Oversupply

You may well be the envy of your friends if you mention you have too much breastmilk. However oversupply can be very uncomfortable and at times embarrassing. So why do you have so much breastmilk? It has nothing to with the size of your breasts. When a Mum has her baby with the delivery of the placenta her body goes into milk making mode. Your body will make a lot of milk in those early weeks, it can take up to around six weeks before your body starts to self regulate and make milk according to your baby’s needs.

Oversupply and engorgement in the early weeks is common. Some things you can do to assist:

  • feed according to need, there is no need to wait to feed your baby if she shows signs of hunger.
  • breast milk is all your baby needs, introducing water, glucose water, or formula may confuse your body and your baby
  • allow the baby to finish the first breast, as breasts make milk according to what is taken from them (as she grows you may need to offer the second breast)
  • hand express just enough to soften the areola before offering the breast to your baby (this allows baby to attach easily)

What about leaking you ask? For most mothers this will start to sort itself out when the oversupply has resolved itself. However in the meantime it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Invest in good quality breast pads and comfortable bras. Changing your breast pads frequently will ensure they don’t become a breeding ground for bacteria. You may find it helpful to have a towel or cloth nappy handy to mop up overflow. You may also find taking a spare top and bra when you go out handy as well.

If you need any further suggestions on managing oversupply contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline 1800 686 268 or visit their website www.breastfeeding.asn.au

Written by

Jacqui has been a doula since 2003, a breastfeeding counsellor since 2010 and a Calmbirth practitioner since 2011. Jacqui is passionate about encouraging woman to have positive and empowered birth experiences.

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