The one thing for sure is that expecting a baby does some really interesting things to a woman's chest. For instance, if a woman has always wanted to be busty, getting knocked up gives her the perfect opportunity to get her game on and show off those new curves.
For those who may not know, the reason why expecting women have that beautifully curvaceous cleavage all of a sudden is the increased blood flow to the chest as it continues to prepare for milk production. For the record, a woman's body is going to start producing milk two to three days after you deliver your baby.
A woman's body may take up to six months to adjust to her baby’s milk needs. Before that, the baby is going to nurse on what is called colostrum. This substance is meant to protect a baby against viruses and will assist in boosting his immune system as it is packed full of antibodies.
During this time, there is a good chance that she will experience a condition known as ‘hyperlactation’. In this condition, her body is going to produce a lot more breastmilk than is actually required by her baby. This condition is going to make a woman's chest feel full and heavy and she may find herself leaking breastmilk into her bra and shirt.
At times, the milk may even come out fast and rather forcefully, which will make nursing harder for the baby. In worst case scenarios, the condition may even trigger serious issues like mastitis or plugged milk ducts. If overproduction of milk or hyperlactation is something a mother is dealing with right now, then rest-assured that it will come to an end soon. In the meanwhile, here’s what moms can do to control the situation:
12 Speak To The Doctor/Midwife Or Lactation Consultant
Seeking advice from a professional is highly recommended when you are hyper-lactating. There’s a good chance that your chosen lactation consultant will have already dealt with countless cases of hyperlactation. What this means is that they are just the right people to reach out to for the acquisition of tips on easing your discomfort and regulating your milk supply.
For the record, there are many different conditions that can trigger hyperlactation in a nursing woman. This includes side-effects of certain medication, pituitary tumors and hormonal imbalances. In order to rule out these problems, it is highly recommended for you to speak to an expert who can help set your mind at ease and resolve the issue. You can rest-assured that doing so will go a long way in terms of helping your baby ease into the process of breast-feeding.
11 Try Natural Remedies
Yes, there are a few natural remedies that can help you control your milk production. For instance, using sage can assist in decreasing your milk supply as it contains a natural form of estrogen. Although nursing mothers can use it without a worry, it is best for pregnant women to avoid sage as it can trigger uterine stimulation.
All that you need to do is prepare sage tea (1/2 cup) and consume it on a daily basis. Continue to increase your intake till your milk production levels are normal. Discontinue usage once you are happy with your milk production.
You can also try green cabbage leaves to curb your milk supply. All you need to do is wash and slice the veiny part from the leaves, cool them out in the fridge and then place them in your bra. Remove them once they wilt after 20 to 30 minutes.
10 One Side Per Feeding
Unless absolutely necessary, it is highly recommended for you to nurse your baby from a single breast at each feeding. Just in case the breast that remains unused becomes engorged and you find it painful, it is best for you to express a small amount of milk just so it can take away your distress. While doing so, make sure that you only express a minimal amount of milk.
This is because if you empty it out completely, your body will believe that your baby required the milk and that will trigger it into producing even more.
While feeding, make sure that you alternate between both breasts at subsequent feedings. With the passage of time, your body will naturally start adjusting the amount of milk it produces and base it on the volume that is being received by your baby.
9 Pump – But Not Too Much
If you are having a hard time dealing with breast engorgement, then it is perhaps best for you to just pump the milk out on your own. Do this to the point that it stops hurting and being uncomfortable.
However, although you should pump your milk out, you need to ensure that you don’t do it too frequently or overdo it. Remember, experts suggest that you must only pump out enough milk to get yourself comfortable. If you keep on draining out your breast milk, your body is going to overproduce thinking that your baby is drinking up all that milk.
As long as your body keeps thinking that your baby requires all that expressed milk, it will continue to produce and that will obviously lead to overproduction and pumping will not help you at all.
8 Get A Pacifier For The Baby
The worst thing for you to do is to comfort nurse your baby. Honestly speaking, doing so is just going to add to your problems. For this reason, it is best for you to only offer the breast to your baby when he actually wants to feed.
What you need to remember here is that when your baby suckles on your breast, it is going to send out the message to your body that it needs to produce more milk. Even if it is only for soothing purposes, it will stimulate your milk glands and that will trigger them into over-producing milk due to the message being sent out. Hence, you should refrain from comfort feeding your baby. Instead, if your baby needs it, just offer him a pacifier to calm him down.
