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In the world of breastfeeding problems we always hear a lot about low milk supply or how to increase your milk supply. But there is another problem that is actually pretty common and that is oversupply of breast milk. It’s sometimes called foremilk/hindmilk imbalance or over active letdown. It basically means that you make more milk than your baby needs.
As far as breastfeeding challenges go oversupply is not a horrible problem to have but it can cause issues.
Symptoms of oversupply
Some signs of an oversupply include a fussy, gassy and colicky baby. Your baby may be fussy in between feedings and may have green watery poops.
Sometimes an oversupply will lead to a baby gaining weight quickly. Sometimes it might leave a baby with slow weight gain because they have trouble latching on. The abundance of milk might make it hard for your baby to latch or stay latched on. They may spit or choke on the fast milk flow.
The term foremilk/hindmilk imbalance means that your baby may get more of the foremilk which is the more watery lighter milk and less of the fattier, thicker hindmilk.
Some tips to help
For starters do not pump except to relieve comfort or if you must in place of feeding your baby. Pumping will drain your breast and encourage your body to make more milk.
Try nursing on one side per feeding. So you feed your baby on your left side then you wait until the next feeding to feed your baby on the right side. This way your baby will drain one side completely before the next. Your body should adjust its milk production to match.
Laying back when nursing, such as the laid back nursing position or reclining back in a recliner. This may help prevent gravity from helping that milk flow too quickly.
If you are cluster feeding in the evening try using one side. If your baby nurses awhile and then stops, keep putting them on one side until you feel that side has been drained then switch to the other side.
I have dealt with a bit of oversupply with both of my babies. It was worse with my first, since I had pumped to bring in my milk supply, it was more than I really needed in the beginning and I suffered from engorgement and even mastitis later on. The tips above really helped me and it never seemed to affect my baby’s weight gain in anyway.
With my second baby it was not as much of an issue although I do still experience engorgement if I don’t nurse frequently enough and he is almost 11 months now!
When both of my babies were newborns I tried nursing on both sides but in general I almost always switched to just using one side per nursing session. This really has seemed to work best for me and kept my supply pretty steady. It will be different for everyone but if you are experiencing oversupply try experimenting and see what works best for you.
In the world of breastfeeding problems, oversupply is probably a better one to have but that doesn’t mean it will not cause any issues for you or your baby. The tips above should help but if you experience consistent problems or your baby has poor weight gain contact your doctor or lactation consultant.
Let me know if you have any questions about oversupply at all! Thanks for reading 🙂