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

April 4, 2014
Signs of Mammary Hypoplasia + What to do if You’re Diagnosed

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.

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

  1. I was 17 when I had my first child, I tried to breast feed for two days and my baby’s weight dropped drastically, they realized she was getting any milk from my breasts, they immediately went to formula, my breasts never got bigger and I barely produced anything. My second pregnancy was twins, my breasts never grew at all during or after pregnancy, they were premature and couldn’t latch so I pumped for three months. I took every supply booster I could find. I would get at the most an ounce combined between both breasts. My third pregnancy, a lactation lady came in my room at the hospital when I was battling kidney stones and she was talking to me Bout breast feeding and I told her my history of breast feeding, she asked to look at my breasts, she put her hand up and said, don’t bother trying again, you have hypo plastic breast syndrome. I did some research and you I match all symptoms. I’ve been made fun of my entire life, my friends still make comments about my flat chest. I can honestly say it has affected my entire life, dating, buying clothing, mental health, body image/shaming, feeding my babies, swimming and much much more. I wish I knew more about it or could figure out if there’s something I could take or do to grow that needed breast tissue or maybe if insurance would cover surgery, it’s too late to feed my babies but maybe implants will help me feel like an actual woman and self confidence and more…

    • Yes to everything you said Amanda!! I have three children. All of them lost a lot of weight after birth. My oldest was born 8 lb 4 oz and dropped down to 7 lb 1 oz. I had to start supplementing, and bf stopped quickly after. I managed the longest work my third, just due to sheer motivation and I was home longer in order to pump and breastfeed more. At my top, I was able to produce about 4 oz a day. He weaned himself from bf at 4 months and at 5 months, I wasn’t even pumping an ounce a day and I decided it was time for my sanity level. It was devastating to me. I wanted it to work so badly, and I am a huge bf advocate. I am forever grateful to the amazing mothers who donated their precious liaison gold to my little boy, but their the definitely a hint of jealousy on my part in not being able to have that kind of a supply, and feeling like a daily for not being able to provide for my babies. I’ve also had give self confidence issues my whole life because of my non existent breasts and that they never grew with puberty or pregnancy. I’ve also always hated shopping because everything looks and fits so awkward. I’d love to get implants at some point in my life just to feel like a woman.

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