Are you wondering how to deal with no breast milk after delivery? Dealing with little or no breast milk production after delivery is one of the most devastating things a mother could face, especially for first-time moms.
Every mom fantasizes about nursing their babies even before they are born. Unfortunately, when the baby is born and there is no breast milk to fulfill those fantasies it is very depressing. But it is not the end of the world.
You can go through it all, and your baby will be fine in the end. In this article, we’ll answer your question about how to deal with no breast milk after delivery. Read on and find out.
What Stimulates Breast Milk To Come in?
Prolactin, Cortisol, Oxytocin, and Insulin are hormones responding to the production of breast milk and are synthesized in a woman’s body throughout her pregnancy.
During pregnancy, breast milk production is triggered after 30 to 40 hours after delivery. During this period, progesterone hormone which is responsible for inhibiting the production of breast milk drops after delivery, and the placenta separates from the uterus.
This drop in the level of progesterone stimulates the production of breast milk.
When Does Breast Milk Come in After Delivery?
After you’ve given birth a couple of days, your breast begins to feel full, this is the first sign that your milk is coming in.
During this period, the hormone prolactin signals your body to produce milk, and this rises throughout the pregnancy.
However, the effects are nullified by the production of another hormone, known as progesterone. This hormone is produced by the placenta, which impedes the body from effectively reacting to prolactin.
As we stated earlier, normal production and supply of breast milk in your body begins immediately after delivery, and the hormones of the placenta have left your body.
During this period some pregnant women notice that their breasts usually leak a little.
Colostrum is the rich, creamy first form of milk your breasts produce immediately after the delivery of your baby. This will provide nourishment-rich fluid to your newborn before breast milk comes in.
Read Also: Breast Milk Smells Like Vinegar (Explained)
What Causes No Breast Milk After Delivery?
Before we go on to answer your question, we need to explore the causes of little or no breast milk production after delivery. The condition can be caused by a lot of factors. Find some of them below.
Our busy day-to-day schedules leave us with less time and less contact with our family, friends, and sometimes, with the aspirations and emotional needs our body needs.
Stress which is the state of emotional or physical tension has been identified by medical experts as one of the core factors for a myriad of ailments.
This includes anxiety, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, depression, and lack of breast milk production.
2. Hormonal Imbalances
This is when you have too much or too little of a certain hormone. This could be a small butterfly-shaped organ, the thyroid gland, though tiny, is important to maintaining a proper balance of hormones.
A thyroid gland that is not functioning properly will cause hormonal imbalances, which leads to low or no milk production.
Among other vital hormones in the body, estrogen, and progesterone play a huge role in breast development, puberty, and the onset of fertility in women.
Prolactin plays important role in milk production during pregnancy while Oxytocin aid with the flow of milk through the ducts.
Insufficient production of these hormones on account of thyroid gland role or any other factor will affect the production of breast milk.
3. Taking Certain Drugs and Herbs
Just like birth control, taking certain other drugs and some herbs can affect your milk production.
Consult with your health care provider about prescription drugs or any other drugs that you take regularly. Herbs like sage, oregano, parsley, and peppermint are all known to play a huge role in inhibiting milk production.
It is best advised to consult with your health care provider and professionals on the diet best suited to boost breast milk production.
We all know pregnancy is a delicate period for women. During this period proper care and attention should be paid to the kind of lifestyle we choose to live.
A poor lifestyle, improper diet, alcohol consumption, drugs, habitual smoking, and high consumption of caffeine can have a great effect on the production of breast milk.
An increase in air pollution, contaminated food and water, and ecological degradation are the harsh actualities of modern life and all of these could interfere with the production of breast milk.
While nothing much can be done to completely prevent ourselves from this reality, however, certain measures in terms of food and water can certainly be taken.
It would also be wise if breastfeeding moms avoid overcrowded and polluted places for a while.
6. Poor Draining of Milk
Normally, the more your baby breastfeeds, the more milk your body produces. If your baby is unable to breastfeed properly, the leftover milk in your breast prevents your breasts to produce more milk.
This is why the breasts must be drained of milk to initiate more milk production. Massaging your breasts can also help with the production of more milk, and ensuring your baby can latch on properly will help with the proper draining of milk.
Read Also: How To Massage Breast For Increasing Size
Delayed Onset of Lactation
Normally, colostrum which is the mother’s first milk after delivery is available in the mom’s breast within 40 hours of delivery.
Breast milk usually arrives between two-three days after delivery. In certain circumstances, breast milk may take up to five days or more to arrive.
What do we mean by delayed onset of lactation? This is simply a condition wherein the breast milk is slow to come in or arrive. A delay in the production of your milk doesn’t mean that your milk won’t arrive.
Certain medical birthing procedures and drugs could be responsible for the delay. Some of the likely causes are as follows.
1. Premature Birth
Some experts claim that a premature birth could hinder breast milk production after birth because the body was not ready for the baby when it came. Was your baby born prematurely? It could be the reason why your breasts are not swelling with milk as you expected.
2. The Use of Birth Control Pills
Studies have shown that the use of certain birth control pills before conceiving and even after conceiving can have adverse effects on your breast milk production.
It is for this reason that women are advised to consult with their doctors first before taking birth control pills.
Some birth control pills are not simple as you think they are. They could cause you some dangers. Always consult your doctor; it will save you a lot of trouble.
3. Poorly Developed Breast Tissues
You know, no two women have the same breasts. Every woman’s breast is uniquely different. Some women have well-developed breasts while others do not.
