Slow growth caused by low milk supply

Is my baby’s slow growth caused by a low milk supply?

Most mothers have enough milk. If they don’t, it may be that (a) they never had enough milk, (b) they had enough milk after the baby was born but have less now, or (c) their milk is coming in late. Each of these problems has a number of causes. In each case, the baby will need to be supplemented with milk temporarily or even permanently. 

A) Slow growth caused by a low milk supply

There are many possible reasons for a baby to not grow well. One reason is that the baby’s mother does not have enough milk. While many mothers worry about their milk supply, having a low milk supply is not all that common and most babies grow well.

There are several ways to assess how much milk a mother is making.

When mothers have a low milk supply, they may unnecessarily worry about its quality as whatever milk they produce is nearly always normal.  

A hungry baby should be supplemented with milk after breastfeeding until they are no longer needed. They should be seen by their health-care providers and closely supervised until they are growing well. 

B) Never having enough milk

Some mothers simply do not have enough milk to meet the baby’s needs and have never had enough milk. This can be called is called milk not coming in or failure of lactation. Mothers who never had enough milk have poor milk signs.

Mothers who never have enough milk may produce very little milk, a nearly normal amount, or something in between. There are many possible causes.

Unfortunately, it may be difficult to increase a milk supply in this situation.

C) A reduced milk supply

Never having enough milk is different from a reduced milk supply. The latter occurs when a mother with a full milk supply after the birth of her baby, sees a decrease in supply so that she can no longer provide enough milk. This can be called losing your milk.

Mothers whose milk supply is reduced would have had good milk signs in the first weeks after the baby’s birth.

There are many possible causes. The most common one is increasing use of bottled infant formula

For mothers with a reduced milk supply, it can be possible to increase the supply.

D) Milk coming in late

Some mothers’ milk comes in late, on or after Day 5 after birth. This is also called delated lactogenesis. 

Again, there are a number of possible causes.

Some of these mothers will go on to have a full milk supply and others will have a permanently low milk supply.