Last time I wrote about what it’s like when the milk comes in and how to handle that process. It involved a lot of leaking and a lot of milk not ending up in my baby (who had PLENTY already).
I’m very conscious that having this surplus, while challenging, is mostly a lot less stressful than feeling like you have low supply. Like I’ve said previously this series is very much only charting my personal breastfeeding story so consequently this edition features lots of excess milk. If you are reading this and struggling with thinking you have low supply do be kind to yourself – firstly you may not have low supply (weight gain and nappies are the indicator, not leakage/ability to express/frequency of feeds) and if you do then the reasons for some women needing to increase supply while others could do with decreasing it are various and mysterious. KellyMom, La Leche League, Australian Breastfeeding Association and Global Health Media to name just a few support organisations all have information relating to low supply.
So milk…I wasn’t really prepared for catching it to begin with and sadly a lot of milk ended up in the sink, down my tops, soaking through muslins, accidentally squirted in passerby’s eyes… I’m joking obviously, no chance of a passerby in my living room and leaving the house with a large supply at this stage is practically impossible for me – feeding is currently indiscreet and potentially drenching.
Things will regulate soon so I don’t feel any need to use anything to lower it. Until it does I am not feeding out and about and I’m using the following props to help keep things sociable and less messy at home:
1. Good Quality Breast Pads: I really don’t like disposable breast pads – I used them with my first child for a couple of months but found the unbreathable plastic offputting and frankly they weren’t up to the task…I frequently would have large milk patches coming through my tops, and that was AFTER I’d started leaving the house…not a good look.
Instead I favour a good quality washable pad…in particular the Bambooby Nights breast pads. I use them through the day and night and I am astonished at their absorbency – I have never leaked through or had any irritation from them.
2. Shells: These are AMAZING. I use them every feed on the side that’s not in active use. They go on under the bra and, voila, they catch all the leaking milk! Two words of advice: make sure the pouring hole is at the top of the shell… And don’t bend down when wearing them…the milk will pour out over you, the floor, whatever you’ve bent down over and you may cry.
I use Medela ones and am very happy with them, but have done absolutley no research, it was very much a panic purchase to stop the house floating away in breastmilk.
3. Laidback Positioning: This will help hugely with the problem of the milk spraying everywhere, as well as helping your baby cope with the fast flow.
4. Taking Baby Off: A fast let-down and a lot of milk could result in a baby who chokes and splutters and gulps air and generally causes themselves quite a few windy problems. Well that’s us anyway. Taking the baby off momentarily from feeding at let-down and letting the geezer of milk flow into a muslin (or bottle if you are super-organised) for a moment can help keep things calmer for both of you .
5. Food: You don’t need to eat a huge amount more if you’re breastfeeding but if you are of slight build and you’re overproducing then more energy is a must. I feel the need to eat every thirty minutes, no joke…we are spending a fortune on food! Try to go for good-for-you but energy-giving…you know, nuts and the like.
6. Donation: It seemed a bit unnecessary for me to have all this milk but apparently my local hospital no longer takes milk donations. However, I have since come across the UK Association for Milk Banking so I’ll investigate! If anyone has any experience with milk donation do let me know.
7. Storage Bottles, Bags & a Big Enough Freezer: My husband asked me how much longer we thought we might want to keep catching the leaked milk the other day. I wasn’t sure what the motivation for the question was until I went into the downstairs freezer and realised that we are rapidly running out of space. It really made me laugh…so here we have over 3 litres of leaked (not expressed) milk from one week of collection:
It makes me tired looking at it…must be time for an almond? Oh who am I kidding, pass me the chocolate cake!
Check out the previous edition if you missed how to handle the milk coming in if you make a lot of it, and tune in next time for a little tip on how to remember which side for which feed.