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Thread: Struggling with overactive letdown

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Question Struggling with overactive letdown

    I have a two month old who is unable to handle my letdown when he is awake. When he is sleepy or half asleep he coughs or comes off but comes back on the breast and is fine. But when he is awake he just wouldn't latch back on and now he associates my breast with all the crying and the trauma so he starts screaming as soon as I take him in position to feed. So during our feeding sessions in his awake hours he screams and cries because he is hungry, but wont nurse. He finally latches on after he cries himself to sleep. I give him bottle of expressed milk sometimes to spare him all the tears but I don't want to do that specially because I am a SAHM and I can completely do away with the bottle.

    My questions are
    How do I lure him back to my breast?
    I tried nipple shield couple of times, it worked but what are the problems that come with it?
    Can i have a strong letdown without an oversupply? I ask because I don't think i have an oversupply and I also want to know if I can pump once or twice a week without worsening my situation.
    How long will it take for him to get used to the letdown? I feel like giving up at every feeding and I still try again because I love our bf time.

    He gained 2.5 lbs in the first month and the letdown and nursing issues started in the second month in which he gained only 1.5 lb. I know it is good weight gain but he was born very small and I want him to grow big... Greedy but guilty as charged.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    How long will it take for him to get used to the letdown? I feel like giving up at every feeding and I still try again because I love our bf time.
    two things should happen over time. 1) baby grows big and strong & experienced enough to handle a fast flow and 2) your flow slows down. I cannot tell you how quickly it woudl happen in your case, but it does typically begin to reslove when milk production naturally 'levels off' at ~ 6-8 weeks. Also trying the ideas below should help.* Also, sometimes baby has issues when the flow SLOWS after being very fast. Is that possibly what is going on in your opinion?
    *What have you tried for helping baby handle the flow? Nursing frequently overall? Nursing one side at a time? (unless baby wants both) nursing laid back? letting the initial flow go into a cloth and then relatching baby, or hand expressing to get through that initial flow before nursing? Have any of these made any difference?

    How do I lure him back to my breast?
    Kelly mom has a good article for this: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/
    I tried nipple shield couple of times, it worked but what are the problems that come with it?
    Possible diminished milk production, Possible dimished milk intake and poor gain, Possible nipple injury, and Possible reliance (not able to wean baby of sheilds when you want to.) If baby will ONLY nurse with a shield, that is a good reason to use a sheild. Otherwise I would suggest avoiding them.
    Can i have a strong letdown without an oversupply? I ask because I don't think i have an oversupply and I also want to know if I can pump once or twice a week without worsening my situation.
    I think you can, however, I would suggest not pumping at all until this resolves. The two so often go together. Certainly, a high production worsens forceful letdown.

    He gained 2.5 lbs in the first month and the letdown and nursing issues started in the second month in which he gained only 1.5 lb. I know it is good weight gain but he was born very small and I want him to grow big... Greedy but guilty as charged.
    ???

    so, your babies gain is not particularly fast. It is normal. Over the course of the first three months, weight gain typically averages out to about 2 lbs per month, or an ounce a day.
    There is no health benefit to a baby growing faster than is normal (which is already very fast, newborns grow very fast in ~ the first three months, and then gain rate slows down considerably and continues to slow) and rapid growth now will not make your baby bigger as an adult. That is decided almost entirely by genetics.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    I think my flow has slowed down I see that my breasts are soft always unlike before and I dont feel my letdown anymore. But my baby is still fussy and still cries himself to sleep before he would nurse. I am at my wits end trying to figure out what the problem is. He would not take a bottle either but I still manage to get an ounce in because I can push the nipple into his mouth. My ped thinks it is gas and gripe water does not seem to be doing anything. Can it be reflux? Dh thinks we should just switch to formula and not make the poor baby cry for food. I may give in as much as I hate to. Pls help

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    How would switching to formula improve the situation you're in now? All you'd be doing is shoving a formula bottle into a crying mouth, rather than a breastmilk bottle. And then there's a chance that formula would make things worse, since it can really upset a baby's tummy.

    I'm thinking that the problem may be the bottles themselves. A lot of babies who get bottles from very early on have trouble going back and forth between breast and bottle, because the latching skills which are required are so different. If it were me, I think that I would go back to using the shield- preferably with guidance from an IBCLC- and just take the bottles out of the equation for a while. Maybe once baby gets the idea that meals come from one source, and has only one set of feeding skills to master, he'll be less fussy.
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    How would switching to formula improve the situation you're in now?
    Because pumping is just not working out for me. Just one pumping session gives me engorgement and when I pump for more than once in a day I see that its too much foremilk. This would make my baby fussier wouldn't it.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I'm thinking that the problem may be the bottles themselves.
    He did get a bottle for the first 2 weeks but he came back to breast just fine. Of all the problems I've had in breastfeeding( sore nipples, oversupply, oald) latching and nipple confusion were never an issue. Infact he loves being nursed to sleep. After all the tears and screaming when he finally nurses I can tell he prefers the breast to the bottle. The problem is only when he is awake. Its like he just does not know that he has to latch and suck.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    Baby has been breastfed exclusively since week 3. We started giving the bottle only after all the fussiness started and that too just once or twice a week.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*metromom27 View Post
    Because pumping is just not working out for me. Just one pumping session gives me engorgement and when I pump for more than once in a day I see that its too much foremilk.
    If pumping just 1x per day causes you to become engorged, then it sounds like you probably have some degree of oversupply going on. And oversupply can cause fast letdowns. If this is the case, cutting out pumping and bottles is a good idea for the following reasons:
    1. No more pumping means less chance of exacerbating the oversupply/fast letdown situation
    2. No more bottles means that baby has to put in the work necessary to learn to nurse on a fast-flowing breast


    He did get a bottle for the first 2 weeks but he came back to breast just fine. Of all the problems I've had in breastfeeding( sore nipples, oversupply, oald) latching and nipple confusion were never an issue. Infact he loves being nursed to sleep. After all the tears and screaming when he finally nurses I can tell he prefers the breast to the bottle. The problem is only when he is awake. Its like he just does not know that he has to latch and suck.
    Just because latching and nipple confusion weren't a problem in the past doesn't mean that they're not a problem now. Newborns sometimes go back and forth between breast and bottle with ease due to the fact that they are instinctively driven to latch. They'll latch onto a thumb, a breast, a bottle, an elbow- whatever comes near their mouths, really. Older babies often become more choosy about what they will and won't latch on to.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*metromom27 View Post
    Baby has been breastfed exclusively since week 3. We started giving the bottle only after all the fussiness started and that too just once or twice a week.
    This is good. I'd still recommend keeping the bottles 100% on the shelf for now!
    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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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    Thanks. Now when the baby is hungry he cries himself to sleep and then nurses. I tried offering the breast when he is happily playing but he starts crying when I just take him in position to feed. Am I training him to sleep when he is hungry? And if he never nurses when awake how will he come to like the breast

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Struggling with overactive letdown

    Your baby is still really young. I think you need to have faith that he will figure this nursing thing out, and will someday come to nurse well while awake, and to enjoy nursing in general. Give him time!
    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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