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Thread: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

  1. #1

    Angry Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    I'm a first time mom with a 4 week old daughter. I never thought I would have children
    and I feel so confused about what to do for my baby. Her symptoms have been getting worse
    and from what I have read through countless hours of research, I believe I have oversupply.
    My partner and I labored at home with our homebirth midwives for about 42 hours of active labor.
    My cervix would not dilate past 6-7 cm, baby was 42 weeks 2 days when she was born at the hospital
    via a c-section. They kept her in NICU for 7 days on antibiotics but I was up 12 hours after surgery walking back and forth to breastfeed her. We didn't have problems at the hospital although they did keep her on an IV at first and I know they were giving her that sugar crap even though I told them
    Not to. Anyway, it was a pretty traumatic experience for all
    3 of us, we were so relieved to have her home and for the first couple weeks things went well. However, she nursed almost constantly. Especially in the evenings. I would have a 10-15 min break over the course of a 4 hour marathon feed. It was exhausting but everything I read about bf'ing said this was normal and to put her to the breast anytime she signaled hunger.

    Situation now: before she would sleep 3-4 hour stretches at night and we nursed in bed really well. The past two weeks have been different she started getting really fussy at the breast sometimes, fussing for hours with gas and passing stool, it would come out explosive but took her so long and lots of leg pumping and tummy running from us for her to get there. When I put my hand on her stomach I could feel a constant disturbance, and she went from normal fussing over gas to being in pain and upset. Her poops were yellow and seedy when we came home and are now more brownish yellow but with lots of mucus in them. She started feeding more and more but being fussier and fussier where before feeding seemed to relax/comfort her. She will tongue the air and root but when I put her on my breast she will only suck for a few minutes and the unlatch, fuss to get the nipple again and then spit it out. I have tried the reclining and laying down etc and they don't really work so I am thinking that she isn't really hungry and that is why she is letting go? I read so much about letting her nurse whenever she signals and about not delaying her feedings but I am so frustrated. How can I feed her when she keeps pulling off? It is contributing to her gassiness and pain. We wanted to avoid a pacifier at all costs, she would barely take one really when she was in the NICU but they did get it in her mouth occasionally. However, I am wondering is this our only option? I don't want her to be distressed.

    I've been block nursing for a little over 24 hours now. I think it is helping. She has been passing gas on her own (without us stimulating her legs/tummy for hours) and also pooping much easier
    I have given her Gripe Water 3 times since the day before yesterday when she seemed really fussy but when I gave it to her before we started the block
    Nursing she would start passing massive amounts of gas within minutes now that doesn't happen. I am hoping that this and the decrease in her tummy rumblings means that the block nursing is working.

    Ok this is long and all over the place, I apologize. My main questions are:
    What are some common signs that block nursing is working?
    Thoughts on comfort nursing and pacifier use.
    I return to classes in about 2 weeks and will need to pump just for 2-3 feedings twice a week- how can I do this and manage supply?
    What should I do when she fusses at the breast?

    Thanks in advance for any help and experience. I'm so sad that bf'ing has turned into this for us. It is a beautiful thing and I love feeding her but it has become to
    Stressful I am
    On the verge of giving up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    Hi Mama!!

    I'm sorry you had such a rough time at the hospital! That sounds really stressful!!

    Four weeks is a very fussy time for a lot of babies. I know it's hard, but remind yourself that some fussiness and gas and fussiness around passing stools is NORMAL. Your baby is just getting used to having a digestive system, so some fussing around pooping, etc., is pretty normal. The healthiest, happiest babies will fuss in the evenings (often for hours) around this time. We called it "Unhappy Hour" in my house.

    In reading you description, I did not see some of the signs that usually point me towards thinking, oversupply. Are you suffering from engorgement? Does your milk come out very strongly (that's "overactive letdown" and you can actually have that without having oversupply, but they usually go together)? Does your baby gasp and "choke" on the strong flow? Are you seeing not just explosive poops, but green, foamy, explosive poops?

