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Oversupply, things haven't improved what can I try next?

(30 Posts)
TinyDiamond Sun 16-Oct-11 18:10:34

Have a serious oversupply problem that is just ruining everything. Miserable mummy and miserable dd always in pain during and after feeds I feel like my milk is poisoning her it's so hard.
Have been block feeding now for almost 2 weeks initially started with 4 hour blocks then moved up to 5. It has literally made no difference whatsoever apart from that by the end of the 5 hours I am so painfully engorged that the first feed from that side is even more problematic and we both end up completely soaked along with wherever we're sitting.
Feeding out is a nightmare I can't go anywhere without taking plenty of Muslins and outfit changes for both of us.
Dd's reflux/sickness is worse than ever, fed up of lop sided full breasts and I leak everywhere. I only have to think about bf or lightly hug someone and I let down and it HURTS.
I constantly smell of milk and her of sick. She is 9 weeks tomorrow, I thought it should've calmed down by now?
Having an awful time what else can I do???

Purplebuns Sun 16-Oct-11 18:32:14

That is quite extreme. So are you feeding one side at a time? I would try this if you aren't and try and express some milk off first so the first let down isn't such a deluge! If you are good at expressing you could of course donate it to the neonatal unit/milk bank.

Your milk still has plenty of time to settle down, so don't fret about that just yet.

I think you definitely need to be under the care of a bf counsellor or lactation consultant are you?

I will try and rack my brain for something more helpful!

Purplebuns Sun 16-Oct-11 18:37:58

Kellymom useful article I hope you get the help you need, your local children's centre can be a good place to look for local bf support.

messydrawers Sun 16-Oct-11 18:51:09

I was the same and it's miserable I agree- constantly soaking wet, always waking up in a pool of milk and leaking in public, gah... undersupply is a more known problem and that is really horrible for the women affected but oversupply creates lots of problems too- I had very bad cracked nipples as I was so engorged I couldn't get a proper latch, and the babies at the beginning couldn't cope with the amount of milk or the speed it was coming out. I got mastitis really badly several time. My let down was so strong the milk would shoot out through the breast pad, bra and clothes. My DD2 is 13 mo and the other night, we'd gone out to a quite formal dinner party and whilst going in to sit down I thought "Hope the kids are OK" and sprayed the back of a 60 something year old man's jacket with milk! He was 2 feet away! I went back to work at 6 weeks with DD1 and 4 months with DD2 (self employed...) and regularly had to leave meetings to go and hunch over the photocopier twisting my nipples. I don't really know what you can do, but it does settle down (IIRC mine was manageable by 4 months or so) It was much better with DD2 when I wasn't pumping (that really makes it worse) Try to hand express some milk before feeding to make it easier on your baby, and watch out for the dreaded mastitis, massaging your breasts in hot water like the shower or bath is the best thing at any sign of lumpyness. It will get better! I fed DD1 until 21 mo and still feeding DD2, so I managed to control the flow eventually...

zacklesMum Sun 16-Oct-11 19:31:20

I had an (undiagnosed till very late) strong letdown, and I agree, bf was total misery at first: DS would scream and come off every time I fed him, and I truely felt as if I was forcing him to breastfeed. I obviously couldn't feed in public, and cried most days. I didn't have all the leaking to go with it, luckily. I tried feeding 'against gravity' but that didn't work. The only thing I never tried was expressing a bit before feeds. Have you tried that?

The problem was basically non-existent when feeding a sleeping baby, and that's mainly how I dealt with it. I actually LIKED night feeds, as they were tranquil as I imagined breastfeeding should be.

Like Messydrawers, the problem resolved at 4.5 months for me, probably because DS got big enough to deal with it.

I'm still feeding at 22 months and I love it now. DS asks me for milk (at home only, he's considerate) and his mouth waters and he smiles when he sees my chest. I am absolutely amazed that this is happening-it's the best feeling in the world.

All the very best of luck to you and I hope that you can find a solution soon.

lukewarmmama Sun 16-Oct-11 19:48:57

It's rubbish isn't it. Not quite as bad as struggling with a low supply, but not far off I guess. Not the relaxed bonding experience you imagine it should be, more like force feeding a foie gras goose.

