Low Milk Supply
Low milk supply or secretion during breastfeeding is a common concern in breastfeeding women, which occurs due to several reasons.
It is a situation where breastfeeding women are not able to produce sufficient milk to fulfil their child’s milk needs.
Breastfeeding is an essential important source of protein for infants and their development, which is why it widely consider.
Milk, especially breast milk brings several benefits for babies which include:
- Full fill baby hunger
- complete nutrition
- make the immune system strong
- reduce the risk of the digestive tract like diarrhea, colic, and constipation
- make strong and emotionally healthy bonds with each other
- provide long-term health benefits
The breast contains special components that support the baby’s developing immune system which protects from infection and other issues (1)
Additionally, bioactive components in breast milk help the developing immune system of the newborn, protecting it from illness.
Breastfeeding not only brings health benefits for infants, but women also see several benefits which include:
- Reduce the risk of breast engorgement
- help in recovery
- reduce the risk of breast-realted issues like soreness, pain, swelling, and even breast cancer
- cost-effective in comparison to the formula
- help in weight loss
If you experience any breast-related and infants issue, then consult your doctor, it may be some other issue.
The study showed that infants who are breastfed while their 1st year of life are at lower risk of UTI, diarrhea, respiratory, etc.
So in this post, we will discuss low milk supply, what causes it, signs, ways to enhance production, and more.
What are the Causes of low milk supply while breastfeeding?
There are several causes of low milk supply during breastfeeding which include:
It is a common reason for the breast-related issue, even low milk supply, and after delivery within 24-hour hormones come to a normal level.
But prolactin (a breast milk hormone) remains high due to making milk for feeding.
However, other hormones which already disturbed due to diseases like diabetes, PCOS, thyroid disorder, etc may also lead to LMS.
Poor Latching Technique
Where is baby is not able to remove milk properly, over time leads to a low milk supply, which is not good for infants’ and mothers’ health (4)
Insufficient Glandular Tissue
In this condition, women’s breast tissue does not develop as expected leading to a low milk supply (5). but why did this happen?
This happens due to several reasons including:
- It may be a genetic
- hormonal disturbance
- abnormalities development in breast tissue
- environmental reasons like injury, pollutants, etc
In this case, consult your healthcare provider who will diagnose, and then give you proper treatment according to your condition.
Not frequent breastfeeding leads to a low milk supply, but it works like this – more breastfeeding leads to more milk production (6)
Infrequent breastfeeding also leads to breast-related issues, like pain, low weight gain in the baby, and reduce emotional bonding.
So if you are facing breast pain, swelling, and heavy after delivery, then frequent breastfeeding is the best way to relieve it.
Lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, and anxiety about becoming parents affect milk secretion hormones resulting in a low milk supply.
Maybe a Medical Condition
Yes, it may be the mother’s health issues, that may interact with their milk secretion, if it is your reason, then help from a doctor is a good way.
Not only do medical or health issue leads to LMS, but medication also reduces milk secretion like birth control pills, etc (9)
Factors that influence low milk production
There are other factors that influence or attract low milk production which include:
- Breast surgery
- injury on the breast area
- unhealthy lifestyle
- lack of a well-balanced diet
- not drinking enough water throughout the day leads to dehydration and LMS
- excessive caffeine, and alcohol
Study reveals that smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day are highly allied with low milk production and other serious health issues.
Ways To Enhance Milk Secretion while Breastfeeding
Low milk secretion reasons are different for each mother, because some have LMS due to lack of nutrition, and some just have a normal issue.
The doctor may also recommend you some general tips to enhance milk production, because if there are any of these reasons, then it will resolve.
General ways to enhance milk production while breastfeeding include:
It is essential for infants and mothers, where the mother reduces the risk of breast-related issues, and the baby will get all vital needs.
So make sure to breastfeed the baby often throughout the day, at least 2 to 3 times a day, and see if latching is proper or not.
keep Body Hydrate
Hydration is also essential which maintains milk quality and volume, so remember to drink enough water every day.
This not only helps in milk production but also prevents dehydration, here are some other reasons for dehydration are:
- Due to heat exposure
- excessive exercise
- In diarrhea, In medical illnesses such as vomiting, and diarrhea our body loses too much water.
- Excessive sweating
- Fever, due to fever our body removes fluid from the surface of our skin so that our body temperature can be reduced.
- Not drinking enough water which leads to dehydration
Pregnant, and breastfeeding women should consume more water, than normal women, and children require less water than adults.
Along with water, proper nutrients for the mother are also essential so make go with vegetables, eggs, and milk-boosting foods.
Even in most cases of low birth weight, and other pregnancy-related issues, mothers’ malnutrition is found the main reason.
This is another alternative to fulfill your nutrition needs, so make sure if you in medication or have a health issue talk to a doctor first.
Generally recommended supplements for increased milk production are:
- Galactagogues are substances that are found in several foods, herbs, teas, etc and this generally considers for increased milk secretion.
- probiotics are good living organisms that are found in yogurt and other dietary products.
- vitamins and minerals such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, etc
We do not recommend any supplements and medication, because they may interact with your condition, so consult your doctor.
The use of herbal medicines is common amongst women during breastfeeding, while information supporting their safety and efficacy is lacking.
But there are some herbs such as sage, and peppermint that can suppress milk production (12)
It is believed that can promote milk secretion, especially on milk ducts location with gentle hands.
Oil are you used also enhances the benefits of massage with its aroma, and other agents, which creates a tension-free environment.
Study reveals that self-massage on the breast trigger milk secretion, and promotes the flow of milk.
Another study reveals that a breast pump is a good choice after every breastfeeding session.
In addition, massage is also helpful in relieving stress, and anxiety both, by releasing feel-good hormones like endorphins.
There are other several ways to enhance milk secretion such as:
- Consume a well-balanced diet
- Breast pump
- skin to skin contact
- avoid pacifiers, formulas, and bottles
- addressing any underlying medical conditions
- take enough sleep or rest
In this case, consult your healthcare provider which will provide you with medication according to your exact reason for low milk (13)
Prescribed medication for exact reasons for the breast-related issue, such as hormonal changes, and other medical conditions may interact with milk.
When to seek medical help?
It becomes important to seek medical help if you experience any breast-related issue, which even worse your situation.
If you experiencing:
- pain along with a low milk supply then consult your healthcare provider
- milk secretion occurs but the pain in the nipple also occur, may occur due to a blocked milk duct
- any breast-realted issue like breast pain, swelling, heaviness, redness, soreness, nipple pain, etc
- milk secretion but a change in color, apart from yellow like brown, green, and other colors (14)
- if the baby not getting a proper weight, it occurs due to improper latching
- any changes in the baby like change in skin color, frequent crying, etc
- if you experience worse in your symptoms and no improvement, then consult the doctor
- seen lumps, blocked milk ducts, and pus
Remember, breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for both mother and baby.
But in any concern, matter talks to your doctor, and they will recommend you medicine or therapy according to your exact cause.
Low milk supply while breastfeeding is a common concern, which occurs due to infrequent breastfeeding, hormonal imbalance, etc.
If you experience severe breast-related issues and any abnormality in the baby, then consult your healthcare provider.
Make sure to addressing your low milk supply before applying any new therapy, and medication, because it may interact with your medicine.