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Thread: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitting

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitting

    Hi, I have a 14 week old baby who is refusing to feed, we have had issues since she was 6 weeks old and I have spent the last 8 weeks trying to work out what is going on. I finally worked out that I have oversupply issues and this is what is causing the problems including a lot of wind, needing to burp within a min of feeding, taking in milk for a min or two then coming off and fussing, when goes back on comes back on off again then refuses to feed. Cries when put into cradle position quite often and wont latch on. She will feed when she is sleepy but if she is awake she either refuses or feeds for a few mins and then comes off crying. I can feel let down really with some force and it sprays if I take her off. It's not just the let down she has problems with but also the milk comes out too quickly for her for quite a while. I often find if she is fussing and comes off she has milk in and around her mouth. It is so frustraiting having a breast full of milk that my lo wont take even when she is hungry!

    I have been very close to giving up on breastfeeding and have had to bottle feed her a few times recently (because of the fussing). I almost gave up a few weeks ago and gave her some formula over a weekend, this reduced my supply but tried the breastfeeding again and she was fine and didnt refuse a feed, we had no problems at all for around three days then I guess my supply went back up and the issues started again.

    I have read this article http://www.lactationconsultant.info/osscolic.html

    and it completely describes the situation I have had with my lo since birth. I feel like I cannot continue breastfeeding as things are at the moment and I need to reduce my supply to a level that is good for her.

    I am desparate to reduce my supply so that my lo will breastfeed again.

    I have looked into block feeding but I would need to express off quite a bit before I latched lo on, would this be ok? I know that expressing off over a longer term can make the problem worse which I am worried about. I have read about having a cup of sage tea each night until the milk supply goes down to an appropriate level, are there any other safe options I could use to help sort out this situation?

    I think I might not have offered the same breast for a period of time when my supply reduced previously which is what I would make sure I do this time around!

    Her weight gain is ok (a little low) but we have had to suppliment with expressed milk/formula she also has plenty of wet nappies, this is not about her weight gain but I don't want the constant battles I have had for the last two months with her struggles to feed and the pains it causes her.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    Don't panic, mama!

    Oversupply is so unlikely to be a long term problem for you. First of all, your baby should eventually learn how to control the flow better, so that even if your supply continues to be high, she'll be able to manage a fast letdown without so much fussing. Second, your supply is unlikely to stay high- your body doesn't want to overproduce milk because it's a waste of energy to do so. Eventually, most moms find that supply and demand get into sync.

    I know this is frustrating, but even if you decide to wean right now, you still need to enlist all your patience and go slow. Weaning too fast sets a mom up for issues like engagement, plugged ducts, and mastitis, particularly when she has an oversupply.

    The first thing to do to help your baby deal with fast milk flow is to try reclined nursing positions, because they enlist gravity to fight against milk flow and make nursing more comfortable for the baby. Sometimes reclining is all you need to do, but if you are reclining and still having trouble, then you may need to progress to block feeding.

    If you are so engorged that your baby is unable to latch on without you expressing some milk, then hand express just enough to soften the breast and then latch her on. Yes, expressing in addition to nursing will keep your supply higher than simply putting up with the engorgement, but over time block feeding should still reduce your supply.

    Definitely try the sage tea and maybe some peppermint tea as well.
    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
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    Oversupply sucks. It's awful, and let me just tell you that mine FINALLY went away at almost 6 months. It does go up and down if we go out for a day and she doesn't feed well, then the next day is rough but it adjusts back down so much more quickly.

    Now my baby can nurse to sleep for every nap and bed. Again, this just happened and it took almost 6 months. So, you're about at 3.5 months? As the PP said, it will go away eventually, but it takes time and patience for your body to finally get the message that you only need to feed 1 baby, not 3!

    We nurse exclusively lying down. That's it. It's been that way for 4 months. My baby had low weight gain from refusing the breast until we switched to that. Then her weight gain doubled to the high end of normal. The letdown is still too fast for her to eat when we are sitting up, but I've come to accept it.

