Breast Milk Not Flowing (BMNF)


Breast milk not flowing (BMLF) can have several causes, including:

  • Severe blood loss during labor, which can lead to deficiency of blood and, in turn, insufficient lactation
  • Long labor, which can lead to depletion of Qi and insufficient lactation
  • Emotional problems, such as worry, anger, frustration, or resentment, which can cause stagnation of Liver-Qi and obstruct the flow of breast milk


The pathology of BMLF can be divided into deficiency and excess. Breast milk may be deficient due to a deficiency of Qi and Blood, or there may be enough milk but it does not flow properly due to stagnation of Qi in the breast.

Identification of patterns and treatments

To determine the appropriate treatment for BMLF, it is important to identify the underlying pattern causing the condition. The main patterns associated with BMLF are:

  • Deficiency of Qi and Blood
  • Stagnation of Liver-Qi
  • Deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach
  • Cold in the breast
  • Dampness and Phlegm obstructing the breast

Each of these patterns has specific clinical manifestations and treatment principles. For example, in the case of deficiency of Qi and Blood, the clinical manifestations may include fatigue, pale complexion, and a weak pulse, and the treatment principles would involve nourishing Qi and Blood. In the case of stagnation of Liver-Qi, the clinical manifestations may include irritability and breast distention, and the treatment principles would involve promoting the flow of Liver-Qi.

Prognosis and prevention

The prognosis for BMLF is generally good, especially if the condition is identified and treated early. To prevent BMLF, it is important for pregnant women to maintain good health and avoid emotional stress. It is also helpful to breastfeed frequently and avoid using pacifiers or bottles, which can interfere with the establishment of a good milk supply.

Western viewpoint

In Western medicine, the cause of BMLF is typically attributed to insufficient production of the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the production of breast milk. Treatment may involve the use of medications that increase prolactin levels, such as domperidone or metoclopramide. In some cases, BMLF may be managed through the use of supplemental feeding, either through the use of infant formula or donated breast milk.