There are so many ways that we prepare for having a baby—from nursery choices to hospital plans. We make ourselves safety plans for all the what ifs that could possibly go wrong and research every aspect of parenting that we can. For nine months it drives us crazy, but we’re determined to get it right.
Once our precious baby is here, we think we have it in the bag. Everything is all figured out—all we have to do is breeze through motherhood.
Nothing is ever that easy, though. Instead, one day we wake up and find the twins are hurting—they’re larger than ever. So, we squeeze in an extra pumping and hope it solves the problem. It doesn’t. The next day we find ourselves having to add in another pumping because the problem is persisting. As we go, it gets worse. Our baby gulps his way through nursing as milk flows too fast. We tell ourselves it’s a phase—that it’ll pass with time.
Until it does, we try to mediate the problem with band-aids like more pumpings. The pain of too much becomes unbearable and—the next thing we know—we realize we have an excessive milk supply with no clue how to fix it.
15 A Little Cabbage Patch
There’s nothing like having a salad in our bras to change up our milk production game! It sounds funny, but so many swear by it. According to Exclusive Pumping, putting cabbage leaves in our bra is shown to have a massive effect on milk supply.
As weird as it sounds, all we have to do is take two clean cabbage leaves and place them on the ladies before we get dressed in the morning.
It’s believed that the amino acids in cabbage will decrease any inflammation and make it more comfortable for milk to flow. To make use of this awesome effect as a way to decrease milk is to keep the leaves on for 30 minutes, anywhere upwards of four times a day. The more milk we want to lose, the more times we have to utilize the cabbage leaves.
14 Guided Pumping Sessions
For some of us—whether stay-at-home moms or working moms—straight up nursing just isn’t an option for us. We have to pump. We rely on the pump. So how do we change our supply when it comes to pumping? Begin pumping less. The bags that fill our freezers show we know how much we pump with each session so use that knowledge! If we find that we’re pumping five ounces on one side and four on the other with every pumping session, change that number to four ounces and three ounces.
Exclusive Pumping says to stop when we’re one ounce short. Reducing volume will inform our bodies naturally that we need less. Over time, we have the option to continue to reduce the volume of each pumping session until we’re at a production spot we want.
13 Double Pump-Nurse
When dealing with a forceful letdown due to an oversupply of milk, it’s important we get through that initial letdown. When we do that, it makes it easier for our little babe to latch on and drink everything he needs. One such way to work through that initial letdown, as recommended by Baby Center, is to pump our way through it.
Before our little one needs to feed—this is where keeping a feeding schedule becomes useful—we should grab the pump and make good use of it.
Pump just enough to get things going. Use a low setting and keep the stimulation low.
We don’t want to overdo it! The other key is making sure we have a good storage system set up. We don’t want to throw away all that nutritious milk we’re pumping out.
12 Pseudoephedrine To The Rescue
While not a highly recommended way of tackling the problem of excessive milk supply, pseudoephedrine has been known to help us mamas in need. It’s a medicine we can find behind the counter at any pharmacy—no prescription required. Pseudoephedrine is the active ingredient that affects our milk.
As per Exclusive Pumping, a single dose of pseudoephedrine is shown to decrease milk supply by a whopping 24% in one day. That’s impressive! However, it’s not without its side effects. After all, we’d be taking a medication that we don’t need. Turn over the box and we can see the side effects—dizziness, easy bleeding and more. It can be scary for us to add something potentially dangerous as a fix-all to our problem. Best to talk to our doctor before making that big decision.
11 Changed Feeding Times
As mamas, we know our babies. We know exactly what their feeding cues are and when they typically nurse every day. Knowing that is our biggest advantage when trying to slow down or stop an excessive milk supply.
As we keep track of our baby’s schedule, we can alter it slightly to affect our milk. Baby Center says before our little baby is super hungry, pull him close and nurse him as we normally would. It’ll encourage a slower feeding pattern.
Slower feeding means less stimulation—meaning less milk will be produced as a result.
It’s a slow process to shortening our supply, but it works. We just have to rely heavily on knowing what’s going on with our baby before he’s crying out and demanding it—so keep a journal or create a schedule to help if needed.
10 No More Pump And Store
As new moms, we worry about our “extra” supply even as we relax our way through maternity leave. What happens if we want a date night? If we need a few hours off? How will our baby eat? Obviously, we need to build a frozen stock just in case, right? So, we nurse our babies and then toss in a few extra pumpings into our daily routine to be able to put a few extra bags in the freezer.
Sadly, we're just making the situation worse when we do that. Every time we toss in an extra pumping session, our bodies think we're feeding again. When that happens, time for more milk! That's how our bodies see it. It ups our milk supply. Kelly Mom recommends against more pumping. We have to rely solely on our little ones to re-mitigate our supply.
9 Exclusive Nursing
The best way to slow or stop all that excessive milk? Exclusively nurse. No more pumping. No more bottles. It's time to rely solely on the twins to power through the issue. Our bodies are incredible. They react and anticipate the needs of our little babies better than even we realize.
So, don the nursing clothes, get a few extra covers and get ready to become a nursing-only mama.
The process won’t be easy to incorporate—nursing can be hard—but we’ll see the results we want. Breastfeeding USA says that as our bodies get used to the needs of our babies, our bodies react. We’ll soon see that we’re producing just enough milk for him and not a single drop more. The reward is in the proof—and the extra snuggles we get from our little one as well!
