Signs of Mammary Hypoplasia + What to do if You’re Diagnosed

April 4, 2014

You’ve probably heard about how breastfeeding is normal and natural – and it is, in most cases. Most women are capable of making enough milk for their babies to be healthy and happy, but some women are simply physically unable to produce milk despite their best efforts.

Mammary hypoplasia, also known as insufficient glandular tissue or IGT, is a very uncommon condition that can cause low or no milk production. Women with mammary hypoplasia simply did not develop proper mammary tissue during adolescence, but their breasts may be small or large. Signs of mammary hypoplasia include:

  • Narrow, widely spaced breasts
  • Areolas appear swollen or puffy
  • Asymmetrical breasts, where one is much larger than the other
  • Breasts do not grow or change during pregnancy, and milk never “comes in” around 3 days after giving birth

When it appears that a mom’s body doesn’t make enough milk to feed her baby, it’s important to first explore all the possible causes, such as latch and positioning, breastfeeding habits (such as supplementing with formula), and the possibility of baby having tongue tie or other oral issues. If you think you may have mammary hypoplasia, reach out to a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider. They can help rule out other factors that could be causing low supply and suggest options such as supplementing feedings at the breast with Medela’s Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), finding a milk donor, or pumping and bottle-feeding as much milk as you’re able to make.

Above all else, know that it’s okay – don’t be too hard on yourself because you have trouble making as much milk as your baby needs. Enjoy your breastfeeding experience – you’re making a big difference in your little one’s health and well-being.

Were you diagnosed with mammary hypoplasia? Share your experience in the comments below.

74 thoughts on “Signs of Mammary Hypoplasia + What to do if You’re Diagnosed

  1. Hi,

    I am 24 and pregnant with my first child and I think I may have IGT as my breasts are quite far apart, appear almost “cone” shaped and I have large areolas.

    However, they have been sore and grown quite a bit due to being pregnant. Does this mean I may still have a chance at breastfeeding?

    Has anyone on here had success breastfeeding with IGT?

    Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Hi, Frances. There are many individual factors that could affect your ability to breastfeed, even if your breast tissue is affected. The first step is to contact a Lactation Consultant to determine if you truly do have IGT. They will be able to provide you personalized support and advice to help you succeed on your breastfeeding journey.

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