- In This Feature
- Optimizing Breastfeeding
- What Are the Signs that My Body Is Making Milk?
- What Is Normal Engorgement?
- What if Normal Primary Engorgement Goes Untreated?
- What Is Abnormal Engorgement?
- How Do I Treat Engorgement?
- How Do I Build a Strong Milk Supply?
- Is There Anything That Will Interfere with My Milk Supply?
- The ABCs of Building a Milk Supply
Is There Anything That Will Interfere with My Milk Supply?
Because so many variables impact a mother's milk supply, the cause of a low supply is not always obvious. Sometimes the origin of a mother's difficulty remains a mystery and cannot be traced back to any one cause. Of course, having a history of surgery such as breast reduction will affect a mother's potential to produce a full supply; however, she can still breastfeed. Although some factors that affect milk supply are outside a mother's control, many factors are within her control.
Consider Marla, whom we met at the beginning of this article. Most likely, she would have developed a full milk supply if she had breastfed baby Henry early and often during the first weeks of his life instead of having him under the care of a hired baby nurse. Missing out on these early feeding opportunities suppressed Marla's milk supply.
A variety of situations or conditions have the potential to delay the arrival of a mother's mature milk. Having a difficult birth or a cesarean section may delay a mother's experience of primary engorgement. Diabetics may also experience delayed primary engorgement. Even being a large-size woman can put a mother's milk supply at risk. Experiencing greater than expected blood loss while giving birth or having a retained placenta inside the uterus after birth can lead to milk supply problems. Of additional concern are hormonal birth control measures that are prescribed or administered too early in the postpartum period. Birth control hormones can short-circuit a new mother's ability to establish a full milk supply.