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Thread: Block feeding confusion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    98

    Question Block feeding confusion

    I have been block feeding some way or another almost since my baby was born 5 months ago. As I have said previously, it doesn't really seem to tame the OS. The only time that I see any improvement is if my baby has a bad day of refusal and doesn't take as much as usual, then the following day, my boobs take a bit longer to fill up. I don't think the improvement is because I have stayed full all day, I think in is because my baby has taken less milk overall. I am full most of the time, even after a feed, I still very rarely feel empty (this could be because she can't cope with feeding off such a full breast). With the block feeding I find that by the time the next feed comes around (poss 3hrs later) the side I am putting her back on for the 2nd time has re filled again ready for the next feed. Also it seems like my body knows that each side is going to do 2 feeds, so each boob fills enough for its 2 feeds and I don't have space for that much milk! I can see block feeding working if your baby is feeding very close together, but surely with a 3 hour gap, your boob will re fill again?
    Can someone explain to me how feeding on one side for 2 feeds 3 hrs apart will reduce my supply more than doing 1 feed per side every 3 hours, surely like I said previously my boob will have re filled in 3 hours so it will be like a new feed anyway. Ok, the other side will get EXTREMELY full instead of just full, but then it will also get so engorged that she can't feed from it. I am confused, because surely if baby feeds on one side per feed, if she doesn't empty it, there will be milk left so the body will get signals that it didn't need that much, so will make less next time whereas if she has a really good feed and empties it well, if you were to put her back on the same side 3hours later, surely your body would think that it hadn't made enough and that there was a big demand for milk, so would make more next time. I just can't get my head around how block feeding works. I understand that if milk remains in the breast, the brain will get a signal to make less, but surely feeding on one side per feed, the brain would get the signal if some was left that too much had been produced? If you block feed and empty the breast the first time and then empty it 3 hours later, that would give a signal that there is an increased demand for milk. I understand that putting her back on to a well drained breast, she would be getting more hind milk but then when she goes on the really full side, she would be getting loads of fore milk. If she did one side per feed, wouldn't it be a more balanced feed, better ratio of foremilk to hindmilk. Sorry if I'm being slow to catch on, but could someone please explain to me how block feeding would decrease supply more than one side per feed when a baby is going 3 hours between feeds? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,564

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    I think it's because more milk is left on the one side for longer. I don't know. It is confusing.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    So it doesn't matter what is happening to the side you are feeding on? Also things, most of the time, seem really un equal as if she goes back on the same side right at the end of a block, that side won't then stay full as long but the other side will stay full for ages as the feed on that side will be delayed because she has just fed on the other?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,564

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    There's a gal around here that has had really bad oversupply, I'm going to PM her and see if she'll come respond to your threads. She had a lot of problems, and maybe she can help.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    98

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    Thank you, that would be fab!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    514

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    You are right, it is leaving the milk untapped that is signaling your body to slow down because it is not needed.

    Also, when you put the baby back on the same breast for a second time they can get to the fatty hindmilk faster and be satisfied with less milk. Theoretically. The foremilk/hindmilk fat content difference varies for each woman.

    ETA: my OS started settling down some around 5 month but I always fed on one side only for DS's entire infancy. Sometimes it just works out that way.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    1,401

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    Sorry you're having a hard time. Definitely sounds like oversupply. This is from my experience:
    Block feeding helps decrease supply because your breast isn't being stimulated, as often, by baby (sometimes even pump) to produce milk. If you feed baby from a different side each time, your boob will refill itself fast, especially when you have oversupply because your body already makes milk on overdrive. A woman's breast, without OS, takes a little longer to refill. A woman WITH OS refills quickly. I feed off one side for about 3 feeding, not based on time/hrs between feedings. In the meantime, the other breast may get engorged. The best way to relieve it by hand expressing. Pumping is too similar to baby sucking. The only time I pump (when my OS is out of control) is when I need to dislodge a clogged duct.

