Oversupply and Overactive Letdown During the First Weeks After Given Birth
This is not an ad, its a blog from my personal experience.
BREASTFEEDING! Depending on where you are at in your journey, this word might make you cringe. I know I definitely did at the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. I had prepare myself for the painful sore nipples that I had heard about from so many other mothers; it still didn’t make it easy getting through those first few weeks but it helped me to have a more hopeful mindset. What I wasn’t prepared for was, CONSTANTLY being covered in milk. I could not even get out of the shower and dressed before starting to leak or even spraying all over the place. The night my milk officially came in was a disaster. It happened so fast and all of a sudden, we were both slipping and sliding. I was so engorged that I couldn’t get my daughter to latch and when she finally did she couldn’t help but start choking and pull back off again. After the first week or so I found a few things that helped a lot and I think made those first few weeks more bearable.
Once my milk came in, I felt like I was constantly covered in milk. I cried to my husband one night because I was always either wet or smelt like soured milk. Lacti-Cups popped up on a Facebook add (I wonder if big brother was tired of hearing me complain about my endless flow of milk) and I decided to give them a try. These helped relieve so much of the engorgement that I was experiencing between feeds and made it a little easier for my LO to latch on. I would simply put one on the side that LO was not nursing on and I could easily get 1-2 oz. to save in the freezer. See my post here about how I used Lacti Cups to store over 70 oz. without pumping! You can use extra milk for baby baths, to heal diaper rash or face rashes. I preferred the Lacti-Cups because passively collects milk. I wasn’t getting stimulated to produce more, like the Haakaa which causes suction, (extra stimulation can possibly increase milk-supply). You can find them on their website LactiCups and can get 10% off if you use the code EXHAUSTA-MOM.
Using Muslin Blankets while Feeding
I don’t mean for swaddling either. I eventually figured out that hand expressing before feeding helped my LO latch on much easier and be able to keep up. However, some of the burp rags that I had did not absorb the milk as fast as I needed and I wound up covered in milk anyway. There were also many occasions that LO would pop off at the wrong time and milk would just continue to flow everywhere; when this happened I could just fold part of the blanket over my breast until she was ready to get back on instead of trying to hurry and put it back in my bra. The muslin blankets were big enough that I could tuck part of it under my breast, use it to hand express, and use it for burping all at the same time. Cloth diapers also worked really well for absorption, but I really liked that with the muslin blankets I could use it for all 3 needs at the same time instead of having to move it around like I did with the cloth diapers
Only use a hand pump when absolutely necessary
My main goal was to get my milk supply regulated – not increased. While I know that many mothers wish they produced more milk, there are also many nuances that come with producing too much milk. Engorgement and problems with baby latching are just 2 of those. During the first few weeks I would constantly become painfully engorged and just wanted some relief. I wish that I‘ve known that if I did a full on pump session I would just be telling my body to make more milk. So, instead I used a hand pump to pump to comfort (usually 1-2 ounces). It was also much easier than pulling out and plugging in my electric pump with all of the pieces when is late and I have to wash them.
And lastly, reach out and be patient.
It won’t be like this forever. Your LO will soon (I know it feels like not soon enough) be able to handle the fast let downs a little easier and your supply will begin to regulate. My daughter is 14 weeks old now and only occasionally has to pop off when she can’t handle how fast my let down is. Although, it always seems to be in the front seat of my car and my dashboard winds up showered with breast milk. Reaching out to a local lactation consultant or breastfeeding group can be extremely helpful too. Getting tips from other moms or professionals and just hearing you are not alone can go a long way. Just remember, this is only temporary and you’re doing a great job!