Hyperlactation - What Can You Do to Lower Your Milk Production?

Hyperlactation syndrome can be a challenging experience for breastfeeding mothers, but there are several effective methods to manage it. From using cabbage leaves or Cabo cream to relieve engorgement to employing block feeding techniques, these remedies aim to regulate milk supply.

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While some mothers worry about not having enough milk, others experience hyperlactation. Hyperlactation syndrome means that the breastfeeding mother’s body makes more milk than is necessary for her baby.

Hyperlactation can present some challenges to the breastfeeding relationship but is overcome quite easily in most cases.

Many mothers initially experience an overabundance of milk before the supply regulates. If your oversupply continues past the first six weeks or so, you may be experiencing hyperlactation.

Common symptoms in the mother can include a persistent feeling of engorgement in the breasts, excessive leaking with spraying, a forceful letdown that can sometimes be painful, and recurring plugged ducts or mastitis.

Symptoms in the breastfeeding infant can include general fussiness and gas due to a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, excessive spitting up after feedings, and green stools. An infant whose mother is experiencing an overactive supply may choke, sputter, and make a clicking sound during nursing.

Hyperlactation - What to Do?

There are various methods to treat hyperlactation, all of which focus on regulating the mother’s supply.

  • Using cabbage leaves in your bra is an age-old remedy that works. Cabo cream is a cream made from cabbage leaves for engorgement, weaning, and suppression of breast milk. It is essentially a concentrated cabbage extract and other botanicals in a mild lotion base.
  • Keeping cool washcloths on your breast is another old cure since warm water encourages letdown.
  • Doing block feedings. Nursing from only one breast for a few hours or feedings is another common treatment method.
  • Dangle feeding can help drain the breasts more efficiently to prevent problems like blocked ducts and mastitis.
  • If you are nursing and pumping, it is essential that you not pump after feedings, as this can increase your supply even further. You can hand express just enough milk to be comfortable if uncomfortably engorged.
  • You may want to consider collecting the milk that leaks out of the other breast when nursing to be used later.
  • You may also be an excellent candidate to donate your milk to a local breast milk bank.
Mother holding her baby - Photo by Wes Hicks / Unsplash

How to Do Block Feeding

Block feeding while breastfeeding involves only using one breast for a set amount of time to feed the baby. For example, a mother might choose to feed her baby from the left breast for a 3-hour block and then switch to the right breast for the next 3-hour block. This will help reduce an oversupply of milk. By restricting the baby's access to one breast, the body will receive less stimulation to produce milk, and the milk supply will decrease as a result.

It's important to note that block feeding should only be done with the guidance of a healthcare provider, as it can affect a mother's milk supply and the baby's feeding patterns. It's also important for mothers to pay attention to their baby's hunger cues and make sure they are feeding them enough to meet their needs.

If you continue experiencing hyperlactation after trying these approaches, contact a lactation consultant or your local breastfeeding support group to connect with other mothers who may be experiencing this same issue. Alternatively, opt for a Milkology breastfeeding course and equip yourself with the comprehensive knowledge necessary for a successful breastfeeding experience.

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The Signs of Hyperlactation?

Hyperlactation, or excessive milk production, manifests through several distinct signs.

  • Mothers may experience breasts that remain full and uncomfortable even after a feeding session.
  • Excessive leaking of milk between feedings is another common symptom.
  • Nipple soreness can occur, making it challenging for the baby to achieve or maintain a deep latch during breastfeeding.
  • The mother may experience a forceful letdown reflex, which can be painful and may cause milk to spray when the baby detaches from the breast.
  • Frequent occurrences of blocked milk ducts or mastitis are also indicative of hyperlactation.

The Causes of Hyperlactation?

  • One common cause is mismanagement of breastfeeding, such as inconsistent feeding schedules or improper latching techniques.
  • Elevated levels of the hormone prolactin, responsible for stimulating milk production, can also lead to hyperlactation. This condition is known as hyperprolactinemia.
  • Some mothers may have a congenital predisposition to produce excessive milk.
  • Certain medications designed to boost milk production can also lead to hyperlactation.