After giving birth, many women find themselves with a surprising lack of breast milk. This condition is known as hypogalactia. It’s caused by the mammary glands failing to produce the amounts of milk required for breastfeeding.
If you’re expecting, read along and learn more about this condition.
What is Hypogalactia?
Hypogalactia is a condition where the body doesn’t make enough milk. It is commonly associated with an insufficient supply of breastmilk or faulty production.
Usually, sucking is responsible for making the body produce more milk during lactation. If the baby isn’t getting enough milk, the body tries to get more nutrients from other places. This makes it harder for the baby to get milk and can also cause problems for the mother.
What are the symptoms of Hypogalactia?
Nursing mothers who suffer from hypogalactia, or insufficient milk supply, often feel frustrated. They also feel helpless. Although there are many different causes of hypogalactia, the symptoms are often similar.
Nursing mothers may find their baby is nursing more than usual yet still seems hungry. They may also notice that their baby is losing weight, has fewer wet diapers, or is irritable and fussy. In some cases, mothers may experience engorgement. There could also be pain and swelling in their breasts.
If you are concerned that you may have hypogalactia, talk to your healthcare provider. With proper care and support, many mothers can breastfeed their babies.
Image Source: iStock
Breast milk not coming in after 2 weeks
After a baby is born, it takes a few days for the mother’s milk to come in. The first milk to come out is called colostrum, and it is thick and yellow. It is full of immunity factors and nutrients. They help the baby fight infection and promote proper growth.
After a few days, the milk changes to a thinner, whiter consistency. This milk has lower fat levels than colostrum, but it is packed with nutrients and antibodies.
Breast milk is the perfect food for a newborn. It is easy to digest and contains all the nutrients a baby needs to grow and develop.
In most cases, breast milk will start to flow within a few days after birth. But, some mothers may not experience this “let-down” reflex until after two weeks.
What causes Hypogalactia?
There is no single cause of hypogalactia. Several factors can contribute to the condition. First, many mothers experience a drop in milk production during the early weeks postpartum. It is due to:
Milk production decreases when a mother’s body does not produce enough hormones. These are necessary for lactation. It can be due to various factors including stress, illness, certain medications, and changes in diet or exercise routine. In some cases, medication can resolve hormonal imbalances. Lifestyle changes can also help.
Insufficient Breast Stimulation
Among the potential causes of hypogalactia, insufficient breast stimulation is one of the most common. When a mother does not breastfeed or pump enough, her body may produce less milk.
It can be due to many factors, including work demands, lack of support, and simple fatigue. Sometimes, mothers may not be aware that they need to breastfeed or pump more often.
As a result, their milk production may suffer. If you are concerned about not producing enough milk, speak to a healthcare professional. They can help you develop a plan. They can increase your milk production and ensure your baby gets the nutrition they need.
There are many potential causes of hypogalactia. Stress is often a major contributing factor. When a mother is under stress, her body releases the hormone cortisol which can suppress milk production. Also, stress can lead to poor sleep and interfere with milk production. To maximise milk production, mothers need to find ways to reduce stress levels.
Mother’s milk is nutritious and balances fats. Also, proteins and carbohydrates support a baby’s growth and development. But, if a mother is not eating a well-balanced diet, her milk may not contain all the nutrients her baby needs.
Also, certain medical conditions can cause poor nutrition. These include including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. If a mother is not getting enough calories or nutrients, she may not be able to produce enough milk to meet her baby’s needs.
As a result, poor nutrition can be a significant cause of hypogalactia.
Image source: iStock
Often, hypogalactia is an effect of medications that the mother is taking. Common offenders include antihistamines, some types of antidepressants, and certain blood pressure medications. If a mother thinks her medication is making her have less milk, she should talk to her doctor and discuss about other possible medications.
With proper treatment, most mothers can successfully breastfeed their babies.
History of Breast Surgery
One often overlooked cause of hypogalactia is a history of breast surgery. Breast surgery removes part or all the milk ducts and can disrupt the normal hormone balance. It also prevents the breasts from producing enough milk.
Thus, any woman considering breast surgery should be aware of the potential risks. You need to consult your doctor and ensure that you can still breastfeed after the procedure.
Breast trauma can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or even surgery. With damaged breasts, the cells that produce milk can be destroyed. resulting in reduced milk production. In some cases, previous breast trauma can also lead to changes in hormone levels. It can further inhibit milk production.
In some women, the genes that control milk production are not as active as in other women. As a result, they may produce less milk, even nursing frequently.
How is Hypogalactia treated?
Hypogalactia means insufficient milk supply. It’s a common problem among nursing mothers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a variety of treatments that can help increase milk production.
Many mothers find that increasing the frequency helps to stimulate milk production. Duration of nursing sessions also helps. Additionally, a breast pump after nursing can help empty the breasts. It signals the body to produce more milk.
In some cases, herbal supplements such as fenugreek or blessed thistle may be recommended. It’s to help increase milk production. With proper treatment, most mothers can successfully overcome hypogalactia and provide their babies with the necessary milk.
Are there any risks associated with Hypogalactia?
Hypogalactia, or insufficient milk production, can cause health problems for mothers and infants. For mothers, it can lead to:
- Breast infection
- Intense emotional stress
For infants, hypogalactia can lead to:
In severe cases, it can even be fatal. Thus, if you’re struggling with milk production, seek medical help as soon as possible. With proper treatment, most mothers can breastfeed their infants successfully.
Tips for breastfeeding moms With Hypogalactia
While there are many possible causes of hypogalactia, the good news is that you can also do many things to increase your milk supply. Here are a few tips for mothers who are struggling with hypogalactia:
- Nurse frequently and for as long as your baby wants. The more you nurse, the more milk you will produce.
- Try different positions in nursing. Some positions allow the baby to latch on more effectively. Doing so can stimulate milk production better than others.
- Use a breast pump to express milk after feedings. It will not only help increase your milk supply, but it will also help prevent engorgement. It encourages your baby to latch on more effectively.
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet. Proper hydration and nutrition are essential for all mothers. But they are essential for those who are breastfeeding.
- Seek support from a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding expert. Sometimes, getting your Milk Supply going strong takes a little guidance!
Image Source: Stock
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.