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oversupply of milk

  1. #1
    allie101 is offline Registered User
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    oversupply of milk

    hi,

    I was wondering if anyone can recommend a lactation consultant who has helped with an oversupply of milk?

    I have a 6 week old breastfed baby who is suffering from reflux, which i believe is being caused by my oversupply - almost all symptoms are showing (shooting breastmilk on let-down, baby feeding for 5-7min then stopping, squirming/arching back, coughing/gagging, wet burps, lots of hiccups, crying on swallowing and so on).

    I've only ever fed her from one breast (she pulls off before fininshing) and she feeds approximately every 3 hours so I was after some guidance on how to safely manage block feeding to reduce my supply (as I'm worried I will go to far and my milk supply will dry up!). I've been expressing since week 2 (oversupply was a problem before then though) and have been expressing to empty my breasts before bed, otherwise I wake up engorged and in a puddle of milk! I'm wondering if this is causing the problem but really want to keep expressing.

    Any recommendations would be much appreciated! I'm at my wits end!

  2. #2
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    Hi allie101
    had exactly the same problem with my daughter. I even remember feeding her on the plane and squirting people two rows ahead of me, very embarassing! I went through multiple breast pads a day and resorting to muslin wraps over the non-feeding side just to soak up the other breast.

    I think the reason for my oversupply was a very hungry big birth weight daughter and a responsive body. I did exactly as you are doing, slowing her down when i could, burping effectively, expressing off and storing an abundance of milk. It eventually settled itself down, I think it was at least around 12 -16 weeks, but up until then it was a real headache. I took the approach to feed effectively from one breast so that she was not filling up all on fore milk, but also hind milk. That helped her tummy issues immensely.

    What a shame there are not more breast milk banks around, you would be a fantastic candidate!

  3. #3
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    Sorry, why are you feeding only on one side and then expressing milk? I think that might be exacerbating your problem, supply and demand-wise, as it also sounds like your one breast is getting overkill.
    I also had this problem at the beginning and was making my son choke and spraying him in the face. I was suggested by LLLSarah to, at the moment of letdown, remove your baby and let your milk spray into a tissue. When it`s done spraying, then you can put her back on. I had to do that for quite a while, I think about 6-8 weeks (from 4 weeks on) before my body regulated itself. It`s a real pain, I know. I was also really concerned with the hindmilk, but even before I realised what was happening, it turned out that regardless my son was getting enough because he gained tons of weight in the first month.

  4. #4
    allie101 is offline Registered User
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    thanks for your replies sea princess and shenzeniffer. i have been spraying into a towel on let down and trying all sorts of things, but the reflux is still a problem. perhaps i'll persist a few weeks longer and see if it settles down by itself. it's just awful watching the poor little thing cry in pain!

    shenzheniffer, thanks for your input. i'm only feeding from one breast because that is all she will take (she's full after 5-7 min before the first breast is finished and refuses to take anymore). I then pump from the opposite breast at around 7am and 10am so that my husband can give her a bottle of expressed milk in the evening. I then pump in the evening to keep up my supply.

  5. #5
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    Oh, I understand now. But I think at 6 weeks, your milk supply should be well established. I fed from one breast at a time for nearly the entire time (until about 7 months) bc that`s all my son wanted too. Perhaps outside of the pumping you do for your husband`s bottles, it`s not necessary to pump extra since that milk is technically not needed. I still think that the extra pumping may be exacerbating your problem. At this point your body should start naturally adjusting to your baby`s demands, but if you manipulate it, then your body gets confused.
    How about when she`s finished with your breast, to pump from THAT one - maybe you`ll get the hind milk moreso than from the other side which is like starting afresh. I always just alternated breasts each feeding and didn`t worry about my supply at that point since I had proven I had lots. Too much is also not a good thing.

  6. #6
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    As well as letting the milk spray into a towel when the let-down happens try changing positions when you feed.

    To reduce the effect of the milk spraying in the baby's mouth try positions where the baby's head is above your breast. The easiest way to do this is for you to lie reclined and the baby to be on top of you. Another way is for the baby to be propped vertically next to you. The straddle position is another position that might help.

    I would suggest stopping pumping and expressing for the next two weeks and seeing if you can reduce your milk supply. Don't worry about loosing your milk - it is usually much easier to increase the supply than to reduce it.

    I babysat for a friend's four month old baby last year. The friend wanted to leave some milk with me incase the baby wanted it while she was away. So she pumped twice to supply this milk. It took her body over 10 days to settle back down from the over supply she created. (And to make her feel worse the baby never drank any of the milk she pumped.)

    If you become too full and uncomfortable express some milk off until you feel comfortable again. Do not express too much off as this will keep your oversupply. I think hand expressing is better than pumping for this so it is so much easier to stop when hand expressing. (You may need to wake up during hte night to do this for a few days but the situation should settle down soon.)

    Best wishes,
    SARAH

  7. #7
    LeahH is offline Registered User
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    Hi, the only other thing I would add is that the oversupply issue may be exacerbating the reflux, but not the single factor causing it.

    I had the same oversupply issue as you early on with my son - only fed off one breast to ensure hind milk was reached, had to let it spray before latching etc., terrible nights as he was so uncomfortable.

    My son's reflux only truly improved when we put him on medication. Then it was dramatically better. We only had him on it until 3.5 months at which point he outgrew it and my oversupply had sorted itself. We tried zantac first but the taste was so horrible I thought it might put him off medicine forever! So we went to takepron which was fiddly, but much easier to administer (all prescribed by our Ped).

  8. #8
    allie101 is offline Registered User
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    thanks all so much for the suggestions - it's reassuring to know that other people have struggled with this too.

    I've spoken to a lactation consultant that suggested i try expressing and feeding a bottle for a few days to see whether the let-down is actually causing the problem, and it seems that is the case. Although it's driving me up the wall feeding her the bottle as well as expressing, she is definitely more settled after only a day of doing this.

    Will let you how I get on, I'm seeing the paed next week. I'll also consider stopping expressing for a few weeks (thanks for the suggestion Sarah, I was worried I may not be able to get the supply back if I stopped expressing).

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