Dealing with Oversupply

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Dealing with Oversupply

"How to build supply" gets much more attention, but oversupply can also be a challenge for moms. This is especially true in the early weeks when hormone shifts and cluster feeding can drive up your supply beyond what baby consumes. This can be hard for both mom and baby because it can cause engorgement and an overactive letdown. Some signs of oversupply: large weight gain in baby, baby has explosive green poops, baby chokes or gags at the breast, breast refusal, and consistent profuse leaking. As always, an IBCLC can help you identify the cause and come up with a personalized approach to addressing it.


Continue nursing normally

Oversupply is uncomfortable but tends to regulate on its own if you continue nursing on demand

Avoid adding pumping sessions after nursing sessions

Hand express for relief

Express some milk by hand for relief; this also makes it easier for baby to latch

A manual or gentle suction pump can also work

Avoid "emptying" breast with pump as this can backfire by prompting a cycle of increased production

Manage fast letdown

A fast letdown can cause baby to guzzle or gag and pull off breast

Let down first into hand pump, milk collector, or burp cloth; then latch baby as flow slows

Recline while you nurse to work against gravity

Treat engorgement

Engorgement can be uncomfortable for you and make it hard for baby to latch

See Cheat Sheets on engorgement, clogged ducts, and mastitis

Consider temporary block feeding*

*Try in consultation with IBCLC and only if baby has been gaining weight well over the first month

Restrict baby to one breast for 3-5 hour block of time before offering other side for the next 3-5 hours

Do this for a few days to a week

This allows breasts to stay full longer, signaling body to slow production

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