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Thread: Forceful letdown/oversupply + anxious mom

  1. #1

    Default Forceful letdown/oversupply + anxious mom

    After some major breastfeeding challenges, my six week old had seemed to finally hit his stride with nursing, but I think I've got an oversupply and/or forceful letdown. My breasts get full and firm between almost every feeding, and he often gags/coughs or winces at the beginning, and I still leak frequently. Sometimes I pump for a couple of minutes before nursing, but I'm trying to avoid pumping so my supply can come into line with baby's needs.

    However, in the last 2 days, he'll seem to get an okay latch, but then suck for only a few minutes while making some of that clicking sound that indicates a lack of suction, and come off the breast. I always burp him and put him back on at least once more, and then offer the other breast, and he often sucks for just a little while longer, if at all.

    Because of all the stops and starts, and the shorter feeding times (and because we had a big weight scare early on), I'm constantly anxious that he's not getting enough to eat, or enough hindmilk. I'm also concerned about allowing a bad latch (indicated by clicking noise and sorer than usual nipples), and confused about why he would have suddenly forgotten how to do it. I sometimes offer him a bottle of breastmilk after a super short nursing session, and he's rejected it every time, even spitting out the milk. He still has loads of wet diapers and poops at least once a day, but definitely has uncomfortable gas too. Is he just getting more efficient at feeding, or do I need to do more to counteract oversupply?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,350

    Default Re: Forceful letdown/oversupply + anxious mom

    Welcome to the forum!

    Babies who deal with oversupply are often very quick feeders, often getting all their needs met in just 5-10 minutes at the breast. Oversupply causes fast and abundant letdowns, which means that a baby gets a lot of milk very quickly. He is also likely to discover ways to control the letdowns, which can include repeated pulling off, breaking suction, and compression of the nipple. Those things can exhibit themselves as clicking and nipple soreness.

    It's great that you're phasing out the pumping. The more you can put up with the fullness, the more your body will respond by reducing supply to a more reasonable level. The other things you might want to try in order to make nursing easier for the baby are:
    - Offer to nurse frequently. Keeping the nursing intervals short will prevent your breasts from filling up too much and causing you discomfort, and less full breasts will mean less forceful letdowns, making nursing easier for the baby.
    - Try reclined nursing positions. Reclined positions enlist gravity to slow milk flow to the baby, and when mom is reclining the baby is being held on the breast by gravity, which may limit pull-offs. This page has a nice illustration of one version of the laid-back position: http://www.llli.org/btissue5pg04

    If those 2 things aren't enough to handle the problem, you may end up progressing to block feeding. But block feeding is designed to reduce supply, so you only want to do it if you are 100% sure that you have an oversupply, and then only if the oversupply is actually causing problems for the baby.

    Please don't worry about the foremilk/hindmilk thing. All milk- both the so-called foremilk and the so-called hindmilk- contains everything a baby needs to grow and develop. A baby will grow well on so-called foremilk alone, provided he gets enough of it. In fact, babies who deal with oversupply, and therefore eat a lot of foremilk, often grow extremely rapidly. The only problem with consuming a lot of foremilk is that the baby ends up consuming more lactose (milk sugar) than average. This lactose overload can cause gas, fussiness, and green poops. However, none of these things are health problems in a baby who is otherwise growing and developing normally.
    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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