    I would advise no pumping whatsoever if possible, and like mommal said, hand expressing only if you are engorged. Are you spraying milk at letdown or does it seem fast? Taking baby off at this point and re-latching after the letdown might help.

    A lot of moms on here have found that block feeding works, and I have actually read a journal paper on another way to get rid of oversupply faster where you do a full drainage once or twice and then immediately begin block feeding. http://www.internationalbreastfeedin...content/2/1/11. I would not recommend doing this without the guidance of a professional, unless you are comfortable with it. I did not try this, but I have read of other moms doing this with good results. Definitely something to consider if you are desperate and ready to quit.
    and Mama to two little girls

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    I agree with pps. If you have severe overproduction, block feeding usually works to reduce it. Anti-galagtagogues can be tried as well, the kellymom article I link below has more info. If needed, you can consider the full drainage and block feeding technique. The difference, if I recall correctly, is the pumping ahead of starting the block feeding, which it sounds like you already think you will need.

    While you are doing the block feeding to reduce production, which may take a little time, it is important to simultaneously take steps to help baby handle the fast flow.

    and it completely describes the situation I have had with my lo since birth. I feel like I cannot continue breastfeeding as things are at the moment and I need to reduce my supply to a level that is good for her.
    I don’t agree your milk is somehow not good for baby. I understand baby is starting to refuse to nurse, and that has to be addressed, and perhaps it can be with some forceful letdown techniques as mommla suggests. But every thing I have read about overproduction suggests that it is best if baby is kept exclusively nursing at the breast while production is reduced. I suggest, keep encouraging baby to nurse, as frequently as possible.

    I do suggest, read the article on the fdbf technique pp linked.

    For the basics of block feeding I like this one http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    anti-galactagogues http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastf...bs-oversupply/

    basics of overproduction and ffld http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ggrimacing.pdf

    and this one offers a couple common sense cautions http://cwgenna.com/blockfeeding.html

    I would also suggest that you work with a lactation consultant with any severe breastfeeding issue-if possible.

  5. #5
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    Exclamation Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    The reason I feel that it isn't good for my baby is because she cries so much when I put her anywhere near and I have to spend a good three hours before she will take more than a few sucks - on and off trying with time to chill out and then try again. She gets overtired in this time and eventually sleepy and will take a feed slowly. it happens at every feed during the day every day. I can't take being stuck inside trying this everyday and it turning out the same. She sucks about twice and pulls off, tries again and pulls off not even waiting for let down sometimes. then cries and if i try any further she cries even more.

    I don't know if I can do block feeding as it can be a very long time between feeds.

    I have thought about emptying both sides tomorrow morning and giving it a try but if she wont take it then what happens? Will emptying both sides increase the milk production further? Also when it says empty both sides does it mean express until there is no more milk or just til they feel empty?

    I was wondering what to do if I can't get her to feed? if I want to reduce my supply by expressing only how can I do this? how often should I do it and how much should I express? this morning I had to express nearly 5 oz from one side just to feel comfortable.

    I really don't want to get blocked ducts, I got one when I gave formula over the weekend and had to express so often on that side that I think this made the whole supply issue worse.

    I am sorry to moan but I feel like there is not much in the way of support I have recieved on this over the last two months. I didn't know what was causing her to refuse feeding and saw two breast feeding people, a dr and out of hours dr, they saw her weight gain was ok and said that she is just a 'high needs baby' and 'she will eat when she is hungry'. I have found the last two months incredibly stressful - hard enough that my lo cries almost every time I put a boob near her but I feel like no one took this seriously. I have been so determined to keep breastfeeding but I feel this has got to the point where I can't take anymore of the refusing.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    Mama, those of us who have experienced issues with oversupply TOTALLY get it. I remember when I was nursing my first and didn't have enough milk- I would have killed to have too much! But then I had my second and had a significant oversupply, and realized that having oversupply wasn't any more fun than not having enough. When your baby is pulling off and screaming and refusing the breast and you're uncomfortably full all. the. time. - it's just rotten!

