Why Having An Oversupply Is Actually Really Hard & Painful
Having a low milk supply is not only a reality for many mothers, but it's also a real fear some breastfeeding mothers have. And because low milk supply can be incredibly frustrating and make breastfeeding even more difficult than it is, an oversupply should be a wish for every breastfeeding mom, right? Not exactly. There are several reasons why having an oversupply is actually really hard and painful, and can make breastfeeding difficult, too. Turns out, issues nursing your children don't just stem from an inability to produce or producing too little — producing too much milk can have consequences as well.
I was really lucky that I didn't have any issues nursing my daughter when she was a baby, but I definitely had my painful, difficult moments. Because of my oversupply with milk, I dealt with a lot of engorgement, especially when my daughter started sleeping through the night. La Leche League International noted that an oversupply can be painful as your milk tries to regulate itself, as it can lead to your breasts feeling very full all the time and even clogged ducts, which put you at risk for mastitis and breast infections. Do I even have to mention the way your breasts leak constantly when you're battling an oversupply?
I know that an oversupply of milk seems like a great thing and maybe you're even thinking that the painful engorgement and swollen tissue is worth an abundance of milk for your little one, but it can also make breastfeeding very difficult. According to KellyMom, one consequence of an oversupply of breast milk is a forceful let-down. As your baby nurses, your milk comes out fast and hard, which can make your baby clamp down on your nipple, gag or choke on your milk, have spit-up issues, leave them gassy, or turn them off of nursing completely.
So basically, not only are you feeling pain and swelling in your breasts, but now they are acting like tiny fire hoses and drenching your poor, sweet baby, who no longer wants to feed.
The Texas Department of State Health Services WIC Program shares breastfeeding information on their website and also noted that a baby dealing with an oversupply may actually have slow weight gain because the baby becomes full on the low fat foremilk your breast releases first and rarely drinks any of the fattier hindmilk. So despite the abundance of milk in your breasts, oversupply can mean your child doesn't even get all of the milk they need.
There are a few ways to try and fix the problem of oversupply, thankfully, but it's not easy. If you pump too much, you continue to give your body the signal it needs to produce more milk. If you don't pump, you risk becoming engorged and developing clogged ducts which can turn into an infection. In short? An oversupply can be more of a curse than a blessing, no matter how desperate you are to increase your supply.