Some mothers worry about an oversupply of milk. An over-full breast can make breastfeedingstressful and uncomfortable for you and your baby.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Breastfeed on one side for each feeding. Continue to offer thatsame breast for at least two hours until the next full feeding, gradually increasing the length of time per feeding.
If the other breast feels too full before you are ready to breastfeed on it, hand express for afew moments to relieve some of the pressure. You also can use a cold compress orwashcloth to reduce discomfort and swelling.
Feed your baby before he or she becomes overly hungry to preventaggressive sucking.
STRONG LET-DOWN REFLEX
Some women have a strong milk ejection reflex or let-down, which can cause a rush of milk. This can happen along with an oversupply of milk.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ?
Hold your nipple between your first and middle fingers or with the side of your hand. Lightly compress your milk ducts to reduce the force of the milk ejection.
If your baby chokes or sputters when breastfeeding, gently break the latch and let the excess milk spray into a towel or cloth.
Allow your baby to come on and off the breast at will.
It is normal for your breasts to become larger, heavier, and a little tender when they begin making milk. Sometimes, this fullness may turn into engorgement, which is when your breasts feel hard and painful. You also may have breastswelling, tenderness, warmth, redness, throbbing, and flattening of the nipple.
Engorgementsometimes also causes a low-grade fever and can be confused with a breast infection. Engorgement is the result of the milk building up. It usually happens during the third to fifth day after giving birth. But it can happen at any time, especially if you are not feeding your baby or expressing your milk often.
Engorgement can lead to plugged ducts or a breast infection (see “Challenge: Engorgement”), so it is important to try to prevent it before this happens. If treated, engorgementshould fix itself.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ?
Breastfeed often after giving birth. As long as your baby is latched on and sucking well, allow your baby to nurse for as long as she likes.
– Work with a lactation consultant to improve your baby’s latch.
– Breastfeed often on the affected side to remove the milk, keep the milk moving freely, and prevent your breast from becoming overly full.
– Avoid using pacifiers or bottles to supplement feedings.
– Hand express or pump a little milk to firstsoften the breast, areola, and nipple before breastfeeding.
– Massage the breast.
– Use cold compresses on your breast in between feedings to help ease the pain.
– If you plan to return to work, try to pump your milk as often as your baby breastfed at home. Be sure to not let more than four hours pass between pumping sessions.
– Get enough rest, proper nutrition, and fluids.
– Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra that is not too tight.
– Try reverse pressure softening to make the areola soft around the base of the nipple and help your baby latch.
– Try one of the holds in the illustrations on the left. Press inward toward the chest wall and countslowly to 50. Use steady and firm pressure, but gentle enough to avoid pain. You may need to repeat each time you breastfeed for a few days.