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Thread: Oversupply with twins

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Oversupply with twins

    I posted this in the multiples forum before I realized this forum was here, so hopefully it's okay to post again...

    Hi all!

    I have been reading on and off here since about the middle or my pregnancy, but I believe this is my first time posting.

    I'm a mom of nearly 2 month old twin boys (born at 35 1/2 weeks-- 5 lbs 4 oz and 4 lb 14oz). I've been breastfeeding since around the 2nd week (Liam spent some time in the NICU and Gavin just didn't "get" the breastfeeding right away--and I was really sick from delivery so needed to recover). They've been doing a pretty good job, except Gavin seems to have a small mouth and makes me a little bit sore, not opening wide enough.

    The boys seem to be gaining good weight, however, even though it took my milk a full week to come in, once it did, I have a HUGE supply. At first they just gulped it down and finished the feed in 10 mins. They seemed satisfied, but spitty and a little gassy. Recently, though, my supply, especially on the left side has gotten huge and I have what seems to be an over supply problem. Liam is taking it so-so and still eating okay (sometimes getting ticked at the heavy letdown and refusing to eat long, but not ), however he had had major signs of reflux since birth. We've since gotten him on zantac and he seems to be much more comfortable (when he doesn't spit the medicine up before it has time to digest). Gavin, on the other hand has become very mad, especially at the left breast in the past couple of days. He is pulling off and it's spraying at him so I can see that the letdown is giving him a problem. He'll try a few times then just give up (having eatin for 5 mins or less). As a result is is seriously fussy and probably hungry. I've tried just letting it spray into a burp cloth and then relatching him, but the problem is, he has to eat for a while before the milk will slow down. I'm only pumping maybe a few times a week, juts to get a small stash going. I do not want to pump off the milk before he eats because all that will tell my body to do is produce more than I need.

    I read this article on this site:
    http://www.lalecheleague.com/FAQ/oversupply.html

    and that describes things to a T. (the ped had mentioned that it might be a milk protein allergy that was causing Liam's reflux, but I was not convinced, especially after I read this article)
    The spraying, the (sometimes) greeny bm's, short gulping feeds, Liam is gaining weight REALLY fast (2 lbs in 2 weeks the last time!!)... The problem is, with twins, I don't know how I can tell my body not to produce so much! I can't do the method of letting one breast go for a while..because the other baby eats on it.

    Previously, I hadn't been paying much attention to who feeds on what side, attempting to switch them at each feeding, but not worrying too much about it. I thought maybe I could try assigning one boy one breast per day, and keep switching. I started that yesterday and the seemed to eat a lot, however they slept great in the night, so I think they were a bit more satisfied (more hind milk i'm guessing). However, today, I have Gavin on the left and he will hardly eat on it...the milk just flows too fast. He tries a few times then just gets irritated and won't try anymore.

    Has anyone ever dealt with this problem with twins?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Oversupply with twins

    I don't have twins, but I did have oversupply in 1 breast. I tried to pump for a few minutes before feeding Sarah. It seemed to work. I think you have a great idea with designating 1 breast/day per child/ Good luck and to you mama!! You're doing a great job!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Oversupply with twins

    Granted, I only had one boy at a time, but I also dealt with oversupply/OALD with both pregnancies so far.

    With baby #1, I found out after about 4 mos. that the pumping (I had been working at the time but switched to SAHM) was actually increasing my problems with oversupply. When I switched to being a SAHM, I only pumped a couple of times after that with DS#1., and my problems with oversupply became totally manageable. My DS had been having really explosive green bm's and just drowning in milk even at 4 mos. old, and once I stayed home from work for a week straight and just nursed on demand, one breast at a time, and didn't pump, his bm's changed to yellow and no more drowning. I noticed with baby #1, that he preferred my right breast to my left. Not pumping wasn't as big an inconvenience as I thought it would be, as DH and I rarely went anywhere for longer than a couple of hours anyway, and I did have a small stash of frozen milk if we needed to be gone for 3 or 4 hours.

    With baby #2, I notice I still have oversupply/OALD, but this LO was a much more effecient nurser from the moment of his birth, so he handled the milk flow much better, but just didn't nurse for very long at a time. He drinks really fast, and alot all at once. However, the older he got, the longer he nurses, and now he's actually able to comfort nurse, which my oldest son never was able to do without drowning in milk. I notice that #2 has a favorite breast for taking naps, and a favorite breast if he's on the move. With the left side, he'll many times stand on his head and stick his leg up in the air etc etc. being silly all while nursing...I think maybe the letdown on the left side is much faster, which is why he prefers the right side if he wants to snuggle and nap.

    I mention this, because maybe your boys have different nursing styles, and one is more efficient than the other. That might explain why when you switched, one breast was fuller. It could also be that one boy drinks more than the other, and since the oversupply isn't controlled yet, its really noticeable to you. It could also be that they each have a preferred breast. I don't know how block feeding would work with twins, but with my boys, I blockfed with both of them until the oversupply was controlled. What that meant for us, was that if baby nursed off the left breast and I could tell that he didn't empty it, he got the left breast again at the next feeding, which was usually every 1.5 to 2 hours for us. Maybe another mommie of twins has oversupply and could answer that better for you, but maybe you could block feed where each boy eats like twice off the same breast and then they switch. Or, maybe they don't have to switch at all if they each prefer a side, as long as you make sure to change their positions once in awhile so they aren't always putting the same pressure. Once my supply went down so that I felt empty after baby nursed, I stopped block feeding, but with twins, I don't think it would make much difference, as you always have a baby nursing and don't get the 2 hour break for one breast that I did with just one baby.

