Oversupply and Breastfeeding

When people who are unfamiliar with the term “oversupply” hear that you make too much milk, they think it’s a good thing. A blessing even. I can tell you from experience that it is not as big of a blessing as people think. While you are able to give your baby all the food he or she needs, sometimes too much can be a bad thing.

If you google oversupply, you’ll often find things like “baby green poop” or “foremilk-hindmilk imbalance.” I know from experience that these are extremely frustrating problems. My son is almost 4 months old and I am STILL dealing with this issue. If you are a mom with oversupply, hang in there. It is slowly getting easier for me, and I know it’s the best thing for my son.

In addition to oversupply, moms with this issue may also have overactive letdown or OA. From experience, I know that OA is another extremely frustrating thing to deal with. I could shoot milk across the room with my OA letdown. This may be fun for a circus trick, but not for hungry babies! In order to somewhat resolve this issue, I let my baby suck on the nipple until I feel the pressure of letdown. Then, I take him off, give him a pacifier, and let the milk shoot into a towel. I put him back on right after the milk stops shooting out. He gets a little frustrated, but it sure beats the extra gas and spit up it gave him.

Ah, yes. Now back to the dreaded oversupply. I wish I could give you a miracle cure, but I’m still working on it! While googling oversupply, you may find that lactation specialists will tell you to pump as little as possible and to block feed. I am currently trying both of these methods after two rounds of mastitis. They have helped a little, but my milky boobs just won’t take a hint. Normally, I’ll do about four to six hour chunks of time feeding on one breast before switching. My son loves to eat and usually eats every 1.5 to 2 hours even at 3.5 months old. (I have tried to extend it out, but he won’t have it. It’s his way or the highway. He gets that quality from his lovely mother.) Usually by the time I get to the next breast, it’s pretty full. I try not to express milk to avoid producing more milk, but sometimes I take just enough off to let down. My son also started sleeping for 11 hours straight at night, so I become extremely engorged by 3 a.m. I wake up to pump once a night just enough to feel comfortable. For most moms, that would be an ounce or two. When I started doing this, both breasts combined yielded 10 ounces and I was still super full! I’ve gradually been reducing the early morning pump, but the engorgement is super painful. I really don’t want to risk a third round of mastitis. I am down to about 5-6 ounces of milk pumped out each night, but skipping this pump altogether leaves me with knots by the morning.

I am writing this article to let other moms know there are others struggling with this issue and to keep hanging in there. ¬†Breast milk is better than formula if you can make it through the challenges. Breast is best! I have tried all the tips from my pediatrician, midwife, and lactation specialist, and I am still struggling with oversupply. I don’t give up easily, so I am going to keep pushing forward for the best health and nutrition for my son. A few¬†green poops, but a healthy baby aren’t going to stop me.

For more info on my son’s struggle with green poops, click here. That is a whole other story!

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