Overactive Letdown: Revisited

Hi friends! Today, I’m writing again today about overactive milk letdown.  I’ve dealt with this with both my babies, and I want to encourage you mommas who are still working your way through this.  I have some ideas that may help!

My nursing relationship with our little has gotten a whole lot better now that she’s six months old. Probably around 2-3 months was when it was at it’s peak, and it was just really hard. I made an appointment to see a lactation consultant, pretty much…well, I wouldn’t say right after she was born, but it was pretty close when I realized I was going to have to deal with this issue again.

In my first post on this subject, I wrote about how I had overactive milk letdown with my first born, who is now almost five. Now, I’m having it again with the second. So, I visited a lactation consultant shortly after my youngest was born, and I want tell you about what I’ve learned.

My littlest and I worked our way with difficulty through overactive letdown, but we prevailed!

First, let me tell you what my lactation consultant suggested. First of all, frequent burping, because with overactive milk letdown your milk comes out super fast. It’s like a fire hose and when babies are little, they can’t keep up with it. They get upset, sputter and cough, and they go bare, which means a baby who has a mom with overactive milk letdown is usually a gassy baby, burpy and not so happy. So, burp frequently. If you’re nursing, it doesn’t hurt to take baby off and burp two, three times or as many times as you need to. Think about this: first and foremost burp baby often.

The second thing she suggested is to make sure you have a nice, quiet environment.  If there are other siblings, or if it’s loud, you may need to go into a quieter room, so your baby can relax a bit. Then you want to get some pillows. I have here my Boppy support pillow (pillow shown in the picture).  This thing is pretty great especially early on when I was trying to make sure she was positioned correctly.  I also have a few other pillows just in case I might need them as well.

Sometimes just better positioning of our babies can help with what can seem like a firehose!  In this picture, she is resting on my Boppy, which makes it easy for both of us.

When your baby is ready to latch, put her on. She’s like, “Hey, what’s going on here? Why am I not latching?” But you see how her head is a little bit higher than her bum? That’s important. Gravity. You want gravity to be your friend.

The other thing is to be sure that she has a good latch. You can Google to see what a good latch looks like, but basically, your baby’s lips need to be like fish lips.  If you suspect the baby doesn’t have a good latch, it’s probably never going to get better until you address the latch issue. Make sure you have a good latch.

Another thing the lactation consultant suggested is that once you have letdown, stick your finger in baby’s mouth, pop the suction off, and then take a burp cloth and let some of the milk spray onto the burp cloth. With me in the early stages, my let down was like a tingling or almost like a burning. To be honest, it was a little bit uncomfortable, but once you have letdown, you don’t want to touch the nipple. Because that might disrupt the flow, and yeah, you don’t want to touch the nipple, you want to let some of the milk spray out, because, again, it’s fire hosing.

Afterwards you can reattach baby. One other thing as far as positioning goes that has been helpful with this wiggly baby is when your baby is attached, take her bottom and pull it in close. What that is going to do is basic. Her chin is going to press into the breast, and it’s going to create a better suction and a better latch. Make sure you position correctly. So these are the suggestions from the lactation consultant, and once we implemented them, the nursing relationship with this one got so much better. It wasn’t perfect, but it got a lot better, and it gave me the courage and strength to just keep on moving on.

Now that we’re at six months, as I said before, things are definitely a lot better. Most of this is a recap of what I’ve learned. It’s also to send a really big hug and encouragement your way if you’re in the early stages of nursing, and feeling like you’re drowning your baby and wondering if something is wrong, or if it’s ever going to get better? It will get better. There’s nothing wrong that can’t be fixed.

There’s a lot of information on the internet. If you don’t have a lactation consultant that you can speak with, just Google “overactive letdown.” There are things like block feeding and laying on your back to help with gravity among other helpful tips. Don’t give up. It will get better. This nursing relationship is one of the most amazing things that you’ll have with your little. It’s worth fighting for and worth pushing for. So, encouragement to you, my momma friends, and that’s it for today!

As I mentioned near the beginning of this, I wrote an an earlier post about my overactive letdown when I was really struggling with it.  You may want to read through that as well!

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Thanks for hanging with us a while today.  I hope you have a great week!

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