Why does one breast produce less milk when pumping?
- Different breasts have different sensitivity to lactogen
Lactation hormone is a hormone that promotes the secretion of more milk. The difference in milk production between the left and right side may be due to the different sensitivity of the two breasts to lactation hormone or the different blood circulation and daily stimulation received by the left and right breasts, the side that is less sensitive or less stimulated will produce less milk.
- Being worried or stressed
Stress is the first thing that makes it hard to make milk, especially in the first few weeks after giving birth. Hormones like cortisol can make your milk supply go down a lot when you don't get enough sleep and must adjust to the baby's schedule. I've seen women, because of stress, go from having a lot of milk to having none in just 24 hours.
When problems with the supply chain and less formula being made are added, it can make a woman feel more stressed and anxious.
Doctor/ physicians do advice mothers that breastfeeding is important but that mental health is the most important thing when caring for a baby. If you or someone close to you notice that you are showing signs of stress, anxiety, or postpartum depression, it is essential to have a conversation with your physician and to get the necessary medical treatment. There are a lot of new mothers out there who are determined to handle everything on their own, but I strongly advise you to solicit and accept assistance from your partner, family, and friends so that you can get some rest, feel better, and maintain the production of enough breast milk for your child. They are unable to nurse a child, but they are able to assist with other chores around the home, such as cooking, cleaning, and washing.
- Babies suck on different breasts for different amounts of time
When a mother breastfeeds, she will find that her baby prefers one side of the breast, and when only one side of the breast is suckled, the other breast receives less stimulation and there will be a difference in lactation between the two sides.
- Not getting enough to eat or drink
After giving birth, it can be tempting to go on a diet to lose the "baby weight." Ensure you eat enough to replace the 500 calories you burn daily from breastfeeding. Between meals, you could eat a healthy snack like an apple with nut butter to make up the difference in calories.
Getting enough water is also important for making breast milk. How much breast milk you can make depends on your intake of liquid. I tell women to put a bottle of water in their diaper bags for themselves. When my infants were little, a friend of mine advised me to drink a glass of water before, during, and after each nursing session. It was a helpful way to remind myself and my patients to drink enough water throughout the day.
- Getting sick
Getting a bug or virus like the flu, a cold, or a stomach virus won't reduce your milk supply. But symptoms like tiredness, diarrhea, vomiting, or a loss of appetite can be.
When you're sick at home, ask for help to make enough breast milk to feed or pump your baby. And don't forget to get your COVID-19 vaccine. It is safe and effective for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
When does breast milk get made again?
Always, even when you're nursing or pumping.
Since your breasts always make milk, you can never get them empty. One way to explain how breast milk is made is to compare it to a running sink. As water goes down the drain, more water comes in. Even if you pumped or nursed all the time, milk would still come out as it was made. You can also use wearable breast pump to aide your pumping processes, by using this breast pump you tend to produce more milk.
This means you don't have to wait a certain amount after nursing or pumping for your milk to come back. When you're a mother who breastfeeds, it's always good for you.
But how quickly does it fill up again?
This depends on several factors:
Prolactin levels change throughout the day: They tend to be the highest overnight, early morning, and lowest in the afternoon. That could mean that a woman's milk might return faster at 3 a.m. than at 3 p.m.
Empty breasts: The faster milk is made, the emptier the breasts are. This means you will make less milk if you leave a lot of milk in your breasts after the last time you pumped or nursed.
Your milk supply: More milk will be available to the baby sooner if the mother has an increased milk production (because more milk is being produced overall).