Too Much Milk! Coping With Oversupply
Many new mamas worry that they won’t make enough breastmilk to feed their baby. But what happens when you produce more than your newborn can keep up with?
What is oversupply of milk?
Also called hyperlactation, oversupply occurs when your breasts make more milk than your baby needs. While it sounds like a good problem to face, it can cause a few issues for mum and bubs.
How do I know if I have oversupply?
Signs that you may have oversupply include heavy leakage, painful or forceful let-down, and a feeling of fullness in your breasts, even after a feed. You may find that one breast leaks profusely while you feed from the other. Your baby may gain weight more quickly or slowly than average, have explosive green poos, wind or reflux, and may often fuss, choke or bite when feeding.
What’s the difference between oversupply and overactive let-down?
Overactive let-down is different from oversupply. It occurs when you let-down milk very fast at the beginning of a feed. Sometimes lying on your back to feed your baby helps manage this.
What causes oversupply of breastmilk?
Mothers tend to produce more milk with each baby, so oversupply is more likely to occur with your second or subsequent babies. Sometimes there can be medical causes, such as thyroid issues, but more often it’s just your breasts’ natural flow. If your baby isn’t latching well, prolonged suckling can cause your breasts to produce more and more milk. Swapping baby to your second breast before the first is fully drained can also lead to oversupply.
Is oversupply bad?
Having a fast let-down and generous milk supply isn’t a problem in itself, as long as you’re managing well and your baby is thriving. But if it means your baby can’t feed properly this may lead to issues with weight loss or gain for baby, and to blocked ducts or mastitis for you.
How can I deal with oversupply?
If you’re worried, talk to your midwife, doctor or lactation consultant, who will be able to give you advice on latching and feeding. Make sure you let your baby finish with one breast before offering the other one, or offer only one breast at each feed. Avoid expressing the excess milk, as this will stimulate further supply.
What can I do to stop breastmilk leakage?
Invest in some nursing pads that you can trust to catch your leakage, especially at night. You can buy reusable nursing pads or single-use ones, but look for brands that don’t contain a layer of plastic, as this can trap moisture against your skin and lead to chaffing and thrush. Also known as breastfeeding pads or maternity breast pads, they need to be both breathable and leakproof, like the eco-friendly hypoallergenic reusable pads made by Kiwi brand Just’nCase using Confitex’s world-leading PU plastic-free textile technology.
How much milk do breast pads hold?
Look for brands with a high absorbency capacity – the more they can absorb and wick away from the skin, the less frequently you’ll need to change to a new pair and the fewer pairs you’ll need to buy. Unfortunately, because the nursing pads market is unregulated, many companies make claims that aren’t supported by evidence, so look for brands that have been independently verified to do what it says on the label. We find it reassuring that Just’nCase reusable nursing pads have been independently lab-tested by international standards laboratory UL and verified to absorb and retain up to 33ml of milk per pad. You can read the evidence on Confitex’s blog.
How often should I change my nursing pads?
This depends on your flow and how absorbent the nursing pads are. Use your comfort as a guide and change them when they begin to feel saturated and heavy, or when the inner lining begins to feel wet. Buying super absorbent, odour-resistant Just’nCase nursing pads is a good investment – you won’t need to change them as often so you won’t need to buy as many pairs.
Are nursing pads eco-friendly?
Reusable nursing pads will always be a more environmentally friendly option than single-use ones, because obviously you’re not sending plastic-lined waste to landfill (and your baby’s ecological footprint) every time you use them. But not all reusable pads are created equal – many brands tend to leak through, and when they don’t it’s almost always because they contain a layer of PU plastic to make them waterproof. Just’nCase nursing pads offer the best combination of absorbency and leakproofing, all without a layer of PU plastic. This is because they’re designed with Confitex’s patented PU plastic-free leakproof textile, and have a special GravityDri™ pocket at the base of the pad to trap and hold a lot more milk than other pads can hold without leaking.
Isn’t washing and drying them a hassle?
Most reusable nursing pads can be machine washed in with your family washing, but getting them dry in time to wear them again the next day can be a struggle. Because the plastic layer inside most brands tends to shrink and distort when exposed to heat, they can’t be tumble dried without increasing the potential for future leakage. But because Just’nCase breast pads don’t contain plastic they can safely be dried in the tumble drier with your normal washing – making life much easier for busy mamas!