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Thread: How to diagnose overactive letdown?

  1. #1

    Default How to diagnose overactive letdown?

    My 13 week old daughter has increasingly been having trouble nursing and I am wondering if the problem is oversupply/overactive letdown, an issue with my breastmilk, or her digestion.

    Starting about a month ago, she began pulling off the breast not long after the first letdown. She'd fuss, cry, refuse the breast, and clearly have stomach pain and indigestion. At this point, it was only happening in the early evenings, so I chalked it up to normal evening fussiness.

    But starting this week, this happens at every single feeding. At first I thought the problem was letdown because she was able to take a bottle of pumped breastmilk (and when she comes off the breast during letdown, milk sprays quite far), but as of yesterday, she is refusing the bottle too. This makes me wonder if she is reacting to something in the breastmilk itself (although I know this is supposed to be rare).

    From observation, what seems to be happening is that she begins to nurse, letdown occurs, and then her stomach discomfort begins, leading her to fight the breast and wriggle around in pain crying. I tried unlatching her and expressing milk at the start of letdown to lessen the flow and force, and tried laid back breastfeeding, but these things didn't make a difference.

    I'm stressed and worried because she is barely eating now and would so appreciate any thoughts or advice on the situation! How can I tell the difference between a problem with letdown and a problem with her digestion/my breastmilk? (I know these can be related, but I'm wondering the best way to approach a solution). THANK YOU!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: How to diagnose overactive letdown?

    How is weight gain? And how many bottles a day does she get and why?

    I think you can rule out a problem with your breastmilk. Even when there are allergens causing a sensitivity in the milk, this is not something the baby has a reaction to during the feeding. Of course, you could try eliminating dairy (the primary culprit) for a week to see if it helps at all. But, my best guesses are:
    1) this is a normal and temporary issue, as 3 months is a notorious time for sudden, dramatic and even alarming changes in feeding patterns
    2) it is fast let down, in which case I would suggest keep doing the laid back, nursing sidelying, and nurse as frequently as baby will, the more frequently the better
    3) It is an issue with painful reflux for which I would suggest this article: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/hea...t-what-do-faqs

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: How to diagnose overactive letdown?

    with MaddieB. The behavior you describe does not sound like a problem with the contents of your milk. Babies who are allergic to or intolerant of something in mom's milk tend to nurse pretty happily, and then experience discomfort or other symptoms later on, as the milk digests. This sounds much more like fast letdowns or perhaps reflux, and it could also be something like an ear infection, other illness, or early teething. It could also be nothing physical- 3 month olds are often very fussy and difficult to feed for no reason at all!

    Have you tried taking a nursing vacation? Just spend a couple of days cuddled up in bed with baby, doing tons of skin-to-skin contact and nursing. Sometimes that "resets the clock" on the nursing relationship.

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