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Thread: Do I have an oversupply?

  1. #1

    Default Do I have an oversupply?

    Hi all. My little one is 2 weeks old and I am exclusively breastfeeding. For the past week, I have woken up at night with two outrageously engorged breasts and a sleepy baby who is not interested in eating much. She'll usually eat from one side and get a good amount out within 5-10 minutes before falling to sleep. However, even after she eats, I don't feel completely empty and will wake up within an hour or two completely engorged and uncomfortable again, with a baby that is down for the count and uninterested in eating at all. She was 9lbs 4oz at birth, 8lbs 13oz at 1 week, and 9lbs 13oz at this last checkup, so I am not too concerned about her getting enough, as she is gaining like a champ.

    I've noticed she will often (perhaps 75% of the time) choke during the initial minutes of feeding, and on several occasions she has thrown up the entire contents of a breast (not projectile, she just opens her mouth and it all comes out). There is a fair amount coming up, I'd hazard a guess at between 2 and 3 ounces. She will be very fussy immediately before throwing up (kicking her legs, flailing her arms, and grunting) but otherwise doesn't seem to be in any pain and is calm again immediately afterwards.

    During the day, she'll follow the same pattern of eating for 5-10 minutes and then pulling off and not wanting the breast anymore, so I'll burp her and hand her off to dad or put her into her swing, and within the next 20 minutes or so, she'll fuss and fidget around until she starts giving hunger cues again, so I'll feed her again, sometimes from the same side if she didn't empty it the first time, sometimes from the other. I don't get quite as engorged during the day as I do at night since she feeds much more frequently during the day, usually between every 45 minutes to 2 hours, while at night she'll go anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours.

    So I have taken to pumping off the excess at nights just to relieve the pain and discomfort from being engorged. My baby is 2 weeks old and as of yesterday I've already got 30 ounces of frozen breastmilk, and have never needed to feed her a bottle due to not having enough. I know I probably shouldn't pump, but it gets so painful I can't even lay down and sleep without pain (currently in a size DDD, and they get huge when I'm completely full).

    So I'm not sure what, if anything, I should do, or if I'm doing something wrong to cause this imbalance in day vs night. I suppose I'm producing the same at night as I am during the day, she just eats less frequently. Should I continue what I'm doing? I do plan to start working part-time when she's 8 weeks old or so, but how much do I really need saved up for that? Because at this rate, I'll have well over a hundred ounces in my freezer.

    Thanks for any and all advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Brussels, Belgium
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    1,383

    Default Re: Do I have an oversupply?

    Hi mama, congratulations and welcome to the forum!! I'm not a doc but what you're describing sounds like a typical breastfeeding stage, where your body tries to figure out if you're feeding one baby or multiples. Your supply will taper down to the perfect level soon, but in the meantime, a girl has got to get some sleep, and especially the mother of a newborn!!

    You could try seeing if baby is really serious about sleeping: try giving a massage around her hairline like an annoying shampoo. Burp (or try to burp) her, undress her down to a nappy--all of these things can rouse a snoozing baby to nurse. One of the beautiful things MaddieB said around here is that nursing on cue is also nursing ont the mother's cue, so if you feel she should be nursing, go for it. But yours might be gaining well and ready to continue sleeping, despite your efforts. Mine did the same. Congrats, that is a baby that is developing well! So you could try some classic oversupply strategies, like the curious but effective practice to put raw cabbage leaves around the breast (during the night, yes, but just till you feel less full, not all night) or drinking a mint herbal infusion before bed, since mint can decrease supply. You can also pump the least bit possible to take the edge off, or do the pump equivalent of block feeding for just a few days: try to pump off from one breast and leave the other alone as much as possible, then the next time you wake up to put baby on the full side and not on the pumped side for the first feeding.

    For part-time work you won't need tons of milk. I never had more than 3 small bottles, partially full, for full-time work in my stash. You could contact local hospitals and see if you can donate milk to babies in NICU. My son is having a poop emergency, got to run!
    Katharine in Belgium
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    DD2 Feb 2015 - natural birth VBAC with DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    7,309

    Default Re: Do I have an oversupply?

    I agree with bxlgirl, there is nothing wrong, nor are you doing anything wrong, however I do think that your babies weight gain and that pump output suggests you are seeing milk production that is on the high side. Which is normal (as in, not really a big problem or unusual and also temporary) but can be problematic while it is happening mostly due to the issue of mom getting engorged.

    One thing to keep in mind is that pumping is not part of 'normal' breastfeeding. Every time you pump, you are telling your body to make even more milk than your baby needs. This can cause what is a normal, temporary situation to become one that is problematic.

    This does not mean, never pump. If it is necessary to avoid getting truly engorged and uncomfortable, then ok. The most important thing is to avoid that. However, I would suggest be very careful about only pumping when needed, and only pump just enough to relieve the pressure. I would also suggest hand expressing instead.

    But probably the best way to handle this period is to encourage baby to nurse as often as possible, night and day.

    Here is what you do not need to worry about: Baby wanting to nurse often, even several times an hour, this is normal, and this is actually good- the more often the better. baby nursing for short sessions is also normal, nor need you worry about baby not "emptying' the breast. It is also fine to let baby nurse one side at a time, as long as baby is nursing with good frequency. If baby wants both sides, that is ok too. Another thing you need not worry about is spit up. I can promise you she is NOT "throwing up" the entire content of your breasts, not with that kind of weight gain. It can look like a tremendous amount of milk coming out the other way. With my kids, they tended to those gimormous watery spitups if it had ben 'too long' between nursing sessions. More milk in the breast when they nursed= faster flow coming out = more spit-up.

    To help baby be more comfortable, overall, I suggest you and dad hold baby, snuggled with her tummy secure against your chest or shoulder, her head above her tummy, most of the time. Swings and bouncy chairs or anything (including car seats) that places baby in a seated position tend to increase gastrointestinal discomfort/pressure on the tummy. Babies this age almost always prefer to be held.

    Here is a good article on how to use your nursing positions to help baby handle a fast milk flow: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/...-breastfeeding
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; May 4th, 2015 at 09:13 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Do I have an oversupply?

    I can second MaddieB's suggestion to hold baby upright has a lot of good effects, as I have been holding DD2 high up over one shoulder since the beginning, and at 2 months she has very good neck control and upper back strength. It's basically like tummy time since it encourages baby to hold her head up.
    Katharine in Belgium
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    DD2 Feb 2015 - natural birth VBAC with DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Brussels, Belgium
    Posts
    1,383

    Default Re: Do I have an oversupply?

    This article might also be handy: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/ I still have over-active letdown at week 9.5 now, but do nothing particularly special, other than lots of laundry since I get milk spots on my shirts every day. DD2 never sputters or complains, so I just let her have her milk the way she likes it, and it's more convenient anyway that she does short nursing sessions since I have two other young children who need attention and care.
    Katharine in Belgium
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    DD2 Feb 2015 - natural birth VBAC with DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

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