Oversupply... It seems a little odd to be placing this article under “Breastfeeding Problems”. My milk supply has always been low, and having too much milk sounded more like a blessing to me, rather than a concern.
However, oversupply (also known as overactive let-down) is a real problem and can cause immense discomfort and inconvenience for both mom and baby.
You may suffer from an overabundant milk supply if:
There are two aspects of oversupply:
When the baby starts sucking, low-fat foremilk is the first to come out, followed by heavier calorie-rich hindmilk.
In women with overabundant milk supply, babies have to suck for a long time to reach hindmilk.
When hindmilk is not reached during one feeding, newly produced milk moves it even further to the back. During the next feeding the baby is again unable to reach the hindmilk.
The amount of lactose in fore- and hindmilk is the same, but there is more fat in the hindmilk. This fat slows down digestion and allows enough time for enzyme lactase to digest the lactose.
If foremilk/hindmilk balance is off and the baby is getting a lot of foremilk and only some hindmilk, his body is getting lots of lactose and no fat. Lactose then rushes through the intestines without proper digestion.
Undigested lactose that reaches large intestine, ferments there and irritates the intestine. This causes gassiness, and greenish, mucousy or bloody stool.
Babies suffering from lactose overdose may still be gaining weight well due to sufficient volume of milk intake. But they get hungry faster.
Important: Bloody stool may also be a sign of food allergies or lactose intolerance. However, if
there are other symptoms of milk oversupply, then oversupply is most likely the
reason for blood in your baby’s stool.
My son had blood in his stool, but my milk supply was low. So I knew it was food allergies, not oversupply. Make sure you talk to your doctor before making any conclusions and taking measures.
If blood persists after you get your milk supply under control, give it some more time. It may take up to a month for your baby’s intestine to heal completely.
Whether you have pure overactive let-down or lactose overdose, your goal is to decrease the amount of milk your body produces. Take caution: it is easy to go from too much milk to a low milk supply.
♦ If you and your baby are not bothered by your milk flow, I'd leave it as is.
♦ If there is a lot of milk left in your breasts after the feeding, pump it to prevent engorgement and donate to a local milk bank.
♦ If there is only little milk left, don't pump. The more milk leaves your breasts, the more new milk comes in.
♦ If your milk abundance makes you and the baby uncomfortable, here is how to manage it.