    I think the thing to keep in mind is that this is a treatable problem and also a temporary one. Your baby will eventually learn how to handle a fast flow of milk without the whole drama of pulling off and screaming. That reaction is something that young babies exhibit. Older babies either figure out how to control the flow or they just pull off and wait for the squirting to subside. The frustration that your baby is experiencing- she won't remember it in the long run and it won't affect her bond with you, and it is well worth the price of being a breastfed baby. If I had to choose between a baby who was easy to feed and a baby who was breastfed- well, give me the breastfed baby, if only because that baby is so much less likely to end up with an ear infection or diarrhea. I'll choose weeks of fussy over days of sick any day!

    So, treating this problem... Since you ended up expressing 5 oz just to restore comfort, block feeding obviously needs to be part of your approach. It doesn't matter if it's a long time between feeds. The longer one breast goes without stimulation/milk removal, the more your supply is going to go down on that side. So if one breast goes 6 hours between feeds- and I had to go that long pretty frequently- that's fine. The unused breast is going to get full, and probably uncomfortable. If you can't put up with it, try hand-expressing the least amount of milk you need in order to restore comfort. And rock the cold cabbage leavesor cold compresses on the unused side- they should help with the discomfort.

    There are further steps for reducing supply that I think you might want to take. Drinking sage and peppermint teas are one. Taking an OTC cold remedy that contains pseudoephedrine is another- that's pretty extreme and I wouldn't do it unless block feeding really isn't working for you. Sudafed used to contain psuedoephedrine but is now made with a different chemical, so ask the pharmacist and/or your doc for a recommendation. The final- and most drastic approach- you could take would be to take birth control pills which contain estrogen. They are not generally prescribed for nursing moms because they can reduce supply, sometimes quite drastically. But you might be in that rare category of moms for whom BCPs would be helpful.

    Don't give up, mama!
    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!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    Thank you so much for your reply mommal! I do really want to try and keep going with breastfeeding if i can. I will have a go with the block feeding tomorrow. do you know why they say to express both breasts fully to begin with? If i can get things running a bit more smoothly with the bf i will keep going. She does have a go at feeding sometimes so maybe she will take it. Funny after the first week or so of pain bf was a dream for a month, maybe soon bf will become a calm experience again!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    The idea of expressing both breasts fully to begin is that it will make you and baby more comfortable. Block feeding will reduce supply, but it may be pretty uncomfortable (until block feeding reduces your supply to the right level, you're still storing up excess milk in your already overfull breasts). The article suggests draining completely, so you're comfortable and baby is getting hind milk. It's also suggesting periodic complete drainings if you get uncomoftable, instead of more frequently expressing smaller amounts. It's possible less frequent but more complete pumping would encourage oversupply less (since you'd get less total nipple stimulation. In any event, it's also more comfortable. Enforcement stinks.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Oversupply issues - how can I reduce it? close to quitt

    The other idea behind the full drainage thing is that you have so much milk, it will take a long long time for your body to naturally reabsorb those "milk lakes", as the author calls them. All that extra milk keeps sitting in there, that's the problem. It's not getting removed and more is getting made. I wish I'd read that article when I really needed it! As I understood it, the full drainage sets you back to zero as long as you start block feeding immediately. In severe cases, which might be you, you may have to do it more than once. I think one of the patient's stories in the article the woman had to do it twice and then she was all set.

    The full drainage article means pump until it's all gone. I strongly encourage you to google other moms who have done this, there are a few bloggers out there who wrote about it and said it worked, but it might be helpful to look at their experiences. Also, if you're trying block feeding and that is working then the FD may not be for you.

    My baby did the same thing and it really hurt. :*( She would cry whenever we laid down to feed, but...it did go away. I know it's awful but if somehow you can make it through, I'm sure it could end up being a very rewarding experience. Sorry you didn't get much support, that always makes things worse. I had the same kind of comments, baby gained weight fine so everyone assumes everything is fine. Well, we support you and we have been there!!
    Last edited by @llli*karrieperry; June 5th, 2013 at 04:22 PM.
    and Mama to two little girls

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