So when the topic of breastfeeding comes up and I say I would love to exclusively breastfeed but just don’t have enough milk glands they look at me like I’m insane (*cough* mother in law) and it’s just an excuse to not be good at it. I tried very hard with Trinity. There is nothing I would love to do more then to solely breastfeed my babies especially cause of the digestive problems they have. well I finally looked up the issue I have. Which if you know me is odd that I didn’t come home that day from the lactation specialist and look it up but seeing as I was in the middle of a mental break down from being inadequate and trying to nurse a 6 day old I just didn’t seem to have time or the desire. Well today I finally found the time and the desire to look it up so about 10 seconds on google and I had my answer. It’s called tubular hypoplastic breast/mammary hypoplasia/breast hypoplasia/hypoplastic breasts

do you think the use of plastic in my boobie issue means I need to get breast implants. I think it’s a good argument. 😉

heres what I got from the 1st site I checked out. (beware you will learn more about my breasts then you ever wanted to know. 😉 )

Tubular hypoplastic breast

There is one exception to the rule about breast size/shape and breastfeeding ability, and that is that few women have insufficient glandular tissue in their breasts. In other words they simply don’t have enough milk producing cells, and these women can then experience milk supply problems. This condition is called breast hypoplasia or hypoplastic breasts.

This kind of breast is underdeveloped (hypoplastic) in terms of the milk glands. They lack normal fullness and may look like ’empty sacks’, and may seem bulbous or swollen at the tip.  Many times hypoplastic breasts are widely spaced from each other, and narrow at the chest wall. Due to lack of glandular tissue, they have an elongated or tubular form, and often are quite small. The areola can be enlarged. There may be a significant asymmetry.  The breasts don’t grow during pregnancy and there is no engorgement when the milk is supposed to come in after giving birth.

Scientists don’t yet know for sure the reason(s) for this underdevelopment. One theory is that at least in some women it would be linked to too little progesterone, since progesterone mediates the growth of alveoli (milk making glands).

In a 2006 study in Mexico, teenage girls who lived in the agricultural valley with heavy pesticide use had poor mammary gland development, and 18.5% of them had NO milk glands.

Other issues include PCOS and other insulin metabolism issues, hypothyroidism, and testosterone overload. Fixing the metabolic issues may help, as might pushing lots of stimulation to increase prolactin levels after birth.

There is also one interesting case reproted in the medical literature where a woman with such underdeveloped breasts was able to successfully nurse her second child, after being given natural progesterone during her second pregnancy. Progesterone stimulates the growth of the glandular tissue in breasts during pregnancy.

If you happen to have these tubular hypoplastic (under-developed) breasts, talk to a lactation consultant before giving birth. Even better, talk to a doctor before pregnancy about a possible natural progesterone treatment. There are measures you can take to try increase your milk supply and your chances of breastfeeding, such as

  • have an unmedicated birth if possible, and put the baby to the breast right after birth
  • nurse often and on cue
  • start to pump about three days after birth
  • try the herbs fenugreek and blessed thistle or the drug domperidone
  • breast compression technique to stimulate more letdowns
  • Correct underlying metabolic or hormonal issues (PCOS, hypothyroidism). One lady has posted her success story below; she was able to see breast changes during her 2nd pregnancy and subsequently breastfeed, after taking Metformin to correct her PCOS.

(which I did all of these religiously with Trinity and it did nothing)

Discuss these and other options with the lactation consultant.  You may need to supplement with formula,so it is important to observe the baby’s output of wet and dirty diapers and weight gain to make sure the baby is getting enough nutrition. Remember also to be happy for whatever breast milk you produce and not blame yourself – even a little is better than none!  And if you don’t get any milk at all (which does happen), remember it’s not your fault.  For this kind of situation we are thankful that the baby formula exists.

Plastic surgeons try to take the most out of women with hypoplastic breasts. Since it is a true medical condition, they try to push these women to get implants to correct the deformity. Having hypoplastic breasts is not any dangerous condition. They look different, and as explained above, women with hypoplastic/tubular breasts often have difficulties in producing enough milk.

It is understandable to feel bad when you have deformed breasts, and there’s nothing wrong if you wish to have it corrected. Unfortunately the implants will only lessen the milk supply and the probability of successful breastfeeding, besides forcing the woman to go through several surgeries throughout her lifetime, and putting her to a high risk of serious complications and diseases.