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.

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

  1. I think I have this on my right side. It has always been a few sizes smaller and oddly shaped. Now I can’t express milk on that side but the left I can get 4+oz by hand. The big problem for me is it HURTS when I feed my daughter on the right! Leaves me in tears. Only way I can describe the sensation is that it feels like she has a sandpaper tongue that is reaching inside the breast and scraping dry chalkboard like tissue. But there is some milk on that side. Has anyone dealt with this? Can I feed just on one side? How do I prevent a clogged duct or mastitis on the small side? It’s getting to the point of tears most feedings because it hurts and she squirms and shakes – maybe trying to get more milk? I live in a country that doesn’t have many bf resources – just one board certified LC in the country so I don’t have many people to ask. Suggestions for how to beat manage it are welcome!! Thanks!!

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