8 The Block Feeding Method
It’s natural for us to double up during nursing sessions. Start on the left, move to the right, top it all off with a few extra minutes of cuddles. But when we’re struggling with an excessive milk supply, we may have to stop that—not the cuddling part. Keep the cuddling. Stick to one side for two hours. After that two hours, use the other side. If the unused side gets uncomfortable during that time frame, we can hand express just enough to make it comfortable again—and no more!
Keep the stimulation to a severe minimum on the unused side. According to Kelly Mom, block feeding is said to change our supply within a week. We have to be really aware—clogged ducts can become a serious issue. It’s best to keep up with a lactation consultant as we use this method.
7 The Full Drainage And Blocked Feeding Approach
If the block feeding method isn’t working, we do have the option of trying the full drainage and blocked feeding approach. This method works great when we have just way too much milk and it feels like we’re drowning in it. Just like the block method, we make strict use of a single side for a period of three hours.
However, before we start this three-hour stretch, we pump until both the ladies are completely empty.
Obviously, we store the extra to use later. This method requires our utmost attention to signs of clogged ducts or mastitis because the drastic change in our ladies puts us at a higher risk of these problems. Our best bet is to use this method under the supervision of a lactation consultant to avoid any health issues.
6 Switch It Up Often
Taking a completely opposite approach to blocked feeding, we have the option to send a different message to our ladies by switching up sides frequently during feedings. Nurtured Child recommends if our little baby spends only 10 minutes nursing, then we make sure to switch him from righty to leftie at the halfway mark—that’s at five minutes in.
There’s also the option to switch back and forth at several marked intervals. By doing so, our bodies are getting the message that not nearly as much milk is needed. What we’re producing is too much. It signals our bodies to slow down by sending natural signs through our baby’s nursing habits. It’s not quick at all, but it’s a simple change that we can easily make a part of our everyday routines.
5 Break The Suction
A method that forces us to relax and relies on our natural flow is called breaking the suction. Instead of feeding our precious baby on the couch, this requires we grab a towel and head to the bedroom. For each nursing session, Baby Center recommends that we hunker down in bed on our sides with a towel underneath us and our baby snuggled by our side.
As our baby nurses his way through the letdown, break the suction for a moment.
Excess milk will flow and be caught by the towel. This rids the excess milk without stimulation—leaving our bodies believing we’ve been making way too much milk. Not only do we get the chance to slow down and lie in bed with our baby, but it begins the process of slowing down our milk production to a manageable amount.
4 Get Help—Find A Professional
While we want to say that using Google, mommy help groups and other self-searched resources will be exactly what we need, they won’t. We’re not experts—and that’s okay! We’re new to this so why not ask for help.
When struggling with an excessive milk supply, Nurtured Child recommends finding a lactation consultant. These lovely ladies—and maybe sometimes gentlemen—are practiced in helping with supply issues, latching issues and more. If we have questions, they have the answer or at least a great starting place.
Finding one isn’t hard, either. Our OBGYNs, midwives and even pediatricians have lactation consultants they work with. All we have to do is be willing to ask to get the ball rolling. There’s no need to be embarrassed, either! It’s their job to help us through this difficult transition.
3 Change It Up
We all have a favorite position. It’s what’s comfortable for us, comfortable for the baby and makes nursing a breeze. Unfortunately, that easy may be encouraging our excessive milk supply. That means it’s time to change it up!
Instead of aiming for easy with gravity helping us, we have to work against gravity. Kelly Mom says
finding positions for our little one to nurse—like sitting up in our laps or lying back in a tummy-to-tummy position—will slow down the flow.
Our baby will find himself drinking just an adequate amount instead of gulping down everything that’s flowing out.
He’ll have to work harder—thanks to defying gravity—and we’ll quickly find that he’s drinking less. As a result, less milk cues! Our ladies will slow down production and that excessive milk problem will be gone!
2 A Dash Of Sage In The Diet
Taking a natural, herbal approach is an easy way to incorporate a simple change to affect our milk supply. Sage is an herb that can be ingested in a number of ways and is shown to affect our milk. Exclusive Pumping details that we can find it as a dried herb at the store or even as a capsule to pop and go. Toss a handful in the recipe we’re making for dinner or even make some yummy sage tea. Our incorporation options are endless.
For those of us who aren’t particularly fond of the taste of sage, use honey! Pour honey over a spoonful of sage. The sticky sweet taste will mask the pungent taste of the herb. It can also be added to any spicy dip and it's unlikely you'll even taste it. We have to be careful because sage can affect our supply quickly, so we need to carefully monitor the results as we go.
1 Avoid Excess Stimulation
The common denominator is stimulation. The more we’re stimulated, the more milk we find ourselves producing. In its simplest form, we can change the way our little baby nurses to help their effect be gentler or we can lower the settings on our pump, but sometimes we find that’s just not enough.
Kelly Mom lists the additional things that we don’t realize are stimulation problems for us—like standing in the shower to destress or wearing underclothes longer than necessary.
We need to take a look at all of these, too. It’s our duty to ourselves to adjust how we approach the situation to reflect a less stimulated lifestyle.
Whether it’s switching to just a t-shirt when we come home at night or changing how we stand in the shower, we can fix the problem little by little.