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Thread: Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

  1. #1

    Question Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

    I am a second time mother of a 6 week old little girl. She has a great latch now and is gaining weight like a champ (about a pound a week since birth). Her routine has been to spend 5 - 10 minutes on one breast only.
    We struggled a bit at first with what appeared to be an oversupply of milk causing her to pull off frequently during feedings due to over spray and resulting in green poops. After reading several posts, I began starting each feeding on the breast that I finished on last. That appeared to fix the green poop issue and we were back to normal yellow for a while. But, I'm concerned that because she is only eating off of one breast, the other breast is going too long between feedings which will result in lowering my supply too much (an issue I struggled with later on with baby one).
    During the day, she eats on average every 2 - 3 hours off of one breast at a time. So, she basically eats off of one breast for 4 - 6 hours and then the other for 4 - 6 hours. At night, she sleeps longer (3 - 6 hours at a time), which can lead to even longer periods of neglect on the breast not being utilized.
    Do I need to pump the other breast? Particularly at night? I don't want to create a bigger oversupply problem by pumping too much, and I really don't want to spend all my time at the pump when I could be with her. Help please!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

    Hi mama, are you offering the second breast to baby? It's not unusual for a baby to nurse off of one breast at a time if mom has oversupply (definitely was the pattern with my LO) and you are right that pumping can worsen an oversupply problem. However, it's also the case that supply tends to regulate over time. Often moms have oversupply early on - nature's way of making sure there is enough - and then supply regulates (ie, decreases) to match what baby needs. It sounds like that may have been the case with your first baby. So you want to make sure that your supply doesn't drop too low. But rather than pumping, let baby determine how much she needs. If she isn't full after the first breast, she'll nurse off the second. And if she doesn't, there's no harm in offering the opposite breast again a little earlier, to see if she wants it. Again, if she isn't hungry, she won't nurse, but if she is, you'll keep your supply up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,360

    Default Re: Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

    with the PP. The easiest, and usually the best, way to manage supply is to let baby do it. Keep an eye on her weight gain and her diaper output and you should have a good idea of what her intake is.

    If supply starts to dip, your baby will be able to boost it back up by feeding on both breasts and feeding more frequently.
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,912

    Default Re: Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

    I agree with both pps and I also suggest, try to encourage more frequent overall nursing. It's hard to tell by your numbers as I do not know how you define day vs. night, but when I add them up, your baby may be nursing only 6 -8 times a 24 hour day. A minimum of 10-12 would be more typical in this period. More frequent milk removal = normal, "good" milk production. More frequent nursing HELPS with the adverse symptoms of overproduction and forceful letdown. And it does not make overproduction worse, as pumping might.

    Your baby is gaining very well. I doubt you have seriously harmed your milk production, or reduced it more than you wanted. But you do want to avoid feeling so full at night, and the easiest way to fix that is to nurse baby. Hand expression can help if baby will not wake and nurse.

    BUT, just as an FYI because so many moms are block nursing inappropriately:

    Block feeding DOES DECREASE MILK PRODUCTION. That is how it "fixes" overproduction. So it absolutely can lead to low milk production if done too much, or too early, or when it is not needed. Block nursing can be very helpful for serious issues of overproduction. Serious issues would mean- Engorgement and mastitis even though baby nurses well and nurses frequently and/or a clearly uncomfortable and miserable but very well gaining baby. Spraying is a sign of forceful letdown, not overproduction, necessarily. Green poops are not a health issue. Block feeding is a 'cure' with consequences and is best avoided in the early weeks when milk production is being established.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

    Thank you all for the excellent advice. Just what I needed. I know I am a little more paranoid than usual after the issues I had with my first LO and working so hard for every single drop of liquid gold. Explanation of block nursing was very helpful ... Sad to say that I pretty much did that with my first LO the entire time based on guidance I received from a friend ... that could explain a lot of the issues we had

    She is eating about 9 - 12 times / day most days (other than the few times she has slept for extended periods at night). I have been offering the second breast, but she generally shows no interest or gags when it comes close. However, I stopped using lanolin yesterday and with a little coaxing, she has been taking the second breast the last few times. Not sure if that was causing a bit of resistance. Hoping this is a new trend!

    Yesterday after my post and last night felt much more normal. She was eating more frequently (eating off of one breast every 1.5 hours or both every 2.5 - 3) and was up twice during the night to feed (around 1 and 4).

    Thank you all for your help. I will try not to over analyze every thing that is happening and enjoy the moments! This is after all natural, right

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,912

    Default Re: Fixes for Oversupply leading to Undersupply?

    This is after all natural, right
    Right. But it's also natural to worry! I find it helpful to check things out with trusted souces whenever questions arise.

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