There are two types of causes of low milk supply. Either a woman had a good milk supply that has dropped or she never had good supply to begin with. Lactiful has written a series of articles covering each type. First let’s start the first group of causes of low milk supply (good supply that dropped). Feel free to skip or skim this section if it doesn’t apply to you.
Causes of low milk supply: When a good supply drops.
If you’re a mom who had a good supply that has been tapering off gradually or took a dramatic turn for the worse this section is for you. The good news is that there is probably something that caused the drop in milk supply and once that something is discovered it should be fairly straight forward to get your supply back up!
What follows is a potpourri of common problems that derail milk supply. It’s likely that one of these will have affected you and if so, you’ll have that, “Ah-Ha” moment, where you realize, “That’s what happened!” However if none of these common problems strikes a cord with you, all is not lost. You can use your newfound understanding of the kinds of things that derail milk supply to diagnose what happened around the time when your supply dropped.
- Overexertion or excessive exercise
- Eating foods that decrease milk supply
- Aggressive dieting
- Giving a pacifier
- Giving bottles
- Return of monthly cycle
- Giving solid foods
- Reflux / GERD
Causes of low milk supply: Never started with a good supply.
The previous section covered moms who had a good milk supply that suddenly dropped. This section covers moms who never started with a good supply.
Mom’s like me.
I hemorrhaged badly with the birth of my first child and the resulting blood loss set me up for low milk supply right from the beginning. It was a tough uphill climb but I eventually got my supply where it needed to be and successfully nursed my little boy until he was 2 years old.
Milk supply that starts off low is often difficult to correct and sometimes impossible to correct. In those cases where supply issues can’t be corrected, take heart, you can still have a good nursing relationship. See our article for coping with chronic low milk supply [LINK COMING SOON].
If your milk supply issue is correctable, it may be a long and difficult road and it’ll require equal measures of courage and patience. I’m sure you’ll agree that the rewards of giving your baby the best start in life are worth the effort! Let’s get started.
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Baby’s medical issues
- Tongue tied
- Incorrect Latch
- By-the-clock breastfeeding schedule
- Large Nipples
- Inverted Nipples
- Placenta Problems
- Especially soft breasts
- Breast Reduction Surgery
- Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Thyroid Problems
If your milk supply had been good but has recently dropped and none of the above scenarios seem to fit, try to think what was occurring around the time when your supply dropped. Sometimes the answer is as simple as a growth spurt. A baby that is breastfeeding all the time and complaining that he’s not getting enough milk can make any mother feel like she has low milk supply, but in reality, baby wants as many calories as he can get.
If you can’t think of any reason for your recent drop in milk supply, the best thing is to treat the low milk supply directly. See our article on the 11 ways to increase milk supply.