7 Keep Changing Up The Nursing Positions
One of the best means of reducing the amount of milk your body produces is to alternate the positions in which you nurse your baby. When you change your nursing position, it is going to help gravity slow down the amount of milk that your baby gets to receive.
So what are the best positions to nurse your baby in for this purpose? One of the best is the reclining position in which you lay on your side with pillows at your back for support. Make sure that your back and hips are as straight as possible and position your baby right next to your breast. If you want, you may even try laying down on your back and get your back to suckle from on top of you.
You can also try the football hold for this purpose as it will definitely help balance your milk supply.
6 Nurse When The Baby Isn’t At Their Hungriest
The worst part about nursing your baby when he’s super hungry is that the minute he gets the breast, he will start gulping down milk like anything. In order to avoid that, it is best for you to nurse your baby when he isn’t as hungry. This way, he is only going to suckle minimal amounts of milk. The best part is that instead of gulping it down, he will suck gently and slowly.
Believe it or not, this is going to go a long way in terms of adjusting your milk production, without compromising on your baby’s actual needs.
With that, take your time to observe your baby and figure out the best times to feed him. For a majority of women, it's going to take a little time to observe this, but in most cases, it turns out to be right after the baby wakes up and before he starts throwing tantrums. Yes, it will take time to sort things out but your breast is definitely going to appreciate your efforts.
5 Consider Donating Any Extra Milk
In case you are interested in pumping out extra breast milk, then it is best for you to consider donating it to a milk bank. By doing so, you will actually be putting in efforts to help another newborn baby get breast milk that will help him get an amazing start in life. If anything, that is perhaps the most rewarding experience ever.
For the record, milk banks collect and pasteurize breast milk so that any bacteria in it can be destroyed. The milk is then passed on to newborns who require it. Believe it or not, but your donation is going to impact the lives of babies who are premature, sick, unable to nurse or even allergic to formula. Just look up milk banks in your area and get in touch with them to help other newborns if you are experiencing hyperlactation.
4 Pump It Out And Store
Pumping out milk to the point that your breasts get empty is going to send out a message to your body that it needs to produce more and more. This overabundance is simply not what you need. However, there are women out there who swear by pumping and bottling up milk to be used later.
The fact of the matter is that your body isn’t going to take long to finally adjust to your baby’s needs. Till it does so, it is highly recommended for you to make the most out of the abundance before milk production starts to decrease. When you have milk stored, there wouldn’t be a thing for you to worry about when you need to head out without your baby.
Most importantly, there will not be a need for you to rush home to feed your baby each time you head out.
3 Use A Chest Shield
If nothing else works, it's best for you to try using a nipple shield. The utilization of a nipple shield can go a long way in terms of helping your baby cope with the intense flow of milk from your breasts. If you want one, get in touch with a lactation consultant right away and they will help you understand how to use one.
Apart from that you will also acquire better insight into the ways in which using a nipple shield can benefit you and monitor your situation.
Be warned though, a nipple shield can also cause problems for mom and baby. These should only be used to help in the short term as it can interfere with the baby's latch. It's best to use a nipple shield only under the supervision of a lactation consultant.
2 Wait – Relax
In the long run, your body is going to adjust your milk production to ensure that it suits your baby’s needs. The one thing that you can be assured of is that it isn’t going to take long at all for that to happen. Yes, you are in pain and discomfort right now, and there is a good chance that you will have a few embarrassment episodes with your breasts leaking out milk, but it is all going to end very soon.
As long as the pain and discomfort is tolerable, just relax, sit back and just wait for your body to adjust things and naturally taper off your milk supply. Try to focus on other things and enjoy time with your precious bundle of joy while you are at it.
1 Wait Longer Between Feedings
There's a few things you can do while you wait just a little longer between feedings. You can give the baby a pacifier while they wait You can give the baby a little bit of formula to fill their tummy more, or you can express a little milk before the feedings begin.
All of these things can be used together to help reduce the amount the baby is getting or to delay the feeding enough to signal the body that it doesn't need to produce as much milk. If you keep at it, eventually the body will slow down it's milk production.
The strongest way to pull out the milk is your baby, but if you're using other methods to draw it out, then that means a little less for the baby. Mothers can always substitute their milk with a little formula before feeding the baby. That way the eat less form the breast, but they're still getting fed, and the body will produce less milk.
Sources: BabyCenter.com, LLLI.Org, Breastfeeding.Support, Mayo Clinic