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Thread: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

  1. #1
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    Default oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    I have both oversupply and an overactive letdown. In the beginning I would offer both breasts to DD and realized she was only getting foremilk because she had green poop. So then I read about oversupply and realized that was then problem so then started doing only one side at a feed. At that point she was eating very frequently, maybe every 1-2 hours. Which I am now finding out is too much as I was misreading her cues. I am currently trying out the E.A.S.Y schedule which has her eating every 2.5-3 hours (usually closer to 3 but that's her choice as she only eats when she is hungry).

    She sleeps, and whenever she wakes up (when she is hungry I assume) is when she eats, we play, once I think she is tired I start putting her down and the cycle repeats. I am still doing only one side per feed. However, she only wants to eat at the longest 10 minutes, milk is always dribbling out of her mouth and all over me, she sputters, chokes, etc. But because of how her feeds are spaced out now I am going at the shortest 6 hours of not feeding one side and the longest was a bit over 8 hours.

    I am concerned because she has started having liquid green poop which she never had before. I assumed that waiting that long between feedings on one side would help lower my supply. So why did she start with liquid green poop? And what can I do? I don't want to pump between feeds because it will make my oversupply worse.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    Actually MORE frequent feedings are far better for oversupply and overactive letdown than less frequent feedings. Nursing every 1-2 hours is far better than every 2.5-3. The short feedings are common with OALD too. My son only nursed a few minutes on one breast for a feeding and nursed every 1-2 hours. The frequent feedings helped a lot.

    My advice is to ditch the scheduling and go back to frequent feedings. Try nursing in a reclined position. That also helped a lot with my OALD.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    the problem is that before me trying this schedule (and I have just started it and isn't solidified yet anyway) I had the worst days ever. She was very unpredictable and I never knew if her cues were hunger or tired. I just fed her every time she cried and now I know that crying doesn't always mean hunger. She never had full meals and rarely ate long. She also would use nursing to help herself fall asleep. I realize now that she really likes to suck once I introduced a pacifier to help with getting her to sleep since I was no longer letting her nurse to sleep.

    Things are not perfect by any means but I at least now know around when she is actually hungry and tired based on both her cues and the clock.

    I don't know what I would do without this. Keeping in mind that I still do feed her when she wants. I do not deny her food when she is actually hungry and if she wants to eat after 2 hours then I do feed her. I am just concerned about her liquid poop because it means she isn't getting the hindmilk.

    Forgot to mention, I do laid back feeding already however my breasts are very saggy and my nipples point down regardless so even that doesn't help as much as it would with perkier breasts.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    Please understand that I'm not trying to imply that you are starving your baby or doing anything wrong. It's just that frequent feedings are better for oversupply and overactive letdown, and spacing feedings out will commonly cause issues related to these conditions to worsen. If the schedule is necessary, then I certainly don't want to argue with you.

    Have you tried side lying nursing? That can help if reclined nursing isn't working. You can also remove your baby at letdown and let the milk spray into a towel then relatch.

    What exactly do you mean by "liquid" poop? Breastfed babies typically have very runny poop. Is it foamy and green? Watery (as in clear) with green flecks?

    What other oversupply symptoms do you have? You can try block feeding, but that is not something you want to do unless you are absolutely certain you have a significant oversupply problem.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    I am so sorry, I wasn't trying to sound rude by saying I wasn't starving her or that you were implying I was. It's so hard to have tone of voice come across properly through typing. I was just trying to clarify what was going on. The schedule is also only "necessary" for my sanity and the fact that I will be returning to work and cannot be in a position where I don't know what time I can get out the door due to the unpredictability of my baby.

    I used to do side lying a lot around the 5am or 6am time frame if she was hungry because by that point I was too exhausted to sit up without collapsing with sleep. Her latch was pretty bad (her latch isn't great to being with, much much worse at night, as she only takes the nipple but I think that may be due to the overactive letdown too) and I was in a lot of pain and we both ended up falling asleep doing it so I had no idea if she even ate at all or how much. Then when we would wake up or sometimes beforehand she would end up spitting up.

