Is it ever physically impossible to breast feed?

(276 Posts)
ThePowerof3 Tue 30-Jul-13 06:44:06

I know that there can be a lot of mental barriers to breastfeeding but what are the physical ones? Is it ever possible for someone's milk not to come in?

signet Tue 30-Jul-13 06:48:44

Yes. My milk never came in for all 3 of mine. No idea why but it meant I couldn't breast feed mine which was very sad for me.

Onetwothreeoops Tue 30-Jul-13 06:48:48

I don't know why but my milk didn't come in with my DD. I gave up when at almost a week old she had lost too much weight according to the midwife. The actual moment I gave up though was when she sucked so hard she burst a blood vessel. I had blood pouring out of my nipple and she had it all over her face.

I was gutted and felt like I completely let her down.

MrsKoala Tue 30-Jul-13 06:51:03

It was physically impossible for me to breast feed from the left side as i have an inverted nipple. My sister couldn't feed from either side as both are inverted. Mil would have come in if the had have been the demand but the babies couldn't latch so couldn't provide the demand. I tried pumping everyday for hours but it didn't work.

Fortunately old righty filled up and i was able to breastfeed on just one side till ds was 8mo and then he self weaned.

Why do you ask? Are you struggling?

wintersdawn Tue 30-Jul-13 06:53:49

yes I have a condition where I simply don't have the right tissue in my breast to produce milk, can't remember the technical term but during puberty my breasts grew (slightly) but the glands never developed.

Carolra Tue 30-Jul-13 06:54:22

Be careful asking this question, it could start a massive debate. As far as I know, it's very rare for it to be impossible to breastfeed, but it's really common for it to be so fucking hard that its better for all concerned to stop. Dd and I were in the latter category, I know we could do it, because on one occasion, a very expensive lactation consultant managed to get her latched on properly and we could all see it working. But for the rest of the 9 weeks we tried, we never managed it again even with the same consultant. Dd had not gained weight for a month and we all agreed it was best to move on to a formula/expressed milk combo. It was heartbreaking at the time.

ThePowerof3 Tue 30-Jul-13 06:57:53

No luckily for me but I want to volunteer as a BF peer support and wanted to get a better picture of the physical barriers. When I have BF my DCs at toddler groups I have had numerous people comment that they wanted to BF but couldn't but I didn't want to pry into the reasons

thegoldenfool Tue 30-Jul-13 06:57:54

at this exact moment reading ´what to expect if you´re breast feeding - and what if you can´t´

"i do believe that not all women can breast feed (even after help) as our bodies are not perfect and do not always work as well as they should. Breasts are like any other part of our body and nature can no more guarantee they will always work perfectly than for example everyone will have perfect eyesight . . . "

though lots of things to check first, I reccomend this book if you are having problems

thegoldenfool Tue 30-Jul-13 06:59:22

cross posts, good to get an idea of problems!

ThePowerof3 Tue 30-Jul-13 07:01:23

Thanks thegoldenfool and everyone for sharing your experiences, some really tough times there

wintersdawn Tue 30-Jul-13 07:04:55

just remembered it's called hypoplasia glandular tissue.

thetrackisback Tue 30-Jul-13 07:06:15

I bf my son for 2 years produced enough milk to feed a small town. When my twins were born the cupboard was dry. There was just no milk. I had hyperemensis throughout the pregnancy, I lost a lot of blood was physically exhausted and it just didn't happen. I also had one baby with me and one in special care and I wasn't allowed to take the other baby with me so that was another barrier. I wasn't physically getting the rest I needed.

Minifingers Tue 30-Jul-13 07:07:56

About one in ten women will have some physiological problem which will make breastfeeding more challenging (PCOS, inverted nipples, other hormone issues). 2 in a hundred will be unable to breastfeed at all.

