Fighting the Battle Against Oversupply

by Guest blogger on June 12, 2012

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And just because someone has the opposite problem, doesn’t mean that oversupply isn’t a problem in its own right.

This was originally posted on the blog of Pittsburgh area doula and childbirth educator Vanessa T. 

breast-pump Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54490598@N07/

Fighting the Battle Against Oversupply

With less than half of women breastfeeding at the six month mark we have to assume that many women believe they don’t make enough breast milk. But what about the others? The ones at the other end of the spectrum, making enough to feed a small village of babies? As one of these women, I can say that we are often told to be grateful for it because women who don’t make enough would be happy to have our problem. Well… I’m here to say that oversupply ain’t all it is cracked up to be. And just because someone has the opposite problem, doesn’t mean that oversupply isn’t a problem in its own right.

Oversupply isn’t just about having too much milk. If that was all there was to the problem, it probably wouldn’t be a problem. Oversupply is usually accompanied by a letdown that causes mom to spray milk at a high rate, which causes the baby to choke and swallow air. What eventually happens is that the baby fills up on the milk, which contains very little fat and air and this leads to gas and stomach pains. This causes the baby to appear colicky and have explosive gas and bowel movements. And also want to nurse constantly, perpetuating the cycle of oversupply and colic.

My oldest daughter had colic. It lasted way beyond the typical three months. In fact most of her first year is a blur due to her constant crying and nursing. My middle daughter didn’t have it, mostly because I was still nursing her older sister as a toddler and she helped mitigate any extra milk. When my milk came in, three days after the birth of my youngest, I recognized the signs of strong letdown immediately.

We tried block feeding (nursing on only one side per session) for several weeks. This along with positioning the baby above my breast really didn’t seem to help at all. I resorted to pulling her off when my milk let down and spraying into a cloth then relatching her. But women have multiple letdowns during each nursing session, so this was extremely inconvenient when not at home. I was desperate for answers… so I turned to Dr. Google and came across a very interesting study in the International Breastfeeding Journal.

The Protocol
You can read the study for free here. But basically the protocol consists of pumping your breasts dry. I used a hospital grade pump from A Mother’s Boutique, but I’m sure you could use a regular double electric pump. Followed by a nursing session where the baby nurses freely from each side. This lasted several hours! And was followed by a very deep, comfortable sleep by my baby. When she woke up, I began nursing from one side and stayed on that side for 3-4 hours. Then I switched for the next block and continued on for the next week.

Day One
The day after doing this our baby was noticeably less fussy. She also had a really nice poop that she did on her own without much fuss. She was less gassy and easier to nurse. I did experience a bit of engorgement about 30 hours after the initial pumping session. This led to a crazy letdown. But I did not repeat the pump out and just allowed the milk to spray into a towel and then relatched.

Day Two
I was noticeably less engorged, but still full. Again, I had to take her off for the first couple of letdowns during the first nursing session of each block. But other than that, I did notice that my breasts were softer at the end of the block and I was certain she was getting more fat. She was still much less gassy and fussy.

Days Three and Four
I almost never have to take her off for any letdowns. I am leaking way less during feedings and even though I have spontaneous letdowns in between nursing sessions, I don’t leak at all during them. Her gas is back to a normal amount for a baby. She is still not really pooping regularly, but I no longer feel worried that it is due to an imbalance of too much fore milk.

Day Five (today)
No engorgement and my breasts always feel soft. I never have to take her off for letdown and my leaking is almost nonexistent. She was a little more fussy and gassy last night and today, but I suspect the six week growth spurt is the culprit. We are planning to return the pump tomorrow or Thursday because I am sure I won’t need to repeat the draining.

I am so happy that I discovered this study. It does not seem to be well known because the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh consultant that I spoke to had never heard of it. I hope that writing about it on my blog will help others find it.

Nothing on API’s website should be construed as medical or legal advice. API articles are provided for information purposes only. Consult your healthcare provider for your individual health and medical needs and attorney for legal advice.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen Marshall June 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

I would always recommended having your supply issues evaluated by an IBCLC before beginning on a protocol to reduce your supply. Many other issues can be misdiagnosed as over supply such as tongue tie and poor positioning, even under supply. If this is the case then reducing the supply will make things worse.

