Breastfeeding and Making Too Much Breast Milk

How It Affects You and Your Baby, and What You Can Do About It

Feeding bottles in rows How to Handle an Oversupply of Breast Milk
Is making too much breast milk a bad thing?. Maria Toutoudaki / Getty Images

An Overabundant Breast Milk Supply

It's normal to experience an overabundant supply of breast milk during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Then, as the weeks go on, most women will notice that their milk supply is adjusting to their baby's needs. But, for some women, this adjustment will not seem to come, and they will continue to make too much breast milk.

You might not think that having too much breast milk is a problem.

After all, many women struggle with a low supply of breast milk, so producing extra milk might actually sound like a blessing. However, an excessive amount of breast milk can cause difficulty breastfeeding and problems for both you and your baby.

How Making Too Much Breast Milk Affects Your Baby

Each time your little one breastfeeds, she begins by getting a low-fat, watery milk called foremilk. As the feeding progresses, the foremilk changes over to a higher-fat, creamier milk called hindmilk. Hindmilk is more filling and helps to satisfy your baby's hunger.

When you have too much breast milk, your baby may fill up on foremilk and stop breastfeeding before getting very much hindmilk. If your child doesn't get enough hindmilk, she may want to eat more often and begin to gain weight very quickly.

Another problem with an overabundant breast milk supply is that it's often associated with a very forceful let-down reflex.

If the flow of milk from your breast is too powerful and quick, it can be tough for your baby to breastfeed. The baby may gag, choke, and have difficulty breathing and nursing at the same time. And, while trying to keep up with the very fast flow of breast milk, your baby may swallow a lot of air. Taking in too much air causes fussiness, gas, spitting up, hiccups, and symptoms of colic.

Some babies may become very frustrated and refuse to breastfeed.

What You Can Do For Your Baby If You Make Too Much Breast Milk

  • You can use a breast pump or a hand expression technique to remove some of the breast milk from your breasts before you start to breastfeed your baby. Once the first forceful let-down has occurred, the flow of your milk will slow down, and it will be easier and more comfortable for your baby to nurse.
  • You can breastfeed in a reclined position. Try to breastfeed while lying back with your baby above you. Nursing against gravity may help to slow down the flow of your breast milk.
  • Burp your child very often during the feeding to remove any air that he may have swallowed. Getting rid of that excess air will help your baby to feel more comfortable, and it will make room in his stomach for more hindmilk.
  • Feed your baby from the same breast for a few feedings in a row. Offering your child the same breast for more than one feeding allows her to get more hindmilk. It also takes away some of the stimulation the other breast would receive. Reducing the stimulation can help decrease your milk supply a little bit.

    How Making Too Much Breast Milk Affects You

    An overabundant supply of breast milk can cause some of the common problems of breastfeeding such as:

    What You Can Do For Yourself If You're Dealing With An Overabundant Milk Supply



    Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

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