    So anyway, with #1, I did hand express a little to help it not drown him so much, but I found that pumping seemed to stimulate (me at least, maybe not everybody) too much, and would increase my supply instead of just taking the edge off so baby could handle the flow. Maybe you could try to only pump what you absolutely need for when you need to be away from your babies. It can be pretty stressful to not have that freezer stash that everybody talks about...especially if you have twins, but it might help the oversupply. Or, maybe you could only pump when you know you'll be away from your boys and they're having a bottle. For instance, since you do have a freezer stash already, if you were going out with your DH, you could wait until very close to the time when you needed to nurse anyway, but pump instead(freeze that new BM) and leave your caregiver with bottles from your freezer stash...that way you'd only be pumping when babies were having bottles, and you'd still keep your freezer stash alive without overstimulating.

    It also helped me to make sure that if DH and I did go out on a date, that we came home at the normal time when DS would need to nurse. I found that if I stretched it too long, my breasts got too full and DS would have trouble with the flow since there was SO MUCH MILK.

    Sorry to be so lengthy, I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Oversupply with twins

    Granted, I only had one boy at a time, but I also dealt with oversupply/OALD with both pregnancies so far.

    With baby #1, I found out after about 4 mos. that the pumping (I had been working at the time but switched to SAHM) was actually increasing my problems with oversupply. When I switched to being a SAHM, I only pumped a couple of times after that with DS#1., and my problems with oversupply became totally manageable. My DS had been having really explosive green bm's and just drowning in milk even at 4 mos. old, and once I stayed home from work for a week straight and just nursed on demand, one breast at a time, and didn't pump, his bm's changed to yellow and no more drowning. I noticed with baby #1, that he preferred my right breast to my left. Not pumping wasn't as big an inconvenience as I thought it would be, as DH and I rarely went anywhere for longer than a couple of hours anyway, and I did have a small stash of frozen milk if we needed to be gone for 3 or 4 hours.

    With baby #2, I notice I still have oversupply/OALD, but this LO was a much more effecient nurser from the moment of his birth, so he handled the milk flow much better, but just didn't nurse for very long at a time. He drinks really fast, and alot all at once. However, the older he got, the longer he nurses, and now he's actually able to comfort nurse, which my oldest son never was able to do without drowning in milk. I notice that #2 has a favorite breast for taking naps, and a favorite breast if he's on the move. With the left side, he'll many times stand on his head and stick his leg up in the air etc etc. being silly all while nursing...I think maybe the letdown on the left side is much faster, which is why he prefers the right side if he wants to snuggle and nap.

    I mention this, because maybe your boys have different nursing styles, and one is more efficient than the other. That might explain why when you switched, one breast was fuller. It could also be that one boy drinks more than the other, and since the oversupply isn't controlled yet, its really noticeable to you. It could also be that they each have a preferred breast. I don't know how block feeding would work with twins, but with my boys, I blockfed with both of them until the oversupply was controlled. What that meant for us, was that if baby nursed off the left breast and I could tell that he didn't empty it, he got the left breast again at the next feeding, which was usually every 1.5 to 2 hours for us. Maybe another mommie of twins has oversupply and could answer that better for you, but maybe you could block feed where each boy eats like twice off the same breast and then they switch. Or, maybe they don't have to switch at all if they each prefer a side, as long as you make sure to change their positions once in awhile so they aren't always putting the same pressure. Once my supply went down so that I felt empty after baby nursed, I stopped block feeding, but with twins, I don't think it would make much difference, as you always have a baby nursing and don't get the 2 hour break for one breast that I did with just one baby.

    So anyway, with #1, I did hand express a little to help it not drown him so much, but I found that pumping seemed to stimulate (me at least, maybe not everybody) too much, and would increase my supply instead of just taking the edge off so baby could handle the flow. Maybe you could try to only pump what you absolutely need for when you need to be away from your babies. It can be pretty stressful to not have that freezer stash that everybody talks about...especially if you have twins, but it might help the oversupply. Or, maybe you could only pump when you know you'll be away from your boys and they're having a bottle. For instance, since you do have a freezer stash already, if you were going out with your DH, you could wait until very close to the time when you needed to nurse anyway, but pump instead(freeze that new BM) and leave your caregiver with bottles from your freezer stash...that way you'd only be pumping when babies were having bottles, and you'd still keep your freezer stash alive without overstimulating.

    It also helped me to make sure that if DH and I did go out on a date, that we came home at the normal time when DS would need to nurse. I found that if I stretched it too long, my breasts got too full and DS would have trouble with the flow since there was SO MUCH MILK.

    Sorry to be so lengthy, I hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Oversupply with twins

    I see that Karen Gromada replied to your question in the multiples forum. (How lucky we are to have her here! She is *the* go-to person with questions about multiples!) Do you think that you could try the suggestions she gave you?

    Let us know what you think...and you *are* doing a great job!!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Oversupply with twins

    Quote Originally Posted by LLLKate View Post
    I see that Karen Gromada replied to your question in the multiples forum. (How lucky we are to have her here! She is *the* go-to person with questions about multiples!) Do you think that you could try the suggestions she gave you?

    Let us know what you think...and you *are* doing a great job!!!
    Hi, i'm having a similar problem with my twins girls, now 8 weeks. please could someone point me in the direction of Karen Gromada's response in the multiples forum.
    thank you

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