    I ask because the main sign that block feeding is working is usually more normal mustard yellow poops. But you'll only see a change there if you start out with the green explosive poos.

    Also, most babies whose mothers have oversupply "comfort nurse" less than usual, because they can't nurse at all without a giant meal. So they may prefer a pacifier or nothing at all.

    I wouldn't assume oversupply if your only sign is gassiness, because I think it's normal for babies to be gassy, and I'd want to see more than that before block feeding. The problem with block feeding is that, taken too far, it will reduce your supply. It could be that you do have all of the other usual symptoms, but I didn't see them in your post, so I just want to make sure.

    To answer your other questions, comfort nursing is GREAT (I think you should encourage it!). It keeps mom's supply up and it keeps baby happy. If your baby takes a pacifier well, that's fine as long as you're not worried about your supply being too low - if you are, you should encourage comfort nursing instead.

    Pumping that infrequently shouldn't be a problem for your supply, even if you have oversupply. It's frequent pumping all day long that causes big problems for OS moms.

    Fussing at the breast is normal at this age, sorry to say. Sometimes it means you should try other means of comforting, or other times swaddling the baby can help. They are just learning about their bodies at this age, and they don't necessarily understand that flailing about at the breast means no milk, you know? Sometimes I would swaddle Joe just to get him a little calmer for nursing, and get his flailing arms and legs out of the way!

    Fussing at the breast does NOT mean anything is "wrong" with your baby, health-wise or otherwise. ETA: It also does NOT mean anything is wrong with your milk!! Most newborns to it to some degree. Joe fussed at the breast for a solid three weeks, and then got over it and went on to be a great nurser. You can do this!!
    Last edited by @llli*joe.s.mom; December 26th, 2011 at 01:22 PM.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    I had oversupply and my son didn't really comfort nurse till 9 months. And we did end up giving him a pacifier. He was soooo colicky and comfort nursing exacerbated the oversupply. It's not for everyone but it worked for us.
    Mama to five beautiful kids- 9, 8, 3, 2 and currently nursing our new baby girl born 1/20/2013

    "It should not be necessary to tell reasonably intelligent mammals to suckle and not dismember their neonates." ~Susan Blustein

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Ste. Genevieve, MO

    Default Re: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    I’m sorry you didn’t get your homebirth after all that planning sister and I’m sorry breastfeeding isn’t working the way you had planned. I think that you’re such an awesome mom for doing all of this research and reaching out for answers. It may take some time for your milk supply to adjust according to your baby’s needs, just hang in there (as you have). You may also try researching (milk protein allergy). It is the most common allergy amongst newborns. If you try cutting your dairy, it may help. Try different things but don’t give up. You can reach your goal by reaching out for support, answers, and by giving yourself a big pat on the back for being so awesome! You’re in my thoughts.
    BF'ing + pumping (working full time as BFPC) CD'ing , baby wearing , mother of an intact son , co-sleeping , and tandem nursing toddler... Plus I wear deodorant.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    Agree with PPs about OS.

    Regarding comfort/paci - You can offer a pinky finger for LO to comfort suck on instead of the breast -- we did that with our LO.
    3/2011 {EBF to 6mos, now BF and BLS, CD, EC'ing since 5mos - in underwear at 11mos, and babywearing}
    Babywearing International has chapters - see if there's one near you... most have lending libraries!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Help. Oversupply and comfort nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tatatandem View Post
    You may also try researching (milk protein allergy). It is the most common allergy amongst newborns. If you try cutting your dairy, it may help. Try different things but don’t give up.

    sometimes a dairy allergy will cause the symptoms you are describing.

    also, the point about trying different things. BFing and taking care of baby in general is a lot about trial and error. getting advice/information, then applying to your baby to see if it helps. you don't know until you try and you need to give everything a little bit of time. dairy elimination for example can take several weeks to show results (one month in my case). block feeding also takes a little time, depending on the mom... several days for me, almost a week.

    good luck, hope things are better!
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

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