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Oversupply worse not better?

Posted by on May. 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM
  • 25 Replies
My ds is 6 weeks. I've had OAL/oversupply from the start. I nurse uphill. I'm now on TWELVE hour blocks. But the engorgement of the non-used-waiting boob is getting worse.
I've resisted pumping off the engorgement because I didn't want to stimulate more production. But last 2 days I've had to pump off the discomfort ( I just do a minimum) because my milk factories are pumping like mad.
Ideas? Suggestions?
by on May. 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM
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by Gina on May. 11, 2013 at 11:07 PM
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Continue what you're doing, to be honest. You might need to reduce the pumping a little so you're still uncomfortable but it's not killing you.

by on May. 11, 2013 at 11:09 PM
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Can you either hand express the extreme discomfort to just moderate discomfort or leak out in the shower? I did the shower... I just stood under the running water and massage until I got a letdown and just did it enough to take the absolute barest edge off.  I still have an oversupply but it doesn't hurt anymore.

by Group Admin - Amy on May. 11, 2013 at 11:57 PM
I agree with what they said! ^^^
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by Group Admin - Amy on May. 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM
If it doesn't seem to subside within a week, you could try fully pumping both sides first thing in the morning and then block feed from there.
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by on May. 12, 2013 at 4:16 AM

Yep! This for sure! I had to do 12 hour blocks for a month before my supply was completley regulated and it took 2 weeks before I saw real improvement. Then I went to 8 hour blocks for 7 days, then 4 hour blocks, and now I am finally using one breast per feeding....DS2 is almost 10 weeks old. It takes a while. ive heard of the pumping dry then block feeding method, luckily I didnt have to do it. Hang in will get better. 

Quoting aehanrahan:

If it doesn't seem to subside within a week, you could try fully pumping both sides first thing in the morning and then block feed from there.

by Alicia on May. 12, 2013 at 5:00 AM
Also check your diet and make sure you aren't accidentally eating anything mention to raise supply. I didn't realize my SM's fried chicken was rolled in oatmeal. So a few hours later I was engorged and it took until the next day to figure out why.
by on May. 12, 2013 at 6:53 AM
I got these things called my milkies (or something to that effect,) which are silicone breast covers. I would put one on the side that I wasn't nursing from so that during let down, that milk would drip in to the milkie and I could freeze that for another time, and my breast wouldn't become engorged. It reallllllly helped!
by on May. 12, 2013 at 7:28 AM
I had the exact problem in the beginning! It hurt sooo badly. I was engorged and making too much milk. Little bear would choke everytime he nursed because my letdown was so fast. I felt so bad for him. I block fed for 6hrs on each for about 2wks. The engorgement was horrible! But it DOES go away eventually when your milk supply starts to level out a bit more. Also check your diet to make sure you're not eating or drinking anything to make it worse! I was drinking tea & soda daily and that's all I would drink, once I figured out that caffeine can up production I stopped drinking it all together until my supply leveled out. You'd be surprised at how much food and drink can make a difference! Just keep doing what you're doing, try not to pump at all. Hopefully it'll get better and easier for you!
by Kate on May. 12, 2013 at 9:36 AM

With less than half of women breastfeeding at the six month mark we have to assume that many women believe they don't make enough breast milk. But what about the others? The ones at the other end of the spectrum, making enough to feed a small village of babies? As one of these women, I can say that we are often told to be grateful for it because women who don't make enough would be happy to have our problem. Well... I'm here to say that oversupply ain't all it is cracked up to be. And just because someone has the opposite problem, doesn't mean that oversupply isn't a problem in its own right.

Oversupply isn't just about having too much milk. If that was all there was to the problem, it probably wouldn't be a problem. Oversupply is usually accompanied by a letdown that causes mom to spray milk at a high rate, which causes the baby to choke and swallow air. What eventually happens is that the baby fills up on the milk, which contains very little fat and air and this leads to gas and stomach pains. This causes the baby to appear colicky and have explosive gas and bowel movements. And also want to nurse constantly, perpetuating the cycle of oversupply and colic.

My oldest daughter had colic. It lasted way beyond the typical three months. In fact most of her first year is a blur due to her constant crying and nursing. My middle daughter didn't have it, mostly because I was still nursing her older sister as a toddler and she helped mitigate any extra milk. When my milk came in, three days after the birth of my youngest, I recognized the signs of strong letdown immediately.

We tried block feeding for several weeks. This along with positioning the baby above my breast really didn't seem to help at all. I resorted to pulling her off when my milk let down and spraying into a cloth then relatching her. But women have multiple letdowns during each nursing session, so this was extremely inconvenient when not at home. I was desperate for answers... so I turned to Dr. Google and came across a very interesting study in the International Breastfeeding Journal.

The Protocol
You can read the study for free here. But basically the protocol consists of pumping your breasts dry. I used a hospital grade pump from A Mother's Boutique, but I'm sure you could use a regular double electric pump. Followed by a nursing session where the baby nurses freely from each side. This lasted several hours! And was followed by a very deep, comfortable sleep by my baby. When she woke up, I began nursing from one side and stayed on that side for 3-4 hours. Then I switched for the next block and continued on for the next week.

Day One
The day after doing this our baby was noticeably less fussy. She also had a really nice poop that she did on her own without much fuss. She was less gassy and easier to nurse. I did experience a bit of engorgement about 30 hours after the initial pumping session. This led to a crazy letdown. But I did not repeat the pump out and just allowed the milk to spray into a towel and then relatched.

Day Two
I was noticeably less engorged, but still full. Again, I had to take her off for the first couple of letdowns during the first nursing session of each block. But other than that, I did notice that my breasts were softer at the end of the block and I was certain she was getting more fat. She was still much less gassy and fussy.

Days Three and Four
I almost never have to take her off for any letdowns. I am leaking way less during feedings and even though I have spontaneous letdowns in between nursing sessions, I don't leak at all during them. Her gas is back to a normal amount for a baby. She is still not really pooping regularly, but I no longer feel worried that it is due to an imbalance of too much fore milk.

Day Five (today)
No engorgement and my breasts always feel soft. I never have to take her off for letdown and my leaking is almost nonexistent. She was a little more fussy and gassy last night and today, but I suspect the six week growth spurt is the culprit. We are planning to return the pump tomorrow or Thursday because I am sure I won't need to repeat the draining.

I am so happy that I discovered this study. It does not seem to be well known because the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh consultant that I spoke to had never heard of it. I hope that writing about it on my blog will help others find it.

by on May. 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM
Hmm. This is all very interesting. I do eat oatmeal for breakfast 2-3 times a week. Do you really think that could be the culprit of crazy oversupply? I also drink chamomile tea at night but I haven't found anything definitive saying that increases production. Ill give up oatmeal. See if that does anything. If not, I think ill strongly consider the pump dry technique.
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