Posted in Blog, Breastfeeding, Life as a mom, Mother, Shawna

The watermelon and the pea

When I first started nursing Quinn, it became evident very quickly that she liked one of my breasts a lot better than the other one. It took me a few days to notice, because there were so many other weird breastfeeding things going on, but I remember remarking to my husband during that first crazy sleep-deprived week that she hated my left breast.

“It’s like she’s scared of it or something,” I said. I remember her tiny little overflowing mouth and how she would gag and reel back in horror.

Of course I get it now. My left breast was and is a super-producer. My right, not so much. They were the same size, but for some reason, the left would instantly refill with milk, and would pour it out like a spigot. The right would dole its milk like from an eyedropper to a glass, and it would take just as long to refill.

My newborn baby was traumatized by the left breast, and preferred sucking away the hours on the slow and steady right. I had to sneak lefty in on her sometimes. Other times, I expressed some milk from the left first, or started from the right and then switched so that initial spurt wouldn’t terrify her too much.

After a few months, she got to the point where she could handle them both like a champ. On the left, she would take big, happy gulps and on the right, peaceful, langurous draws. It worked out best when righty could precede bedtime and lefty could be used for quick nighttime feeds, but it wasn’t the end of the world when it happened the other way around.

When I returned to work (briefly) when Q was four-months-old, I got visual proof of the difference. During a typical pump at that time, I would get four ounces on the left side in six minutes. I would keep the pump on the right side for another 10 minutes, and never got more than two ounces.

The biggest problem in more recent months has been keeping both boobs in the rotation equally. Now that my baby is a toddler, she tends to really prefer guzzling to sipping. Even if I start on the right these days, she often also has to have the left as well, and that means my superperformer is getting used twice as much. Which brings us to the photo above.

No, those aren’t my breasts, but they sure remind me of them. That’s right: I’m getting pretty lopsided. I’m trying to not be vain or crazy about this. My baby is only nursing like four times in a 24-hour period these days, and it’s only a matter of time before that’s only once or twice, and then, within the next year or so, not at all. I do recognize that this is a short-term problem. But for some reason, it makes me feel freaky in a way that all of the stretchmarks, baby fat, hair falling out, etc. didn’t’ even come close to. On the upside, at least it’s a lot more comfy to lie on my right side and read.

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  1. My boobs are the same, but opposite. I always called my right one the “aggressive breast.”

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