    I've tried removing her but she gets so upset and starts crying. I have also tried expressing a bit prior to feeding her. It doesn't do much.

    I only know it is liquid because I saw it in the middle of a diaper change. Prior to that I would see the back of her diaper have a green tinge to it but I knew she her pee was clear. It looked like a slightly thicker consistency than pee and was all green. It wasn't the normal yellow, loose, seedy stools she has had before. I know normal BF baby stool are a bit loose looking. This was very watery but I didn't see foam or mucous, at least I don't think.

    As far as my symptoms go I leak all the time. At night I sleep topless and sometimes I find that when I stand up in the middle of the night to grab her I will start leaking. Sometimes when I am too lazy to put something on after waking, I will be randomly sitting on the couch and will start leaking. I also leak on one side when she is nursing on the other.

    I thought this was a type of block feeding I was doing with the 6-8 hour gap?

    Thanks again for your help.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    Oh, no apologies please! I just didn't want you to think I was being all accusatory. It's hard to pick up stuff like that online. No worries.

    How old is your baby, by the way?

    So, the leaking doesn't necessarily mean oversupply. I leaked for 15 months, and while I still had a pretty crazy letdown the oversupply was definitely under control long before 15 months.

    You're right though going 6-8 hours without nursing on a breast should lower your supply. It can take awhile though for supply to react, though. I would just be careful not to overdo it. You don't want your supply to ramp down too much. The most I ever did was 2 hour blocks and I had a pretty significant OS (could pump 8-10 oz after nursing).

    Green poops can mean a lot of things, not just oversupply. They can be totally normal. They can mean your baby is not getting enough milk. They can mean a food allergy. Or then there's oversupply. If your baby is gaining well, making adequate diapers, alert, and otherwise doing well, then the poops could be normal. Or it could just be a little bit of a "foremilk/hindmilk" thing as your baby and body adjust to the new feeding routine. Your breast can get really full after a long time, which is why the frequent feedings are generally better for baby's tummy.

    ETA: Is there anyway to alter your routine just a little to get in slightly more feedings? Like going 2-2.5 hour rather than 2.5-3 hours? You know keeping the general pattern since it's working for you; just finding a way to squeeze a few more feedings in there. I'm just a little worried that length between feedings could be a problem both in terms of "foremilk/hindmilk" issues and could potentially be problematic for you supply in the long run.
    Last edited by @llli*phi; July 27th, 2012 at 08:02 PM.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    She is actually going to be 9 weeks tomorrow.

    Hmm...I always assumed that the leaking coupled with the choking meant oversupply because when I used to pump after feeding her when she was in the 1-4 week range I could pump almost 100 ml from each side. Also, when I pumped, I notice it sprays really hard. Is it possible to have one and not the other? I thought they always went hand in hand. It also could just be too much foremilk and not oversupply, I guess?

    I have tried feeding her sooner but unfortunately it all depends on her naps. In order for me to feed her every 2 hours I would have to wake her up after about 45 minutes and I really would hate to wake a sleeping baby. That's why this is just a baby led routine and not really a schedule. It varies from day to day, nap to nap. She sleeps for however long she wants to. But the problem is that it is so hard to get her to actually fall asleep especially if I miss her perfect "tired" window and she gets into overtired. Sometimes it takes me almost an hour trying to get her to sleep which means it has already been about 1 1/2 hours since feeding time. And if she sleeps for an 1 1/2 then it's 3 hours between feeds.

