Low Milk Supply

There are people that will struggle to or never make a full milk supply. From 1 month to 1 year, exclusively breastfed babies average 25oz of breast milk per day. True low supply means making less than this when the breasts are stimulated at least 8 times in 24 hours. Chronic low milk supply is linked to either a greater health concern or something out of your control which you cannot change or fix with cookies, teas or even medications and pumping. 

đź—ťLow milk supply that can be increased with time and support:

  • đź’ˇTaking certain prescription medications with a side effect of dropping milk (Sudafed, Benadryl, antibiotics)
  • đź’ˇBaby not feeding efficiently from lack of oral motor skill or tongue tie
  • đź’ˇTaking certain prescription medications with a side effect of dropping milk (Sudafed, Benadryl, antibiotics)
  • đź’ˇNot feeding or pumping enough, especially over night
  • đź’ˇScheduled feedings or over use of a pacifier
  • đź’ˇBirth. Many medications designed to help you labor and deliver actually inhibit baby from latching and feeding effectively for hours to days after birth. Hemorrhage or birth trauma can also cause low supply in the beginning
  • đź’ˇSupplementing, especially in the two weeks after birth

đź—ťReasons for chronic low milk supply that may NOT increase even with maximal support:

  • đź’ˇBreast or nipple surgery, augmentation, reduction, trauma
  • đź’ˇInsufficient glandular tissue (IGT). Breasts never developed during puberty and look tubular or widely spaced. Signs of IGT include breasts did not grow in puberty, or increase in size during pregnancy. No engorgement in the week after birth
  • đź’ˇUncontrolled or undiagnosed thyroid disorder
  • đź’ˇUncontrolled diabetes
  • đź’ˇHormone or endocrine disorders, including severe PCOS
  • đź’ˇHormonal birth control placed/used too soon after delivery
  • đź’ˇNipple piercing that scars shut instead of staying open

There is a mistaken belief that prescription galactagogues, teas, or herbs can cure ANY chronic low milk supply. Before self-prescribing or taking Domperidone, Reglan, fenugreek, or any other lactation supplement, consider having your serum prolactin levels tested and a full evaluation by a skilled lactation consultant. Continue to follow @lalactation in Instagram or see my videos on YouTube for strategies of breastfeeding with chronic low milk supply.