If you've noticed that your baby seems to gag, choke, or sputter when breastfeeding, that you've probably already tried to figure out how to slow down your let down. According to KellyMom, a fast and forceful let down not only causes your baby to cough and gasp while nursing, but it can also cause them to experience spit-up and gas and refuse to breastfeed.
I know what you're thinking. Just when you thought you had the hang of this breastfeeding thing, you're now having to figure out how to stop your breasts from showering your baby with milk like a fire hose. Luckily, there's a pretty easy solution because La Leche League International noted that a forceful or fast let-down is usually a symptom of oversupply.
In general, most oversupply issues are the result of trying to follow a breastfeeding "rule" that you might have heard at some point. Things like timing your baby's feedings and pumping too much can make your body think that it has to make more milk for your hungry little one and can lead to an oversupply problem.
KellyMom suggested that there are two ways to slow down your let down. You can either fix an oversupply problem, or you can try and help your baby deal with your let down.
If you're hoping to fix an oversupply problem in an effort to slow down your let down, Baby Center noted that you should be sure that your milk supply has regulated. If you're still in the early weeks of breastfeeding, give your milk supply a chance to regulate itself, especially as your baby's feeding changes. However, if you're a few months into it and your breasts are still overly full, try taking away any of the cues you're giving your body to produce more milk, such as pumping extra.
But an easier solution, especially if you're nervous to mess with your supply? Help your baby handle your fast let-down. KellyMom recommended choosing breastfeeding positions that require your baby to sit higher up, with their head and throat at the level of your nipple. Instead of gravity helping your let down by shooting the breast milk directly down into your baby's mouth, these positions can help your baby handle the force and amount of the milk.
La Leche League International also suggested keeping a burp cloth nearby. Before you breastfeed, hold the cloth up to your breast and manually express a little bit of milk so that your baby doesn't have to struggle with your fast let down.
No matter how you decide to slow down your let down, KellyMom noted that eventually your oversupply and fast let down will subside on its own, especially by 12 weeks. You may also find that your baby can handle both better as they get older and that your let down will no longer be an issue.