With ds1 my milk came in but wouldn't let down or so the mw told me, I later found out it was because ds1 had tongue tie and problems latching. Although we tried and tried and tried again ff was the only way.
With ds2 my milk came in, it took a while to get the latch right, mw was much more supportive and because of my tiny nipples and trouble latching she suggested nipple shields which we got on great with. Apart from the fact that despite also getting up to pump twice during the night, my supply was not meeting his demand. We mix fed, till he got ill with brinchiolitis when he was about 16 week's and couldn't suck at all. He was admitted to hospital and I carried on pumping but was barely getting 10ml after pumping for an hour. I decided to make the difficult decision and guilt filled one to give up and carry on ff.

heidihole Tue 30-Jul-13 07:24:25

I was unable to breast feed. My milk didn't come in. Nothing. Not a drop. It stumped the midwives, they took blood tests to see if it was a hormone deficiency, they checked for retained placenta and they had me pumping day and night as well as baby sucking constantly (poor starving creature).

Milk just didn't arrive. It was so odd. Loads of people checked the latch including the breast feeding counsellor in the hospital and it was fine. Totally unexplained. Totally devestated me and overshadowed the whole first few moths with my baby. The guilt was horrific. Especially when people poo poo people saying the cant breast feed and make out they're lazy or lying.

Souredstoneshasasouredpebble Tue 30-Jul-13 07:32:48

Yes. Loads of things can. Birth trauma and retained placenta, inverted nipples, medication, mastectomy, medical issues...

ThePowerof3 Tue 30-Jul-13 07:35:20

Wow, I think the quote that goldenfoal posted is so true it does stand to reason that a breast can be just as fallible as any other part of the body

I know a lady whose milk never came in. We were.in hosp for our births, our kid in scbu, hers was losing weight fast. Her baby had a great latch, but no milk came.

This thread will prob go wrong, OP. You would do better, to read up on this topic perhaps under guidance from your peer suppprt organisation rather than ask women on here to reveal their upset or display judgyness.

NotYoMomma Tue 30-Jul-13 07:39:02

mine was mental - triggered anxiety attacks at feed times and I was not enjoying my dd

which I think is JUST as valid a reason

bitchalphaparent I'm looking at you and your 2% obsession

AnonYonimousBird Tue 30-Jul-13 07:40:10

Well, I had milk and I suppose technically, somehow, perhaps with the lactation consultant, I could have breastfed. But DS chewed my nipples so badly, and so quickly, they were both scabbed right over, so there was noway the milk could get out, so by then, yes, it was physically impossible for me to breastfeed. I was also suffering a very high fever and was delirious, which made it tricky too even if somehow the milk could have squeezed through.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 30-Jul-13 07:43:23

Genetic hypogalatia my mum had though I only knew this after I was diagnosed. When she told me she cried and asked could it have been what she had had as she had been told never to discuss it with her daughters so as not to 'project her failure' on to usconfused. After so research we have an extensive family history of this, but my mum felt it had been her failure for 31 years!

ThePowerof3 Tue 30-Jul-13 07:44:24

I think the mental side is just a valid a reason as well but I have personal experience of that side of it so am quite confident with that. I don't expect anyone to feel they have to share their experience with me but appreciate those who do as I think hearing it directly from those who have been through it is the best way to learn

MrButtercat Tue 30-Jul-13 07:51:29

The human body can malfunction in all areas,bit hmm as to why breasts are regarded as 100% fault proof. Well only on MN anyway.

MoominsYonisAreScary Tue 30-Jul-13 07:55:07

Some people have medical reasons why they can't bf, others find it difficult because it can be so bloody hard. I never managed with ds3, he was prem and became distressed quite quickly whenever put to the breast, which is not what you want with a prem baby. They just become tired and go to sleep without eating.

I think some babies arnt that hungry at birth and can be quite happy being put to the breast and not getting much for the first few days, others want lots of milk now and become distressed when they arnt getting it. Ds4 was like that he was awake trying to feed most if the first day and night and cryed alot. I cup fed him for the next few days, and he seemed more content and happier at the breast.

Once my milk came in things Improved and i stopped cup feeding. He's the only one still bf at 6 months and I was lucky never to have sore nipples or any problems with my supply.

My dsis really struggled, my dn cried alot, wasn't putting weight on and the last straw was when her nipples started to bleed and the baby was covered in blood, at that point she stopped. She really struggled with not bf even 3 years on it upsets her.

iamadoozermum Tue 30-Jul-13 07:57:25

With DC3, I had problems producing milk to begin with. Midwife said it was because I'd had a major PPH and lost so much blood that my body was having difficulties because it needed to boost my blood production first. After a blood transfusion and iron tablets then I was producing again.

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