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Vanessa T June 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

Hi Helen,

The great thing about this protocol is that it really doesn’t diminish a supply that is already at a normal level. According to the study, the initial “pump out” reduces the “milk lakes” that women with oversupply form when their milk initially comes in. Someone who didn’t have this problem would simply be removing milk, which would stimulate additional production. When I spoke with an IBCLC about trying this she consulted with a physician and they both agreed that it would not hurt my supply if oversupply was not the problem.

But it always helpful to have the baby’s latch checked by an expert anytime there is pain or fussiness! Thank you!

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Steffie June 12, 2012 at 9:31 am

Oh my gosh, I wish I’d known this when I had my first son! Since I’m still nursing both my sons (22 months and 3 months), it isn’t as much of an issue for my second, except for the strong letdown. I just let him fall off and catch it in a washcloth until he’s ready to try again, and as he’s getting older (and bigger) he can handle it sometimes. While I do have multiple let downs during a feeding, the subsequent ones aren’t nearly so bad. The rest of my oversupply problem is actually a solution for some babies. I pump the excess and donate it. Since I don’t work, this is a viable option for me. I realize it isn’t for everyone, but I feel pretty good about my choice.

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Vanessa T June 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

Pumping and donating is admirable! I detest pumping and have two much older children, plus the letdown was a huge problem for my infant, so it was not a viable option. I truly needed to reduce my supply in order to fix the letdown. Pumping regularly would have increased my supply.

Thank you for helping babies with your donations!

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Carole June 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Steffie, I think that is wonderful that you donate the over supply! As a waiting adoptive mom, I am trying to produce even a small supply so that I may nurse when we get a baby. I know that I may not be able to produce enough and will need to supplement and want very much to use breast milk instead of formula.

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Steffie June 14, 2012 at 8:05 am

http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-LMS.aspx

I like this article on how to increase supply. It also defines a “nursing relationship.” Even if you aren’t able to induce a supply, you can still comfort nurse your new one for the bonding experience.

Birth mother to adoptive mother, thanks for loving a child. Good luck!

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Andrea June 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I had awful oversupply that went undiagnosed until my little went on a severe nursing strike at 11weeks. This strike went on for many many months and even though I was able to get my supply under control and her back to nursing we battled a bad latch due to bad habits learned before the strike until she weaned at 3yrs. The strike was caused by the fear the severe letdown caused her, the constant discomfort that was created. Now that I am much more educated on the subject I realize that this is a very normal reaction for many babies. Oversupply has been sited even by Dr Jack Newman in his guide to breastfeeding as a major cause of nursing strikes. I wish more people would understand that Oversupply is not a blessing for a singleton. Thank you for sharing this info. For my next child I will be ready to get things in check early before it gets out of hand. Also I tried large doses of the dried herb Sage. This worked wonders! Also I have seen a study using low dose birth control used for only 2 weeks as a method to reduce severe oversupply.

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Vanessa T June 27, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thank you so much for sharing! Oversupply is hard to diagnose and treat. I’m glad you were able to nurse her in the end. Good for you for sticking to it!

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Tanya June 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Wow…I had no idea that over supply could cause problems like that. I have an oversupply of milk as well, and a very forceful letdown. She detaches and latches on 10 times sometimes. It was painful at first, but now I’m used to it. She also gets lots of air bubbles and ends up crying sometimes while she eats because of pain from the gas. She also will gag when she first starts. The oversupply is a problem physically if you don’t pump or force the baby to eat more…or hand express. I had such an oversupply in the first three weeks that I got thrush (from the constant moisture from leaking, and yes I changed my breast pads frequently), and that led to a crack in the nipple, which got infected and turned into Mastitis. It was a horrible mess!! I had to stop nursing on one side for 3 days until the crack healed. Things are better now…but I still have lots of milk. Now I just pump it and freeze it for when I want a night out with the hubby. Although it is a problem in it’s own right, I would rather have that problem than not enough milk. I love breastfeeding and don’t want to stop for anything!

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Tanya June 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Cabbage leaves will help reduce milk supply. Some women in different cultures will put cabbage leaves in their bras when they want to wean their babies. It helps so mom does not get too engorged, which can lead to mastitis.

