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What can Cause Low Milk Supply in Breastfeeding People

 There are risk factors for low milk supply that are biological, and there are causes that are within your control.


What are the biological issues that could stop your body from keeping up with demand?

A small number of new moms have difficulty producing enough breast milk due to medical reasons, which include:

  • Excessive blood loss (more than 500 ml/17.6 fl oz) during the birth
  • Retained fragments of the placenta can delay your milk coming in (which usually happens around three days after the birth).1
  • A history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, thyroid or other hormonal disorders. Moms with these conditions sometimes experience a low milk supply.2
  • The rare medical condition mammary hypoplasia, in which there isn’t enough milk-producing glandular tissue within the breast.3
  • Previous breast surgeries or breast trauma – although many moms who have had surgery go on to breastfeed successfully.4
  • Moms who deliver prematurely, or who were separated from their baby after delivery, can struggle with their supply after the first few weeks.

A reduction in milk production because of a medical condition only occurs in less than five per cent of mothers. These medical conditions may mean that there is a limit to how much milk your body can produce, or perhaps it needs a bit of extra help from a medical professional. If any of these medical conditions applies to you, see a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist. You can have the conversation with your doctor or consultant before baby arrives.


Here’s a list of causes for low milk supply.

  • Slow start with breastfeeding, not enough milk was removed from our breasts in the early days after birth
  • Your baby is not attaching well at the breast.
  • Your baby does not feed often enough.
  • Your baby does not feed effectively at the breast.
  • You have started using formula milk as well as breastfeeding, dropping the demand.
  • You have recently had mastitis.
  • You are taking oral contraceptive pills containing oestrogen.
  • You smoke cigarettes.
  • Some medications, including over-the-counter and herbal preparations such as cold/flu tablets, may reduce your milk supply.


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