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  1. #1

    What To Do About Oversupply?

    I think I may have oversupply. How can I tell for sure, and how can I reduce my milk supply?

  2. #2
    Hi,

    This is interesting in light of your other post about your baby pulling off your breast a lot (and possibly being distracted).

    This information from the excellent website kellymom on Forceful Let-down Milk may be relevant to you. It may just be that your letdown is quite forceful - is this why you think you may have oversupply or are there other factors?

    Many mums who have a forceful letdown actually find that feeding more frequently helps because then the quantity of milk in the breasts at each feed is less and so the letdown is likely to be less.

    I would not do anything to try and reduce your milk supply until you have ideally seen a lactation consultant or been to a breastfeeding peer support group, if possible. You don't want to reduce the breastmilk your baby is getting when they rely on it for meeting all their nutrional needs as well as giving them huge emotional, developmental and social advantages.

    Is your baby gaining weight well and normally? This is a good indication that your milk supply is right for him. Just checking - is he exclusively breastfed? Do you feed him on demand (day and night)? Thanks for answering all these questions!

    If you really do have an oversupply issue (which isn't that common but of course is possible) then it is not recommended to restrict your baby's breastfeeds. Instead you should offer the same side to the baby once they want their next feed. This article in Breastfeeding Basics about oversupply explains this concept in more detail.

    Some mums do find they have some amount of oversupply in the first 3 months. After this time (when breastfeeding is well-established) milk supply tends to settle down ad the body knows how much breastmilk the baby needs. As your baby is only 2 months old I wouldn't do anything to try and reduce your breastmilk supply at this time.

    Please do post back - we are keen to support you with breastfeeding your son.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  3. #3
    Hi LJ,

    He is definitely gaining weight well; he's exclusively breastfed and I only breastfeed him on demand - so sometimes I end up going for longer stretches than I think I should because he hasn't indicated that he's hungry yet. For example, he's sleeping longer at night now. I wake up several times throughout the night with completely engorged breasts, like the way they were when my milk initially came in, but I don't want to wake him up. When he's ready to eat, he never completely empties one breast, let alone both, and I end up expressing the rest during his morning nap. Since I'm going back to work next week, I've been trying to build up a stockpile so he'll have plenty of bottles on his first few days, but I'm wondering if I should keep this up.

    It may be a forceful let down - can there be multiple let downs in a feeding? Every few feedings during the daytime, he'll gag or choke during initial let down, and then he'll do it a few more times within the same feeding. Other times, I can hear him gulping rapidly; it's like there's too much for him to handle.

    Thank you!
    Kirsten

  4. #4
    Dear Kristen,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes - it is normal to have multiple letdowns during one feed.

    For women who do have an oversupply it is recommended that they don't pump between feedings because breastmilk works on a supply and demand basis. Therefore, the more you pump the more your body will produce.... It sounds to me like the fact you have been building up a milk supply for when you are at work (which is wonderful) has meant that you now have more breastmilk available than your son actually needs because you have been telling your body (by pumping more) to produce more milk. If this is the case then when you go back to just feeding on demand and not doing additional expressing (or just doing one extra pumping a day at the same time each day - this is quite important to avoid an oversupply) then it should settle down. It would normally just take 2-3 days for your body to adjust to this.

    Alternatively, or additionally, it could be that your son has started to sleep for longer fairly quickly and your breastmilk supply has not yet adjusted to this.

    With a forceful letdown, you can try feeding your son in positions where your breast is pointed more upward. For example, the football hold with you reclining slightly back. Does this make sense?

    Best wishes,
    LJ

  5. #5
    LJ,

    That absolutely makes sense. All great advice; thank you so much!

    Kirsten

  6. #6
    You are really welcome Kristen. I hope your milk supply settles down for you soon and that starting back at work goes well.

    Do post back and let us know how you get on.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  7. #7
    I will, thank you!

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