For most of the women with polycystic ovary disorder (PCOS), problems related to fertility may have been an actual matter in question that needs to be solved. Somehow managing the issue and giving birth to a healthy baby, facing new troubles when attempting to breastfeed is definitely unjustifiable.This article will help you to know the impact of PCOS on breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding with PCOS

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complex hormonal imbalance affecting women of reproductive age. It can start during as early as the adolescence or anytime throughout a woman’s reproductive age. This condition is defined by a collection of warning signs like acne, head hair loss, weight issues, the growth of facial hair etc. The changes in the hormone levels make it difficult for the ovaries to release healthy eggs, thus, affecting the fertilization and conception.

What Is The Connection Between PCOS And Breast Milk Supply?

Not all the mothers with PCOS have a troublesome time breastfeeding their children (some have reported making an excess of milk which can also be a (positive) result of the overproduction of some hormones), however, numerous women do. Some research conducted in this field uncovered some connection between PCOS and breast milk supply.

  • Insufficient glandular tissue: The glandular tissues in the breast of the PCOS woman is much lower than that of a healthy woman. More often their breast has a typical appearance – small size, cone shape, both breasts widely spaced etc. Even if the breast is large, there will be more fatty tissues instead of glandular tissues. This poor mammary tissue development in the PCOS mother is one of the reasons of her low milk production
  • Estrogen dominance: Normally, the estrogen level will go down after delivery. The elevated level of estrogen, especially during the early days of the postpartum period, will hinder with the breast milk production. Women with PCOS are generally found to have a condition called ‘estrogen dominance’. Estrogen dominance portrays a condition where a woman possesses an elevated level of estrogen, or more often the level of estrogen might be normal, yet have too little progesterone to adjust estrogen’s level
  • Higher level of androgen: A woman with PCOS generally possesses a high level of androgen hormone. Androgen is a male hormone, which is also present in a woman’s body in very low levels. The elevation in LH (luteinizing hormone)level, together with hyperinsulinemia, prompts an increase in androgen generation by the ovary. This elevated level of androgen hormone hinders with the prolactin receptors – prolactin is one of the hormones that involves in the breast milk production. Thus, if only a few prolactin receptors are developed during the gestation period, obviously, the milk production get affected

Is There A Struggle To Produce Breast Milk For A Woman With PCOS?

Even if a woman possesses PCOS, her chances of struggling hard for the breast milk is one-ninth. Breast milk supply of one-third of the women with PCOS will remain unaffected as another one-third of the PCOS women ends in overproduction of milk. Another one-third shows some degree of milk short but actually,one-third of this last group possesses real struggle in breast milk production.

How Can The Breast Milk Production Of A Woman With PCOS Regulated?

Managing the PCOS before and during pregnancy, and after the delivery is significant in ensuring good breast milk production.

  • By remaining focused on the way of life and dietary decisions that help you deal with your PCOS side effects, you will help your body keep up hormone adjust and permit your body to take every necessary step to make breast milk
  • Follow the doctor’s instruction to improve the insulin resistance, as insulin resistance is a key factor that increases androgen hormone
  • Starting the breastfeeding as early as possible after delivery, the better the odds are that breastfeeding will be effectual
  • Pump the milk between the feedings. This is because the basic rule of milk production depends on the increase in demand. The more the breast is stimulated, by either feeding or pumping, the more milk the body attempt to produce
  • You can try all the methods that one follows in improving the breast milk production under normal health condition even if you are having PCOS
  • A breastfeeding supplementer is another method which can be tried. Here expressed milk from the mother is given to the baby neither through a bottle or cup. The milk expressed from the mother is collected in a container which is attached to a cord and set around the neck of the mother. A fine tube carries the milk from the container to the nipple of the breast (where it is attached carefully). As the baby sucks the nipple, the milk from the container, through the fine tube gets into the mouth of the baby without much effort. This will encourage the baby to suck more and more and the stimulated breast eventually starts to produce more milk

Most of the breastfeeding problem (even severe) of the PCOS mother can be solved by a lactation consultant along with proper medicines and diet. So don’t worry about PCOS and go ahead with feeding your baby the breast milk as much as you can as no formula milk can ever replace breast milk. Happy feeding.