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Thread: PLEASE HELP ME! Strong Initial Letdown followed by low milk?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Unhappy PLEASE HELP ME! Strong Initial Letdown followed by low milk?


    I have a newborn who is now nearly 5 weeks old. Initially after lots of problems with pain and strong letdowns breastfeeding was/seemed to be going fine! He feeds every hour to hour and half normally sometimes though it can be 1/2 hourly, day and night. The longest he has ever gone is two hours one night but that has been it.

    The problem I have been having for a few days now is:-

    If latched on my right side the let down is not very strong or non existent but I can hear him guzzling and it sounds/looks like there is plenty of milk, maybe overactive??

    The left side I get a very strong, painful let down but can't hear him guzzling and can't hear him swallowing much.

    After a few minutes on either breast he starts pulling away, arching his back, getting quite frustrated and grunting/groaning! If I take him off and squeeze my nipple to try and express some I get like a little tiny drop or nothing at all.

    I perservere and keep putting him back on and I sometimes feel a couple more let downs during feeding but there doesn't appear to be much if any milk?

    He is obviously getting something cos his nappies seem fine other than that they have been green or green/yellow for a while now and the last few days mucousy with some streaks of bloody mucousy stuff. He does suffer with very bad wind/gas and spends day and night groaning, pulling his legs up etc and waking himself up, hospital said it could be reflux or just that his digestive system is a little immature, he also gets major hiccups alot!! spits up after most feeds sometimes a little and sometimes a lot which can be curdled at times. His weight gain his fine, he lost no weight at all after the birth and weighed in at a healthy 6Ib 15oz, had him weighed last week and he was 9Ib 3oz.

    What is going on?? I have spent most of the past 3 days with him constantly feeding, whether for comfort or for food with these problems due to another!! growth spurt (according to my health visitor, he seems to have had these growth spurts every day since he was born!) I have not discouraged this as I assumed this may help my problem, supply and demand, right? the more he feeds the more I should produce. Saturday I managed to express a total of 4 ozs so the milk was there but not getting much now when pumping?

    I really want to do this but am getting very discouraged by what I am seeing/experiencing. I am a single mum with a 5 year old to look after as well so the hourly feeds and the fussing is really getting me down and I need to get it sorted out asap.

    Can anyone help me work out whats going on and what I should do PLEASE!!!

    Thank You

    A desperate mum!!
    Last edited by lisabendon; August 17th, 2006 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP ME! Strong Initial Letdown followed by low milk?

    First of all let me say congrats on your new baby. You're doing a great job.
    While I'm not sure about the let down issue you've described, the gas and green/yellow/mucousy poop does sound familiar. My dd went through the same thing until I eliminated dairy from my diet. It takes up to a couple of weeks for the results, but after about 10 days my dd discomfort went away totally.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP ME! Strong Initial Letdown followed by low milk?

    Lisa, as I read your post the "diagnosis" that first springs to my mind is oversupply. You have already identified an issue with strong letdown (where the milk lets down so quickly that baby struggles to keep up with the fast flow of milk). This is also called "overactive letdown" (or OALD), and it is often goes hand-in-hand with an oversupply of milk.

    With too much milk being produced, the baby is likely to be taking in too much foremilk (the watery sugary stuff) and not enough hindmilk (the higher-fat stuff). This can cause the digestive symptoms that you are seeing -- green poops, possibly some streaks of blood from irritation of the gut, lots of gas). His weight gain is more than fine! He is growing very well indeed -- and this is also commonly seen with oversupply.

    The first thing to do to correct an oversupply is to look at your breastfeeding management. Most moms find that block feeding is all that is necessary to bring their supply down to meet their baby's demand. For block feeding, you continue to nurse when your baby cues to nurse, but for a "block of time" (say, three hours), you do all those feedings at one breast. Then for the next block of time, you do all feedings on the other breast. In this way, the baby will have more opportunity to get the hindmilk from the on-duty breast, while the off-duty breast avoids stimulation of its milk supply.

    His pulling off the breast could be explained by a couple different things -- and you may not need to determine precisely what the cause is, so this is just another piece of the puzzle, so to speak. Either he is pulling off because the milk is coming out too fast and he can't keep up, or he is pulling off because he has gotten accustomed to the fast flow of your milk, and when it slows down after letdown, he gets frustrated. This behavior at the breast is sort of a separate issue from the oversupply, and so I will encourage you to just gently persist in nursing despite this behavior, and believe that it will probably work itself out.

    I would also mention that your sensation with letdown is not a reliable indicator of how much milk is being released. As you note, you may feel a strong letdown with less milk, or feel less sensation with more milk -- this just varies so much that it's not a good way to tell what is going on with milk supply.

    There's a board further down the main page called "Too Much Milk!" that deals with oversupply issues. I encourage you to read and discuss over there to get input from many moms who have had experience with this.


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