New Born Care

Struggling to produce enough milk
If you're not producing enough milk

Not being able to produce milk is a common fear, but the good news is that it’s only a reality for a very small percentage of women.

If you’re having trouble:

Watch for cues that your baby is, in fact, getting enough milk.  Your body will produce as much as he or she needs, so as long as your baby is gaining weight and seems satisfied, don’t worry.

Make sure problems like sore nipples or an improper latch aren’t inhibiting your baby from eating as much as needed.  Call a lactation consultant for specific tips and advice, as most milk-production problems are fixable.

Recognize that as your baby goes through a growth spurt and eats more frequently, your breasts may feel less full than normal, giving you the impression that you’re not making milk.

Check to make sure you’re not taking any medications that diminish milk production, like birth control pills that contain estrogen. Continue to feed your baby to stimulate more milk production and, if necessary, try using a breast pump in between feedings.

You might want to get your thyroid levels checked.

Understand that if all options fail and you truly can't produce milk, primary lactation failure is a real condition affecting about 4 percent of mothers. It's usually due to glandular tissue problem, prior breast surgery or Sheehan’s syndrome - in which a postpartum hemorrhage shocks the pituitary gland. It could also be because of blood pressure problems or even anemia.

Most importantly, don't be too hard on yourself or feel any sort of failure. You brought a human into this world, so you have already done an amazing job! The most important thing now is to make sure baby is fed and that you are taking care of yourself as well.

Related stories:


Breastfeeding positions
Breastfeeding benefits
Breastfeeding supply
Lactation aids
Breast care

Written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading pregnancy and parenting resource.


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