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Thread: Forceful letdown question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Default Forceful letdown question

    So I used to be able to pull my baby off during the letdown and spray into a towel. It now she gets so upset when I do that she won't latch back on. When I don't pull her off she chokes and gets upset. We have tried laid back and side lying and upright positions. Now she is doing a bit of a nursing strike. My question is, is there any way to slow the letdown slow while keeping her on? I thought I remembered something about squeezing the areola while letting down? Is that a thing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,912

    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    Squeezing the areola while nursing is a thing. It works for some mom-baby pairs, but not all. I would try it and see what happens- maybe you'll get a good result.

    Are you doing any pumping or hand expression of milk? Often we see moms perpetuating overproduction issues by pumping in addition to nursing.

    Also, when your baby nurses, is she typically satisfied with just 1 breast? Are you making a point of trying to get her to feed on both sides?

  3. #3
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    Thanks for the reply. I tried scissoring my nipple earlier today and it's so awkward I can't get my fingers in there with her latched. No pumping - I've been very careful this time around not to do anything to increase my supply as I had a lot of issues with my now 3 year old. I've block fed on and off (4-6 hr blocks) to control my supply. I've offered my other breast a few times but she never takes it. The only time she feeds well is when she is super sleepy (hard to catch during the day as she cat naps and wakes up alert most of the time and gets fussy before naps.

    I even tried a nipple shield today thinking it might slow the flow and that was a flop.

    Sometimes I think the breast refusal is related to her not being hungry but I have such a hard time reading her cues. Like this morning, she fed at 4 am so by 8am I thought she should be hungry. We had a terrible feed she only got a little milk before and during letdown then wouldn't latch back on. So after her nap when she started getting fussy again I offered and same thing (offered same breast). She keeps getting these tiny little foremilk feeds which don't satisfy her and upset her belly (gas, lots of spit ups, violent hiccups). Perhaps I should try and move to scheduled feedings so she will get full feeds and be more satiated? Like every 3 or 4 hrs?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,473

    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    How old is baby and is baby gaining normally?

    Here is the thing with fast letdown and stretching out the time between nursing sessions. It usually makes things worse. Here is why. The longer milk has to "gather" in the breast, the faster letdown will be. So generally, encouraging baby to nurse frequently is what is most helpful when a baby is having an adverse reaction to a fast letdown. As long as baby is gaining normally, no need to have baby take both sides. Also as long as baby is gaining normally, she is having "good" feeds- even if they are short and baby wants to nurse again soon. In fact, if baby is wanting to nurse frequently, that is good as again, that is usually what is most helpful for fast letdown. Frequent nursing. How frequent is frequent? That all depends.

    The other reason stretching out time between nursing when a mom has fast letdown is because fast letdown almost always means mom is making more milk than baby needs. If you were block nursing to reduce milk production, then presumably you already know you have over production. If a mom is over producing she has to be extra careful to avoid long periods of no milk removal so she does not risk the issues to mom of milk stasis. Meaning, painful engorgement, plugs or mastitis.

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    Definitely avoid scheduled feedings, they just make things worse!

    How old is your baby? And can you give us some info on her weight gain- is she gaining at an average rate, and above-average rate, or a below-average one?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    She is 14 weeks and gaining fine. 13 lbs at 3 months.

    So do we just have to deal with all the symptoms that I'm pretty sure are coming from her getting mainly foremilk? It seems like mornings are the worst with her not wanting to nurse. She usually takes a decent feed around 4 or 5 am then sometimes doesn't nurse well until she wakes from her longer afternoon nap. I would say she only nurses well (and my definition is she continues to nurse after letdown for at least a couple of minutes and I can tell my breasts are a little softer) 2 or 3 times a day max and nurses much better in the middle of three night. I'm just struggling because I have horrible insomnia and it takes me forever to fall back asleep after any night wakings and I feel like she's waking more to eat overnight because she's so hungry from not getting her calories during the day.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    I'm now starting to wonder if she's not hungry in the morning because she's eating so much overnight? Would trying to limit overnight feeds to 2 or 3 times get her back on a better schedule and possibly be hungry in the morning?

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Forceful letdown question

    I wouldn't try to limit her nighttime feeding. That sounds miserable in more than one way- there's the potential for you to end up engorged due to reduced feeding, there's the likelihood that you will end up dealing with a frantic, crying baby who doesn't understand why you're refusing to meet her nighttime needs, and there is no reason to think that less feeding during the night will turn into better feeding during the day.

    Have you tried mimicking the nighttime conditions during the daytime feeds? Feeding baby in the side-lying position- or whatever position you use at night- in a nice dark bedroom? Sometimes that helps.

    Don't worry about baby eating "mainly foremilk". That is not a real problem. Babies whose moms have oversupply do tend to consume more lactose and be somewhat more gassy than babies whose moms don't have oversupply. But gas is really the ONLY problem associated with foremilk and guess what, all babies are gassy!

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