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Thread: Baby choking on breast milk?

  1. #1

    Default Baby choking on breast milk?

    My baby is 1.5 weeks old. In the beginning he would only successfully nurse from the he left side and was very fussy with my right side. Now, he takes to the right side like a champ and chokes and seems to have trouble breathing for about a minute after choking on the left side. I am an FTM and am at a loss as to what to do. I am genuinely concerned he is going to choke to death or aspirate on my milk one day. I cannot feel a let down while breast feeding (I honestly think I fill up between feedings, I get a tingly sensation about 1.5 hours after nursing every time) and when I do pull him off when I feel he's going to choke because I can hear him swallowing more milk, nothing sprays out that would show me it is my let down.

    I am not sure what to do to fix this issue. I definitley do not want to give up breastfeeding but I also don't want my little guy to struggle so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: Baby choking on breast milk?

    Hi and welcome! Most likely your let down is a faster than baby is comfortable with. This is very very common in the early weeks and usually solved by taking one or more of the following steps:

    Encourage baby to nurse often. The less time there is for the breasts to fill, the less milk there will be in the breast when baby nurses and that will reduce the speed of the letdown.

    Lean back in a supported, reclined position and put baby on top of you when nursing. This is called many things: Laid back nursing, natural breastfeeding, biological nurturing, nursing "uphill" - so if you online search those terms you will find pictures and videos. There are no strict rules, just that mom is to some degree reclined with baby on top of her in any position. So you can play around with it and find what works.

    When baby starts having trouble with the flow, take baby off momentarily. If there is any milk dripping out, catch that in a cloth and relatch baby after a bit.

    Hand express a little milk into a cloth before latching baby.

    I have been helping moms with breastfeeding concerns for 10 years, had over production and fast letdown with all three of my kids, and I have seen lots of things. I have never seen or even heard of a baby choking to death due to nursing at the breast. Ever. I know it can be scary to hear baby choke and cough, but it is probably not nearly as serious as you think. Milk coming fast is biologically normal and babies have reflexes that protect them. When this happens, I suggest, take baby off the breast, hold baby upright, calm baby (and yourself) and try again.

    Not feeling letdown and not spraying does not mean anything, it could still be a fast letdown issue. If you continue to be so concerned and/or the above ideas do not help baby handle the milk flow better, I suggest see a board certified lactation consultant asap as she can help you figure out if there is some anatomical issue causing baby to be unable to nurse normally. Here is more about such consults: http://www.cwgenna.com/lconsult.html It is also possible that you are overproducing but before you attempt to do anything about that I strongly suggest see an IBCLC and discuss the issues you are seeing fully.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 2nd, 2017 at 10:06 PM.

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