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beth June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

It is so great to read this – I had a big (sorry) problem with oversupply – and like you, scoured google for papers. I also had a great lactation consultant who diagnosed the problem – it was difficult as my baby also reacted badly when I consumed dairy – but I didn’t realise at the time. I did the pump-out and block feeding just as you described and it worked very well.

With my second babe I cut out dairy from the moment she was born and did block feeding from that time as well. Hindsight is a great thing. Thanks for your post – I don’t think oversupply is well recognised. I was told by a doctor at a hospital to begin my baby on lactose free formula *eyeroll* which would not have helped at all – lactose intolerance is very rare… OK. I’ll stop now. This issue is close to my heart.
I’ve written about it here.

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Heather June 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for sharing! I had an undiagnosed overactive letdown with my first child (5 bouts of mastitis in the first 4 months and countless food elimination diets thinking I was dealing with a food intolerance…and now with my second (at 2 months old) I am more educated on this issue and can handle the situation with grace (well most of the time :) My question is related to the protocol you mentioned above. Do you just pump dry that one time or every morning?
My first child weaned and so, I pump every morning after my son nurses so I can store and give some to my older child in a cup. If I do this protocol should I not pump every morning?
Thanks!

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Vanessa T June 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

The idea is to not pump more than you have to. If you read the cases presented in the article, you can see that some women just pumped that one time and others had toe repeat the pump out one or more times. I had to repeat pump last week after my baby had a growth spurt. She increased my supply again, but then didn’t nurse as much afterward so I had engorgement and a crazy letdown.

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fatima February 4, 2013 at 12:21 am

after you pump dry/out, do you get a milk supply immediately? i’m not sure if I have an over supply but my let down sounds like yours… it sprays my baby’s face, he chokes, cries, gets mad… when my partner saw it, he even said “no wonder why he get frustrated…” and we are dealing with gas/fussiness, green frothy poops… i do know my son has a lip tie and maybe a tongue tie too… so he doesn’t have the best latch…

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Vanessa February 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Hi Fatima,

Do you have access to an IBCLC? They would provide excellent support for diagnosing a tongue/lip tie and help with resources for resolving it. A poor latch can cause a baby to have difficulty managing the flow of milk and swallow too much air.

My milk never returned in as large amount as it was before I pumped out, but I did feel full within 48 hours. My letdown never really got slower, I believe that mechanism is separate from the supply. But after reducing my supply by pumping it all out once, I noticed that she was less gassy and her poops were more normal. She was less fussy and slept better from that point on. One thing that helped was keeping a pre fold around and delatching when I felt the first, strong letdown and spraying the milk into a cloth and relatching after a few seconds.

Some babies struggle to pass gas and poop for a few weeks or the first couple months. It requires coordination of muscles and like anything, it comes easier to some babies than others.

I wish you all the best!

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fatima February 23, 2013 at 9:48 pm

we got the lip tie taken care of… and my midwife suggested block feeding… she didnt tell me to pump out… ever since i did block feeding, we have been getting normal yellow poops… but now, he is having a hard time pooping sometimes… i wonder if it’s something i am eating… i just consulted with an IBCLC and she said the latch is fine and baby is gaining good… but i have a breast abscess (had a plugged duct but didnt get mastitis) the clogged duct was present for 2wks and finally I went to an obgyn to have it checked, worried it was a breast mass… so IBCLC is suggsting only feeding him where the abscess is to drain breast everytime and pump left breast… but i dont want to pump because i want my supply regulated… so i’m at a lost right now…

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Vanessa T March 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Block feeding is a very effective way to manage over supply or fast flowing milk. I block fed my baby until about four or five months old, when my supply naturally leveled out.

I hope you heal quickly from the abscess. It sounds like you are getting good advice from your CPs. Know that your body will better adjust to demand and your supply will normalize as your baby grows.

