Sudden hunger pangs of your baby just moments after having his share can get you worried whether you have enough milk to feed him or not. Consequently, you may start worrying about your baby’s weight as well, fearing that your child is not getting the nutrition they deserve to be of healthy weight. Your fears may not be totally unfounded, and there might be several reasons why you are not able to produce enough breastmilk. We’ve explored ten such causes for low breast milk production here.
1. Underdeveloped glandular tissues
For various reasons, some women do not have enough milk-making ducts or glandular tissues in their breasts, which can be the reason behind the low supply of milk. However, this can be easily fixed by pumping your breasts or taking prescription drugs to increase milk supply.
2. Hormonal issues
If you find you cannot produce enough milk, blame it on your hormones. Hormonal problems such as PCOS, thyroid or other issues can reduce the quantity of milk you produce. The good news is that by treating your health issue, you can increase your breastmilk production.
3. Breast surgery
Irrespective of the reason you underwent breast surgery (cosmetic or medical), the fact remains that such surgeries can affect your breastmilk production. Even nipple piercings can have the same effect. However, if you’ve gone through breast enlargement, you may face no trouble in breastfeeding.
4. BCP (birth control pill) intake
For some women milk production remains unaffected by BCPs and other birth control methods, but some witness a reduction in their milk supply; especially if you start retaking them when your baby is four months old. Consult your doctor for possible treatment. He may change your birth control method to boost production.
5. Particular medications
Certain chemicals, such as pseudoephedrine, bromocriptine and methergine, present in common medicines can affect your milk supply. In fact, quite a few herbs, such as peppermint, safe and parsley, also disrupt supply. Consult your doctor for alternatives to these herbs and medicines. Moreover, pumping and increased breastfeeding can also help.
6. Anatomical problems
Often your tiny tot may find it difficult to latch on to your nipples to get their daily dose. For an instant, they may have the tongue-tie, because of which they may not be able to push the milk into his mouth properly. A cleft lip or a cleft palate can also make it difficult for your baby to extract milk.
7. Not breastfeeding during night time
You may try all the tricks in the book to make sure your baby sleeps through the night but not feeding your baby at night can make your milk supply drop tremendously. Prolactin levels are higher at night and are responsible for signaling your breast to make more milk. Therefore, if you wish to fix this, nightly feeding sessions are important.
8. Timing feeding sessions
Breasts are constantly producing milk and the rate at which they do so depend on how much milk is left in them. You’ll make more milk when your breasts are empty. But if you schedule feeding your baby with a long gap in between, your breasts may remain full and hence supply maybe low. It’s a good idea to have more frequent feeding sessions.
9. Jaundice or birth medications
Certain medications that are given to you when you are in labor can prevent your baby from latching on properly. Also, if your baby got jaundice when he was born, then he may not wake up to feed often, which means your breasts will be fuller and hence not produce much milk.
If you start feeding your baby formula in the first few weeks itself, then your breasts capacity to produce milk comes down. This is because your breasts produce milk better when it is removed frequently; if not, the production is hampered.
If your problem is not covered in the ten reasons above, it will be wise for you to schedule an appointment with your doctor. He may recommend you to supplement with formula or prescribe some medications depending on your case.