Crossposted from the low milk supply stickie in BF challenges. As with any statistic, its measurement depends highly on what your definition of "is", is. What is low supply? What is breastfeeding? Do you include supplementers? Do you include exclusive pumpers? Women who had breast reductions, augmentations, or other surgeries? Babies with congenital defects, cleft palates, high "bubble" palates? Preemies? Women with multiples? Etc.
Occasionally people will ask here what the "true" incidence of low milk supply is. I recently found a couple of good studies measuring this.
One thing to remember is that breastfeeding involves both mother AND child(ren) and many factors can affect supply, including infant factors, and pumping and/or WOH.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...RVAbstractPlus
This study estimates that 12% of healthy, singleton, term infants had excess weight loss. This is in a "crunchy" area (Davis, CA) with high educational levels and motivation to breastfeed, and where moms had good access to care with lactation consultants, etc. In other words, in an uncomplicated hospital birth with lots of support, 12% of singleton moms still had low supply problems.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2...ubmed_RVDocSum
This study measured 319 healthy, motivated, first-birth women who were breastfeeding full term, healthy, appropriate for gestational age or large for gestational age infants, and where only 7% had undergone previous breast surgery. It found that
|15 percent had persistent milk insufficiency despite intensive intervention.
I personally believe that low milk supply is a much more common than many health professionals recognize, and that it is an important area for ongoing research. Rather than burying our heads in the sand regarding this issue, I think breastfeeding advocates need to get the information out there for women that this is a real problem, and that there ARE some things that can be done to optimize breastmilk production. Off my