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Under or Over Production of Milk During Breastfeeding

August 4, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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baby with eyes closed laying on bed with blanket

 

 

Generally, the more you breastfeed, the more milk you’ll make.  But some women may produce too much milk – or not enough.

In either case, there is help available.  


Under production of milk is actually very rare. In these cases, mothers don’t feel any fullness in their breasts during the first week.

Sometimes this is due to breast reduction surgery. Other moms may have hormonal conditions. Whatever the reason, a mother who can’t produce milk is often sad about this loss. If you’re in this situation, it’s important to talk about your feelings. It’s not your fault!

Create lots of opportunities for skin-to-skin with your baby. Skin-to-skin is so important. Breastfeed as much as you can and then feed your baby another way. For example, some moms use a feeding tube at the breast while their baby nurses. Check with your public health nurse or breastfeeding clinic for more information about your options.

Over Production

Some women make too much milk – to the point where their babies fuss and cry.

Here are the signs of over production:

Babies:

  • Cry a lot
  • Spit up frequently
  • Unlatch while feeding because milk is coming out of the breast too quickly
  • Have green poop
  • Gain weight well

Moms:

  • Rarely feel their breasts are empty (can express lots of milk after baby feeds)
  • Leak milk 
  • Frequently suffer from plugged ducts or mastitis

If you're experienceing some of these signs, you may be able to improve the situation by changing the way you feed.

  • Try supporting your baby in a more upright position with her head higher than your breast. 
    • Lean back so your baby lies on top of you while you breastfeed. 
    • Use pillows for support.
  • If you usually feed your baby on both breasts at each feeding, try one breast for one feeding and the other for the next. If you're already using one breast for each feeding, try one breast for two feedings and then the other for the next two feedings. 
    • Feeding this way will actually reduce the amount of milk you produce. 
    • Your breasts will feel full and may be uncomfortable. If you are really uncomfortable, express a little milk. Try not to express or pump a lot of milk. 
    • By feeling full, your breasts get the message to make less milk. Before you try this feeding plan, make sure your baby is gaining weight well.

Resources & Links:
Healthlink BC: Successful Breastfeeding
Healthlink BC: Breastfeeding

VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Cup Feeding and Other Feeding Methods
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby

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  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
    1. Pregnancy & Birth
    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
    4. Preschool (3-5 years)
    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
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