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Thread: Full breasts at 4 months

  1. #1
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    Default Full breasts at 4 months

    At about 3 months my breasts started feeling much softer than they'd ever felt since giving birth. That was great! This week they began to feel fuller again. I started spacing out feedings, like every 3.5-4 hours instead of 2.5-3 hours since my baby wasn't demanding earlier feeds and I felt ok. Not unbearably full. They also leak a drop each time I feel a letdown (when it's not during a feeding). This is how I felt ages ago, but why did it come back now? Baby is 4 months old, is eating nicely and looks satisfied. He always wakes up about every 3-4 hours at night to eat, but last night he let me go a stretch of 5 hours and then 4 hours, and now I got a clogged duct... I thought once milk regulates, it just basically works with supply and demand so why would I have this "oversupply" thing?

    Now when I want to treat this clogged duct I know supply will increase there because of all the nursing and massaging and stimulation it will now be receiving

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    My experience with oversupply is that it can come and go and come again. Just when you think you have the oversupply monster tamed, it comes roaring back. Just keep working at it. Every time it comes back, it's a little weaker than it was the last time. Having a supply which is "regulated" does not mean that you will never have too much or too little milk. It just means that on average, you're going to have the right amount of milk.

    With oversupply, small, frequent feedings are much better than spaced-out feedings. Frequent nursing prevents your from getting overfull and makes nursing easier for the baby. Is there any reason why you're trying to space out feedings? You've chosen a very long interval. On average, breastfed babies feed every 1-3 hours, for a total of 8 feedings per day (minimum). Nursing every 3-4 hours would mean that your baby would be feeding just 6-7 times a day, which is not enough for most exclusively breastfed babies.
    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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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    I agree with Mommal. Based on what are you have described above this sounds like less then an issue of overproduction and more of of an issue of not nursing quite frequently enough. Baby may be able to gain fine with the less frequent nursing, however The new schedule may not be working for your body. Even with my baby in toddlerhood, if I go too long without nursing I can start feeling very full.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    Thanks both for your replies. The reason I decided to go longer stretches was because my baby would basically nurse for a few minutes (not well, just a few random sucks) if I didn't wait long enough. Like he seemed not hungry and why are you even trying to feed me?! When I'd wait the 3.5-4 hours, he would eat SO much better and he seemed nice and happy! I guess my body can't handle it, though. I just thought that if you nurse often then your supply goes UP which is not my aim here. But you're saying that feeding often is better for oversupply-like issues?

    This weekend I was dealing with the clogged duct so baby ate frequently, every 2.5 hours or so. Now the duct is basically healed. I'll try to follow your advice and continue feeding frequently.

    I did forget to mention that baby eats 2 bottles by the babysitter, not 4 hours apart, so technically he eats more than 6 times: once when we wake up (between 8 and 9 am), 11am and 2:30 at babysitter, 5:30, 8:30-9, and then at 12 or so, when we go to bed. Then in the middle of the night he eats 2 more times, but not very long feedings.

    I guess I just have to empty out more then. A pity my baby doesn't LOVE to eat although over the weekend he had more of an appetite than he had last week. Like my baby barely ever cries because he is hungry - it's more like I look at the clock and go, hey, time for you to eat, so I feed him.

    This may be a pertinent fact, so I'll mention it: Two hours after a feeding I feel a letdown. This happens 98% of the time. Seriously, I can look at the clock and it's like 2 hours since the last letdown. If I feed him immediately after that sensation, I don't feel another letdown during the feed. Does this mean it's better for me to feed him that often?! Or is that irrelevant?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and advise. I appreciate it a lot, being that I'm a real newbie at breastfeeding. I feel so lost sometimes.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    It's a funny paradox. On the one hand, going longer between feedings does result in lowered supply. But on the other, you're more likely to remain comfortable and the baby is more likely to nurse happily if the intervals are shorter. If you have to choose a way to manage oversupply, it tends to be better to nurse frequently, while allowing the baby to leave milk in the breast. The milk that just sits there after the baby nurses will eventually cue your body to reduce supply.

    I forgot that you're working. With the 2 bottle feedings, the longer intervals are much less concerning.

    Getting random letdowns during the day is totally normal. It doesn't mean anything, really. Another thing that's normal, when a mom has some oversupply, is for the baby to not act all that fond of nursing. Oversupply usually means strong letdowns and that can make feeding difficult for the baby as he struggles or keep up with the fast flow. Don't worry, though- it gets better and a lot of older babies grow into the fast letdowns and learn to love them!
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    When I feel let downs I usually figure it's my body telling me it is time to nurse baby. Whether baby is interested or not, I offer, and usually she will nurse a little bit. Of course if I am not with baby when I feel this letdown, or I am in the middle of grocery shopping or something then I can't offer and I don't worry about it. But I am a big believer that nursing cues come both from baby and from mothers body. Breast-feeding is a relationship.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    Interestingly, although I sometimes feel extra full, I never have a fast letdown, the kind where it sprays out and baby chocked and sputters and fusses.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    Today my breasts are back to normal softness yay! Yesterday I nursed like every 2.5 hours except for one 3.5-hour stretch when we were out of the house.

    Btw, @mommal, what did you mean by "I forgot that you're working. With the 2 bottle feedings, the longer intervals are much less concerning."? These are EBM bottles, not formula.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    So what I was thinking initially was that with the long intervals in between feedings you were nursing just 6-7 times a day. It's rare for a breastfed baby to get by on so few feedings. Not unheard of, but rare. But it sounds like you're nursing 6-7 times a day plus giving 2 bottles, which means your baby is feeding more like 8-9 times a day. I'm a lot happier about a baby's feeding frequency when it's 8 or more feeds per day!
    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!"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Full breasts at 4 months

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    So what I was thinking initially was that with the long intervals in between feedings you were nursing just 6-7 times a day. It's rare for a breastfed baby to get by on so few feedings. Not unheard of, but rare. But it sounds like you're nursing 6-7 times a day plus giving 2 bottles, which means your baby is feeding more like 8-9 times a day. I'm a lot happier about a baby's feeding frequency when it's 8 or more feeds per day!
    Oh! My baby eats on average 8 times a day. Sometimes more, depending on how previous feedings go!

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