Monday, September 17, 2012

Milk, Milk, and Even More Milk

We all know and worry about low milk supply issues.

And while pregnant we all hope and pray that we will be able to breastfeed our children successfully and not suffer from said low supply issues.

But have any of you spent any time worrying about having TOO much milk?

I didn't even know such a think existed and if I had given it any thought it wouldn't have seen it as a problem.

And anyone who suffers from low milk supply can't see how it's a problem.  Because how can having TOO much milk be a problem?

Well...it's a problem.  And one that I don't hear discussed very often.

It turns what is supposed to be a calming soothing experience into a form of torture for your baby known as WATERBOARDING.

If you couldn't guess I have an oversupply issue.

And we're all drowning in a sea of milk over here.

You see, my body is convinced that it produced twins and has enough milk to feed those twins...and maybe a few other babies as well.

Do you know what happens when you make too much milk?

You have a crazy quick FORCEFUL letdown in which you milk comes shooting out of BOTH BOOBS regardless of which one the baby is on and tries to drown your infant.

My midwife compares it to having a firehose shoved down your throat.

DOESN'T SOUND CALMING OR SOOTHING DOES IT?

Well, my baby doesn't think so either.

In fact there is A LOT of coughing, sputtering, spitting up and burping every time we nurse.  Which is still roughly every 1-2 hours during the day!

IT'S ROUGH.

Baby latches on smoothly enough, but as soon as I feel that tingling of the letdown, off comes the baby choking and gagging on the firehose of milk while my boob sprays him and whatever else is in front of me with a geyser of milk.

I then have to somehow cover my geyser with a towel (without pushing on my nipple because I WANT the geyser to gush out into the towel to get rid of the excess milk and pushing on the nipple will staunch the flow) and soothe and burp the crying coughing gagging baby.

Really it requires 3 hands...at least

After the geyser is down to a trickle it's back to latching and sucking for awhile and then OH RIGHT THERE'S ANOTHER LETDOWN and we do it all over again.

Everyone INSISTS that around the 3 month mark the excess milk will start to calm down and my body will adjust the milk according to what baby actually NEEDS...and not try to feed all the babies in San Francisco.

I'm waiting patiently.   But in the meantime...

There are several "remedies" to this oversupply, all of which we've tried, but we're still drowning.

I feed on only one boob for 3-4 hour blocks of time, once we get close to that 4th hour the boob FINALLY feels like it's emptying and baby can nurse calmly without coughing and gagging.  But then the next feed is onto the heavy full boob and we start the routine all over again.  

I feed in positions in which gravity is NOT helping the milk flow.  Lots of getting baby latched and then leaning back so that the milk has to flow UPHILL.  We also do a lot of baby in sitting positions rather than laying positions so that he can better deal with all the milk.

Sidelying also works really well as the excess milk just flows out the side of his mouth and he doesn't have to try to gulp it down.  We both end up in a puddle of milk when sidelying but nighttime feeds are actually the easiest!

I'm also drinking peppermint tea everyday as peppermint is supposed to naturally help lower one's milk supply...so far nothing, but we're only 1 week in to Operation Peppermint.

Anyone else out there dealing with an OVERSUPPLY issue?  And if so, what did you or are you doing about it?  Anything work?  Or do I just have to give it more time?

And please no one tell me to try pumping as I do pump occasionally but anymore and it is only going to increase my supply!

Oh, and look who smiles finally!




16 comments:

  1. I had the exact same problem for the first couple of months, and then it seemed to slow down at about the 8 week mark. I only feed Brody on one side like you are doing for about 3-4 hours, then I switch to the other breast. This helps him get more hindmilk too. I stopped pumping for a few weeks too even though I wanted to pump just to alleviate the full feeling of my breasts, and it helped my body realize that it was only feeding one baby, not 2. Now that Brody is starting to sleep longer at night, I am dealing with it all over again, but my milk supply seems to be adjusting. Breastfeeding seems to be a process that is constantly changing, just when you think you have it figured out, something changes!

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  2. Did you know that there are forums for donating your extra supply? That would require pumping which it doesn't sound like you are doing, but it's a nice way to share the wealth : ). But I hope for your sake, you get to normal soon!

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  3. I have the same problem too, in fact this morning my boob with just spraying. So annoying, I try to pump then right before I feed him but he is screaming bloody murder. So difficult.

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  4. Not having enough milk was my biggest worry while I was pregnant. Ha! If only we knew ;) I am dealing with the same thing. It causes a LOT of spit up for us - everything is covered in milk at our house. G is 7 weeks and it's beginning to finally get better. I have tried to pump a little in the mornings since that is when I am most full (he sleeps 7-8 hours at night), but he is too hungry to wait. It does seem that my body is figuring it out on it's own. I hope yours does too!

    Love that smile! The smiles never get old :)

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  5. Sweet baby smile!!!! I love how his whole face lights up! Alas.. I can't comment about anything else, since I was Ms. Sahara Desert when it came to breastmilk. You over-suppliers are like urban legends to me. :-)
    My only thought is to maybe express some out in the shower between nursing sessions?

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  6. Oversupply here! At about 7w stabilized and now all I am left with is saggy boobz! They still pump out heaps but not the forcefulness. How often are you feeding? Can you cut back a feed yet or extend as that will help. And hell no on the express !!

    I have new bf issues but I need to post and to distressed and tired at the moment.

    His smile is adorable x

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  7. OMGoodness! What a cutie with a sweet smile.
    We have some minor issues with letdown oversupply. Thankfully we only get choking every so often. I hope it gets better soon.

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  8. I had this exact same problem with both my kids...but I also knew I was going back to work...so I wanted a stash...so I would pump and store thru the first let down for some feeds and then baby could eat peacefully. I don't suggest you do that unless you want to freeze and store it. Otherwise...I pretty much did what you are doing....worked with different positions and only fed one boob at a time. I did regulate after a few months but I still had a pretty forceful let down...it was just that baby was older and could handle it better. Good luck....and he is souuuuuper cute!!!!
    kd

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  9. Love the smiles!!! Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job mamma! Breast feeding is hard work!!!

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  10. Is it wrong that your post really made me laugh?! It's so descriptive!

    I don't have any experience in this area, however, watching the episode of "Pregnant in Heels" where a woman turns to a milk-exchange program got me thinking... and I found a "buy, sell, or donate" site regarding breast milk (in L.A. - I tried S.F., but nothing came up right away, so maybe more research is needed) http://www.onlythebreast.com/
    Maybe you could help out another new mom? Just a thought!

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  11. Ooooh! There's one in San Jose - that's close! http://www.sanjosemilkbank.com/

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  12. I love that second picture! He's like "look ma my mouth is HUGE! I can handle it!" ha!

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  13. Mine were so full and I had so much milk. In fact I had so much that it was making my boobs bleed internally. When my Jojo would nurse he would get blood mixed in with his milk- I freaked out but my midwife said it wouldn't hurt him. She had me come in and meet with her and when she had a look at the girls she said "oh my there are rather swollen" uhhhh yeah! She just said keep at it and my body would regulate. It eventually did. I found it helpful to pump a bit but there is a fine line as the body will think the baby is nursing that much...

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  14. thanks for sharing..

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