No or Low Milk Supply after Delivery

Posted by on Sep 14, 2010 in Breast Feeding - Before Delivery | 2 comments

No or Low Milk Supply after Delivery

Some mothers may complain that they have no breastmilk for their babies after delivery or very little breastmilk after delivery.

First rule of thumb is to latch your baby on your breast as soon as possible after delivery. If you can latch your baby within 30 minutes  to 1 hour after delivery, that will be the best. The longer you drag to put your baby on your breast, the chances of delay in kicking start your system to release breastmilk will  be higher. Another reason to put your baby to your breast within this window period is that you want to catch your baby’s most alert moment. During this moment, your baby is very alert to his/her environment. Once you put him/her to your breast during this window period, you are helping the baby in many different aspects:

  1. Helps the baby to regulate his/her body temperature once your baby comes in contact with you skin-to-skin. You do not need to worry whether your baby is too cold in the new environment.
  2. Helps the baby to better regulation of his/her blood sugar and other blood properties.
  3. Helps the baby to latch on the breast and helps the baby to stimulate his/her sucking reflex while the baby is alert. It will be difficult to interest a sleepy baby to learn breastfeeding, if early initiation of breastfeeding is not done.
  4. When your baby receives colostrum during this window period, the colostrum helps to protect the baby from many common infections and boost his/her immunity immediately . This will increase your baby’s survival and lower risk of sudden infant mortality.
  5. Helps your baby to feel secure and not cry frantically after delivery as the environment is very foreign to him/her.

Not to mention that there are also advantages for you as a mother to start early initiation of breastfeeding:

  1. Helps your body to send signal to your brain to activate the appropriate hormones to release and produce colostrum and breastmilk. The more you wait to put your baby to your breast, the more difficult to activate these hormones. Hence, you need to stimulate your body by putting your baby very often on your breast to suck.
  2. Helps your uterus to start contracting once your start breastfeeding.
  3. Helps your body to deliver the placenta faster and prevent excessive loss of blood after delivery.
  4. Helps you relax as you breastfeed and divert your attention to your newborn baby.

Having said so much on early initiation of breastfeeding, all is not lost if you miss this window period for whatever reasons. The moment you can breastfeed your newborn baby, just latch him/her on. If possible, room-in with your baby during hospitalization and go on demand breastfeeding. Start with 5 minutes each on both breasts. When you find that your baby is sucking more, then extend to 10 minutes each on both breasts. Slowly increase to 15 minutes each on both breasts. This constant sucking by your baby will help to stimulate your body to start producing and releasing colostrum and breastmilk.

The next important factor is to make sure you have a well-balanced diet and constant adequate hydration. This will help your body produce enough breastmilk especially when your body is new to breastfeeding. Next factor to take note is stress. You have to ensure you get adequate rest and do not hesitate to ask for help around the house. This will help you to concentrate on breastfeeding your baby especially the initial period.


  1. Hi, Jophia. I have met some challenges in terms of low milk supply. Despite all that I have tried-breastfeeding right after delivery, rooming in, feed frequently whenever baby shows hunger cue, from the 2nd week onwards, my breats become very soft during the day and the milk doesn’t fill in much at all before next feed. With the increasing milk intake of the baby, the milk is so little and flows so slowly that baby pulls the nipple in frustration and cries, then she falls asleep at breast without success. If taken away from breast she’ll show hunger cue soon again. This is throughout the day. So she’s been nursed very often but not been fed much. And I get very tired.
    I don’t mind being tired, it’s just hard to see baby goes unsatisfied for a prolonged period. Any way out?

  2. Dear Kay,
    I know how you feel. My baby boy was like that during his first month too. He was constantly on my breast. That really got me so tired. There are many reasons and factors for the low milk supply and the constant hunger cues.
    You may want to look into a few factors in regards to your low milk supply:
    1. Your diet – make sure you eat a well-balanced diet and fill your tummy. Don’t worry about dieting at this point of time. You need the food fuel as your
    metabolism rate is high as your body is producing milk. Please ensure you are well hydrated throughout the day.
    2. Enough rest – Tiredness will cause stress on your body. This will also affect your milk supply. If you are feeling tired while breastfeeding, experiment with
    different breastfeeding positions to find which one will help you to relax and make you feel more rested while feeding.
    3. Stress – Stress from external environment or feeling the anxiety due to the whole breastfeeding situation may also affect your milk supply. It is also good to
    have a supportive friend/ breastfeeding support group/ husband so that have a outlet for you to relieve your stress.
    4. Physiological factor ie milk supply is naturally low – Sometimes, it is just a perception that milk supply is low. If you find that your milk supply is decreasing,
    you may want to try out the chinese green papaya and fish soup and some other chinese soups that
    known to help the body to increase milk supply. If you are thinking of taking certain natural herbs
    medication, please consult a lactation consultant that you know or near you for advise.

    In normal circumstances, as long as there is stimulation on the breast by the baby (or artificially expressing breastmilk by the mother), the body will continue to supply breastmilk as needed. Of course, there are certain exceptions whereby professional help is needed. Feel free to seek a lactation consultant help if you are still in doubt or situation does not improve for you.

    Regarding baby hunger cues, you may find this article helpful: Cluster feeding part 1 and cluster feeding part 2.

    Do let me know or seek a lactation consultant help if situation has not improve for you. The consultant may need to go deeper to analyze what is the problem and explore further with you of other methods. Please don’t feel despair, you are not alone. Talk it out with your friends or call for help.

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