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Thread: Questions about overactive letdown

  1. #1

    Default Questions about overactive letdown

    I am fairly sure that I suffer from overactive letdown, though not at every feed. I have been reading up on it and have a few questions for the experienced moms out there:

    1. Is overactive letdown the same as oversupply? Can you have overactive letdown without oversupply? My milk will squirt out without any stimulation after letdown, but my breasts feel empty after one feed, so I think it's more an issue of how fast the milk comes out than the amount of milk.
    2. What exactly is the goal of block feeding? Is it to reduce the supply? I tried this but then the other breast was SO full by the time it was its turn that I had even worse OALD than normally. How does this help??
    3. I normally nurse about every 2 hours during the day, but I'll go for longer stretches at night if my son allows it. Last night he went 4 hours between feeds at night and the milk just came shooting out and he choked on the milk, got gassy, and cried and cried and cried. How do you control this at night, even if during the day you're able to keep it under control by feeding often?
    4. I've read that you should pull the baby off when you let down and let the milk squirt into a burp cloth. I've been doing this and I think it's helping, however, by the time I pull him off he's already choking on the milk. Is there a way to "anticipate" the letdown so that I can pull him off before he starts getting squirted with the "fire hose"? I know some women feel it but I don't really.
    5. Another question about pulling him off and squirting into a burp cloth - how long should I do this for? Just until it stops squirting out on its own? That's what I've been doing.


    Thanks in advance and apologies if these questions have been answered elsewhere - it's my first time here and I'm a first time mama, so I'm a newbie in all respects!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,152

    Default Re: Questions about overactive letdown

    1. Is overactive letdown the same as oversupply? Can you have overactive letdown without oversupply? My milk will squirt out without any stimulation after letdown, but my breasts feel empty after one feed, so I think it's more an issue of how fast the milk comes out than the amount of milk.
    Overactive letdown is USUALLY the product of oversupply, but not always. It is possible to have fast letdowns and average supply. When a mom has fast letdowns and normal supply, the issue is often the baby; young, weak, and uncoordinated babies have more trouble coping with letdowns than older, stronger, more physically able babies.

    2. What exactly is the goal of block feeding? Is it to reduce the supply? I tried this but then the other breast was SO full by the time it was its turn that I had even worse OALD than normally. How does this help??
    The goal of block feeding is to reduce supply, but supply reduction takes time. It can take days, weeks, sometimes even months to completely control oversupply. So you shouldn't expect block feeding to immediately solve a letdown issue related to oversupply. It's very typical for the unused breast to get much more full and have a much stronger letdown the first few times you block feed. However, the fact that you felt "SO full" after skipping one feeding on one breast does point to a stronger-than-average possibility that you have oversupply.

    3. I normally nurse about every 2 hours during the day, but I'll go for longer stretches at night if my son allows it. Last night he went 4 hours between feeds at night and the milk just came shooting out and he choked on the milk, got gassy, and cried and cried and cried. How do you control this at night, even if during the day you're able to keep it under control by feeding often?
    Reclined feedings may do the trick, since they enlist gravity to slow milk flow. If they don't... Well, time should take care of the problem. Most moms start out with some degree of oversupply, but in the long term most moms find that nursing on demand will enable their supply to adjust so that they make just the right amount of milk.

    4. I've read that you should pull the baby off when you let down and let the milk squirt into a burp cloth. I've been doing this and I think it's helping, however, by the time I pull him off he's already choking on the milk. Is there a way to "anticipate" the letdown so that I can pull him off before he starts getting squirted with the "fire hose"? I know some women feel it but I don't really.
    If you don't feel your letdowns- and a lot of women don't- then there's not really a way to know when to pull the baby off the breast. Honestly, I'd just let him learn when he needs to pull off- eventually he'll know better than you when that is.

    5. Another question about pulling him off and squirting into a burp cloth - how long should I do this for? Just until it stops squirting out on its own? That's what I've been doing.
    Until it stops on its own.
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Questions about overactive letdown

    thank you so much, this is very helpful!

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