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Thread: Left Breast Not Producing Milk at all - please help?

  1. #1

    Default Left Breast Not Producing Milk at all - please help?

    Hello! I am looking for help to understand why my milk has not come in at all in my left breast. I have an inverted nipple and started in hospital with nipple shield and I wonder if that cause production issues? I am feeling 10-12 times a day and pumping after every daytime feeding from both breasts for 15 minutes. I am getting 1-2 oz from right breast and left is bone dry, not even creating condensation in pump. I am trying lactation cookies, oatmeal, fenugreek, another mothers milk tinkshure drops, the mothers milk tea but nothing is helping. What could cause this and how can I get it to produce? I am starting my daughter on the bad breast since I read the latch and suck are stronger initially. We are supplementing because she simply isn't getting anough from breastfeeding exclusively. Please help! Thank you. She is 12 days old today - July 31 2017

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Left Breast Not Producing Milk at all - please help?

    Hi Jessportaro.

    Is it possible that the pump is simply not effective on that side? This is more common than you might think. Have you tried hand expression on that side? When baby nurses, do you have any sense she is getting milk from that side? Do you have any sensation that there is "activity" in that breast at all? (Tingling, pangs, even slight heaviness?) When you used the shield, did you ever see milk or colostrum in the tip? Were you ever able to extract colostrum by hand? If that breast is capable of producing milk, what is vital at this stage is that you get that milk out of the breast in order to give that breast the signal to keep making milk and to make more. So if that pump is not doing that, you have to use whatever milk extraction method (hand, baby, different pump) that will do that instead.

    Let's talk about possible causes. Shields do seem to cause lower production in some mothers, but that typically takes time (weeks of use) to occur. And its use would almost certainly not cause your breast to make NO milk from the start.
    Since you make milk with the other side, hormone issues seem unlikely, although it might make sense to get tested on that, also make sure any retained placenta is not a possibility. But I would suggest that most likely there is some internal issue in that breast. Either that your breast never developed normally in the first place, or was badly injured at some point might cause low or no milk production.

    Whatever the issue, the key to increasing milk production is frequent (10 -12 times or more in 24 hours) and effective milk removal. You are still in the window of time where maximizing your potential milk production is going to happen most readily. After about one month that window starts to rapidly close so your efforts now are very important.

    In fact many moms do make enough milk with one breast. So even if you are not now and will never produce any milk on one side you might be able to exclusively nurse by maximizing the potential of your other breast. At the same time, I think it is too early to "give up" on the non-producing breast but you need to find a milk extraction method that works for that side.

    Usually the protocol for maximizing production when production is low, is to pump (or hand express) after nursing so that the breasts are "emptied." Now, when a baby is nursing a normal amount of times in a day, that is, 10-12 or more times, it can be impossible to pump every time baby nurses and you probably should not try.

    If a baby is not nursing at all, mom is usually told to pump 8 times in 24 hours. In the situation you are in now, where baby is nursing, but one breast is apparently producing no milk and the other might be low.* I think 8 times is a good number to shoot for, but as long as baby is also nursing with normal frequency, you might be ok with pumping/hand expressing 6 or 7 times. Remember this would not be forever, just until you get your milk production up either in the one breast or in both.

    *(Is production low on that side? hard to tell, really, pumping 1-2 ounces when baby is also nursing around the clock is entirely normal output, in fact it is not bead output at this stage even if baby were not nursing at all. But in any case if baby is requiring supplements that breast is not yet making enough.)

    I would suggest rather than throwing lots of different lactation products at the situation, use the most typically effective and use proper dosing. Teas and cookies are usually low dose so you have to eat/drink a lot to get enough. Unless you think the teas or cookies are really helping, I would suggest using capsules or tinctures instead, try to use recognized brands from a reliable retailor like Whole Foods, if you are buying online look for independent reviews from people who seem medicinal herb knowledgable.

    Fenugreek is usually very effective in proper dose, you could also try goats rue and fennel- the fennel would be to help with letdown if that is a part of the problem. Moraga is something there has been lots of talk about lately but not a galactagogue I am familiar with. Of course you must do your research on anything you take as there are possible counter-indications with any medicinal herb.

    More than any lactation food, WATER is vital. Even slight dehydration hurts milk production. You do not want to over hydrate but it is vital to stay well hydrated.

    Pharmaceutical galactagogues- domperidone or reglan- could also be considered.

    You have to be very careful not to oversupplement. Oversupplementing will cause disinterest in nursing and baby will neither nurse often enough or well enough and this will further harm milk production. Remember it is possible for a baby to get enough at one breast. Your baby is not quite 2 weeks old, so at this point in time, about 20-25 ounces total daily intake is appropriate. In the next few weeks that number increases to 25-35 ounces per day, meaning that many babies continue to gain just fine on 25 ounces per day. Some babies do not even need that much, it is an average, so it all depends on the baby. After 4-6 weeks, intake need no longer increases- basically a 6 week old and a 6 month old need the same amount daily, the older baby does not need more. Since newborns (once past any sleepy stage) normally seem hungry all the time, infant behavior is not a good way to tell if baby actually needs more. You can tell that by looking at weight gain and poop output. On any case any supplementing must be done in small amounts at a time with a breastfeeding - supportive method. If you need more info on those let me know.

    I have given you some detailed suggestions based on my knowledge but that is all obviously speaking in general and may not be appropriate in your specific situation. Please do your own research - and if at all possible, have a consultation with a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) ASAP. right away. Here is info on what the consult should look like: http://www.cwgenna.com/lconsult.html

    I also strongly suggest the book making more milk and the kellymom.com articles on low milk production and low pump output. She also has a helpful article on safely reducing/weaning from formula supplements.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 1st, 2017 at 10:18 AM.

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