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Too much milk!
By Jo-Anne Lawless, HCA, LC
Q. We had latch problems for the first week and a half of my baby's life. I had to pump and bottle feed her, and I slowly increased her time at the breast. She only breastfeeds now and she is flourishing. I have plenty of milk! I know most women don't find that to be a problem but it is. She only feeds off of one side, and there is always left over on that side. I never pump the side she is feeding off of afterwards. I have to pump the other breast though because it will become engorged and I will be soaked in breastmilk if I don't. This is tough ecspecially at night time. I am so engorged even though I am feeding every two hours. I have to pump before I can even get her latched. I had thought that maybe if I only pumped a few ounces from the breast she isn't feeding on that maybe my milk supply would go down a little. I still want enough to meet her needs, but even after every feeding I am pumping enough for two more feedings. My freezer is becoming almost too full to store anymore.
A. You have, after your initial problems, established a more than adequate milk supply. It will not decrease on you now to the point where you need to worry about it.
There are two things you need to do right now. One is to stop pumping. The second is to nurse on both sides at each feeding, even if you have to interrupt one side to change. If you find that the breast is engorged before you start a feeding, then gently hand express enough to soften the nipple and areola so that the baby can latch on.
Breastfeeding is based on a delicate balance of supply and demand. The breasts will supply as much as is taken from them, and this is dependent on the baby's cues. If you pump, you will make extra milk, which your baby is not creating a need for. It will take a few days for your body to adjust to nursing on both sides at a feeding, but it is important to do so.
Initially, you will find you are leaking quite a bit, but this will gradually taper off as your breasts start making just what's needed.
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