Lactation Crisis: What Is It and How to Deal With It

Breastfeeding is a beautiful adventure though sometimes it is challenging. Besides breast fullness, milk stasis or problems with injured nipples, you can experience negative symptoms of lactation crisis.

Data publikacji: 31-01-2020 Data modyfikacji: 31-01-2020

Lactation crisis is a moment during breastfeeding in which you will probably think that you have less milk, your baby will seem hungry all the time and as a rule the whole feeding rhythm that you have worked out will be disturbed. This is not without reason. Your baby's need for food changes because of its grow and development. Besides the amount of food also its composition changes and adapts to the needs of developing organism.


Remember! Latching your baby on stimulates the pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing the right amount of milk with its specific composition.


Lactation Crisis: When Does It Happen

There may be several lactation crises during whole breastfeeding period. Most often they appear at the 3rd and 6th week of a baby's life, later at the turn of the 3rd and 4th month and are associated with a baby’s growth spurt. Of course, there may be more of them. They can also occur at a different time because each child develops at its own individual pace. The crisis usually lasts a few days and can be troublesome, but if you understand your role and mechanism, you will be able to wait it out without panic.


Lactation Crisis: Symptoms

During lactation crisis your baby looks hungry despite the fact you breastfeed it very often. It empties both breasts and even then still demands more food. You can think that you have not enough milk, a low milk supply or your milk is not nourishing enough. This can lead to frustration and attempts to feed your baby with infant formula.


Lactation Crisis: How to Overcome It

It is very important not to give up at the first signs of a crisis. Many mums think that if a child is constantly hungry, they must start to give them infant formula. This may lead to the early cessation of breastfeeding. Lactation will not have the chance to adapt to your child's natural needs.


How to Cope With Lactation Crisis:

  • Latch on as often as possible. You will have the feeling, as at the beginning of breastfeeding, that your baby is constantly at the breast. However, this state won’t last long. After 2-3 days, your body will recognize your baby's needs and lactation will be again at the right level.
  • Don't neglect the night feedings. At night, milk has the highest concentration of prolactin, and then the food production process is most strongly stimulated.
  • Give both breasts while breastfeeding, do not be discouraged that they seem empty and soft. If you persist, your lactation will adapt quickly. There will be a lot of milk again.
  • Don’t feed your baby with formula. Each formula feeding deprives your breast of needed stimulation and may discourage your baby from breastfeeding.
  • Do not worry. Stress inhibits lactation. If you believe in the success and sense of what you do, it will be easier for you to survive the harder moments and to produce the right amount of milk.

Remember! If the crisis doesn’t go away after 2-3 days, despite frequent latching on, contact a doctor or a lactation clinic.


During the lactation crisis, eat well and drink a lot of water. Remember to eat vegetables and fruits. What is more, groats may help to encourage milk production. It is also important that you eat healthy fats (e.g. nuts, avocados, flax, sesame). Be sure to drink a lot of low-mineralized water, fruit or herbal teas, which have a calming effect. However, remember that mint and sage inhibit lactation. It is better to choose, for example, chamomile.

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