Can someone please explain to me why breastfeeding is so damn hard? The first couple of days after Luna’s birth, breastfeeding was literal hell. My nipples were cracked and extremely sore. It took about two weeks for them to get used to this whole nursing thing. But then another problem occurred - an overactive letdown. So what is an overactive letdown? To put it simply, it’s when your milk flows quickly, very quickly. Sometimes, the milk even shoots out in like five different directions - not even kidding! So what do I do to manage it? That’s exactly what I’ll be sharing in this blog post.
*Please do note that I’m not in any way a breastfeeding expert. And just because these things have been working for me, it doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. If you’re struggling with a breastfeeding issue, seek help from a lactation consultant.
1. Hand expressing breast milk before feeding
I wish I could be one of those moms who can just start nursing as soon as their baby is hungry. But unfortunately that’s not me. When Luna starts giving me signs that she’s hungry (e.g. sucking on her fist or puckering her lips), I have to run to the bathroom and hand express a bit of my milk until the flow slows down a bit. I usually do it for about 30 to 60 seconds.
2. Breastfeeding in a reclined position
The reason why you should breastfeed in a reclined position (where baby’s head is above the nipple) when you have an overactive letdown is because it slows the flow of milk into your baby’s mouth. It works against gravity.
3. Breastfeeding when baby is calm
When your baby is calm, he or she will be more focused on swallowing. If your baby is fussy, on the other hand, he or she will have the tendency to unlatch which will lead to your milk leaking. I love breastfeeding Luna at night because that’s when she’s the drowsiest and most relaxed and therefore swallows like a champ.
4. Breastfeeding more often
The longer I wait to breastfeed the more firm my breasts become. And the more firm my breasts are, the more they’re filled with milk, which always leads to overflow. Thus, I try to breastfeed as often as possible in order to avoid that scenario.
So these are just a couple of things I do to somehow manage my overactive letdown. If you have any other tips and tricks, please feel free to share.