The level of breast tissue development has a great role to play in breast milk production. Some women do not produce as much breast milk as other women not because there’s anything wrong with their bodies, but because their breast tissues are not well developed.
4. Infections/Underlying Medical Conditions
Your overall health condition has a great effect on your breast milk production. Studies have shown that women with obesity sometimes have problems with breast milk production.
Also, medical conditions like PCOS can affect breast milk production a great deal. If you’re suffering any underlying medical condition and you’re wondering how to deal with no breast milk after delivery? The answer is simple.
Pay a visit to your doctor and make your conditions known. That would help your doctor know the right steps to take in helping you out.
Don’t feel bad about any medical conditions that you may have. They are not death sentences. You’d come out strong, and your baby will be fine.
It is very important to breastfeed or hands express your milk within the first couple of hours after delivery.
Hand expressing or breastfeeding your newborn in the initial days after delivery is vital, as your body will not produce new milk until the old milk is out.
6. Traumatic Birth
The trauma that comes with some birth procedures also affects breast milk production after delivery.
It would interest you to know that women who underwent surgical procedures during delivery tend to have more problems with breast milk production after birth than those who had normal vaginal births.
7. IV Fluids
Administration of IV fluids during delivery could delay the onset of lactation.
8. Blood Loss
The pituitary gland also known as the master gland can be impaired in the event of excessive blood loss during delivery.
This gland, located in the brain, and plays a major role in regulating vital body functions and general wellbeing including lactation.
Remains of the placenta can set off the release of progesterone, which prevents the onset of lactation.
Certain analgesics when administered during labor, can delay the onset of lactation.
One of the key hormones for breast milk production in our body is insulin. Diabetes could cause negative changes in insulin levels, which leads to a delay in the onset of lactation.
Sometimes fear, stress, and insecurities that come from the delayed onset of lactation can further complicate matters and lead to little or no milk for breastfeeding.
13. Nerve or spinal damage
Damage to the nerves that signal to the body for the release of breastfeeding hormones, or damage to the vertebrae in the spine can lead to little or no milk for breastfeeding.
14. Heavy babies
Moms, especially first-time mothers who have babies with an above-average birth weight might go through a delay in their milk production.
Read Also: Breastfeeding Tips For First Time Moms
How To Deal With No Breast Milk After Delivery
Again, we are back to the question. How to deal with no breast milk after delivery? Not being able to give your baby the milk it needs after delivery is a depressing thing, but don’t let it steal your joy nor affect your bonding with your baby.
We have compiled a list of helpful things that you can do in the case of no breast milk after delivery. Read on!
1. Be Kind To Yourself
This is one thing that you should take very seriously. You are not a bad mother because your breasts are not able to produce the breast milk your baby needs.
It doesn’t mean you love your baby less either. As you go about looking for solutions, do not forget to be kind to yourself.
2. Use Pumps
There are myriads of breast pumps designed specifically for breastfeeding. Some of these pumps can be used easily at home, some others require more attention.
You could easily use the hand pumps to stimulate your breasts to produce milk. You know, milk production depends a lot on stimulation.
If the hand pumps do not work well for you, you could always meet up with your doctor to explore better options.
3. Drink Plenty of Water and Get Enough Sleep
Your body requires a good amount of water and healthy food to produce breast milk efficiently. If you’ve not been eating well and drinking enough water, it is time to stop.
Your baby needs your breast milk. Eat well, drink enough water, and try to get enough rest.
4. Increase Skin to Skin Contact
This method is one where you hold your baby close to you, and let your skin rub against each other. This method is known to help stimulate more breast milk. A lot of new moms that have tried this trick have testified that it helped them lactate quicker.
5. Check Your Baby’s Mouth
Sometimes, the problem could be your baby’s mouth. The more your baby sucks your breasts, the more the breasts are stimulated to produce more milk.
Your baby might have a tongue tie which could affect the level at which it sucks on your breasts. When it seems like your baby doesn’t feed well, don’t ignore it. Check its mouth. It could bear some information.
6. Hot Showers and Warm Pads
A lot of women claim that taking warm showers or using warm breast pads helps them produce milk for their babies. You can also give this method too.
There are lots of supplements available in the stores that promise to help you if there’s no breast milk after delivery.
Before you try any of the supplements, please consult first with your doctor so you can avoid mistakes. You should also note that supplements are not meant for everyone.
8. Listen to Cool Music
Listening to relaxing tunes can help you relax and get your breastfeeding hormones flowing again. If you’re pumping, staring at cute pictures of your baby may help as well.
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Symptoms That Will Warrant A Visit To The Doctor
Your baby may not be getting enough nutrients if:
- He appears dehydrated (soft eyes sunken in, or his skin losing elasticity).
- You notice fewer wet and dirty diapers. Newborns should have at least 6 to 8 wet diapers a day after their fifth day of life.
- You notice your baby cries throughout each feeds.
- You notice that your baby is not back to the expected birth weight by 14 days of life. After a decrease in baby’s weight right after birth, your little one should be steadily gaining weight.
- Your baby becomes lethargic or unresponsive.
As a concerned parent, if you notice any of these signs or any indication that your baby isn’t getting enough milk, do not hesitate to contact your baby’s doctor as soon as possible.
They can help determine if there are any other health issues and help ease your mind by ensuring that your baby stays healthy.
We believe we have been able to answer this question now. It’s not easy dealing with no breast milk after delivery, but we trust in your ability to get past it. Don’t fret at all, your baby would be fine!