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Issues Not Producing Breast Milk

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

Do not wait to get help if milk production is ever a concern. The sooner you intervene, the better. Contact Beaumont's Breastfeeding Support Service and ask for a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). You should also call your health care provider to help you figure out whether you have a problem that is affecting milk production. Together, you should be able to identify steps to correct or treat any problems.

Infrequent or insufficient breastfeeding (milk removal) is the most common reason for a delay in milk “coming in.” It is also a cause of insufficient breast milk production and for a drop in production. You should always review and take note of the number and length of breast feedings if you are concerned about your milk production.

Some mothers have a health condition that may temporarily delay the large increase in milk production usually seen between three to five days following birth. These mothers do not begin to obtain large amounts of milk until 7 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, and treatments, that experts think may contribute to a delay include:

  • severe stress
  • postpartum hemorrhage
  • retained placenta fragments
  • infection or illness with fever
  • thyroid conditions

If you have any concerns about milk production, call your health care provider.