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The Relationship Between Stress and Breast Milk Supply

by Era Inventions
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There is definitely a relationship between stress and breastfeeding. In this blog post, we will be discussing how stress can decrease a mother’s milk supply and how to manage stress in order to healthily build breast milk supply. Although it is no easy task, it is important to understand the relationship between stress and milk production in order to optimize both mother and baby health.


Many women experience stress during their pregnancy and postpartum periods, which can affect their breast milk supply. In a study published in the journal Nursing Research, breastfeeding mothers who reported high levels of stress also had smaller breast milk supplies than mothers who reported lower levels of stress.

The study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed their levels of stress at three different times during their pregnancies: before they became pregnant, during the first month of pregnancy, and six weeks after giving birth. The results showed that the breastfeeding mothers who reported higher levels of stress had smaller breast milk supplies than those who reported lower levels of stress at all three times.

The researchers suggest that high levels of stress may reduce the amount of milk produced by nursing mothers. They also say that interventions aimed at reducing maternal anxiety could help to improve breastfeeding rates and balance maternal and infant nutrition.

The Relationship Between Stress And Breast Milk Supply

When you’re stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for regulating many important bodily functions, including growth and development, carbohydrate metabolism, fat storage, and immune system activity. Unfortunately, cortisol also has a negative effect on milk production. Cortisol can reduce prolactin secretion by the pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing milk. 

In addition, cortisol can increase the level of insulin in blood serum and decrease the number of cells that produce lactoferrin, both of which can reduce milk production. Finally, cortisol can interfere with the nerve signals that are necessary for breastfeeding to occur normally.

Factors That May Increase A Mother’s Risk Of Losing Her Milk

There are many potential reasons why a mother may experience difficulty breastfeeding. Some of the factors that have been identified as increasing a mother’s risk of losing her milk include:

  • Having low milk production due to genetic or hormonal abnormalities
  • Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep due to environmental factors such as noise or light exposure
  • Expectant mothers taking medications that can inhibit milk production (such as antidepressants)
  • Underactive thyroid gland
  • Having had previous breastfeeding difficulties

The Effects Of Stress On Breastfeeding 

Stress has been shown to have a negative effect on breastfeeding. Research has shown that mothers who are under a lot of stress are more likely to experience problems breastfeeding, including low milk production, difficulty latching on and getting milk from the breast, and painful feeding.

It is important for mothers to get enough rest and relaxation during pregnancy to ensure that they are in the best possible condition to nurse their child. In addition, it is important for mothers to learn about how to relieve stress so that they can continue breastfeeding without disruption.

Advice To Mothers Who Are Struggling With Breastfeeding Under Stress

Mothers who are struggling to breastfeed under stressful circumstances often feel like they are not doing enough. They may feel like they are not producing enough milk, or they may be struggling with latch. This can be a really difficult situation to deal with, and it can lead to feelings of frustration and isolation. There are a few things that you can do to help support your breastfeeding efforts under these circumstances.

Firstly, keep in mind that breastfeeding is an individualized process. What works for one mother may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques or formulas until you find something that works best for you and your baby.

Secondly, remember that breastfeeding is a bonding experience between you and your baby. If you’re feeling stressed out, try focusing on spending time together instead of trying to breastfeed during those moments. This will help reduce the stress level for both of you and increase the chance of success in breastfeeding.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help from family or friends if you need it. They might be able to provide support in different ways (such as providing formula feeds or nursing tips) and it would mean a lot to them that you’re getting the assistance that you need.

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