Hypoplastic Breasts and Breastfeeding

Hypoplastic Breasts and Breastfeeding

Guest Post by Chris Barry

It might surprise you to learn that despite issues that moms face when breastfeeding, the percentage of women who physically have a condition that disrupts their bodies ability to produce milk is actually quite low.

Hypoplastic Breasts or mammary hypoplasia (also known as insufficient glandular tissue or IGT) is a condition in which a woman does not develop enough glandular tissue during adolescence and can cause her to be unable to produce enough milk while breastfeeding.

While most causes of low milk supply can be remedied with help, if a mother’s milk supply is not increasing despite all her efforts, then mammary hypoplasia should be considered. 

Today’s guest post touches on hypoplastic breasts and breastfeeding and gives tips on how to continue breastfeeding despite this condition. 

Hypoplastic Breasts and Breastfeeding

While breastfeeding can be challenging for many women, it is especially difficult for those with underdeveloped breast tissue.

Here’s what you need to know about breast hypoplasia.

Diagnosing Breast Hypoplasia

Hypoplastic breasts tend to be smaller than average, although this is not a universal rule. Their shape can also be thin and tubular. The two breasts are sometimes a distinct difference in size or placed far apart with unusually large areolas.

The reason why some women produce little or no milk at all can sometimes be attributed to diet or lifestyle choices.

If you are a nursing mother and you’re concerned about inadequate milk production, the first thing to do is visit a lactation specialist and identify any such factor that could lead to breastfeeding issues or low breast milk production.

If none are found, hypoplasia may be the cause.

Breastfeeding and Hypoplastic Breasts

Everyone knows about the health benefits of breastfeeding.

Breast milk is the most natural food for a baby, containing all the necessary nutrients to ensure the child’s development.

In addition to all its nutrients, breast milk is rich in antibodies that fight off bacteria and provide protection from various illnesses. These antibodies also provide lifelong benefits by helping your baby develop his or her own immune system.

Even if you’re unable to produce all the milk your baby requires, you can still breastfeed.

Even if you’re unable to produce all the milk your baby requires, you can still breastfeed.

Feeding your baby even small amounts of breast milk will provide them with the antibodies needed for healthy immune system formation — not to mention the positive psychological effects of holding your child close to you and bonding with them in this most natural of ways.

For some women, only one breast is hypoplastic.

If this is your situation, simply feed your baby with as much milk as your fully functioning breast will allow, and supplement the rest with milk formula.

How to Increase/Maintain Milk Supply Despite Hypoplastic Breasts

To further encourage milk production, have your baby at your nipple whenever it wants to eat or use a breast pump to stimulate your breasts as much as possible.

One device in particular that can be very useful for women with hypoplastic breast is a supplemental nursing system (SNS), which feeds your baby while boosting your natural milk production.

These systems come with a plastic pouch device that holds milk formula, and thin tubes that are connected to each nipple. Your baby sucks on both your nipple and the tube simultaneously.

This way, it gets both the formula and any milk you are producing, while stimulating your breasts to produce more milk.

Video Showing the instructions for using a supplemental nursing system:

Useful tips for Successfully Breastfeeding with Hypoplastic Breasts

Here are a few simple suggestions you can follow to successfully breastfeed should you have hypoplastic breasts:

  • Consult a nearby lactation specialist to help you plan your breastfeeding routine.
  • Breastfeed as often as possible.
  • Monitor your baby’s weight.
  • Seek out breastfeeding herbs like Goat’s Rue that encourage your body to produce more milk.
  • Use supplementary milk formula.
  • Eat well, drink lots of water, and get adequate amounts of rest.
  • If you have breast implants, first discuss nursing with your doctor before attempting to breastfeed your child.
  • Only consider getting breast implants after weaning your last child.

Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. The most important thing is to give your child as much milk as you can physically offer them.

Even if you suffer from hypoplasia, do your best to take advantage of the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits that breastfeeding provides.

With the help of a lactation consultant, you should be able to provide your baby with all the nutrition he or she requires.

To learn more about how to Increase your Milk Supply, click here.

About the Author

Chris Barry is a medical writer for the Breslow Center. His articles have been featured in The National Post, Medical News Daily, and various online health publications.

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