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Kristina February 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Hi there!
I am battling this with my baby too. I am wondering how your baby’s weight gain progressed after you reduced your supply? My boy was gaining 14-16 oz per week dor the first 6 weeks and crying at the breast. I am block feeding in blocks of 2-3 hours. In addition to oversupply we believe he has reflux, which I know can be confused with oversupply Nd vice versa. At about six weeks his weight gain dropped to 3-5 oz per week and the lactation consultant said my supply was coming down but that I needed to reduce it more. However, I think I only have an oversupply on one side and am wondering how to reduce it there, but not on the other side? At the same time she also warned against him losing weight if he continues to vomit or starts refusing to nurse. I am so confused about what to do. She suggested block feeding, in that I nurse on one side, then 45 min later nurse on that same side again. Then the next time switch to the other side. Do her suggestions seem consistent with the issues she brought up, and the fact that I only have over supply on one side (engorgement, crazy letdowns, always full)? Thank you for your comments and impressions.

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Wendy March 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm

K and I struggled with oversupply for months! K spent the first 6 months very unhappy and once we figured it out, she was an entirely different baby. Block feeding helped us out tremendously, but I had to switch sides every 12 hours for it to work! Thank you for sharing this article as I have met many moms who also have suffered with oversupply and there isn’t enough literature and support out there for it!

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Vanessa T March 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Kristina-

My daughter’s weight was in the 25-50th %ile (WHO chart) steadily until she started becoming mobile at 9 months. She gained about 1 lb a month until six months, when she was over 14 pounds. I do remember the pediatrician telling me that it is common for newborns to gain quickly (like a pound every week or two), but that weight gain tapers off around 4-6 weeks.

In my research, I have not specifically heard of oversupply on only one side, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true for you. Some women do notice that one breast seems to make more milk than the other. Block feeding is effective to maximizing the amount of fatty milk the baby gets by nursing for a set amount of time on a side before switching. You would have to gauge whether the fullness you feel on the oversupply side is better or worse over time to know if it helps in your situation.

When a baby is born, mom’s hormones control the milk-making and that is why milk is abundant at first. Over time, the body stops producing so many hormones and the production switches gradually to demand-based supply. By the time most babies are four months old, many mothers find their oversupply issue is solved.

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Graciela Cobos April 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hello Vanessa.. Thank you so much for your posting. I started yesterday with draining out my breasts and block feeding. But today I have horrible engorgement and the breast that I don’t use for the blocking kills me in pain. WhAt do you suggest doing?

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Becky April 27, 2013 at 6:12 am

This article was very helpful for me when I was battling this issue. https://www.llli.org/faq/oversupply.html
My oversupply has come back twice and I’ve had to repeat the block feeding process, but the second and third times the supply decreased much more quickly (24 hrs. vs. 4 days the first time). I had horrible engorgement the first time on the side I wasn’t feeding on, but try not to pump or express too much because you want your breast to get the message that its full and that milk is not needed. Remember, a full breast sends the message to stop producing whereas an empty breast sends the message to make more. I am continually trying to regulate this problem, but I’m not going to give up! My son is 7 weeks old.

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Ashley May 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Oh, wait, I’m not supposed to have enough milk for a dozen babies?! I battled oversupply with my son but just roughed it out until my supply leveled out. My daughter (5 weeks old) is more vocal about her dislike of firehose-style feedings and constant gas. So I started to protocol today.

My question is for when supply levels out. Do I continue block feeding? Or should I try just one breast per feed and switch the next time? If this works as well as the study shows, I really want to maintain it!

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Andrea May 7, 2013 at 1:16 am

Ashley, I would block feed for as long as you feel the need to. I did it for way over a year maybe close to 2 years. Also the length of each block is totally dependent upon if your getting the desired results. Start with 2 or 4 hr blocks where you only nurse on one side and see if your breast feels drained and soft after each feeding or does it still feel hard and full. I kept increasing my block length until I could truly drain my breast and get the rich fatty hind milk. This also triggers the other breast to slow down production reducing your supply. I had to increase my blocks to 12 hours in order to get the desired results. This is not an exact science and you have to listen to your baby. In times of growth spurts I would find my breast emptying quicker than 12 hrs and I would switch to the other side to keep my babe happy and fed. Then after things leveled out again the block length would increase.

