Breast milk squirting everywhere, baby choking when they try to nurse, mastitis: as much talk as there is about increasing mothers’ milk supplies, the opposite issue can also cause problems. An oversupply of milk can make it difficult for babies to nurse and can be very uncomfortable for mamas, too. But this issue — which may crop up in the early weeks of motherhood — can be relieved. Keep reading for everything you need to know about decreasing your supply of breast milk.
Before we cover how to decrease your milk supply, it’s important to be absolutely certain that you do indeed have an oversupply. Otherwise, if you try to decrease a supply that’s right for your little one, they may not end up getting enough milk. Also note, if you do have an oversupply but both baby and mama are happy, you don’t need to worry about trying to decrease your supply. It will most likely take care of itself!
That being said, if you know you’ve got an oversupply and you or your babe are facing issues because of it, try the following tips (one at a time) for breast milk reduction.
1) Lay down while breastfeeding. Placing your baby above your breast while feeding means they’re sucking against gravity, which may be enough to slow the flow to a more manageable amount for them to take in.
2) Wear nursing pads. These small pads come in reusable or disposable options and can be placed inside of your bra to soak up any breast leaks throughout the day. Even if you don’t have an oversupply, nursing pads can be helpful to avoid leaking through your clothing.
3) Take a break from feeding if baby starts to cough. Just break the latch and have a washcloth handy to soak up the milk that spurts out. This will help baby catch their breath so they can eat more — and hopefully they’ll swallow less air, too.
4) Express milk for a minute or two before baby latches. This technique can help relieve that first strong rush of milk so that baby can better manage the rest. It’s also helpful if baby is feeding for a short time due to a fast flow, in which case, they may only be getting the foremilk. The foremilk is lower in fat and nutrients than the hindmilk. By holding off on latching, they’ll get to that coveted hindmilk sooner.
5) Don’t take any lactation supplements or teas. There are plenty of options available — from lactation cookies to mother’s milk teas — but these are all meant to increase production, so be sure not to take them if you’re facing the opposite problem.
6) Certain herbs — like sage and oregano — have been found to reduce milk supply, so those may be worth a try. Also, check out foods that decrease milk supply. These include peppermint and parsley.
7) Try block feeding. This breastfeeding technique is recommended only if the above tips have been tried already. Block feeding involves feeding your baby from only one breast for each feeding. This method usually slows down production since each breast is in less demand, meaning the supply should naturally decrease.
Have you experienced issues with an oversupply of breast milk? If you’d like, feel free to share how it went in the comments below.
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