Hi! I would like to to share my breastfeeding journey and my struggles with oversupply. I have 2 children – a 3-year old and a 3-month old. I breastfed my firstborn via direct latching for 3 years. Armed with three years of breastfeeding experience, I thought that I could latch my second child with very few difficulties, or so I thought.
Soon after the birth of my 3-month old, I realized she wasn’t latching very well as my nipples felt sore after latching and she wasn’t satisfied – she would cry for milk after half an hour to one hour. I had seen a Lactation Consultant at that time and it was found that she was not getting a good latch. We corrected this and it was better for a while.
However, during her 7th day routine medical checkup, she was detected to have high jaundice levels, and needed to be hospitalized!.It was required that she was bottle fed as she had higher than normal jaundice levels and this made be very nervous about nipple confusion.
To prevent this, I insisted on staying with her in hospital and made her latch as often as possible. She latched very well every 2 hours and her jaundice levels promptly went down within one night of stay.
Just as I thought the worse was over, I realized that she would chew on my nipples during each session causing a lot of nipple tenderness. She seemed to be very scared in opening her mouth wide enough to cover the base of my areola to achieve the perfect latch. As this was something new, I called on the lactation consultant for an appointment. This time round, the LC discovered that my baby would choke on the milk flow every time she latched on and suckled and this was causing my baby great distress. She then adviced me to express milk out for 5 minutes prior to a breastfeeding session to slow the flow rate, and latch my baby in a reclined position. Even after doing these, I still had painful nipples. Very confused, I decided to seek help from another LC whom I had seen for my firstborn’s breastfeeding latch issues. She taught me to latch my baby using a ‘U Hold’ and let my baby determine how large she wished to open her mouth (this was as long as her lower lip covered the base of my areola). When my baby did this, she would no longer choke on milk since she could better control the flow. This made breastfeeding much more comfortable. Then at 6 weeks, my baby started to cry badly for long stretches at night. She also started having greenish stools and would wake more frequently at night to satisfy her hunger. I searched the internet for answers and realized that oversupply of milk may result in a higher volume of foremilk, which has more sugar and less fat content, that may contribute to gassiness and green stools in babies.
Armed with this knowledge, I started to block feed. That involves latching at the same breast for a ‘block’ of time before switching to the other side such that baby would receive the fat and protein rich milk which comes at the end of a feed. By reducing the stimulation at the other breast, less milk will be produced and this helps to manage the oversupply issue too! Soon, my baby’s stools turned back to mustard yellow and she was less hungry for milk during the nights. Breastfeeding has been a very important lesson that the best indicator of how breastfeeding is going, is the baby. It is a constant process in reviewing and troubleshooting problems. I hope that my experience so far and the solutions I have taken to tackle oversupply issues will inspire mothers to pull through the early stages of feeding difficulties.