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Helen July 26, 2013 at 3:19 am

Hello,
I am a first time Mom of a 2 month old son. I knew I wanted to breastfeed from day one of my pregnancy. While in the hospital the lactation consult told me I had short nipples! That I had to wear nipple shells and or shields. She was shoving my newborns head into my breast and never really checked the latch. By day five (at home) I was crying hysterically due to pain. Less than two days later I had an in home visit with a lactation consultant. Saved my life!!! But because of the my issues I’m beginning to believe my “milk lakes” were never drained properly. Breast feeding is the most natural thing, but it has been the hardest thing! I’m determined not to give up. Ive done all the things, except block feeding, suggested by LLLI website. My issue has only just started in the last couple of weeks. During a let down my milk only drips. But while my son is latched to the breast my milk constantly squirts out. Causing him to choke, gag, and pull back. I know because I see it when pumping. Oddly too, is that he doesn’t fight until my breast starts to become softer,. Like two minutes into the feeding.

So I have a few questions about this technique.

-You “drained” your breast, how did you know when to stop? Considering the breast continue to produce milk.

-After you “drained” your breast (initially) you mentioned you had a nursing session where baby nursed freely. Can you explain that in a little more detail?

-My baby falls asleep almost every time he feeds from one breast. And you said the nursing session after you drained lasted several hours. Can you also explain that in more detail?

-What did you do at night? What if my baby sleeps more than than the block time. Do you switch breast?

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Vanessa July 31, 2013 at 5:35 am

Hello Vanessa,

I’ve read the study & actually am in the process of trying it. My only question is when do you drain (after my last nursing session or right exactly before my next nursing session). I’ve been pumping regularly every early morning just to build a freezer stash before I go to work for a few minutes (5+), then on my next nursing session I do the 3-4hr blocks. I do modify it some by just nursing twice per side before I switch side for the next block. I’ve been doing this for a few days now & I feel full before my switch but feel empty after I nurse (completely soft after the second session). Any suggestions especially since I’m going back to work? Should I omit the morning pumping until I go back to work? Also he has been sleeping longer at night, how should those blocks go? I’ve been just alternating sides based on comfortability.

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Vanessa August 1, 2013 at 6:33 am

Also when/if you went to work when did you pump?

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Helen September 5, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Dont give up though! Like I said before in my message, I tried everything on the suggested websites. Block feeding is the simple answer for us. It may be for you too:)
I found TONS of support on Facebook! Pages called The Leaky Boob, Badass Breastfeeder and The Skeptical Mother. Check them out. SO MUCH mother support!!!!

GOOD LUCK:)))))

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Vanessa T. September 17, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hi Vanessa-

Your situation is different from mine, in that I was not interested in creating a freezer stash (this time, I had done that with my oldest daughter.) The protocol in the study suggests pumping out one time, after a good, full feeding and not pumping again unless engorgement occurs.

The theory is that, some moms get an extremely large supply during the “autocrine” phase of milk development, when it is driven by hormones more than demand. And their bodies never get the chance to fully use all of the milk before the endocrine, or baby-controlled phase so they continue to experience oversupply and perhaps an overactive milk ejection reflex.

If you wish to continue to pump each day to build a freezer stash, perhaps consider treating that as a “feeding”. So you do the pump out as described in the study, after a good nursing session with your baby. Then continue to nurse your baby and do the normal session with the pump to build your stash, but keep it the same length of time/same time of day. And reevaluate every 24 hours whether you feel engorged or not.

I hope this helps! Please know that my baby is nearing 1.5 years now and this resolved itself completely around 6-8 weeks. We had a very nice nursing relationship that lasted until I had to stop for medical reasons when we weaned to mostly formula. She weaned completely about a month ago.

There is life after oversupply and overactive letdown. And you can continue your nursing relationship as long as you want.

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Andrea August 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm

So glad to hear I’m not in this alone. I have been so frustrated. I’m waiting to hear answers to those questions too. Thanks.

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Helen September 5, 2013 at 11:34 pm

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT ALONE!!!!!!! Hang in there!!!!!!

Please see the reply I left for Vanessa. Please check out the Facebook pages. The moms on there were able to help me:)

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Jenni September 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I found this article incredibly interesting. I agree with PP that there is not a lot of good information about forceful letdown and over supply. My son is 3 1/2 weeks old and is very fussy and gassy in between feedings. I can tell he’s uncomfortable because he’ll be fine one minute and then start crying like he is in pain the next, while kicking his legs and arching back. He does choke when feeding and I can hear him gulping air. In spite of him burping after nursing, he still has gas.