I second all those tips on Kellymom. If you've already tried all that, then I would suggest using nipple shields. It slows the milk flow down so your baby doesn't get so distressed. It might reduce your supply as well, but the modern shields are quite thin, so probably not. They are a faff (sterlisation etc), but it might offer a way to get through the next few weeks until it sorts itself out (baby bigger/milk supply more regulated). Worth a try - try different brands as well if you/baby don't like the first ones (a bit like trying to find a brand of bottle you get on with).

FWIW I had a similar extreme problem with DD1 (probably not helped by lots of expressing in the early days whilst she was in NICU I think), and shields were invaluable for about 3 or 4 months. With DD2 I also had oversupply, but the lack of expressing and block feeding etc worked on its own.

Good luck - it will get better.

TinyDiamond Sun 16-Oct-11 19:59:02

Yes I am using the same side for any feeds that happen in a particular 5 hour window. Then I swap over when 5 hours is doing this on the advice from other mnetters for the last 2 weeks.

I am also doing all feeds 'uphill' if at home or with baby sitting upright when out to try and help her cope with the fast flow, she still is overwhelmed. Am already expressing the start of each feed into a cloth too have had to do this since my milk came in. The problem is much, much worse on the left side. The milk spurts out from two holes like a water pistol and goes everywhere.
I let her suckle until let down then get her off and quickly put a towel in the way (she cries ever time when I do this) then I wait and keep checking if it has slowed from a gush to a drip then I put her back on.
She is quite an efficient feeder and drains a breast in less than 5 mins.
Immediately afterwards she vomits a huge amount back up for the next half an hour or more whilst screaming in pain as I think acid is coming up with the force of the sick too... so reflux. But pretty sure that it is my milk that is causing ut now as when she has had ebm from a bottle it happens less. But she still spits up significant amounts though.

I have had to stop using a pump as I never could get much off with one anyway (strangely) and it just made the problem worse.

In terms of RL support I have seen a LC previously as we had other stuff going on DD had a tongue tie (since been clipped) and thrush, latch issues and more but haven't spoken to her for a while now.
I go to a bf support group but nobody there very knowledgeable about oversupply...local LLL cafe same thing they were understanding but nobody had any specific advice about how I coulod tame my supply

ilovemountains Sun 16-Oct-11 20:09:35

I think I commented on your last thread. I tamed my supply by a number of ways, but block fed for months, normally going six hours before swapping sides. Did you try the spacing out of the feeds? This was essential for me. If I fed more than every three hours I ended sitting in a pool of milk, even if my baby wasn't feeding.

ilovemountains Sun 16-Oct-11 20:12:22

And pumping for me made the situation so much worse, I only pumped three times in nine months with DD2 as I'd learnt the consequences with DD1.

Rikalaily Sun 16-Oct-11 20:26:57

Sounds a bit wierd with this thread being about oversupply but your mention of reflux/pain makes me suggest this... The reflux may be caused by a milk protein intollerance in your baby (if her sick smells very acidic this is very likely, does she have a rash on her which may have been attributed to heat rash?). My dd4 had severe reflux and pain between feeds and it turned out she is allergic to milk protein, which unlike lactose gets transfered into your milk. I went dairy free when dd4 was 8 weeks and bfed her until she was nearly 8 months before moving her onto soya formula (I developed a calcium & vit D definciency due to not liking milk substitutes and a sunlight allergy, lol)

I would suggest pumping the excess about an hour before feeding (could donate to you local mothers milk bank or freeze for the future) It's not ideal as it will take monger for your supply to diminish but it would make you alot more comfortable and make it alot easier for baby to feed.

Rikalaily Sun 16-Oct-11 20:27:36


marzipananimal Sun 16-Oct-11 20:33:16

Have you looked at the stuff on kellymom about herbs? I suspected that drinking lots of red bush tea was contributing to my oversupply. Maybe you could eat/drink something that would help reduce your supply?

