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Excessive breast milk production: How to deal with it

breast milk pump

Key points:

  1. Some mothers may experience a strong flow of milk that their baby cannot tolerate or need, which can be uncomfortable for the baby.
  2. Signs of a strong milk flow include nausea, choking, colics, frequent feeding, and obstructions in the milk ducts.
  3. To manage a strong milk flow, mothers can try extracting milk before breastfeeding, giving their baby both foremilk and hindmilk, nursing from one breast per feeding, and trying alternate nursing positions.
  4. If these measures do not help, it is important to seek help from a specialist for evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Some mothers are able to produce more milk than their children can tolerate or need. A strong flow of milk comes out quickly and can be uncomfortable for your baby. This situation can be common during the first weeks of breastfeeding while your hormones are being regularized. However, some moms’ strong flow may extend beyond the first few weeks. This can be a bit irritating, but the good news is that your body is producing a lot of food for your little one. Now, if this happens, and you don’t see any improvement, it’s important to look for help to learn how to manage the output of milk and at the same time check your baby’s reaction to the intense milk flow.

How do I know if my milk flow is strong?

Your baby may:

  • Present nausea
  • Experience choking and coughing
  • Have colics
  • Move away from the chest
  • Press your nipple, trying to stop the milk flow, causing you pain
  • Cry or fuss during nursing time
  • Want to eat frequently
  • Present reflux
  • Have explosive and green feces

You may experience that:

  • If your baby separates from your breast, milk will keep coming out quickly without control.
  • Your breasts will be overfilled so you feel congestion all the time.
  • Milk will come out without control when nursing.
  • Your chest milk ducts can become obstructed.

What can I do to help?

  • Before breastfeeding, extract some milk to reduce its output speed. Milk is extracted manually or with the help of a breast pump. Just don’t empty the breast so that further production is not stimulated.
  • Milk is made up of two parts: foremilk and hindmilk.  The foremilk is dense in lactose and the hindmilk contains a greater quantity of fat. Try to give your baby both parts because if he only drinks foremilk, he may experience colic.
  • Try not to extract milk between feedings, do it only if you feel discomfort to prevent clogged milk ducts.
  • Nurse from one single breast for a feeding and then switch to the other. Don’t extract milk from the breast you are not using, unless you feel discomfort.
  • Look for an alternate nursing position. Sit your baby facing you, lean back slightly, and place his head somewhat high on your breast. Try different positions to stimulate the whole breast.
  • Pause and burp your baby frequently.

Most likely, your milk over-production will stabilize as your baby grows. Also, your baby might learn to tolerate the flow of milk or get used to it. Now, if you notice that none of the above help and you’ve given it some time, it’s a good idea to contact a specialist for evaluation. He or she will advise an appropriate treatment in your specific case.

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