My question would be do your breasts always feel hard and tight when you have an oversupply? I have recently started block feeding and my breasts aren’t always hard and tight. But yet my son is still incredibly gassy and fussy in between feedings. I am nervous about pumping out before a feeding because all I hear is “pumping tells your body to make more milk”. But I feel that he might be getting way too much foremilk and not enough hind milk. Thus his explosive sound poops, too?

And if I do start draining both breasts once a day, will he take longer to nurse because there isn’t “as much milk”?

I’m a FTM and all of this can be so overwhelming and stressful.

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Vanessa T. September 23, 2013 at 11:13 am

Hi Jenni-

I’m so sorry you feel overwhelmed and stressed. I remember that feeling as a FTM (and the second and third time as well!)

Since all women have different experiences, I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule for what to “feel” when experiencing oversupply.

The protocol doesn’t encourage repeating the draining, unless engorgement happens again. The theory is that women get oversupply based on their initial supply when their milk “comes in” and the baby never gets through that, but continues to stimulate production via nursing and for whatever reason, their autocrine system doesn’t adjust right away. So if you want to try to protocol that I wrote about, drain once and wait at least 24-48 hours to see if the oversuppy returns before repeating the pump-out.

I hope this is helpful. Hang in there!

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Ruth September 22, 2013 at 9:03 am

Oversupply can be connected to a baby’s dysfunctional suck, and oral function, the study you are sighting is already outdated by stating “fatty hind milk” that theory has been disproven by Hartmann et, al.
Please re think that you have discounted the first commenter’s warning that women should first seek out a IBCLC to insure that they are getting to the root of the issue of oversupply and your baby does not have a Tongue tie, there are both obvious TT on the tip, and posterior tongue by degree that are less obvious but debilitating to the normal function of the tongue.

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Vanessa T. September 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

Hi Ruth,

I’m not sure where you read that I was discounting consulting an IBCLC. As the author of this post, this advice was never intended to supplant medical advice, rather to provide information on alternatives to discuss with medical professionals when consulting individually. As I mention in my story, I personally consulted with IBCLC about my issues.

Thanks for participating!

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Bina September 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I always thought the spray was hilarious and I was “blessed” with milk oceans of milky goodness. But now I’m realizing that a lot of my babe’s stomach and bowel issues might be attributed to oversupply (and I’ve been diagnosed with it by an LC).
He’s two months old and was just diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. I’m skeptical. Here are his symptoms; any chance they’re being caused by a fore / hindmilk imbalance?

- Cries every night before bed at the breast; gives up eating and falls asleep
- Explosive, green diarrhea that usually causes him pain to pass
- Blood and mucous in stool
- Very gassy
- Persistent diaper rash for the past 5 weeks

Otherwise, he’s gaining weight like a champ and is very happy & calm when he isn’t feeding or pooping.

Thanks!

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vanessa t. September 24, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hi Bina-

It certainly could be related to forceful letdown and not enough time spent at the breast. Talking to a lactation medical professional would probably be best since your baby has a diagnosis.

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Melissa November 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Hello,
I am a first time mother of a 6 month old baby girl. From about 2-3 months on we have had a terrible time with nursing sessions. I thought I had a low supply and she was pulling off due to no more milk. Many sessions ending with both of us crying. She has quit nursing for the length of time she used to and she is very tiny for her age I feel. After a little reading and finding this study I am thinking all along I have had an oversupply issue causing all our problems. I have debated for months giving up breastfeeding.
So my question is at this point how would I restart everything? I have for
6 months fed from both sides. When switching to this blocking feeding schedule will I then have enough to satisfy her. Is this something you continue forever or is it just to fix your overproduction? Also when returning to work do you pump each side every other pumping or do you continue the same?

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Lisa Lord November 19, 2013 at 5:44 am

Melissa,

I have invited the article’s author to reply to your question. You may also wish to consult with your local API Support Group if one is available (http://www.attachmentparenting.org/groups/groups.php) or a local lactation consultant, either through La Leche League International (http://www.llli.org) or your health system. A knowledgeable lactation consultant may be able to offer just the support and advice you need to get through this challenging feeding period.