TinyDiamond Sun 16-Oct-11 20:53:39

Rikalaily...I suppose it is a possibility. No rash as such she did have 'milkspots' or baby acne, never really knew what it wqas but it cleared up by 6 weeks or so. Would I have to completely cut out all dairy?
Her sick is very acidic but the reason I think it was related to my supply/let down is because it only started after my milk came in properly and sort of happened gradually as my supply went up and up if you know what I mean?

I'm not too sure about the pumping an hour before feeding thing. Would this not just tell my body that even more milk was required? It's getting to the point that she is going a good few hours between some feeds now. The last week went a little something like this: 6am, 9am, 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 7pm, midnight then that's it usually until 6 again (I realise that now I have noticed a bit of a 'pattern' she will no doubt change straight away!). So if I was pumping an hour before each feed wouldn't I make extra milk for the expressing? This is how I have understood it so far. I actually really hate pumping too- prefer to hand express I find it less of a faff and get more out.

TinyDiamond Sun 16-Oct-11 20:55:35

the other thing I forgot to say re expressing off first is that sometimes when I feed her from the same side within an hour or two of another feed I still have just as strong a let down/spray so not sure if this would make a difference

ilovemountains Sun 16-Oct-11 20:59:53

I agree, do not express an hour before, that will make the situation far worse. If you can space the feeds out more then you will stimulate the breasts less which tells them to produce less milk.

Bert2e Sun 16-Oct-11 21:16:25

Sage down regulates milk production.

Rikalaily Sun 16-Oct-11 21:47:09

Yes you have to cut out dairy completely, it is really hard as it's hidden in alot of things you wouldn't expect it to be in (chicken gravy granules, salt and vinegar crisps etc). You have to check all ingredient lists for milk, milk protein, whey etc, luckily most things have milk on the allergin list these days but is better to double check.

Dd4 was fine for about a week after birth then she got a very fine rash on her face, was a dusky pink colour, slightly raised. The midwife said it was a heat rash as it was May 09 and it was very hot that month. Then the reflux started, just pain at first then bringing up bits of feeds and by 8 weeks she was screaming in agony whan laid flat, bringing up either milk or clear acidic fluid between feeds and most of her feeds coming up not long after, fussing while feeding, throwing herself back, fidgeting and coughing in her sleep, sudden screams etc. The doc said colic, I knew it wasn't, I've done colic and this wasn't it. Went to another doc who got covered in acidic milk sick and was given gaviscon. Only gave this for a few weeks before the severe constipation made me stop.

Some online mums on another parenting forum suggested trying dairy free to rule out dairy intollerance and I was willing to try anything as dd wasn't gaining weight at all. Cut the dairy and within a week the rash had cleared up and she wasn't in as much pain, within a month she was 100% better apart from when I accidentally ate anything with dairy in it (a few days later the rash and reflux would be back for a few days). She's 17 months now and we've just started trying her with some dairy, first cooked milk (lasagne etc) and she was fine so in the last week she's had a spoon of weetabix with milk and a little cheese on some spag bol and she's been fine so I think she's outgrowing it. We are still going to keep her at tastes only for a few more months just incase though.

When I said express I meant just to let the excess out, not a full express, I used to do this after dd1 & dd2 when I had oversupply and it didn't make my supply go up at all as I was just taking the edge off the engorgement, the same as letting it leak in the bath as an example (I used an electric pump set on the minimum suck pressure so it didn't simulate a baby feeding and once it was flowing I'd let it flow by itself and it would stop after a minute or so and gave some relief, was just enough to make the excess come off so baby could latch on (went from a B to a DD so the norks were too huge for baby to latch on when engorged).

I've bfed all four of mine and I haven't found anything to stop the strong letdown, it's hard when they are tiny but as they get bigger they can cope with the quicker milk flow so it doesn't cause as many issues. The letdown pain went away for me by the time they were all 3 months (apart from ds who was formula fed by then because my oversupply turned into no supply when I was expressing more than I was feeding due to being told 'give him some bottles' by interfering in-laws). I don't know whether it was me just getting used to the pain or that the flow slowed down a little by then but I could still shoot it 3m when baby unlatched unexpectedly, lol)

Rikalaily Sun 16-Oct-11 21:48:24

Sorry, was May 10, doh, lol

nearlyreadytopop Sun 16-Oct-11 22:18:19

I have had oversupply issues and a very painful strong let down as well. The LC that visited suggested trying peppermint tea and avoiding high calcium foods. To be honest I dont know if this helped. I offer one side per feed and I feed lying down as excess milk can dribble out. I used to take DS of and wait for let down to subside before putting him back on. Now at 16 weeks it doesnt seem to bother him at all.

