Jan 28, 2011
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Breast Feeding Phantom, Forceful Let-Down



A number of mothers report experiencing MER (milk ejection reflex) or strong let-down generally taking place earlier in the nursing bond. As majority of the moms go through numerous MER incidents during a feeding session, it could make breast feeding rather discomforting for them.

A forceful MER could be the outcome of too profuse milk supply. An overactive or quite forceful let-down could be exasperating for mothers as well as their babies. In case an over-copious milk production is causal to breast feeding issues like the infant refusing breasts or gulps/chokes at the time of feeding, then such mothers must be working to reduce their supply to get more attuned to the infant’s requirements.

Mostly issues linked to hyperactive let-down or over-production start peaking at about the time an infant is three months old. When it is not treated, forceful let-down isn’t a lasting condition among majority of the breast feeding moms, & would generally start resolving when babies are around six months of age.

Mothers with surplus milk production would find their situation resolve when they changed their infant’s feed pattern. Also offering solely one of the breasts during every 3-4 hourly time span is also advisable. In case the infant is keen on breast feeding on numerous instances within that time span then allowing him/her to feed on that very breast. The infant when allowed to be at one breast then it offers him/her an opportunity for accessing wholesome hindmilk. Mostly babies of mothers with surplus milk supply get huge amounts of foremilk when they nurse from both breasts. The high-fatty hindmilk proffers satiety to the infant keeping him/her full for more spans of time & could lower fussy behaviour & gassy feeling in infants. Thus, the infant would require taking in lesser amount of milk for feeling full & contented. Also women must be expressing just sufficient milk for relieving discomfort in case fullness is sensed in the unutilized breast. They should also be nursing at more frequent intervals as overfull breasts could cause agonizing MERs.

Application of tepid, damp compresses might even aid in easing pains. Applying just before & at the time of feeds and the use of ibuprofen (around twenty to thirty minutes pre-feed) would provide pain reprieve.

Ductal thrush could be another reason for deep-set pains in the breasts. In case the advice just cited fails in providing reprieve then it is best to seek advice of an expert.

Many moms with excessive milk supply pump before placing their infant on the breast. Based on the extent of milk they express, they might in fact be augmenting their milk production. Rather than express their milk well-ahead of time, such mothers may want to attempt placing their infant to the breast & then in a gentle manner remove him/her off in case one notices milk having let-down & the infant is finding it tricky to handle the milk flow. Such mothers could permit the excessive milk in flowing into cups or diapers & then placing the little one back to the breast once milk flowing has slowed down. In case the infant is showing any fussiness then try calming him/her down prior to placing him/her back on the breast. It is important to bear in mind that there are bound to be many let-downs occurring in majority of the feeds.

Advice about pressing/massaging on the breast while breast feeding to reduce excess milk supply actually does the contrary – stimulating additional milk expulsions, augmenting the milk quantity that the infant is obtaining. For women with over-zealous milk supply must steer clear from any pressure application for halting milk flow as it prevents milk drainage from the region one is exerting pressure on. When improper draining of the breasts occurs it could lead to plugging of the milk ducts or mastitis.

Another intriguing, mind-to-body link is spontaneous lactation or phantom let-down. It occurs often among females with a history of breastfeeding their infants who spontaneously leak milk from their breasts when they hear some infant crying, though it even arises among females who have never breastfed in their lives. Several experts believe that it could arise because of a combo of attempting manual expression on their own, alongside lugging infants near their breasts while at job. Some doctors advice on checking prolactin level of any woman experiencing unprompted milk emission (rather than milk received via expression) – simply to be on the safer side.

Nursing must be comfortable and it is vital to get to the root cause of breast pain to rectify the issue.

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