You may also wish to post your question on the API Forum – Feeding with Love and Respect (http://www.attachmentparenting.org/forums/home). You will need a login and password to post a question; there is a link in the upper right corner of the Forum homepage.

- Editor, APtly Said

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Vera S. February 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

I’m glad I came across your post! I’m dealing with oversupply and very heavy let down now. It’s amazing that there is very little information online about this as if it’s not as big of an issue as low milk supply. I find it very discouraging to see your baby cry every time I feed her! I have been working with a lactation consultant and she did recommend block feeding. This method is different in a way that it starts with initial complete drainage. Block feeding is not exactly working for us yet. My supply has reduced and I’m no longer leaking, but we are having a helluva time breastfeeding especially on full breast. My little one chokes, pulls away, cries pretty much every feeding unless I’ve just pumped my breast empty within 4 hours of feeding. It seems like block feeding is really not doing much for my let down. Did you notice with this method your let down become less forceful over time? I think my daughter only nurses comfortably if it’s a very slow drip – she sometimes chokes on a bottle as well. My milk comes out like a water out of a hose! I hope as she grows she’ll be able to keep up with it better!

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Jenna May 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I’m trying this now and am in day 2. I’ve been engorged and tried to hand express so my letdown isn’t as strong but it takes forever for it to lessen. I’m worried that by expressing so much I’m making the problem worse. I’ll keep trying the block feeding but I’m a little worried it’s not working.

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Kelsey May 27, 2014 at 8:36 am

So when you switch to a new side, isn’t it really really full? Do you pump it first and then feed? Or just let them drink all of it?

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Jen June 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Thanks so much for posting this and sharing the study. I had oversupply with my first (preemie) and we were miserable until he was about 5 months. My daughter (born full term, yay) is 2 weeks old and nursing her is a miserable experience for both of us. Milk sprays her in the face and then she projectile vomits whatever she just drank right in my face immediately post nursing and then wants to nurse again 20 minutes later. Repeat. I’ve been supplementing out of desperation, hoping that skipping a feeding or two at a time will decrease my milk production, but that’s not really working. I tried something similar as recommended by a LLL article on oversupply, but that made the problem worse. I’ll be giving this a try starting tomorrow. Again, thanks so much for sharing.

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Vera S. June 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

We were having a lot of issues nursing too because of oversupply and really forceful letdown. I eventually figured out a method to feed my daughter comfortably which basically was 1) block feeding like the article says (switch breasts every 4 hours) 2)pump off 1-2 oz at the beginning of the block (and sometimes before each meal) 3) use nipple shield to block the milk from spraying so much in her throat. We did this until my daughter was 3.5 months and it was a big pain, then I slowly started trying to pump less before the meals, then stopped completely, then removed nipple shield. She grew into it finally and now we both enjoy it. With block feeding my supply dropped but not enough. It didn’t regulate out until I stopped pumping off milk, but I had to do it for a while in order for her to be able to actually eat.

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Kelsey June 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I self diagnosed my oversupply lol :) my little girls poops were really green and mucousy and she was spitting a lot. Sure enough, we tried the block feeding and all of our problems went away. She still spits up,some, but no where near as much as before. I didn’t do the pumping par- I just had her feed off of one side for 4 hours and then switched to the other side for the next 4 hours and so on and we did that from morning til that night ( about 18 hours). Great post- thanks for sharing!

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Carrie June 25, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I don’t know if I have an oversupply but I do know I have a forceful let down causing my 6wk old to constantly pop off after 4-6 minutes and doesn’t want to relatch. If I do manage to relatch him he is so squirmy and pulls down to the tip of my nipple and I have significant trauma to one side. He immediately is showing signs of discomfort. Would this method alleviate the forceful let down? Also, I have to go back to work in 2wks where I will be pumping for 3days in a row. If I do try this method, will pumping at work undo all the progress made?

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Rita Brhel July 1, 2014 at 10:53 am

From Katherine Wilson-Thompson, IBCLC, member of API’s Editorial Review Board:

“Try sitting upright with your baby straddling your leg, so he is upright as much as possible when feeding — this can help baby feel more in control of feedings. Also, it would be good for you to consult with a local lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC) to evaluate your supply and latch, to see if there are other contributing factors.”

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