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Thread: Decreasing supply too much?

  1. #1
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    Post Decreasing supply too much?

    Hello. Here is a bit of background:

    I have been dealing with oversupply and fast letdown issues. My baby is now 11 weeks old. To help baby, I have:
    Nursed only one side per feeding
    Nursed in recline position
    Nurse on cue of baby
    Burp often

    I was also told by a lactation consultant to pump out an ounce before feeding. Recently I decided this was making every thing worse and was just plain sick of it! So, I started block feeding every four hours vs. every two and put the pump away. My breasts responded within two days to the point where my supply became very low in the evening hours. Had to nurse both breasts so she could get enough. But, overall nursing was so much better. So I figured I should go back to two hours. However, supply seemed to spike again and baby was choking and not fully draining breast and spitting up a ton. So now I'm back to four hours. My question is how long should I continue the four hour block feeding? Is it dangerous and could I diminish my supply too much? Do I keep at it for a certain amount of time, indefinitely, etc?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Block feeding is more of an art than a science. Rather than feeding according to the clock, I would go by how full/empty the breast feels and how the baby is acting. Breasts feeling full + baby acting satisfied after nursing on one side = longer blocks. Breasts feeling empty + baby fussing after finishing the first side = time to switch sides. It's very common to need to block feed for only part of the day, because supply fluctuates over the course of the day. I found that I needed long blocks in the morning and short blocks or no blocks at all in the evening.

    Another thing that happens with oversupply is that it can be a "two steps forward, one step back" process. You'll think you have the oversupply tamed, and then it will come roaring back! Just be patient, go back to longer blocks of one-sided feedings, and eventually you should get the oversupply to throttle back again.

    It is possible to go to far with block feeding, and to reduce supply too much, so don't feel bad if your oversupply comes back and you continue to have to work on this. My feeling is that it's better to go too slow with block feeding than too fast.
    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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    Post Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Thank you for your reply mommal. I like the idea of going by breasts vs clock.

    Do u know if the supply will ever stay at bay for a longer period of time? I feel like my breasts are really responsive. I started block feeding four hour blocks yesterday and they already feel pretty soft today. So I'm thinking I should maybe go back to one feeding on each side at least through evening hours when supply is lower. Or should I be sticking to longer blocks for a longer period of time I.e. a week?

    Another issue I am having is I can't tell when my breast is "empty" which I know it never actually is but meaning empty enough to switch sides. My little one will drink for a bit, then go into comfort nursing. When I pull her off she is sucking on her hands. But when I squeeze areola milk still seems to come out. So i will put her back on and she just comfort sucks again and kind of acts like she is waiting for something to happen. Do u think she is wanting another let down? should i switch sides even when i know she has not emptied the first? I was used to oversupply and her falling asleep when finished. Now she's getting older so not falling asleep as often. Any suggestions are welcomed!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    I thought of two other things.

    My little one also sucks on her hands when she has a burp coming. This is another reason it is hard to tell when she is done.

    Do u ever suggest block feeding for longer blocks on only one breast? My right is always more full and fast than the left. I have thought about feeding two sessions on left and one on right.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Yes, as time goes on your supply should become more stable, your breasts less responsive, and kicking yourself into "overdrive" mode on should become much more difficult.

    I can't say if you need to block feed for a week- again, there's no science to block feeding. Go by how you feel. And remember that there's no harm in going back into overproduction mode for a bit- it's far better to have too much milk than too little. I've experienced both, and while I know oversupply is irritating and is a real problem, it is a better problem than undersupply.

    You shouldn't expect your baby to always fall asleep after nursing. Not as she grows older and wakes up more. Since you're currently overproducing, I personally would offer the second breast only if she starts to fuss. At least for now! But do allow her unlimited nursing time on the first breast. It's really good to get your LO in the comfort sucking habit.

    I think feeding 2 sessions on the left for every one on the right is a terrific idea! That's the exact way to deal with lopsidedness. But don't be afraid to sometimes do one and one.
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Ok. This is all great! Thank you!its so nice to "talk" with someone who knows what I'm talking about, and better than that, who knows what the heck one should do in this situation! I never knew breast feeding would be so complicated! My husband is so supportive but I think he just has no clue what to even say to my rambling about my milk issues!

    So if I feel really soft even right before nursing, is that a pretty good sign that I should nurse more frequently? Am I supposed to feel somewhat full before nursing or am I just used to that from oversupply? I just want to be careful like u say. I don't want to go the other way.

    Also, do u think if baby is hungry she will fuss / let me know? Sometimes I worry she would just comfort nurse all day until she gets more milk. But maybe like u say she is not hungry but just enjoying time with mom.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Once supply and demand are well-matched, you can expect to feel soft and "empty" pretty much all the time, unless your baby unexpectedly skips several feedings in a row (like if she's sick or starts sleeping through the night). Don't expect that "full" feeling to come back, if your supply is about equal to baby's needs.

    MOST babies are good at letting their moms know when they are hungry. They'll start with the early hunger cues like hand sucking, rooting (in a young baby), graduate to making little urgent cries, and finally go to all out "I'm starving" wails. But SOME babies are just too polite to ask to nurse. If you happen to have a non-demanding baby, then you have to be proactive about feeding her, nursing more often than she might seem to want.

    There's nothing wrong with unlimited comfort sucking.

    Just checking- when you're block feeding, you're nursing more frequently than every 4 hours, right? Just making sure to offer the same breast inside that block?
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Ok. So maybe what feels like too low of supply is actually normal supply. She is still producing many, very wet diapers even when I'm soft so that's reassuring.

    Yes! She eats every two to three hours (sometimes more in the evening). But we just stay with one breast for up to four hours. However, like u said, I'm now going more off how I feel. She has actually always been pretty good about telling us when she needs something . I think I just get worried cause she eats most go her meal in the first three minutes. Then comfort sucks and drinks occasionally for another 7 to 12 minutes until she is asleep. She must just enjoy comfort sucking which is fine with me as long as she is getting enough milk.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Decreasing supply too much?

    Babies whose moms have oversupply and fast letdowns tend to be fast eaters, getting a full meal in as little as 5-10 minutes. When you're drinking from a firehose, you don't have to drink for very long! The fact that your baby will comfort nurse is wonderful- it suggests that she's already getting pretty good at controlling the milk flow.
    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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