Breastfeeding Questions - Too Much Breastmilk!
I have a 3 week old baby girl who was born 8 weeks premature. She is on 7 breast feeds per day at the moment. I have a very good milk supply, to the point of engorgement if I don't express. My question is... is
it possible to decrease the milk flow without ending it completely. I have been advised by a friend to just express a smaller amount rather than emptying each time. But I get quite uncomfortable if I don't empty at least twice a day.
Your breasts are still getting used to producing milk and what you are experiencing is very common. Over the next few weeks you should notice a difference. Your baby is tiny at the moment and her stomach cannot hold a lot of breastmilk, hence the frequent feeding.
This will settle down as she grows and is able to go a little longer between feeds.
Are you expressing simply because you have to, or is someone feeding the baby the excess milk? (You can store the milk for use when she is older or weaning!)
Since breastmilk is made on supply and demand, the more milk you express the more you will make, so it can become a bit of a vicious circle.
From my own experience I suggest that you try to reduce the amount of expressing to once a day and eventually cut it out altogether. If you feel very engorged, try offering the breast to the baby. She may drink a little each time you do this and eventually your breasts will adapt to her pattern of feeding.
Or a warm shower can help too!
Also, have a look at the following article on my site for tips by world renowned breastfeeding expert, Dr Jack Newman, on dealing with engorgement:
If you find your baby is too sleepy to drink and falls back to sleep during feeds, try to stimulate her by sitting her up and patting her gently on the back or on her feet! I found this worked for my babies.
Have a look at Dr Newman's advice on Breast Compression:
I found breast compression was a great way to encourage my babies to drink even when they were half asleep! And don't worry about over-feeding as breastfed babies will just refuse to take more milk than they need!
After the first few weeks have passed your baby will be less sleepy and have more alert times. As she was premature she is probably sleeping a lot more than a full term baby and this can be difficult when you are breastfeeding.
Try joining a breastfeeding support group. Sometimes you will come across mums in a similar position to the one you find yourself in and it can be a real help! These groups are usually run by breastfeeding professionals who can also offer advice.
Also, have a chat with your community midwife or health-visitor as they will also have expert advice to offer.
I hope this helps and congratulations on your lovely little daughter and also for breastfeeding her. You have given her a fabulous start to her life.
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