CHOC Children's
PREGNANCY / CHILDBIRTH :: Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother

Insufficient or Delayed Milk Production

Most mothers worry at some point that they do not have enough milk. A delay in the time when milk "comes in" sometimes occurs in mothers dealing with certain health conditions.

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

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pregnancy & Childbirth

GR_ATP

It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

© Children's Hospital of Orange County