Helen Borg is a senior midwife and infant feeding specialist who heads up the drop-in breastfeeding clinic at Mater Dei hospital. As mentioned in the series intro, Helen will cover common issues that can arise when feeding your newborn, giving professional advice and reassurance to help make your journey run smooth.
Q. When one breast produces more milk, what can you do get the balance better between the two?
It’s not always possible to get the balance perfect, purely because breasts tend to be different sizes and have different quantities of functional breast tissue. You should, however, aim to feed equally from each breast. What mothers tend to do without realising is, they find one breast more comfortable to feed the baby from, so they end up unconsciously doing two feeds to every one. This is because if you’re not aware or can’t remember which breast your baby fed from last time, you automatically go for the one you feel more comfortable feeding from.
There are a few things you can do to make it easier to remember. For example, if you’re not leaking any longer, after a feed, take a breast pad and place it in the cup of the other breast, that way you’ll know which side you should feed from when the time comes. If you’re still leaking, you can put two pads in one cup and one in the other.
There are also little pins that you can buy to pin on the bra cup, which you would then swap to the other cup when the feed is done. The only thing with these is that you have remember to unpin and pin, and as a busy mum, anything that creates more work can sometimes defeat the purpose. But if you want to bling up your bra, then this might be the solution for you!
In some cases, it’s the baby who causes the imbalance, with some just preferring one side to the other, almost like “this one is chocolate and this one is vanilla.” It could be down to a difference in flow between the breasts, i.e. the baby may prefer a faster flow to a slower one, or vice versa, or it could be that the baby just feels more physically comfortable lying on one particular side.
The thing with babies is they’re going to do what they want to do, not what you want them to do. If you feel like they much prefer one side, rather than getting yourself stressed or preoccupied with getting them on the other side, it’s better just to focus your pumping and expressing on the side that gets the least attention.
When it comes to spare equipment for new mums, the breastfeeding clinic relies on donations, so if you have any of the following that you no longer need, you can drop them off at the clinic where they will be gratefully received!
-Small nipple shields
-Milk storage bags or containers
If you find yourself struggling or looking for additional advice, don’t hesitate to contact the breastfeeding clinic at Mater Dei hospital.