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Thread: Foremilk/hindmilk and pumping...totally confused

  1. #1

    Default Foremilk/hindmilk and pumping...totally confused

    I am a first time mom and am trying to breastfeed. From what i have read i have an overactive supply and a pretty forceful letdown. He is gaining weight and not acting fussy so i usually wake him about every 3 hours to eat if he hasnt shown any signs of being hungry before 3 hours. My issue is that by the time its 3 hours my breasts are extremly full and uncomfortable and i find that if i dont express some milk its too hard for baby to latch and the milk comes out too forcefully at him and he cries and i feel like he is drowning. So... i usually pump out about an ounce on each side and then feed. The milk that i pump before his feeding i keep and use for a bottle during the night (im too tired to breastfeed at night, especially because me and baby are still trying to get this whole BFing thing down). My concern is that because im feeding him bottles from these short pumping sessions that he is not getting the fatty hindmilk ( i notice that at night its a lot harder for him to relax and get to sleep compared to during the day when im BFing and not giving a bottle of breast milk). Im also concered that my body is producing more milk then i need because im pumping and also breastfeeding at each feeding session. I also pump in the middle of the night (usually only about 10 minutes) when i dont breastfeed because my breasts are soo full. Also sometimes during the day the baby only takes milk from one breast (5-15 minutes long) and then falls asleep so i usually pump the other breast. Im just totally confused when i should be pumping and when i shouldn't. Are the short pumpings missing the hindmilk? I want to store milk for when i go back to work but i feel like my breasts are always full and have more milk then what baby needs
    Any thoughts?!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Foremilk/hindmilk and pumping...totally confused

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    You don't mention your baby's age but I assume still quite young? It is common for moms to have oversupply early on - nature's way of making sure mother is making enough milk. And forceful letdown often accompanies oversupply. The good news is, things improve over time. As baby gets older, supply regulates to better match demand, and oversupply calms down. And, baby gets more adept at dealing with even a forceful letdown.

    In the meantime, how to manage forceful letdown and oversupply? First, I would suggest laid-back nursing positions. You don't want baby to be "downstream" of the milk. Here are some links with pictures, you can play around and adjust the position to suit you and baby.

    Second, I would encourage you not to pump or to minimize pumping, because that can worsen oversupply. You might want to try hand expression instead to deal with the initial fast letdown before baby latches on, or at times when you are feeling very full. This gives less of a signal to the breasts to make more milk. At night, I would suggest nursing rather than pumping. Some ways to make nighttime nursing less tiring are to keep baby close by (perhaps in bed with you, if you are open to that); nurse baby in bed in a side-lying position, rather than getting out of bed and sitting up; and doze while nursing baby, rather than turning on lights and fully waking yourself and baby up.

    Third, frequent nursing really helps with the oversupply/engorgement/fast let-down cycle. You might want to shoot for nursing more frequently then every 3 hours.

    Fourth, don't worry about foremilk/hindmilk. All milk is good for baby.

    Last, when are you going back to work? If you are still more than 3 or 4 weeks from going back to work, I'd put pumping for work on the back burner for now, and focus on getting the oversupply under better control first. Remember you will only need enough milk for the first day back, around 1.5 oz per hour - so 15 oz for a 10 hour day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Foremilk/hindmilk and pumping...totally confused

    So with the PP's excellent advice!!!

    I just want to reiterate that you should not worry about foremilk/hindmilk. As the PP said, all milk is good for the baby! And all your milk contains everything your baby needs to grow and develop- it all has water, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Just in slightly different proportions. The milk that comes out at the beginning of the feeding is relatively lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates. As the feeding progresses and the breast gets emptier, the fat content gradually increases. But at no point is there a big switchover from foremilk to hindmilk.

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