Around this time, I first introduced solid foods to the baby's diet, and though I continued nursing for nearly another year, I often worried that he was not getting enough of his calories from breast milk between 6 and 12 months -- he loved to eat, and showed less and less interest in nursing.

Now, with a newborn, I'm noticing the size difference again. I've only pumped a few times, just to get the baby accustomed to occasional bottles for my future convenience, and sometimes I get equal amounts. But sometimes, as before, the left side yields only half as much milk. I've also noticed that my baby sucks less vigorously on that side during afternoon feedings (nights and mornings seem fine).

Obviously, I'm bothered by the cosmetic issue here, but I'm also concerned that the problem led my first child to wean himself to solid foods too rapdily. Milk production is supposed to be a supply-demand process, I know, but I can't help worrying that my body was getting it wrong! Am I way off-base? This time around I've been starting every feeding on the left (low-producing) side in hopes that my very hungry baby will stimulate better production, but so far I see no improvement. Should I stick with this experiment, or might it cause other problems? It may also be relevant that I took Micronor while breastfeeding the first time. And what about the fact that I'm right-handed? I'm open to all theories and advice!

Thanks
Still hoping the problem's not obvious...


I have exactly the same bust as you. The difference has become more pronounced after breastfeeding my 2 children. My right breast fills my bra, while my left one leaves the material a little baggy. My right breast has much more breast tissue, and more lactating ducts, than my left. It fills up more that the left one, and always has more fore milk. The left one has more hind milk and sometimes my 22-month old seems to really enjoy the richer milk from it. Other times she seems to want the higher volume from the right. I also could pump twice the amount from the right than I could the left. Lot's of women have lopsided breasts. The only draw back for me is that I have never been a big milk-producer. I breastfed more frequently in order to keep my babies full when they were little. I gave up pumping earlier because I could not fill the bottles, but fortunately my supply kept up so that I could continue part-time nursing for quite awhile into their toddler years. I think you are doing fine as long as the babies are gaining weight. Don't worry about how much the babies are getting and just enjoy the nursing relationship for as long as you and your family wish to continue it.
Jeanne
I too have a lopsided bustline accentuated by breastfeeding. And have twice the output of mm on the left side. I tried to increase my output on the right by nursing him more often on the right, similar to what you are doing, but to no avail. I pretty much gave up on that. I don't know about weaning since my son is 13 1/2 months has no indication that he wants to wean. It may just be what your first child was ready for, the second may be entirely different. Happy Nursing and Pumping.
Joelle
with both of my kids (now 4 and 2), i had much more milk production from my right breast. this was noticeable only when i pumped. sometimes i would have twice the amount on the right side. however, when the baby was nursing, s/he didn't seem to have a preference for either side. both babies were healthy eaters and gained a respectable amount of weight. both kids were (practically) self-weaned ay 8-9 months which fit in fine with my schedule.

cosmetically, i think i am even. i am right-handed and therefore i carry the children on my left side (thus squishing my left breast) and maybe that inhibited milk production. i finally just chalked it up to being right-breast dominant. right breasted mama


I know that by the time you read this, it will have been a while since your original posting, but I just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. Like you, I have a lopsided bustline. My right breast is larger and produces way more milk than my left. I never noticed a size difference until I started nursing. My son is now almost 11 months old and is still nursing frequently.

I first noticed the difference pretty early on, and I checked with a lactation consultant to find out if it was normal. She reassured me that it was perfectly normal for one side to be bigger than the other. She said it would be more unusual for them to be perfectly even! So I hope that sets your mind at ease on that point.

As far as milk supply goes, I have kind of given up trying to get my left side to produce as much as my right. I make it a point to nurse on my left side as much as possible, so that I don't get completely noticibly uneven (particularly if I suspect that he's not super hungry, but just wants to suck.) Unfortunately, my son does not seem to fill up on that side the way he does on the right, so I end up nursing on the right more than I might like to. One thing that helps a little is to pump on the left but not the right. This increases the demand for the left side and stimulates the milk production. It doesn't completely solve the problem, but it helps.

I have no idea what will happen once I start to wean. Good luck and don't worry.
AM


Based on my experience, I don't think you need to worry about any of those issues! My breasts differ in that the nipple on one side is completely flat. The other is normal. We struggled to get my son to learn to use both for the first few months after he was born, but the normal nipple was SO much easier for him, and he was so hungry, that that side was regularly producing about 5 ounces of milk per feeding, and the neglected side about 1 ounce, or less. After three months, I began asking around, and discovered something no-one had ever thought to tell me -- it's perfectly ok to just nurse on one side! The baby gets plenty of food. (Think of it this way: a mother of twins produces enough milk to nurse two....)So I quit trying on the difficult side. After a week or so of some discomfort, that side stopped producing, and life was great, if quite a bit lopsided. We nursed off the one breast until my son was weaned, tapering off after 12 months to completely weaned by 15 months. Trust me - it's adequate nutrition -- he's in the 90th percentile for height and growing like a weed. If your child weaned earlier, it was just a choice, I think.

Now, approching 20 months, both my breasts are approximately the same size again.

good luck !
Alyson in Oakland


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