Perceived insufficient milk among primiparous, fully breastfeeding women: Is infant crying important?

Lisa M. Mohebati, Peter Hilpert, Sarah Bath, Margaret P. Rayman, Monique M. Raats, Homero Martinez, Laura E. Caulfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Breastfeeding mothers often report perceived insufficient milk (PIM) believing their infant is crying too much, which leads to introducing formula and the early abandonment of breastfeeding. We sought to determine if infant crying was associated with reported PIM (yes/no) and number of problems associated with lactation (lactation problem score [LPS] 6-point Likert scale) before formula introduction. Primiparous breastfeeding mothers were recruited at birth and visited at 1, 2 and 4 weeks. Among those fully breastfeeding at 1 week (N = 230), infant crying variables based on maternal reports were not associated with PIM at 1 week, but LPS was. However, a mother's expectation that her infant would cry more than other infants was associated with increased odds of reporting PIM at 2 and 4 weeks, as were delayed onset of lactation and previous LPS. At 1 week, crying variables (frequency, difficulty in soothing) were associated with LPS along with percent weight change. Delayed onset of lactation, infant care style, number of breastfeeds and previous LPS were longitudinally associated with change in LPS from 1 to 2 weeks and 2 to 4 weeks. Our data suggest that reported infant crying is associated with PIM and LPS in the first 4 weeks of life. Guidance on what to expect in crying behaviour and the impact of infant care style may be beneficial in reducing PIM and LPS in the first month.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13133
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • breast feeding
  • crying
  • infant
  • infant care
  • lactation
  • milk
  • mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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