Low Milk Supply vs. Engorgement. Why this happens?

Have you ever wondered why some women have low milk supply and others suffer from engorgement?

I have. I belong to the first category, although, I’ve actually never had low milk supply, but I did have tough time with milk production for the first three months of breastfeeding while my friend had a dairy out of her own breast in the meantime! 😉 Anyway, both cases are pretty tough to handle.

Why it happens? Let’s get this straightened out.

Right off the bat, let’s dispel a myth – the quantity of milk your breast produces DOES NOT depend on your cup size. I know many women with a “C” cup who suffered from low milk supply and, right on the contrary, those who can’t brag about full breasts, yet they turned into a milk plant right after the delivery.

A breastfeeding mother will averagely produce about one to one and a half liters of milk a day. I am now talking about the established lactation, which kicks off at about 9-10 weeks after delivery. However, some women can produce up to 4-5 liters of milk per day. Why this happens? Usually, it is the result of excessive nervous irritability, or enchanted production of prolactin (the hormone responsible for milk production).

There are also women who cannot produce enough milk. This condition is called hypogalactia. It can be developed both right after the delivery and later in the process of breastfeeding. An incipient hypogalactia reveals itself within 10 days post partum. It can strike, for example, as a result of some hormonal issues or difficult delivery. Late hypogalactia develops in the process of breastfeeding. The reasons one suffers from this condition may include anemia, gestational toxicosis, severe blood loss during childbirth, as well as postpartum infections.

Mind also that there’s a ‘golden rule’ for successful milk production – sleep more, stress less, and don’t forget to eat nutritious food in the process! 😉

Hence, it follows that low milk supply can be caused by malnutrition, over stressing, and lack of sleep. On top of that, poor latching is the biggest concern for low milk supply. So, make sure the latch is right. Some type of supplements may also affect your milk production.

A total lack of milk in nursing mothers is extremely rare. Reasons for that might be either the deficiency of glandular elements of milk tissue, or severe physical depletion due to psychological shock, for example, or poor diet.

If you experience lack of milk, or its production is noticeably decreasing, DO NOT PANIC! Mind that your ability to produce milk will go back to normal once you eliminate the factors that led you to lactation suppression. The most important thing here is to breastfeed as much as possible.

Statistical data show that even women who have never given birth were able to breastfeed after trying to nurse a newborn with their breast. The nature has everything figured out! 🙂

What about you? Did you have issues with engorgement so that you needed to pump the excessive milk? Or, on the contrary, did you fight for every milliliter at every possible way?

How long have you breastfed?

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