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Why You May Not Be Able to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is the number one recommended feeding method for infants below the age of six months.

Some specialists recommend that a child breastfeeds for at least one year to get the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

However, while having a child brings joy, for some other mothers, it’s actually a mixture of both happiness and grief for others who cannot bond with their babies due to their inability to breastfeed.

If both the mother and the child are lucky, breastfeeding can be done for a while, then stop later.

You must also note that in unfortunate circumstances, breastfeeding may not be appropriate.

In such instances, feeding can be through a formulated milk drink for toddlers.

Here are some conditions that can lead to either partial or zero breastfeeding among women and newborn babies:

breastfeeding baby

Why You May Not Be Able to Breastfeed

Low milk supply

Some mothers may suffer from low milk supply.

In such a condition, it will be impossible for a newborn to depend on breast milk alone since it is not available in the right quantity.

However, note that the child will only lack partially, and whatever needs topping up can be done through special formula or donor breast milk.

Therefore, this condition doesn’t call for alarm because your baby will still have the privilege of a suckling bond.

In that case, you can breastfeed even if the milk supply is at its lowest.

mom breastfeeding with roses in background

Hard drug addiction

Hard drugs are not only harmful to the mother but the newborn too.

In fact, it is harmful right from pregnancy to birth time.

According to Very Well Mind, hard drug concentration circulates the blood system and, therefore, can reach breast milk.

Narcotic substances passing through to the baby can lead to severe neurological disorders or even death. 

Infectious diseases

Most infectious diseases are treatable and can, therefore, not pose any harm to a breastfeeding baby.

However, acute infectious diseases can pass on to breast milk and infect the baby.

For instance, an HIV/AIDS-positive mother shouldn’t attempt to breastfeed a child.

Instead, she should resort to special formulas or seek further doctor’s guidance.

mom holding newborn on chest


While most medications are compatible with breastfeeding, a few types aren’t healthy for a newborn.

For instance, mothers on active chemotherapy or seizure medications cannot breastfeed.

Other medications include sedatives and antiretrovirals.

Babies’ genetic conditions

All the conditions listed above emanate from the mother’s side.

However, it is also possible for a baby not to enjoy breast milk when they are born with certain genetic conditions.

This instance is scarce because even the most complicated babies enjoy breast milk.

Even those with Down syndrome still enjoy breast milk only because they feed through bottles instead of having it directly from the breasts.

overhead of mom breastfeeding baby

Genetic Conditions that can Deprive a Newborn Breast Milk Privileges:

Maple syrup urine disease

Maple syrup urine disease is the easiest abnormality to notice in an infant but also the most dangerous when ignored.

According to Medline Plus, maple syrup urine disease inhibits the breakdown of isoleucine, isoleucine, and valine amino acids.

When these acids accumulate in a newborn’s body, they’ll come out as sweet-smelling syrup through the urine.

You must also note that when ignored, it can quickly lead to death even before you realize its adverse symptoms.

Babies suffering from this condition can always enjoy their early meal in the form of doctor-prescribed formulas free of the above three amino acids. 

Classic galactosemia

Classic galactosemia is a genetic condition that inhibits a newborn’s ability to break down galactose.

When a baby is born, doctors will do numerous tests, among them a check for Classic galactosemia.

A child who suffers from this condition can neither breastfeed directly nor from a milk bottle.

However, they can always thrive on a special formula that is galactose-free.


Also known as PKU, Phenylketonuria is a genetic condition that makes newborns unable to break down phenylalanine, a special kind of amino acid in milk.

However, newborn babies can still enjoy partial breastfeeding alongside special formula but with strict doctor’s supervision.

Moreover, at some point, you’ll be required to facilitate zero breastfeeding.

Breaking down phenylalanine into absorbable compounds is crucial.

When left accumulated in the body, it can lead to severe brain damage.

Moreover, when breastfeeding a child with this condition, you must monitor him closely and immediately report any slight abnormality to a doctor.

A newborn baby will also need mild exercises to improve blood circulation in the body.

If your child cannot breastfeed, it doesn’t mimic impossibilities.

The tunnel may be dark now, but there will be light later.

Most babies develop well despite these conditions.

All you need to do is get the right substitute formula and follow all doctor’s instructions to the latter.

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