My Milk Never Came in After Birth

I was ready for the milk to just start flowing like everyone said it would. Only it didn't. The most I ever produced from both breasts combined at one time was just under a half-ounce.

mom and baby, sad baby, newborn baby
Mom holding baby close to her face - Photo by Alexander Grey / Unsplash

This page has stories of mothers whose milk supplies were insufficient. If you need assistance and are wondering why your breast milk is not coming in, here is some information that might be helpful:

If you discontinue your breastfeeding journey, please don't allow anybody to make you feel guilty. It is your body, your choice, and your mental health comes first. Only a happy mommy can genuinely be there for her baby.

Stories of Mothers Whose Milk Never Came in After Birth

Please Do Not Feel Discouraged

Renee's Story

"For all mothers who tried to breastfeed but couldn't, please do not feel discouraged. Your children love you, and you love them. That's all that matters.

I have a beautiful six-week-old son, and I went through the same thing. My milk never came in - the most I produced from pumping was only 10 ml total!

After discussing with my Dr. and lactation consultants, no one knows why I cannot produce. I may not be able to produce breast milk for reasons unknown, but I can still be a great mom to my wonderful child. So ladies, please don't be depressed or feel bad. You are great moms."

Sheehan's Syndrome

Claire's story

"My milk never came in after the birth of my son due to Prolactin deficiency. My pituitary was damaged during labor, not because of bleeding out (the normal cause of Sheehan's) but because my blood pressure went really low for too long after getting an epidural. If your labor was difficult and your breast milk doesn't come in, ask for testing of hormone levels or see an endocrinologist."

I Feel Like My Heart Is Breaking

Annie's story

"My daughter was born through an emergency c-section. I lost a lot of blood, and she was in the NICU for several weeks, very critically ill.

My milk never came in, although everyone at the hospital said it would. I pumped, took herbs, drank tea, tried medication, and pumped some more, hoping it would come in. It never did.

I have been pumping for months to get her a couple of ounces a day so that she could nurse once at night (she won't during the day because she has to suck too hard and long to get anything).

She's six months old, and I decided I should give up the pumping since I was spending so much time and energy struggling with it. My milk has disappeared entirely overnight, and I feel like my heart is breaking, and I feel so alone. I wanted to breastfeed so much, and the internet and doctors make it seem like this never happens."

mom and baby girl, pretty baby girl
Mother sitting outside with her baby girl - Photo by Katie Emslie / Unsplash

I Tried and Tried and Tried, and It's Okay

Lauren's story

"Due to medications I was on, I could not start breastfeeding right away, so my daughter started on formula. When I was able, a lactation consultant helped me get started pumping. I pumped practically around the clock. I was in the hospital for seven days after my daughter's birth. The entire time we were there, I only produced enough colostrum to rub on my daughter's lips.

The nurses told me every little bit helps. I know that my milk "should" have come in while I was still in the hospital, but I was assured that it doesn't always come in 3-4 days after birth, so I didn't worry. However, 14 days after she was born, I only produced tiny drops of colostrum. On the 15th day, I saw a color change, which told me that my milk had come in, but I didn't have any of the sensations of my milk "coming in" that my friends had talked about.

Because my son was solely formula-fed and had no complications or adverse reactions, I had no reservations about giving my daughter formula - I just wanted to breastfeed.

I bought several different milk storage containers. I was ready for the milk to just start flowing like everyone said it would. Only it didn't. The most I ever produced from both breasts combined at one time was just under a half-ounce.

I consulted my doctor, who recommended two herbal remedies and one medication. The medicine could cause depression as a side effect, so I opted to go the herbal route — no change. I am not willing to try a treatment that could cause depression. I'm sad that breastfeeding is not working out, but I'm not depressed, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Here I am, five weeks later, and I know I am close to quitting. My nipples are chapped and have bled, and I have never been able to produce enough milk at once to give my daughter a whole bottle of breast milk.

To all the moms who are depressed, let me offer you this encouragement:

My son was 100% formula-fed. I never felt that my son and I were "less bonded" than my breastfeeding friends and their children. Also, formula feeding allowed my husband to participate in feeding our children actively. He feels that this has helped him bond with our children.

Logically I keep telling myself that ensuring my child is well nourished by any means does not make me a bad mom. It doesn't make any of you a bad mom either."

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I developed Preeclampsia

Jennifer's story

"I felt breast changes during pregnancy; I bought nursing bras, pads, and breast milk freezer bags. I was so excited to try breastfeeding. But at 36 weeks, I developed Preeclampsia and was put on bed rest for two weeks until I had a c-section.

I never experienced labor, my daughter was born two weeks early, and due to her small size (5lbs 8) and the epidural, she was sleepy. After my c-section, I didn't see her for over an hour, which was the best time to start breastfeeding. When I finally tried, she was forced onto me by a rather rough nurse.

My milk supposedly came in, and they weighed her before and after a feeding and said she drank 4 oz. I was elated! But from then on, nothing. I tried every position. They checked her mouth and her latching, and I saw the lactation consultants.

They brought in the pump, and still nothing. I tried hand compression, but barely a thing. We hadn't even left the hospital, and she had dropped to 4lbs 11oz, and we could see her fontanels on her head.

At home, I still had no milk; my pump only produced 1oz between both breasts. I tried two herbs and a prescription with very minimal improvement.

My lactation consultant eventually advised us to supplement with formula because she was worried about her development. But not with a bottle, because God forbid she get nipple confusion.

So I had to do two separate feedings, one with breast milk and one with formula, so we knew she was getting all the breast milk (usually less than an oz). It was put in a syringe attached to a tube taped to my finger, and she would suck on my finger to eat.

Unfortunately, the milk came so fast down the tube that when put to the breast, she would get frustrated and constantly pull away and cry. After about six weeks of feeding her like this, I decided to go on birth control, but I wanted one that would be safe while "breastfeeding." I was told it was safe but would decrease my supply. That was the last straw, and I stopped pumping and breastfeeding and syringe feeding that day.

She gulped her formula from a bottle, which was the most beautiful thing I'd seen in a long time. My baby had a full belly.

I don't know why my milk never really came in; I didn't even become engorged when I stopped. No one had any answers; it just makes you feel like somehow it's all your fault.

I tried everything literally, but I still feel guilty that I could've done more or done things differently."

Finding That Your Body Doesn't Work.

Suzie's story

"My milk never came in, and I have no idea why. Breastfeeding counselors were worse than useless as they just repeated the same advice about demand feeding and latch without listening when I explained that I was already doing that, plus more.

I pumped for weeks, never getting enough to cover the bottom of the bottle. I did try everything, and it is soul-destroying to find that your body won't work. I cried about this every day right up until the weaning stage. I'm planning a second child but terrified that I will have the same trouble again."