Oversupply of breastmilk

What is an oversupply of breastmilk?

Milk supply is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers. While many moms are worried that they're not making enough milk, an oversupply (or more milk than the baby needs) can have it's own set of problems.

What causes an oversupply?

Some women simply make more milk due to genetics and biology (like an overactive thyroid). However, the amount of milk someone produces is greatly influenced by how often and how long the baby nurses and how much a breastpump is used. For example, if a mom produces a lot of breastmilk in the beginning, the feeds might be shorter and more frequent, so that the baby doesn't empty the breast, and mom has to pump for comfort, which leads to making more milk.

Sometimes an oversupply happens when moms are pumping in between feedings to build up a stash of breastmilk.

What are the symptoms of Oversupply of breastmilk?
  • Excessive leaking
  • A forceful letdown called Overactive Milk Ejection Reflex (OMER)
  • Baby coughing or choking on breastmilk, especially at letdown
  • Frequent plugged ducts or mastitis
  • Breasts that don't feel like they fully empty or they refill quickly
  • Gassy baby

What is the treatment for Oversupply of breastmilk?

An oversupply doesn't require medical treatment, but here are some things you can do to adjust your supply levels:

  • Breastfeed on one side for each feeding. Continue to offer that same breast for at least two hours until the next full feeding, gradually increasing the length of time per feeding.
  • If the other breast feels too full before you are ready to breastfeed on it, hand express for a few moments to relieve some of the pressure. You also can use a cold compress or washcloth to reduce discomfort and swelling.
  • Feed your baby before he or she becomes overly hungry to prevent aggressive sucking.
  • Burp your baby often if he or she is gassy.

Who can help diagnose/treat Oversupply of breastmilk?
  • Lactation Consultant (LC)

  • https://www.womenshealth.gov/files/documents/your-guide-to-breastfeeding.pdf
  • https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/oversupply/