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Thread: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

  1. #1
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    Question Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    I've been reading several articles and posts about hyperlactation, but I'm still not sure what's causing my baby's fussiness.

    A couple days ago my almost-3 week-old started to get SUPER gassy and fussy. She would scream when she would wake up hungry so I would BF her, but she'd only nurse for a 3-8 minutes on one breast only before falling asleep. But the sleep would be short-lived and she would be up again within an hour or hour and 1/2...hungry and screaming again.

    She was constantly pooping and passing gas. Non-stop. I even pumped some gas out of her by pushing her legs to her tummy. But still she was fussy.

    If she wasn't sleeping, she was only content for about 10 minutes until she was screaming bloody murder again. So I would BF her again, but she would only nurse for a short-time. She would even refuse to drink at times, choke a little, and/or spit up a little afterwards.

    This cycle continued throughout the evening and night.

    Tired and extremely frustrated, my husband and I decided we were going to try formula to see if that calmed her tummy down. She drank that with no problem and fell fast asleep. I pumped a little to keep my supply going.

    The next time she woke up, I decided to try some of my EBM. (which we could NEVER get her to drink) She drank it after I warmed it a little in water. She was content for a short time and then started screaming again. She refused to finish the bottle so we gave her some formula. She drank that and fell asleep again.

    The last time she woke up, she drank 1 oz. of my EBM and then fell asleep. So I was happy.

    So at this point I was confused and started searching about what the problem could be. I came upon hyperlactation and infant reflux. She has a mixture of symptoms for both conditions, but not all the symptoms for one condition. If that makes sense?

    When I pump with my manual Harmony, I can see the milk spraying out like a water hose for a long time. Also, when she was BFing, sometimes my breasts would leak until I would put it back into my nursing bra. Is that normal or hyperlactation?

    I have stopped BFing her from my breast and am just pumping and feeding her from the bottle. I know I shouldn't pump a lot incase it is hyperlactation so I don't make my supply go crazy, but what else can I do?

    Would my local lactation consultant be able to tell if it was hyperlactation or reflux?
    Last edited by bowser625; October 7th, 2007 at 06:26 PM. Reason: added more
    ~*Sherri*~
    Mommy to Allison Rae

    Born 9-18-07 @ 1:18am

    BF for 18 months! Finally weaned!


  2. #2
    cmp12345 is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    I don't have any experience with reflux, but I had an oversupply and OALD in the beginning of our bf experience too. At exactly 3 wks, my LO was also fussy at the breast (arching back, screaming, etc) at letdown, feeding less than 5 min per breast, I was leaking a lot (sometimes 1.5 oz per breast!) at letdown, and my milk would also spray at letdown. Sound familiar?

    What helped me was letting the milk spray at letdown onto a burpcloth and blockfeeding, where you feed your LO on the same breast for 2 or more consecutive feedings or for a 2-3+ block of time. Your LO will eventually learn to do this, but you can also help him/her by unlatching during letdown and then relatching after the milk stops spraying/dripping so fast. In the meantime, you can also feed LO in an upright or side lying position so that gravity can help slow the flow.

    I would avoid pumping, unless you want a freezer stash or want to exclusively pump (from your post, I wasn't sure if you were going to do this). Pumping can tell your body to make more milk and also it may want your LO to prefer bottles rather than nursing (cause bottle flows are more pleasant right now).

    Eventually, your milk will regulate to how much your LO needs and the flow will be more pleasant. For me it took 14 weeks due to lack of support and a major oversupply, but for most moms, milk regulates 6-8 wks.

    Check out this article for more useful info on OALD:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html

    Hope this helps, and good luck.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    I'm starting to think it's nothing but her being fussy. But sometimes I change my mind and she shows symptomps of it. Who knows?

    Thank you for the article. I'm NAK and she's not having any problems. She just does it so briefly!
    ~*Sherri*~
    Mommy to Allison Rae

    Born 9-18-07 @ 1:18am

    BF for 18 months! Finally weaned!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    At three weeks they begin to learn the physiological process of expelling gas. They grunt, strain, make awful faces. Its all part of learning, and while it looks truly awful, it seems as though all babies have to go through a period of it.

    When Will got really bad I would sit on the bed with my legs in front of me. I placed him belly down across the tops of my thighs and shook him back and forth gently. It helped with the belly gas.

    I realize that it is tempting to feed formula when you are uncertain if its your milk thats causing the problem. It also seems like your baby might a bit sensitive to something in your diet, but I'm unsure. Have you thought about an elimination diet yet? The allergie forum might be helpful to you.

    As a side note I would like to remind you that formula is harder to digest- meaning baby is retrieving less nutrients from the same amount of fluid. I strongly urge you to keep breastfeeding, and nurse through this period with your baby. You baby needs you, and you are doing a good job. An attentive mama is worried about her baby- we can all see that you are concerned.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    I think that if this problem was reflux that the baby would have problems with both the breast milk and the formula. I have had kids with both issues and the fussiness will not disappear with formula if it is reflux.

    Maybe the fussiness and discontent is because she is just getting the foremilk....so she never really gets satisfied.

    Keep going with the breastfeeding!!! Hopefully if you can tame your production down she will settle down a bit.

    I have had similar issues. Baby is still a bit fussy/gassy but she is going longer intervals in between feeds and we are having more happy times!!! I hope things settle down soon for you.
    Last edited by klt; October 9th, 2007 at 08:15 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    Quote Originally Posted by klt View Post
    I think that if this problem was reflux that the baby would have problems with both the breast milk and the formula. I have had kids with both issues and the fussiness will not disappear with formula if it is reflux.

    Yes, exactly . Babies who truly have reflux will exhibit symptoms no matter how they are fed.

    Another possibility to consider is that baby may be reacting to something in mother's diet. The most likely culprit is cow's milk/dairy products, but there are others--wheat, soy, citrus, peanuts, eggs, etc...

    A baby who has allergies usually does worse on formula, not better. Check out the Allergies forum on this board for more information.

    HTH. Hang in there,

    Tiana

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is it hyperlactation or reflux?

    My baby has reflux and I also have OALD and probably oversupply. Here's how I think I can distinguish the symptoms, in our case. The reflux symptoms seem to occur especially after, rather than during a feeding, whereas the OALD symptoms are primarily during a feed (choking, going on and off the breast, lots of fussing). What really tipped us off that we were probably dealing with reflux is that after a spit-up or "wet burp," she would double up, then arch her back and shriek in pain.

    Good luck figuring out your situation.

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