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Thread: Help with Block Feeding

  1. #1

    Unhappy Help with Block Feeding

    I'm ashamed to admit that it took me 3.5 months to figure out that my baby has been suffering due to my oversupply. He was showing all of the characteristics, was colicky as a newborn, has gained weight very rapidly, but for some reason I just did not acknowledge oversupply as a possibility. I had cut out dairy, which did seem to help, but not enough. On Sunday I decided to start block-feeding, and I noticed a MAJOR difference within a day. LO was sleeping beautifully, and was not waking crying or screaming in pain from gas. His BM turned from frothy to a more tacky consistency. I was advised to start for 3-4 days and then reassess, so yesterday (3 days) I started to go back to one side per feeding (as we had been doing since LP was a newborn) because my breasts were getting very empty when he fed, and he seemed to be fussing because of slow flow. Well, last night was again one of our worst nights, up for 2-3 hours with gas and very watery BMs. So, I am thinking we have not yet solved the problem completely.

    I read that block-feeding is an art. I am a person who tends to do better with specifics, so I am really hoping for some advice on how to keep going with this, without tanking my supply. Also, in one of the LLL recommended articles it says that many mom's supply levels out by 4 months. Am I wrong to start this process prememptively? Those 2 days when my son was happy and content were literally the best days of my life. I would do anything for a comforting nursing relationship. Instead of what we have now which is a 5-minute struggle on the breast and resulting discomfort for LO.

    Please help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help with Block Feeding

    Lots of women who have an abundance of supply always block feed. I did. If something is working for you and your child don't be in a rush to get back to what you think is normal. I didn't use block feeding as a tool to get us to some point, it's how I fed my kid until he was over a year. Because that's all he would ask for. One side. We also deal with OALD and he did learn to cope with that by about 4 months. And we definitely got a place of wonderful nursing. But if your child was happy and content? Blockfeed. If your child asks for more than one breast at a time? Give it to him. But if he's content with one breast? Feed off of one breast per feed.

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help with Block Feeding

    Why are you ashamed? OP is not typically any harm to baby. Even if it contributes to colic, that is usually short lived. Mom is the one most at risk due to severe OP, and in many cases, OP is not a problem for either mom or baby.

    What typically is causing the problem when a mom has OP is not the OP so much as the fast letdown that accompanies it. Fast letdown can mean that baby gets lots of the higher lactose so-called "foremilk" all at once, and SOME babies have more difficulty digesting this. It is not hurting your baby, your baby needs that lactose so this has nothing to do with lactose intolerance. But so much at once could cause the fussiness and watery poops. Also, when a mom has fast letdown, baby may be simply getting more milk all at once than baby can easily handle, digestively speaking.

    Don't limit time at the breast, that would only make things worse in many cases.

    There are two very effective ways to reduce the issues of fast letdown, even when mom has OP. One is, encouraging baby to nurse very frequently. The key is more frequent nursing overall. The other is nursing in a reclined position with baby more "on top." This is also called nursing "up hill" and also called :Laid-back breastfeeding." Some moms find that sidelying nursing position also helps with fast flow.

    If baby prefers one side at a time, that is fine. Nursing one side at a time is not block feeding. Block feeding is two or more consecutive nursing sessions on one side, or a certain # of hours with one side not being nursed (or pumped) from - blocked. Blocking the breast and letting it get quite full is what reduces milk production, and it is very effective, and this is why block nursing is usually not something you do long term. Typically it is not needed to be done any longer than a few days to a week or so, and longer term block nursing may decrease milk production too much. That is one big risk with block feeding (the other being mom getting plugs or mastitis in the blocked breast.) But nursing one side at a time is something many babies prefer and it is usually fine to do as long as baby prefers it.

    It is also important to understand if you are perhaps doing anything that causes more milk production. Are you pumping? If so, why and how much? Are you taking any kind of herbal supplements made for nursing mothers? Teas, etc? These usually contain galactagogues and consequently, may act to increase milk production.

