Breastfeeding Challenges with PCOS

Breastfeeding(1)I have wanted to write this post for a while because there are many women out there that have a history of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and are unaware of how this can impact your breastfeeding experience.  What better time than World Breastfeeding Week to pass on this personal experience to mothers who might be struggling with finding a way to make more milk for their baby.

Personally I struggled with PCOS for years and had been told by doctors that I would not have children.  After much research and a diet change, we were blessed with our first son.  During pregnancy and beyond it seemed that my regular symptoms of PCOS had disappeared.  But I had the worst time breastfeeding and could not seem to make enough milk for my first son.  After trying fenugreek herbs and working with my favorite International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Jane Bradshaw from Best Start Parenting Center, we decided that I would breastfeed and supplement with formula because to me it wasn’t an either-or situation.  I wanted my son to get whatever amount of breastmilk I could give him because I knew the benefits.  So I did both!

A few years later, I became pregnant with my second son.   This time around I did a lot of things differently!  I hired a doula, had a natural birth, and prepared as much as possible with the help of my IBCLC for my breastfeeding experience.  Once again, there was a bit of a milk supply problem at the beginning.  But this time around, my IBCLC discovered that I had PCOS in the past.  She gave me the book “Making More Milk”* and I found solutions.  Little did I know, the problem caused by my hormone imbalance of PCOS coupled with insufficient glandular tissue.  In plain English, most women have a major increase in breast development in preparation for breastfeeding after childbirth and I did not have this increase.

Guess what?  There is an herb you can take to help this!  I had great success using Goat’s Rue* from Motherlove.  All of a sudden, I could feed my baby and not have to add formula!  I saw an increase in breast size and the amount of milk that I was pumping, which made more room for more milk.   I was delighted to find a way to exclusively breastfeed my son for the first time.

So if you are struggling with making more milk and you have PCOS, let me encourage you to get “Making More Milk” and read it.  It was a game changer for us!  Call your IBCLC today and tell her about your PCOS history, even if you aren’t experiencing the regular symptoms.    And do a leave a comment or email if you have additional questions!

*Affiliates are noted in this article.  See my disclosures page for more information.