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Thread: Oversupply; need help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Default Oversupply; need help!

    My son is 3 months old, and he's been sleeping a 4-6 hour stretch since he was a newborn (which was shocking for me - my daughter woke every 1-2 hours until she weaned). The past week he's been stretching that out to a 7-8 hr stretch, and now I have mastitis on one side and tonight I'm painfully engorged on the other (just pumped to relieve the pressure). I'm afraid of ending up with mastitis in both breasts. I have always suspected I have oversupply (and overactive letdown); maybe a very large storage capacity - we already only nurse one side at each feeding because that's all he needs (and he refuses to nurse when he doesn't feel like it - screams his head off if I even offer), but this of course means lately one side will go without any draining for almost 12 hours overnight. He does nurse every 1.5-2 hrs during the day, and his weight gain is VERY good; up to probably close to 18lbs now with birth weight of 8lbs 11 oz. He sleeps the first stretch at night on his own bed in our room, then comes into bed with me for the rest of the night. He's swaddled from the waist down during that first stretch, as he's a thumb sucker (recent discovery, and I think part of why he's stretching out his nighttime feedings). I'm just not sure if there's any way to deal with this so I'm not going to get engorged/plugged ducts/mastitis regularly?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Oversupply; need help!

    Hi, I had a similar experience with my middle child- he tended to sleep long, and that worsened my issues with OP. Luckily I was tandem nursing his older brother and that helped give me relief.

    My best suggestion is to wake baby and see if baby will nurse more often overnight- especially while you are working on recovery from active mastitis, you cannot be going 7 or 8 hours without milk removal and certainly not 12. If baby will not nurse as much as you need baby to, I suggest hand express if you can and pump if necessary.

    Your milk production will eventually reduce to be enough for baby rather not too much, but in the meantime, the long stretches of no milk removal are making you ill. So that has to be remedied.

    Once you are completely recovered from the mastitis, and I mean, at least a couple weeks past any symptoms, if you then continue to feel too full overnight, you might consider taking active steps to reduce your production with block nursing. But you cannot do that while you are battling mastitis. Even if it means temporarily increasing your production, you have to focus now on getting the milk out of the breasts frequently night and day.

    You certainly can and should actively wake baby, but if you stop putting baby in the crib for any part of the night and stop any swaddling, he may wake more often on his own.

    I'm afraid of ending up with mastitis in both breasts
    How are you treating the mastitis?
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 6th, 2017 at 10:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    211

    Default Re: Oversupply; need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    You certainly can and should actively wake baby, but if you stop putting baby in the crib for any part of the night and stop any swaddling, he may wake more often on his own.

    How are you treating the mastitis?
    Thank you for your response! We put baby in the crib at first because he usually goes to bed around 8, so that's long before we would be going to bed. Maybe I should just bring him into bed with me when I go to bed around 10-11. Honestly, him sleeping so well has been a lifesaver with needing to chase a 2 yr old around during the day - I'm hesitant to do anything that would lead to 1-2 hr wakings all night, which is how often he wakes when he's in bed with me after the first long stretch. I have a lot of health issues and have struggled a little with postpartum anxiety and depression, so lack of sleep would be a very bad thing.

    I'm treating the mastitis with bedrest (thank goodness it's the weekend!), ibuprofen for pain/fever (haven't had fever since yesterday, though - which is when it started), echinacea, garlic, and vitamin c every 2 hours, lots of water, and pumping to relieve pressure as needed if baby won't nurse. I'm feeling better today though still weak/tired.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Oversupply; need help!

    Ok well either you wake baby more so baby will nurse, or you will have to hand express or pump overnight. I suppose you could try weaning slowly off that overnight milk removal but whenever there is active mastitis it makes me nervous to go against the "empty breast, lots of rest" prescription that has worked well for mastitis for so long.

    I found holding my baby at nights after older kids went to bed usually worked well for me, but I was usually doing something like watching tv or reading so it was easy. What do you do at night to unwind after your two year old goes to bed (assuming he/she does go to bed before you do)? Maybe with some adjustments, you can simply keep baby with you in a sling or whatever as needed. He will still probably sleep, he just might nurse more often if he is in close proximity to you. At the very least I suggest wake him to nurse when you go to bed and try to get him to nurse both sides more.

    Be careful because mastitis is very tricky. Every time I tried to beat mastitis without taking antibiotics I would feel better for a 12-36 hours or so then WHAM. It would come back worse than ever. At that point I would start abs but quick. Not saying it cannot be done without abs, just saying, be careful. You are sick and need to treat yourself and be treated by others like a sick person, and that means getting help with your two year old if you need it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    211

    Default Re: Oversupply; need help!

    If I do wake him up to nurse overnight in this initial period after mastitis (say for the next two weeks), then slowly wean off those wakings, hopefully, how long is ok to go without milk removal? Meaning how long can I wean off to, considering I know he can sleep an 8 hour stretch? I know it probably varies based on each mom's supply, storage capacity, etc; I'm just trying to get an idea of what I can work toward.

    I tried holding him after toddler went to bed (or even laying him down in the living room with me so I could take him to bed when I went to bed) for the first month or so, but he wouldn't have it. For being a very chill personality, he's very particular about how he will sleep, haha. He's so very different from my daughter - doesn't like to comfort nurse, sleep nurse, be held while sleeping, etc. Pretty much I'm good for actual nursing sessions and then he wants to be done. And when I try to offer both sides, he either cries or just stares around the room rather than latching. =/ He won't sleep well in my husband's arms, either, as we tried that initially, too.

    Thank you for the advice regarding mastitis treatment. I successfully treated mastitis 3x with my daughter this way (we had horrible latch issues which led to plugs which led to mastitis), so I'm hopeful the same tricks will work here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Default Re: Oversupply; need help!

    Update: Last night was the first night I didn't feel any fullness going to bed 2.5 hours after baby, which I was hoping was a sign my supply is more closely matching his night intake, but then he uncharacteristically woke after a 5 hour stretch and then every 45 mins-1 hr after that (in bed with me). So now I guess my supply is going to be boosted again. =( I know it's good for right now for milk removal with mastitis, but it's discouraging that I had just finally seemed to be making progress with my supply reducing properly.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Oversupply; need help!

    Your baby nursing more often will NOT increase your production, because what baby actually needs overall is going to stay about the same from here on out. So nursing more often just means slightly smaller meals at a time, not an increase of output overall. This of course is different than needing to pump, which is extra milk removal and WILL increase your production.

    Nursing more often hopefully means your breasts will no longer be getting so full overnight that you become ill! Biologically babies are meant to nurse overnight- so mom's bodies make milk overnight. This is why long sleep stretches with no nursing can cause so many problems.

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