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Thread: Oversupply & engorgement

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Oversupply & engorgement

    I have been struggling with oversupply for a while and my 6 wks old baby eats every 2-3 hours.
    I have noticed green poop and fussiness so I started block feeding to fix fore/hind milk imbalance and oversupply.
    So here's my question... Am I supposed to switch breast by time or number of feeding? At the moment I'm switching every 4 hours but it doesn't seem to fix the problem and right boob engorgement is very painful!! (Left boob doesn't have problems so far)
    So should I switch after 2-3feedings instead of 4hours? Because sometimes he sleeps longer than 2-3hrs and he only eats once from one side.

    Thank you so much in advance!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Have you tried nursing more frequently overall? Not all day and night, any break you can get to sleep is great, but at least some of the time? It is still early days and milk production is typically at its peak about now, (and will start leveling off naturally) so while block nursing may be appropriate in your case, you just want to be careful. Even when block nursing, it is important to nurse frequently overall.

    Often, over production and engorgement & forceful letdown can be helped by nursing one side at a time, nursing with great frequency, and nursing slightly reclined with baby more or less on top. Pumping, if that is being done, should be eliminated (unless it is needed to relieve engorgement & then it should only be ‘just to comfort.’) Block nursing can be tried if these are not working, but it is important to understand the risks.

    Before doing or continuing with any block nursing, it is very important to know:

    -That baby is gaining very rapidly right now (not 2 weeks ago or whenever the last weight check was, but now.) Because if baby is not currently gaining very rapidly, you probably do not want to block nurse. How rapid? It depends on who you ask. One lactation consultant says, at least 8 ounces per week. But another says, about DOUBLE that! I have linked articles about block feeding from both below.
    -That there are no breastfeeding issues causing poor latch. (Is nursing painful for you?)
    -That block nursing WILL reduce your milk production. That is how it works.
    -That green poops are often fine & normal. They are never, on their own, a reason to block feed.
    -That you never really need to worry about foremilk or hindmilk. It’s not something you can really control in any realistic way, and all breastmilk is good and healthy for your baby. If you make too much milk causing forceful letdown and over fullness that leads to mom being uncomfortable or baby to be unhappy when breastfeeding, and/or, causing obvious intestinal discomfort in baby, that is a possible reason to block nurse. But the foremilk/hindmilk part of it is a technicality you just do not need to worry about, because it does no good to worry about it.

    Block nursing- you probably want to do blocks by time and how you feel, not by # of nursing sessions which normally vary in frequency over the course of a day assuming you are cue feeding. Remember when you are block nursing, you are "treating" the breast baby is NOT nursing on during the block. You want to go long enough for that breast to feel full, but not so full you are very uncomfortable or engorged. (You want to feel FULL, not hard, like a rock.) The fullness tells your body to not produce so much milk, and this is what block nursing does-it reduces your milk production. It takes time for block feeding to work so you may need to give it a few days at least probably, although, it is now being suggested by some IBCLCs to not block nurse longer than a week.

    So for example- if you are 'blocking" on your left side, you let/encourage baby to nurse as often as baby wishes on the right. If you start feeling uncomfortable on the left, you can either switch sides at that point and start blocking the right side, or, if you think it needs to go longer, hand express just a little milk to relieve the pressure, and continue to block the same side.

    If a 3 or 4 hour block is not doing the trick, then yes, the protocol is to gradually increase the lengths of blocks. But again, you might have to give it a day or two before feeling results.

    more: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/tag/block-feeding
    and http://cwgenna.com/blockfeeding.html
    and http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 14th, 2013 at 05:55 PM. Reason: added kellymom article good tips esp. for ffld

  3. #3

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Ok, now I read you post again and something is worrying me. Does the engorged side ever feel comfortable, like right after baby has nursed? Or are you always engorged on that side?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Thank you for your response!
    He has been eating almost every hour to 1.5hr today but he could go about 3-4 hours at night. My right breast can be comfortable after 2 feedings but it gets ROCK hard which happens after 4 hours. Left side gets soft and nice after 1 feeding and it doesnt get engorged, only feels full.
    Do you think I should switch side when i feel uncomfortable on the right side even if it hasnt been 4 hours? Or maybe I should lower it to the 3 hour block?

    Thank you again for great information and your help!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Ok, first you want to make absolutely sure you fit ALL the criteria for block nursing before block nursing at all. See the articles I linked.
    Whether block nursing or not, you want to make sure baby is latching ok on that troublesome side. You can not nurse too often for baby- If longer stretches of not nursing are leading to engorgement, you can try to see if baby will nurse even if it means waking baby now and then. (baby may nurse in sleep as well.) If baby will not nurse, hand express as needed. You really want to avoid that rock hard engorgement, it can lead to plugs and mastitis and that is no fun.
    Whether block nursing or not, you definitely may need to nurse more frequently on that side until you milk production calms down. So yes, you can do shorter blocks if block nursing ,and if not block nursing, just nurse more often on that side. But again, make sure you & baby fit all the criteria including very rapid weight gain before block nursing.
    Engorgement causes latch issues as well as being the result of poor latch sometimes. you can try reverse pressure softening if baby seem to have a hard time getting a good latch on the more full side.

    engorgement article includes pix and info on RPS http://www.llli.org/faq/engorgement.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Thanks again. Yes I do think block nursing would help since my baby has gained 2.8lbs within 3 weeks, he was very gassy and fussy when he was getting more watery milk which has gotten improved since I started block nursing.
    I will try to nurse more often and see how it goes...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Ok, so I thought of something else-if the side you are blocking is getting hard engorged before you have been able to block very long, if you wish to keep 'blocking' that side, you can try hand expressing 'just to comfort' (basically, enough to soften the breast a bit and relieve some pressure but still be full) and continuing with the block.

    A lot of this -timing of blocks, how long on each side, which can be different- is going by how you feel. You know your body best! Good luck

    hand expression info: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...expression.pdf

  8. #8

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    I'm using this thread, because I'm trying to cope with oversupply...I'm block nursing my 2 week old son, switching breast every 6 hours.Things have become to settle a bit, and I don't experience plugged ducts anymore, as in the first days.My breasts have started to feel softer and the situation is more manageable.I would like to ask, could oversupply be the reason why my breasts hurt and my nipples are still sore?I have had thrush in the past with my first one, and I know it's not thrush now because it's not that kind of pain , it's far more bearable.And I know the baby latches on pretty well,because I pay attention to this and because he's putting on well and he empties the breast quickly...
    Last edited by @llli*mamaka; November 24th, 2013 at 10:12 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Anybody?I forgot to mention that let down is painful too...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Oversupply & engorgement

    Sorry we missed your question, mama. Nest time, I suggest creating your own thread instead of posting on someone else's- that way people won't look at the thread and think "Oh, I already looked at that one, nothing to do here!"

    Anyway, oversupply can cause pain, but in my experience the pain is predominantly in the breast and occurs during letdowns, and is linked to the feeling of being overfull. If you're having pain in the nipple and the breast now that you're mostly over the oversupply... I'm thinking that there's a chance that there's something else in the mix. Maybe thrush. Maybe baby has developed a quirky latch in order to control fast letdowns. Can you describe what you're experiencing a bit more? Like when the pain occurs, what sort of pain is it, any other symptoms you're seeing...?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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