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Thread: questions about oversupply and overactive letdown

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default questions about oversupply and overactive letdown

    My 5-week-old has all of a sudden become very angry/fussy during feedings.

    A few weeks ago, I was pretty sure that I had an oversupply problem, and I followed the advice to feed only on one side, and the problems seemed to go away.

    Now the fussiness during feedings has started again. I have been reading the recent threads on fussy babies and babies refusing to nurse, and I have listened to the recommended podcast on oversupply and overactive letdown, but i have a few questions.

    We have some of the symptoms that have been discussed: My baby has lots of wet and dirty diapers and is gaining weight pretty quickly. He seems very gassy a lot of the time, needs to be burped every 5-10 minutes when nursing, and passes gas and occasionally spits up or vomits between feedings.

    He will latch on, eat well (lots of big swallows) for anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes, and then all of a sudden start screaming, letting go of the breast, hitting me, etc. He seems really really hungry, eagerly latches back on, and then gets angry again a minute or so later. This usually goes on for quite a while, with him eating a little bit, then fussing, then eating a little bit, until I finally give up. As soon as I stop and let him suck on a pacifier or a finger, he usually calms down.

    The thing that makes me wonder is that I don't have a number of the main of the symptoms listed for oversupply/overactive letdown. I don't have any pain during breastfeeding, my nipples aren't sore, and i'm not engorged. Also, my baby's stools are not green.

    Today I tried feeding uphill, and that worked for about 12 minutes until the fussiness started.

    I also tried feeding him a bottle of milk I pumped last night, and he happily and calmly ate about 2 oz. before falling asleep. He has only had a bottle one other time, about 3.5 weeks ago, so I don't think it has to do with preferring bottles, at least not yet.

    I'm wondering if this is just fussiness during a growth spurt (seems like he wants to eat all the time -- every 1-2 hours) that will go away. Or if it is oversupply and overactive letdown, and the things I've tried just aren't working yet?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: questions about oversupply and overactive letdown

    There are many reasons for fussiness at the breast. Here's a link from Kelly mom that might help you narrow down the problem. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...e-nursing.html

    In our case, DS has reflux and was diagnosed at 6wks (though he showed symptoms much earlier, we just couldn't figure it out). He was fussy during feeding and in general, spitting up a lot, had a definite preference in nursing positions (upright) and also nursed very often (hourly) for very short periods. Reflux babies like to nurse often b/c they don't like to have a full belly; it tends to make the reflux episodes worse so they eat less, more frequently.

    Amazed and Proud mom of Luke (Lucas) - 4/5/2006; 9 lbs 12 oz , 22in
    Wife to best friend Carl - 11/4/2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: questions about oversupply and overactive letdown

    Quote Originally Posted by luke's mom
    nursed very often (hourly) for very short periods. Reflux babies like to nurse often b/c they don't like to have a full belly; it tends to make the reflux episodes worse so they eat less, more frequently.
    And they also like to nurse frequently because as the milk goes down it is soothing to their throats ... however, after the milk starts hitting their tummy their acid production goes into overdrive and starts coming back up, so it backfires on them (thus, the screaming and pulling off after eating for a few minutes).

    LLL's web site states: "Still other babies with reflux want to eat all the time! The milk acts as a natural antacid and is soothing. However, if the baby overfills his stomach capacity, reflux symptoms can worsen. For this baby it may be helpful to nurse one breast at a time. As the lactating breast never truly empties, the baby will be rewarded with a slower flow of milk that may soothe a burning throat, but not overfill his stomach. Some mothers have reported pacifier use to be helpful for these babies."

    If reflux symptoms sound familiar to you, take a look at:

    LLL on Reflux
    Spitting Up & Reflux in the Breastfed Baby

    Kelly Mom's site states: "GERD may cause babies to either undereat (if they associate feeding with the after-feeding pain, or if it hurts to swallow) or overeat (because sucking keeps the stomach contents down in the stomach and because mother’s milk is a natural antacid)."
    Last edited by @llli*paint.the.moon; August 4th, 2006 at 07:23 PM.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: questions about oversupply and overactive letdown

    I just went through the exact same thing this past week and a half. I was doing the block feeding (one side per feeding) until my supply went down, though am still having a little OALD, especially when breasts are full. Then DD had a growth spurt and was eating constantly for a few days. Then she began to get angry during the feedings which no amount of burping could soothe (usually she didn't burp at all). Eventually I would give her the pacifer and she would be fussy until she finally fell asleep for half an hour or I nursed her again. So yesterday I decided to offer her the second breast once she became angry. So far its worked (granted, it has only been 4 or 5 feedings). At first she would only nurse for a few minutes once I switched her, but this morning when she became angry after nursing on the left for awhile, I switched her to the right. She then continued to nurse for another 15 minutes! I think that she has actually started to enjoy the OALD and was angry that the flow had slowed down on the first breast. She did spit up a little the first couple of times we tried this, but the last 2 feedings have gone well with no spit up. Also she slept like a champ last night - she went from 7pm to 12:30 and then wasn't up again until 5am! So I would suggest trying the other breast once she becomes angry on the first. Hopefully it will work as well for you as it did for me. Good luck!

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