Overactive Let Down - Tips Please! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-10-2011, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,


I'm getting ready for my 2nd and trying to prepare myself for some issues I had when breastfeeding my 1st. My DS is now 16 months old, and I was only able to breastfeed him for 6 months (not nearly as long as I had wanted to). I had an overactive let down and breastfeeding was rough. As soon as my milk let down he would let go, gasp for air and loose interest/give up. I knew he was only getting the foremilk and always giving up before the good stuff got flowing. It also meant that he was still hungry and we needed to "try again" all day every day. I was so worried that he wasn't getting enough nutrients that I would often pump before hand and then tube feed so that I could regulate the flow and the quality of the milk. By the time he was 2 months old I was pumping full time and bottle feeding. I'm a stay-at-home mom so pumping was never a necessity, just easier and less worrisome.


Long story short, feeding time was all the time. By the time I pumped and fed him, it was time to pump again (or so it felt). Leaving the house was near impossible. In the beginning I had tons of milk, so much so that I had a large supply in the freezer and fridge at all times. I soon found myself skipping pumps here and there, which of course led to less and less milk production until I had to start supplementing with formula. :( Once I introduced formula, the cycle only got worse and I lost my milk altogether.


This time I am determined to stick it out. No pumping!! Have any of you successfully overcame an overactive let down? Can they eventually handle the overflow? Tips for getting through a feeding?


This may sound silly, but has anyone experienced an overactive let down with one child and not another (I can dream right?). :)


Thanks for reading.


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#2 of 7 Old 01-11-2011, 03:57 AM
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Side lying nursing helped a lot with my DD. She would let the excess milk dribble out the side of her mouth (and nose!). Reclining also helped a little. It did get better after a few months. She still pops off sometimes when my milk let's down, but she doesnt cough and gag every time like she used to.

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#3 of 7 Old 01-12-2011, 12:00 PM
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That happened with my baby, I felt like he was drowning in milk :( I don't have a no pumping solution but what worked for us was eventually I decided to stick the baby to one side all day and pump out the other, that way when he wanted to nurse 20 mins later he got the same boob and the thicker milk, plus pumping on the other side while nursing is kind of like multi-tasking. I had to use the football hold and the boppy pillow tho to fit both the pump and the baby on my lap. To keep the boobs level, I switched the pump/baby sides daily. Sometimes at the first let down of the morning or after nap times I used a cloth diaper to soak up the initial let-down gushing and then latched the baby back on. HTH

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#4 of 7 Old 01-12-2011, 11:15 PM
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I had the same problem with DS1 and DS2.  I solved the problem by 1) having a washcloth or cup nearby to catch the initial spray of milk and when it had slowed to a drip, I put baby back on and 2) feeding on one breast at a time so that baby gets a good balance of both foremilk and hindmilk.  I found that if I fed on both breasts at each feeding, then baby would get mostly foremilk and the oversupply would only get worse, plus baby tended to vomit after feeding.  Good luck and keep us updated!

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#5 of 7 Old 01-17-2011, 05:31 PM
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I had to do block feeding with my DS. I would feed him on one breast for several hours/feedings, then switch. This reduces your supply though, so keep that in mind. I had oversupply as well as overactive letdown. Another thing that I have heard suggested is to lean back with the baby nursing sort of over the top of your breast. That was never comfortable for us, but I've heard others suggest it.

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#6 of 7 Old 01-21-2011, 04:23 PM
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When your milk lets down, let it spray into a towel so it's not as forceful for the new LO.  Then latch him/her.  Repeat this every time baby gags/chokes.  Definitely try block feeding, as others have suggested.  Try not to pump any more than you have to.

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#7 of 7 Old 08-02-2012, 06:09 PM
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I have had forceful let downs with both my DD and DS. I just recently figured out about over reactive let down and I am 100% sure that is what I have. I exclusively breastfeed (no pumping or formula). I nurse my VERY colicy DD until she was 21 months. After she got bigger she stopped chocking on the forcful let down. My DS is now 6 months and he is just now starting to get over the forceful let downs also. I ALWAYS nurse while laying on my side. I have also had issues with foremilk/hindmilk with both babies and just sort of nursed through them. My daughter is on the smaller size but my son is a big boy. She did seem to have a bigger issue with the over reactive let down too. Both my kids do/did not nurse for long periods too. I wish I chould find some way to keep them on the boob longer :/ so all and all I am trying to say that as my kids got bigger they had less of an issue with the over reactive let down.
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