    She feeds more frequently at night only because we don't have play time, it's just eat, diaper change, then back to sleep which also takes awhile to accomplish sometimes after a diaper change because that wakes her right up after she falls asleep nursing. But I hate to leave her in a wet diaper. :-/ It's a catch 22.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    Oh, I'm just saying that leaking alone doesn't imply oversupply. What you were pumping before is definitely in the oversupply realm. However, you can have a fast letdown without oversupply. My letdown sprayed like crazy until 15 months, but the oversupply was under control by 6-7 months. The spray did lessen a little bit with supply, but it was still an impressive spray. My son did get used to that on his own as he got bigger though.

    What if you nurse her before she sleeps too? So something like a "eat-play-eat-sleep" routine. I bet she would fall asleep for naps a lot quicker , in addition to emptying the breast a little more often which will be better for the OALD and possible oversupply (although I thing the issue may be more that you are going so long before using a breast as you originally asked about - but such a routine revision helps with that too; I should just say better for your supply - period). Nursing more during the day like that might also help you get a little more sleep at night ; nursing every 3 hours is awfully infrequent for a 9 week old.

    My son always nursed before naps during his infancy. He was a terrible napper as an infant, so I'm pretty sure he would not have slept at all if I didn't nurse him. He's a great napper now (one 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon) and can fall asleep just fine without nursing, so don't think that you are creating bad habits now by nursing to sleep. A lot of people will tell you that, but it is nonsense that is based on absolutely no evidence.

    I really think the key to this is trying to nurse more frequently. Routines can be great, but they can also be pretty detrimental to breastfeeding if they lead to lower nursing frequency. I think a minor alteration to make it an eat-play-eat-sleep routine retains the more predictable day, while potentially solving all of your problems. Could you give that a try for a week or so?
    Last edited by @llli*phi; July 28th, 2012 at 08:46 AM.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    I have definitely tried that a few times (eat-play-eat-sleep) but she spits up after some feedings so I worry that she will do so while sleeping and accidentally choke. At night I keep her on my shoulder for about 10 minutes patting her back to make sure she wont spit up. But then the second her head hits that changing table, her eyes pop open as if she was never even sleeping. Then it takes even more time to get her back to sleeping. I definitely miss sleep as she wakes up several times in the middle of the night.

    She has only been sleeping around 50 minutes or so all morning since 5am (don't know why she wont do her usual 1 1/2 - 2 hours) and I thereby been feeding her every 2 hours and she has been spitting up a lot and getting hiccups every time which makes her fussy. I don't think I can win this one. Lol. She has also been very difficult to get sleeping too. Don't know what is going on today. However, normal yellow poops but a lot of them. Almost every diaper change is a poop. So not sure if eating more is causing her stomach to be more upset causing the fussiness and the earlier wake ups? Maybe she is interpreting any kind of tummy pain as hunger as she starts sucking on my shoulder after waking up crying as soon as I pick her up.

    She also will not put herself to sleep. When I think I know she is tired it takes about 15-20 minutes to get her to fall asleep using the white noise machine, swaddle, side rocking and pacifier. Sometimes several attempts are needed because she will wake up and fuss as soon as I put her down int he rock n play sleeper depending on where she is in tired versus overtired. But I cannot always tell when she is just looking at something interestingly or staring into space/tired.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: oversupply and going too long between feedings?

    Will she nurse to sleep? If so, I would do that. The white noise/swaddle/rock/pacifier routine sounds exhausting, at least when compared to nursing. I understand being worried about spit-ups while baby is sleeping, but spit-up isn't really a choking hazard because it's liquid, not solid. Liquid doesn't block the windpipe, because it can be coughed out. If you're really concerned, just have baby nap where you can see her. At that age, my kids napped in the swing, which meant that I could be working in the kitchen and still have an eye on the baby.

    I think Phi has given excellent advice and information on scheduling and on coping with oversupply and forceful letdown. I can totally understand being stressed about the future and how an unpredictable eating routine will affect your ability to get out the door... But I'd encourage you to try to embrace your baby's unpredictable nature right now, and enjoy the fact that right now you have a lot of flexibility. As time goes on, your baby will become more predictable and once you go back to work, a routine will develop.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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