I have also read about the use of a short course of the pill to reduce supply in extreme circumstances

schmee Sun 16-Oct-11 22:41:34

Tinydiamond - I imagine you are blockfeeding because you have too much foremilk and that is causing excess lactose problems for your baby?

I had this problem until very recently - my baby is now three months old and it seems to be settling down. From what I read it can take about ten-twelve weeks for your body to adjust and stop storing lots of milk.

In the meantime I agree with others about trying sage and peppermint tea. Also about seeking some help from a bf counsellor.

Five times on the same boob sounds like a lot to me though. I didn't block feed for more than three times in a row and even that felt like a lot.

organiccarrotcake Sun 16-Oct-11 22:53:16

OP this seems like a really frustrating problem.

Something that comes to mind, and PLEASE don't try this without discussing it with the Breastfeeding Network first, is that there are some drugs which can reduce milk supply such as decongestants. You might consider calling the Breastfeeding Network's drugs line as they can advise you on the risks involved in this and whether it's worth a try. 0844 412 4665

This is something I've never once had to deal with as a peer supporter (ie a case of oversupply which is so extreme and can't be dealt with in the normal ways you've already tried) but thinking slightly laterally I'm wondering if this might help. But there may well be risks involved so you really need to look into it properly if you decide to consider it.

There is also a homeopathic treatment which can interfere with prolactin but I can't remember its name... and it's a weird one as it's also used to increase milk supply (I was reading about it recently but didn't get to the bottom of it) so it would need to be discussed with a qualified homeopath as you don't want to make things worse!

TinyDiamond Mon 17-Oct-11 10:16:51

Schmee it isn't 5 feeds per boob but 5 hours so on average sort of 2 feeds. It isn't helping at all though and making the unused boob so full and uncomfortable by the end of the 5 hours that I don't think I'd be able to increase the time.
Feeding her at the moment whilst she's fussing and sort of drinking one end and doing an explosive poo the other end. Arrrgh

schmee Mon 17-Oct-11 14:18:48

poor you - i'm sorry I can't offer any more advice. Only sympathy and the reassurance that I was in the same position at your stage and it got better very quickly.

You've probably discovered these but I didn't cotton on to ultra-absorbent breast pads (e.g. Tommee Tippee ones) for a while and they were significantly better than normal ones which just got soaked within minutes.

TinyDiamond Mon 17-Oct-11 16:34:37

Yes I'm using the johnsons ones at home and then the TT when out as they are nice and individually wrapped. Had a very bad day with her today but saw my friend who is a GP and she says I definitely need some medication for her reflux as she is in so much pain after feeds.
I have made ANOTHER appointment with my own GP for Thursday. He better take me seriously this time

WayThroughTheWoods Tue 18-Oct-11 21:29:24

So many sympathies Tiny, particularly with the not being able to go anywhere, I had that it sucks so much.

I had this, all that you're describing earlier this year with my DD. The lactation consultant referred me to a superior as she had never heard of this problem before. I once got through a box of breastpads overnight, and had to sleep on a towel all the time, and change bras twice in the night.

I wore black most of the time to disguise leaks, I would revert to using nappies in a huge bra if i needed to be out longer than a couple of hours.

This might not be helpful but the more active I was in myself the better the problem was, I was fairly ill after recovery and having to rest sort of gave my body nothing to do but make milk it seemed.

I can't believe there is no device around that can deal with oversupply. If I have another pregnancy I am going to get hold of some surgical supplies and fashion myself something out of catheter tubing or something to collect the milk, seriously!

It will get better, you are doing a great job persevering. I think the most difficult thing is when people don't seem to understand and fob you off with how lucky you are for not having undersupply sad

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