When breastfeeding goes almost as planned.

By the time I had my second baby, I had no doubt that I would successfully breastfeed my new baby. I mean, even with the issues I had with my first baby, I felt that I knew what I needed to do to make sure this baby was breastfed exclusively. But, still I again attended LLL meetings and already knew who I’d call if there were any challenges at all.

My son was born full-term and I birthed without any medications. He was an alert baby and was a champion in breatfeeding. He knew exactly what to do and so did I. I had more than enough milk….in fact I had a whole lot of milk. My son was getting mad at the amount of milk I had. He wanted to comfort nurse, but instead received so much milk that he’d get angry. So, now I went from having a lowsupply with my first to having an oversupply with my second. By the way from both experiences, I have to admit that having too much was way easier for me than not having enough. Still, since I knew who to call, I made a phone call to my local LLL leader to ask her what I should do. She wisely advice me to nurse on one side for 2-3 feedings and to pump just enough to provide comfort  (but not build up more supply). While I still had my pump, I didn’t use it. Instead, I nursed my 26 months old daughter. She was thrilled that mama had so much milk! I also nurse laid back on the sofa with my baby on me tummy-to-tummy which worked to slow down the force of the breastmilk flow.

It took a few days (I want to almost say weeks actually) but finally my milk supply balance out. My son wasn’t really able to comfort nurse like I think he’d have liked to, but he was a chunky, happy and satisfied little boy. And at 4 1/2, he’s still nursing.

Oversupply can be just as big of a challenge as lowsupply. You’ll know if you have an oversupply because your baby is gaining more weight than average, has a difficult time coping with the milk flow (usually pulls away angrily), has unusual amount of gas, and when breastfeeding he’s gulping, choking or sputtering milk. For others experiencing oversupply, here are some tips on how to balance your milk supply:

  • Breastfeed from one side for 2-3 feedings (use a pump to provide just enough relief from the other side if you’re experiencing discomfort).
  • Try a nursing positions such as side laying or laid back nursing.
  • Hand-express milk first before nursing so the flow of nursing is slower for baby.

Sometimes when you have oversupply, you will also have plugged ducts often. You’ll want to take care of those immediately, as they can lead to mastitis. Here’s what I did when I got a plugged duct –

Take a warm shower and let the warm (as hot as you can comfortably have it on you) run over your breast with the plugged duct. Then take your hand and cup your breast up from underneath the breast.  Take your other hand and cup it right before the plugged duct (by “right before” I mean the area closer to your body and further from your nipple).  Then firmly (but comfortably) pressed down and move your hand towards the nipple. If you have a larger plugged duct, it may feel really uncomfortable doing this, but what you’re doing is working the plugged down down TOWARDS the nipple. Once you do this, repeat, repeat, repeat. And repeat again at the next shower, which should be the same day. This works better than massage the area and shouldn’t take more than one shower to remove the plugged duct.

Other things to do is nurse often on that breast and more frequently than normal. If baby doesn’t want to nurse as often, then hand express or pump.

Even with oversupply, you can continue to nurse your baby for months (and years) to come. If you’re experienceing oversupply, try these tips and also contact your local LLL group leader or visit a Lactation Consultant.

– written by Giselle Baturay, The Granola Mama

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