Uneven Milk Supply: Should I Be Concerned?

January 12, 2012
Uneven Milk Supply: Should I Be Concerned?

No person is perfectly symmetrical, so it’s no surprise that many breastfeeding moms report uneven milk supply. This is very common, and if you and your baby are comfortable, there’s no reason to try to change it. However, some moms prefer to even things out to relieve discomfort and make feeding more effective for baby. So, let us walk you though some of the causes of uneven milk supply and how to restore balance.


  • Typical Anatomic Differences. It’s very common for mothers to have different sized breasts and milk ducts. This can lead to variations in supply and breast appearance.
  • Forceful or Weak Letdown. It’s also possible that you may have one breast with a more or less forceful letdown than the other. A forceful letdown could be overwhelming to your little one, causing them to pull away from the breast and prefer the other side. Likewise, a less forceful letdown could be frustrating to a hungry belly. To help your little one nurse on the less forceful side, do breast compressions to increase the flow while feeding.
  • Baby’s Preference. Some babies may, quite simply, just prefer one breast over the other. It may be more comfortable to them, or just easier for them to latch. If your baby refuses one breast, ask your doctor to do a thorough physical exam to check for birth injuries or an ear infection. This discomfort could cause your little one to reject certain nursing positions or breasts.
  • Mother’s Preference. Many moms may unknowingly prefer feeding from one breast and spend significantly more time with baby latched on that side. Some moms may prefer holding their little one with their dominant arm or having that arm free to do other things.
  • Breast Injury or Surgery. If you’ve ever had breast surgery or an injury to your breast tissue, your supply and milk flow could be affected. If you think this is the case, consider reaching out to a Lactation Consultant to help you and your baby nurse comfortably from that side.

Restoring Balance

  • Begin feedings on the less productive smaller side. Babies tend to nurse more vigorously at the beginning of a feeding, so start with the less productive smaller side to help increase milk production.
  • Nurse on the smaller side more often during each feeding. Nursing frequently is key to increasing and maintaining supply, so start pumping from your less productive smaller side more often. However, be sure not to neglect the larger breast. Decreasing the time you spend nursing on that side could lead to engorgement, plugged ducts or mastitis.
  • Pump on the less productive smaller side after feedings. At the end of your normal feedings, continue to pump for a few additional minutes, and store that milk for later use.
  • Pump in between feedings. If you can, try to add  a few extra pumping sessions throughout the day, in between your normal feedings. Consider using a hands-free breastpump so you can multi-task while pumping.
  • Use new tactics to encourage feeding on the less preferred breast. There are ways to begin to change your baby’s preferences. Start by trying new nursing positions on the less productive smaller breast, because a new position could bring added comfort to feeding on that side. Also, try offering the less preferred breast when your baby is drowsy. They may be less aware and more willing to feed on that side.

Most moms will begin to notice changes in 3 to 5 days, but remember to be patient. Adjusting any behavior can take some time, so praise your little one when he or she nurses well and keep trying.

Moms, did you notice differences in breast size and supply? Did you make adjustments in your feeding habits to try to even things out? Share your experiences in the comments below.

51 thoughts on “Uneven Milk Supply: Should I Be Concerned?

  1. I am weaning my son and my breasts are extremely lopsided. He is not letting go of that nighttime nursing and I am having a difficult time weaning him. He will only nurse on one side to fall asleep on even though I nurse on both for that one feeding, and its obviously created lopsided milk supply. Is there something that I can do to help decrease my supply faster/wean him off and fix the lopsidedness?

  2. My daughter is now 1 years and one month and I am still breast feeding but one of my breast is very small and the other one is large it’s producing way way way more milk than my other one , any suggestions, on how to even them out please help?
    Or how to produce more milk?

    • Hi Jenny,

      If you’ve tried the tips above and are still having trouble with uneven supply, we recommend talking to a Lactation Consultant as they would be best suited to help you. Please feel free to reach out to our Lactation Consultant here: http://bit.ly/kS0nS0. Or, you can search here to find support near you: http://bit.ly/19nlmzI

      Great job breastfeeding for over 1 year, we’re proud of you!

  3. My son is 10wks old and breastfeeding has been going really well until the last week to week and a half. After a feeding one morning my right breast became extremely tender to the touch and any movement. The next day it became red in the affected area. After this occurred I noticed a drop in the production my right breast was producing. Usually this breast produces double what the left breast does and now I’m barely pumping anything after feelings. I feed every 2 hours and pump in the morning, afternoon and before bed. My son has been sleeping longer stretches through the night and I will wake up with my left breast engorged but my right side barely feels like it has any milk. Is there anything I can do to re establish my production on this side?

    • Hi Britainee,

      First off, congratulations on your new baby! If you’ve tried the tips above and are still having trouble with uneven supply, we recommend that you reach out to a Lactation Consultant or your health care provider for assistance. You can find a Lactation Professional near you by searching here: http://bit.ly/1Kd7R4R

      Keep up the great work!

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