    In the normal course of things, it is true that milk production naturally reduces over time, and so issues of OP tend to clear up after 3-6 months all on their own. But this does not mean you are wrong to block feed- some cases of OP are certainly severe enough that block feeding is helpful. Generally it is advised moms do not block feed before 6-8 weeks, but at 3 months it should be fine to block feed as long as it is needed and you follow the guidelines. On the other hand, maybe the issues would be helped enough without block feeding and instead by nursing more often and trying different positions. You can also do these things and also block nurse, of course.

    I am attaching an article on block feeding that has lots of specifics and also lots of cautions. I suggest read it carefully. It you still have questions after reading that, please post them and I will try to answer them.

    Block feeding do's and don'ts: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/artic...=Block+Feeding

    Helping baby handle fast flow: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/artic...Fast+Milk+Flow
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; December 29th, 2016 at 11:55 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help with Block Feeding

    Part of the reason block feeding- and breastfeeding in general- is an art rather than a science is because of the way babies behave. It's really tempting to draw one-to-one correlations between baby's behavior and what your are doing with respect to breastfeeding, but we have to be really cautious about doing so. A baby may be gassy and fussy and up all night, or happy and giggly and sleepy, for no reason at all.

    When I was struggling with oversupply with my second kid, I found that supply varied pretty wildly based on the time of day. In the mornings, I felt like I enough milk for four babies. By the time evening rolled around, I felt like I had enough for one or two. So in the morning, I tended to block feed, but by evening I was often feeding the baby on both breasts. I think the best way to know what to do is to watch the baby. So if the baby comes off the breast and seems happy and content, let him be. If he comes off the first breast acting as if he's still hungry, then it's time-to-offer-the-second-breast o'clock.

    Also, please go into this knowing that oversupply is not completely under your control. I found that my oversupply would wax and wane unpredictably. Sometimes I would feel like I had it beat, and then it would come roaring back for no reason I could perceive. So if you find that oversupply bounces back, don't start thinking things like "Oh, this must be my fault! If only I had been more regimented and stuck to block feeding yesterday,". Instead, just shrug and assume that your body can be kind of mysterious, and know that you will get where you want to be in the end.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help with Block Feeding

    Thanks for your response! It's tough not to be hard on yourself.. I am the worst for it.

    So did you have to block feed pretty much daily? I'm so confused on when to stop!
    Last time after the 3 days I got to a place that felt good, but when I resumed our normal 1 side per feed the oversupply returned right away. Again today, I am at a place where one side feels great and the milk is very creamy, and the other is engorged after the block. Once I go back to this breast do I start to go back to normal? Or should I continue for another couple of days? It's so confusing! I don't want to go too far with it and kill my supply, but I also don't want to keep battling with the oversupply because getting to that engorgement stage makes the foremilk imbalance worse before it gets better.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help with Block Feeding

    It is the getting quite full that will tell your body to decrease production. So, that is how block nursing works. If it does make the foremilk overload worse, remember that is just going to be for a few days while you are block nursing. Not forever.

    When baby first takes the "blocked" side, you can try to hand express a bit before baby nurses, or, once the milk starts to flow, take baby off, let the milk flow into a cloth, then put baby back on. Also try the laid back and/or the sidelying positioning. These are techniques that will act to reduce the amount of foremilk baby gets by reducing the fast letdown.

    I would suggest be careful about getting very engorged. This is potentially dangerous to you. If you are getting to that point but still want to keep that breast "blocked" from nursing for a while longer, you can hand express enough to feel comfortable.

    And don't forget that simply one sided nursing and nursing frequently also reduces the issue of too much foremilk.

    Personally I have found all this stuff is hardest when you try to figure it out in your head like it is a math problem. As mommal says every baby and every mom are different. I would suggest try instead to listen to your baby, your body, and your instinct.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help with Block Feeding

    with all the above.

    A lot of moms struggle with the fear that they are getting block feeding wrong. But you have to approach this with the attitude that supply is not entirely under your control, and therefore upticks in supply are not your fault. Also, it's totally okay if you have an uptick in supply- it might make your baby more gassy but it's not hurting him in the long term. It's good to be cautious with block feeding because low supply is typically a much worse problem than oversupply. So it's not a big deal if you err on the side of caution and occasionally don't block feed long enough, and therefore you find that your oversupply comes back. It's all part of the process. Patience is your friend here! Believe me, I know- it took me several months to get my oversupply completely under control.

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