    When my OS is out of control, I'll feed DD2 on one side for about 2-3 feedings until my boob feels soft, not "empty". A boob being empty tells the body to make more, and that's not what you'd want with OS. In the meantime, I remove some milk from the other side but just enough to where I'm not engorged or feeling lumpy (especially since I'm prone to clogged ducts). Normally, in about a day or two, my body will adjust itself meaning: the boob not being used doesn't get engorged while baby feeds off the other one for those 2-3 feedings. Sometimes not even block feeding has helped so I've had to resort to other measures to reduce my supply all together. Cabbage leaves and sage tea didn't work for me, so I had to resort to peppermint oil in the form of Altoids, which has helped. If not, *my* next step would have been birth control.

    As far as foremilk vs. hindmilk: when my OS is out of control and I'm constantly getting full, it seems like I have a lot of foremilk judging by it's appearance and DD2's poops. It takes a while for me to see the hindmilk, which is why block feeding allows DD2 to reach that milk with repetitive feeding from one side before switching. It seems like when your boobs are constantly full, baby will continue getting mainly foremilk because they'll get full before they reach the hindmilk.

    The way I picture it in my head is like this: think of a baby bottle resembling a boob (not that this representation is accurate)
    without OS the top 50% is foremilk, the bottom 50% is hindmilk
    with OS the top 70% is foremilk, the bottom 30% is hindmilk=>takes longer to get to it

    My thinking is: that if baby doesn't get the chance to reach the hindmilk, the body doesn't get the message that baby is getting enough or even getting to it, so it says "gotta make more", and the cycle continues. That's why when woman (without OS) can feed 1side/feeding because their babies DO get to tap into the hindmilk and it lets the body know that the amount of supply is adequate. I don't know the physiology behind breasts, hormones, and milk prodcution, etc. Maybe another mama might. This is just my reasoning.

    HTH
    I'm a SAHM to
    #1 Alyssa 5/26/09 BF for exactly 25 1/2mths
    #2 Emily 11/7/11 completely self-weaned at 20 mths
    #3 Victoria 12/16/13

    New sights, new goals, new directions...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    Juliet is dead on and says very clearly what I think several of us have been trying to say.
    Susan
    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!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    Juliet is dead on and says very clearly what I think several of us have been trying to say.
    Thank you mama! I'm so glad. It's much harder to explain on a screen than in person/phone and have it make sense
    I'm a SAHM to
    #1 Alyssa 5/26/09 BF for exactly 25 1/2mths
    #2 Emily 11/7/11 completely self-weaned at 20 mths
    #3 Victoria 12/16/13

    New sights, new goals, new directions...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Keepin' it weird
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Block feeding confusion

    Hey!

    I didn't thoroughly read all the replies, so if I'm repeating what someone else already said, please forgive me.

    I had terrible oversupply, and block feeding really helped me. Block feeding helps tell the boobies to stop making so much (sorry, girls, we did not have quadruplets), and helps baby with the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance that almost always accompanies oversupply by allowing the baby a chance to get that glorious hindmilk. So, Blockfeeding 101!

    If I read correctly, you are feeding on one side for two feedings, then switching sides, correct? If so, your best bet would be to increase the blocks. Feed on one side for three feedings before switching. If you haven't seen an improvement in a couple days, add another feed in so you're nursing on one side for 4 feedings. If that has no effect, stay one one breast for 5 feedings. And so on. Sometimes shorter blocks just aren't enough for your body to get the message that it needs to decrease production. Then, when you've started seeing a decrease in production, you can slowly reduce the size of the blocks.

    Personally, I was the lady who's supply was so out of whack that I had the "Day Boob" and the "Night Boob". Literally, 12 hour blocks. It only took a few days of that for my boobs to realize that I hadn't given birth to an entire football team and turned the milk faucets down.

    I hope my brief explanation helped. Good luck!
    Breastfeeding, babywearing, sci-fi loving, total geek of a mom!

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. — Dr. Seuss

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