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Genuinely unable to breastfeed / no milk - tubular hypoplastic breasts anyone?

(8 Posts)
tiredchocoholic Sun 25-Sep-11 02:08:55

hi there, I am pregnant with DC3 and desperately hoping I may be able to breastfeed this time. It hasn't worked for me before as I have never had any milk - literally one or two drops of colustrum at most, and when I expressed I got blood. My milk never came. My new midwife is lovely but unsupportive as she claims she has never come across anyone unable to bf and that everyone is capable etc.etc. I felt quite badly bullied by the community midwives after DC1 and DC2 which led to me feeling very emotionally fragile and a real failure. This time around I am trying to be realistic but at the same time I have become increasingly sure that there must be something physically wrong with me....yes, my breasts are tiny but I know that alone shouldn't be an issue. My breasts have never grown at all in any of my three pregnancies, I have never experienced any tingling, tenderness, etc and I have been insulted by bra fitters at both Mothercare and M&S who have been incredulous that I have remained an AA-cup throughout and have treated me like a freak (apparently maternity and nursing bras don't come smaller than a B-cup because "everyone" grows to at least that size - whereas I just needed a new bra because I was broader round the back!) Anyway.....having spent quite some time googling, I have come across an old thread here on Mumsnet - seems there is a condition called 'tubular hypoplastic breasts' and I think I have it! It basically means the breasts are underdeveloped and have very little (or no) tissue and consequently the milk producing glands are also affected, or even absent. Seems it is not widely recognized but from what I can gather there are some forms of treatment available via prescription (eg domperidome) - albeit success rates seem mixed. I just wondered if anyone else was in the same boat and had any experiences to share or advice to intending to go to my GP on Monday, armed with my 'research'!!
Thanks in advance, and sorry for rambling!

KellyKettle Sun 25-Sep-11 04:19:28

I don't have experience of this, I probably don't know a great deal more than you've written in your op but I didn't want this to go unanswered.

THB can be a problem, like you say. Do you want to breastfeed? That wasn't clear from your OP.

If you do then a visit to your GP or even local La Leche League group too could be helpful. Arm yourself with knowledge and RL sources of practical help before your baby arrives.

Is the THB thread still active on here?

If you don't want to bf then don't worry about unsupportive MW. She sounds insensitive and uninformed.

I have a book which discusses THB, I can have a look and post some info tomorrow if you like?

cloudydays Sun 25-Sep-11 04:59:33

Hi Chocoholic smile

I'm sorry I can't post a proper reply (I'm only up at this ungodly hour to do some work that has to be done for Monday, and I shouldn't be procrastinating by scouring MN in the first place), but I couldn't not answer your post.

I have this condition, and have posted on her about it a few times before (if you search my name you'll find a few threads where I and others have shared our experiences).

I'm sorry that you're having to worry about this during such a happy time (congrats on the pregnancy!) - I have only one dd but hope to have another dc at some point and I worry about how I'll cope with going through it again, too.

The feelings of guilt and failure were awful for me, but made much worse by the feeling of not being believed (even by LC's and HCPs who should have known better).

I wish I had advice for you, but I don't know myself what I would do differently next time around, except to give it my best shot (again) and then try to be much more focused on ensuring that my baby was fed and thriving, rather than obsessing over the source of the milk. If I had done that the first time around, dd would not have had to be hospitalised with severe dehydration in her second week of life sad .

On a positive note, other posters on this topic have reported that their supply has improved a little bit with each successive baby. From what I've read (and it's very limited as it's so hard to find anything about it) THB is characterised by a lack of mature breast tissue, which doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have milk ducts, but that they haven't matured by whatever the usual processes are (during puberty, I'd imagine). I'm sure that I've read that the hormonal changes of pregnancy and childbirth, and the stimulation caused by each infant who tries to feed at the breast, can kick start a few 'late bloomer' milk ducts, and that in some cases this increases supply to the extent that exclusively or mainly breastfeeding is possible. I sincerely hope, if it does turn out that you have THB, that this is the case for you.

Kelly - your post was lovely and supportive, but you're mistaken when you say that OP didn't make it clear whether she wanted to breastfeed or not - the first line of her post says that she is "desperately hoping [she] may be able to breastfeed this time."

MigGril Sun 25-Sep-11 07:14:41

I have hurd about this condition but never come accross it myself. I believe you probably would need domperidome and you may not be able to produce enough milk to fully feed your baby. Depending on the extent of your condition.

I'd try and seek medical help on this one as you are going to need a supportive Doctor willing to give you the presciption and you really need a actual diganosies to comfire if this is the case as well.

EauRouge Sun 25-Sep-11 07:19:53

Yes, I think seeking medical help is a good idea but I think also getting some emotional support from a BF counsellor would really help. You could contact LLL or NCT, they will be able to find someone for you. Does you local hospital have a infant feeding co-ordinator? You might also want to track down a IBCLC.

Best of luck to you smile

belindarose Sun 25-Sep-11 07:24:17

Where are you? If anywhere near Oxford then Sally Inch at the JR ( infant feeding specialist, bf clinic) would be able to advise.

KellyKettle Sun 25-Sep-11 07:45:26

Sorry tiedchocoholic I was posting from my phone in bed whilst wishing for sleep. Sorry I missed your first line.

tiredchocoholic Sun 25-Sep-11 20:27:48

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your replies - great to have your support and feedback. Thanks for sharing your experience, cloudydays - very sorry you went through this but sounds like you have a great sense of perspective on it all.
KellyKettle - if you have an additional info to post then that would be fab, thanks v much. I am going to make contact with my GP and also take up the advice to get in touch with LLL or similar - I have heard of a few local bf groups so will take it from there....I'm in Leicestershire, btw, Belindarose. Feel so much better taking some constructive action, rather than just wondering what will happen if I let nature take its course.
Thanks again everyone x

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