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Thread: overactive letdown and frequency

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    280

    Default overactive letdown and frequency

    I've been having letdown problems for a couple of weeks; Anja was choking and wheezing all through her feedings. A lactation consultant advised I pump for 3-5 minutes before each feeding to help with the initial spray which has provided some relief. However, another consultant told me not to pump because I would just produce more milk (which is ok because I'm storing up). I'm just curious what others have done.

    Also, what is anyone's experience on when the baby starts to cut back from the 8-12 times per day nursing?

    I'm glad to see so many people on the forum. I empathize with so many people. I don't have a lot of support other than my husband. My friends act like breastfeeding shouldn't be rocket science, but sometimes it really feels like it is!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    12

    Default Re: overactive letdown and frequency

    Overactive letdown is not fun at all! I always hold my breath and hope dd will get through it without sputtering (and I'm not really kidding!).

    Here's what I understand about it from what I've read and been told.

    Overactive letdown doesn't have to do just with the force, but with the amount of milk that you have. So the more milk you have the more overactive the letdown will be (?). And everything I've read has said that if you have overative letdown, you shouldn't ever pump anything more than what you have to to relieve pressure or to get rid of foremilk before feeding your baby. If this doesn't sound right, then maybe someone can correct me.

    So I guess that if you suspect pumping for three to five minutes is causing you to produce more milk (which you probably would have noticed only at the beginning of doing that), than you might be adding to the problem. I've also been told to express (just by hand) to get rid of foremilk before feeding, but doing that for three to five minutes seems like a lot to me.

    I have also read that you should switch between sides less frequently (one side for two hours, or even four hours). I'm guessing that you wouldn't express the other side during this time, except to help with discomfort. I haven't done this myself, but it's supposed to help.

    What seems to help the most is to just break the latch and let the letdown occur before putting the baby back on. If I don't do it for her, dd will often do this herself (sometimes by sputtering, sometimes without). It's not always convenient to do in public, and it wouldn't work if you don't feel letdown (you'd have to listen to the swallowing), but it helps.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    12

    Default Re: overactive letdown and frequency

    Quote Originally Posted by Nissa
    My friends act like breastfeeding shouldn't be rocket science, but sometimes it really feels like it is!
    Exactly.

    (but I also expected it to be naturally easy... I was shocked at the trouble I had with it. At least my friends now know what to expect!)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: overactive letdown and frequency

    Quote Originally Posted by mesta
    What seems to help the most is to just break the latch and let the letdown occur before putting the baby back on. If I don't do it for her, dd will often do this herself (sometimes by sputtering, sometimes without).
    I have the same experience.
    Poor DS sometimes gets a faceful of milk-fountain - I just make sure I have a small towel-flannel handy to wipe him down! He finds it amusing!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: overactive letdown and frequency

    Thanks for everyone's comments; I appreciate them. 4 minutes seems to do the trick most of the time. I haven't been too engorged, although I was at first! I tried expressing by hand before each feeding, but that took a really long time, and try as I might, I couldn't seem to keep from making a huge mess - milk all over the bathroom sink!! I have been keeping her to one side per feeding, but I'm always scared that it will empty on her, even though I know that's not technically true.

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