Hyperlactation: what to do if there is too much milk

What is hyperlactation?

Hyperlactation is when a mother produces too much breast milk, leading to issues for both mother and child. It can cause discomfort to the child and lead to complications for the mother, including exhaustion, inability to sleep, and depression. Avoiding excessive stimulation of lactation and regular decanting can help prevent complications.

Specialists distinguish two forms of hyperlactation.

  After giving birth, the mother’s body experiences natural changes that cause primary lactation. This leads to an increased production of milk which is faced by most new mothers. Gradually, the amount of nutritious milk reduces to normal levels depending on the needs of the baby. This process may take several weeks, but by the time the baby is three months old, the situation should have stabilized.

During the first few weeks after delivery, it’s natural for hyperlactation to occur and for mothers to produce more milk than required. This is due to primary lactation.

Secondary lactation occurs when the volume of milk produced remains high even several months after childbirth.

Signs of hyperlactation

Manifestations of hyperlactation in women are indicated by certain symptoms, including:

  • Constant and abundant flow of milk from the nipples.
  • Quick filling of the breasts (e.g. if the child has eaten for only half an hour).
  • Regular duct blockages.
  • Feeling of heaviness and fullness in the mammary glands, which does not disappear even immediately after feeding.
  • Milk is secreted in a strong flow, which prevents the baby from sucking fully.
  • Regular colic in the baby caused by indigestion.
  • The baby has excess body weight, exceeding the necessary norms (although in some cases, the opposite can be observed where the infant is poorly gaining weight due to problems with suckling).

It is common for infants to have excess weight when the mother has too much milk. This can cause the baby’s weight to surpass the established norms. To manage this, women use breast pads to absorb the excess milk that constantly leaks. Even after feeding, a breastfeeding mom may feel the heaviness in her breasts.

Negative impact of excess breast milk on the condition of the mother and child

Hyperlactation can become a challenging experience for a nursing mother. In addition to the constant milk flow and painful sensations in the breast, the woman can become exhausted, unable to sleep properly and may feel depressed. It can also lead to a decline in energy levels and negatively impact the physical and mental state of a breastfeeding mom.

Another problem associated with excessive lactation is breast tissue swelling due to overfilling. If a mom doesn’t express a little milk, the situation can worsen. It may result in blockage of ducts, lactostasis, and mastitis. That’s why a woman can find herself in a vicious circle: expressing milk leads to even more milk production, but it’s essential to avoid complications.

Excessive lactation brings discomfort and the child. Because of the strong flow of fluid, he chokes, turns away, coughs, and sometimes may even refuse the breast.In addition, the baby has time to saturate the “front” low-calorie milk, and did not get to the most nutritious “back” (because it does not empty the mammary gland completely, as it should be ideally). The intestines of the baby is filled with a large amount of lactose (milk sugar), which prevents normal digestion: there is rumbling in the abdomen and colic due to the accumulation of gases, green frothy stool. It is clear that because of these problems, the infant will not feel well.

It is interesting that many young mothers crying and nervousness of the baby associated with the lack of breast milk, although the problem may lie precisely in hyperlactation – in fact, the food is even more than necessary. And so in the life of a child inexperienced woman can unreasonably appear in the life of the child supplementation with artificial formula.

The baby cries

Saturating the baby with lactose-rich foremilk causes digestive distress

    Often with hyperlactation in the mother, the baby is overweight. However, in some cases there is also underweight: the baby can not cope with the strong flow of milk and even with frequent suckling does not get enough food. Both of these situations have a bad effect on the full development of the child.

Causes of hyperlactation in a woman

If primary hyperlactation is due to natural causes associated with hormonal changes in the postpartum body, then the secondary (or true) form occurs under the influence of the following factors.     Excessive stimulation of lactation.A young mother, having listened to the advice of grandmothers and friends, begins to uncontrollably use various means to increase the production of breast milk (lactogonic purchased teas, folk methods, etc.).

    Regular decanting.

The decanted milk is poured into a bottle

    The more often a woman decanted, the more milk is produced, because the body replenishes both what the baby sucked and what is decanted.

    Improperly organized feeding system (constant shifting of the baby from one breast to another, which makes the body produce more nutritious fluid).

    Hereditary factor. Sometimes excessive milk production is due to the natural features of the female body (the mother and grandmother of such a woman were probably also very “milky”).

     Disturbed hormonal background due to thyroid, ovarian or pituitary pathology, prolonged use of contraceptives before pregnancy, infertility treatment.

Lactation can be reduced if you properly organize feeding. The following techniques will help.

    Before putting the baby to the breast, it is necessary to decant the “front” milk. This will help the baby to quickly get to the nutritious rear, and also prevents the appearance of milk “waterfall”, in which it is easy to choke. By the way, these supplies can be frozen and saved for when mom needs to leave home.

    At the same time at one time should not decant too much: smart female body will see it as a signal to even more intense lactation.    If at the beginning of feeding a woman feels a strong surge of milk, it is necessary to delicately remove the child from the breast, let the liquid drain on a towel or diaper and resume laying. When the nourishing liquid is flowing out, to give the baby a break, briefly squeeze the nipple or push it inwards.

    To prevent the baby does not choke, feed him optimally half-sitting, gently holding the head and back (until 6 months of holding the baby under the butt should not be). The baby’s head should be above the woman’s breast. At this time, the mother sits slightly leaning back, which reduces the flow of milk. Another suitable option – the woman is lying on her side, and the excess nutritious fluid drains onto the diaper from the mouth of the baby. You can also put the baby on your chest: under the influence of gravity, the milk simply can not actively flow out.

    At each feeding baby should be offered only one breast. If after 1.5-2 hours, he wants to lay down again, you need to give it again. Due to this second mammary gland will remain filled, and the production of new milk will go much slower than in an empty one.

    If the previous option does not bring a few days of tangible results, then try to offer the baby one breast several feedings in a row, gradually increasing the interval between the change of breasts (it can even reach up to 12 hours).

    Thanks to this method, lactation should normalize within a week.    As you know, children like to suckle the breast not only because of hunger – it calms them and helps them sleep. However, too “milky” mom can not afford to indulge every time the requirements of the crumb – it will be for her additional stimulation of lactation. This is where a pacifier comes in handy.