Insufficient or Delayed Milk Production
Do not wait to get help if milk production is ever a concern. The sooner you intervene, the better. Ask a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and your physician to help you figure out what might be the problem affecting milk production, so that you and your baby can begin to correct it.
Infrequent or insufficient breastfeeding (milk removal) is the most common reason for a delay in the time when the milk "comes in," for insufficient milk production, or for any drop in production. A review of the number and length of breastfeedings should always be first thing you do if you are ever concerned about milk production.
Occasionally, a mother has a health condition that may temporarily delay the large increase in milk production usually seen between three to five days following birth (postpartum). These mothers do not begin to obtain large amounts of milk until seven to 14 days after giving birth. If this happens to you, do not feel discouraged. Continue to breastfeed frequently even if you also must give your baby a breast milk substitute for a few days.
Research has yet to discover whether the cause for a delay in increased milk production is due to a health-, pregnancy- or birth-related condition itself, certain medical treatments for such conditions, or a delay in frequent breastfeeding that often occurs with such conditions. Some of the conditions, or treatments, that experts think may contribute to a delay include the following:
- severe stress
- cesarean (surgical) delivery
- postpartum hemorrhage
- retained placenta fragments
- infection or illness with fever
- diabetes - juvenile, adult-onset and gestational
- thyroid conditions
- strict or prolonged bed rest during pregnancy
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.