I have always been blessed with a large milk supply. All of our babies have been pleasantly plump and with the exception of Y, who never really got the hang of nursing, my kids have been exclusively breastfed.
I never knew having too much milk could be a bad thing until I became more involved as a doula and started reading more about breastfeeding on a doula listserve I was on.
Oversupply and forceful letdown can lead to the baby pulling away, coughing and sputtering and even refusing to nurse. It can also cause the baby to take in too much thin foremilk and not enough of the essential hindmilk. This imbalance can lead to gas, reflux and/or irregular bowel movements. Basically an unhappy baby.
I kind of knew all this but did not really connect it to myself till this past week when I read The Feminist Breeder's post on why oversupply can be a bad thing. AY will often pull away when nursing, when the milk starts coming too fast and often has green stool, which also points to too much foremilk.
So I decided to implement some of the suggestions to alleviate these symptoms. These include nursing in a position where the baby is elevated. That means the milk is not flowing as fast because it is going against gravity. I am also experimenting with block feeding, which means only offering one side per feeding. This ensures that the baby is actually getting to the hindmilk and also helps to reduce milk supply in the long-term.
So far, it seems to be working. We have had a lot less fussiness and screaming these past few days. His bowel movements are more regular and a nice yellow color.
I am hoping the nights of screaming and crying are a thing of the past, although it may be too soon to tell. I am happy because it means I do not have to give up dairy, like some people were suggesting.
It also shows the importance of educating yourself and reading up on these topics. With child number four, I felt like I already knew everything there is to know about breastfeeding. But there is always more to learn. A great resource for all things related to breastfeeding is kellymom. Go check it out!