I just read this article Lactation Failure: It Happened to Me about a new mum finding it impossible to breastfeed but being told by mid-wives and lactation consultants to keep trying and not to give the baby formula.  It turned out she had breast hypoplasia, where her breast tissue had underdeveloped ducts – and therefore breastfeeding would always be impossible. 

I have never heard this term before – even though it describes exactly the situation a friend of mine was in a few years ago, she too was told to carry on trying to breastfeed and found the whole thing very stressful and felt very guilty when she resorted to giving her very hungry baby formula. She knew there was something not right and not working but was offfered no support.

If it is true that 5% of women have medical conditions that make breastfeeding extremely difficult or impossible, including insufficient glandular material and breast hypoplasia * then why don’t we hear more about this?  Why are new mums not told of this possibilty?

It’s such a shame for new mums to spend thoses first few weeks and months feeling guilty about an inability to breastfeed.


Posted on Categories Help and Advice, Pregnancy


  1. Megan March 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I had difficulties feeding my first daughter. When she was 2.5mths old I ended up in tears and the local baby clinic as she was always screaming in pain during and after a feed. After she was checked over they found she was not putting on enough weight. They organised for a lactation consultant to come and see us. The next day the LC came, she watched us feed, looked at my breasts etc and informed me I had breast hypoplasia and that continuing to breastfeed was no longer an option for us, she gave options like the supplemented nursing system or breast feeding then topping her up with formula, but it was just easier to switch fully to formula. She explained that pumping to increase supply or taking the various tablets to increase supply wouldn’t work as there wasn’t enough tissue to maintain the larger supply.

    I was lucky and the LC’s and nurses I saw were very supportive and didn’t try and push bf but instead looked at what was best for bub.

    I now have a other daughter who is only 12days old. I am bf her currently, but knowing what I now know, I know we are on limited time with bf (im actuallu giving it 1mth then really reassessing if its still best for us!) and I’m keeping a close eye on her weight gains and as soon as a see any drops I’ll switch straight to formula.

    I never looked for any support groups so also haven’t seen any, but even telling the midwives while I was preg with daughter #2 the reason why I was undecided about breastfeeding this time around, they hadn’t seemed to have heard of breast hypoplasia!

  2. Samantha February 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    6 weeks ago I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. I paid a lot of money to stay in a private hospital, after 6 days of being in there with numerous nurses, midwives, my OB and LC, my milk still hadn’t “come in” and not one person could tell me why. My daughter and I were doing all the “right” things but after endless feeding sessions she was still starving. I felt like a failure, I always knew my breasts were “ugly” but never thought much of it until my instincts kicked in and I knew BF wasn’t going to happen. I supplemented DD with formula and for the first time since birth she was content and slept for 5 hrs !!

    After getting home I googled my heart out to find out what is wrong with me and I have self diagnosed with hypoplastic breasts. I am having trouble finding any support in Australia or even any information on how I can be properly “diagnosed” and if there is any treatment!!!

    Thank you for bringing this condition some kind of attention

    1. Babies Toddlers Admin February 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Hi – Thank you for your comment – and I am sorry you had to go through such a stressful time in the first week with your daughter. When writing this article, I also could not find any additional info or any support groups about breast hypoplasia. If you do find any more info, please send it to us and we can post it up on the site.

      I hope you are now really enjoying these early weeks with your daughter – it is such a special time. And that she is still sleeping 5 hours!


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