This is a guest post for iamnotthebabysitter.com. We encourage voices of all mothers on the topics discussed on this blog. The views and opinions may not be those of iamnotthebabysitter.com, but we encourage and welcome respectful debate and opinions of all mothers.
More and more pregnant women are determined to breastfeed and diligently do their research before baby arrives. I attended La Leche League meetings, read several books, many articles and planned a natural birth with a supportive midwife. I thought I was good to go. When my sweet bundle of joy arrived I experienced the initial slow flow days of colostrum and then when my milk came in, boy did it come! Many moms deal with engorgement which is painful but relatively short-lived. My oversupply of milk didn’t slow down after a week or even a month. I was soaking entire towels on one side while my baby nursed on the other. Aside from being a laundry nightmare, soaking bath towels wasn’t very practical for going out in public.
Surprisingly, in all of my research while pregnant, I never came across information on what to do if you have too much milk. I wish someone had told me about some of these products when I was preparing to nurse a newborn so I wouldn’t have been so lost in those first months. Instead of baking and freezing “milk maker” cookies (to boost supply) while pregnant, I would have been stocking up on these must-haves for dealing with oversupply.
1.) Milksaver by Milkies: This lifesaver of a product allows you to save breast milk that is pouring out of the non-nursing side while your baby eats. Using a breast pump is not a good idea when you have oversupply because it just stimulates your breasts to make more milk so these are also a great way to start a freezer stash for future occasions when you want baby to take a bottle. Without ever pumping, I managed to store around 6 ounces of milk each day just using the Milk Saver. The best part about this product was that it allowed me to feed my baby without soaking through numerous breast pads and my clothes in the process. Hurray for being able to go out in public again! Plus it’s BPA free, triple score.
2.) Wool Nursing Pads: You only need two pairs because they don’t need to be washed very often. They are self-cleaning and just need to dry each night so you can alternate one pair while the other is drying. These are amazing if you have oversupply and your milk lets down at the very thought of your newborn. They keep your nipples feeling dry and don’t have the cold and clammy effect that cotton pads offer. If you have oversupply you are already know all too well that disposable nursing pads just don’t cut it. I liked these extra thick ones by Lanacare which did an excellent job of keeping my let down concealed.
3.) Wash cloth: Simple and cheap but very necessary if your oversupply is also accompanied by gigantic breasts. Roll up the washcloth and tuck it into your bra or tank just under your boob to support the breast tissue while you nurse. Your breast will feel better and you will save your wrist from having to hold your boob the whole time. It will also help your baby with her latch. Simple and glorious.
4.) Booby Tubes: These are great for relieving the pain of engorgement (or in my case mastitis). Simply heat in the microwave or chill in the freezer depending on what feels best to you. You can probably accomplish this with several do-it-yourself options but when you are dazed and confused in those early weeks it’s nice just to say “get me my booby tubes” and enjoy sweet relief.
5.) Comfortable nursing tanks: Oversupply has a nasty side effect of causing plugged milk ducts which can lead to mastitis and other unpleasant problems. It’s important not to restrict your breasts as this can contribute to the problem. At the same time your boobs are heavy and uncomfortable so you will want to support them as best as you can. Glamourmom tanks have supportive and adjustable straps and thick supportive fabric. I found this one to be the best for my engorged breasts. These tanks were great for during the day but not for overnight. Nursing bras specifically designed for sleep are great and I often rolled a washcloth and tucked it between my breasts so the weight of one boob didn’t weigh so heavily on the other.
I hope these items will help you through the the insane milk flow of those first weeks or months and help with the urge to punch anyone who says “at least you have plenty of milk to feed your baby.” The flow really will slow down eventually. Hang in there and stay dry!
This guest post was submitted by Bryn Huntpalmer at Away at Home Mom. Bryn is a new mom who is bucking convention in just about every way she can. She and her husband are now preparing to hit the road in an RV with their baby and their berner in search of freedom and experiences rather than a mortgage and a cubicle.