What is milk oversupply?
Milk oversupply happens when your body makes more milk than your baby uses. It's sometimes called overabundant milk supply or hyperlactation. With oversupply, your milk may come out very fast. This can make it hard for your baby to swallow it. Oversupply usually only lasts for a few weeks after your baby is born.
What are the symptoms?
Your baby's symptoms may include:
- Crying during feeding.
- Refusing or resisting feeding.
- Gulping often during feeding.
- Gaining too much weight.
- Gaining too little weight. This could be because:
- Your milk flow is too fast for your baby to take in enough milk during feedings.
- Your baby isn't able to feed long enough to get the fattiest part of your milk.
- Having gas.
- Having large, frothy, green stools.
Your symptoms may include:
- Full breasts that keep leaking between feedings. Your breasts may spray.
- Breast pain.
- Breast engorgement. This can lead to blocked milk ducts and infection.
How is milk oversupply treated?
Having too much milk can be frustrating. But there are things you can do to care for yourself and your baby.
If you think you have too much milk, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. They can help you. They may advise you to:
- Feed from just one breast during a nursing session or for a block of time (typically 3 hours). Then at the next session or block of time, feed from the other breast. You can remove just a little bit of milk from the unused breast to make you more comfortable.
- Try leaning back and nursing "uphill" so that your baby is above the nipple.
- Try nursing as you lie on your side so that extra milk dribbles out of your baby's mouth.
- Take ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) to reduce pain and swelling. Ibuprofen is safe for breastfeeding parents when taken as directed. But it's a good idea to check with your doctor before you take any kind of medicine while breastfeeding.
If your breasts still feel uncomfortable after nursing, try a cold compress to reduce swelling. You can use a frozen wet towel, a cold pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables. Apply it to your breasts for 15 minutes at a time every hour as needed. To prevent damage to your skin, place a thin cloth between your breast and the cold pack.