An overactive letdown—that gushing effect that occurs when the milk comes down very forcefully—can be a sign of too much milk. But it can also be a sign that you waited a bit too long between feeds, or that your baby's latch isn't great, potentially caused by a tongue-tie.
Overactive letdown is a common issue the first 4 to 6 weeks after birth when your body is still learning how much milk to make. If your body produces too much (you have an oversupply), that can lead to a rush of milk to your breasts that wants to come out quickly.
Some mothers have such a strong let-down that the baby cannot handle the volume of milk. If your baby chokes, gags, or pushes off of the breast a minute or two after beginning to feed, an overactive let-down may be the cause.
Baby coughing during or after feeding. Pulling back at breast or tugging at the breast or nipple. Squealing, squeaking, or gulping excessively while nursing. Make clicking sound at breast (this can also be a sign of tongue or lip tie)
I have fast let-down while nursing, and my baby can't keep up with it. What can I do?
Can my let down be too fast?
Milk is released from the breast in a neurohormonal reflex known as the “let-down” at the start of a breastfeed. Sometimes the flow of milk in this reflex can seem to be too fast for an individual baby and they gulp, cough and gasp and may come off the breast crying while milk spurts everywhere.
Some moms find it helpful to cycle through the letdown phase twice during a pumping session. If you can elicit a second letdown, you can increase your output and supply. On most pumps, the initial letdown cycle lasts two minutes.
They may gulp and cough and pull on and off the breast, as they struggle to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing. A fast letdown can be a symptom of oversupply; however, it is possible to have a fast letdown with an average milk production.
How many let downs should I have in a nursing session?
The let-down reflex generally occurs 2 or 3 times a feed. Most women only feel the first, if at all. This reflex is not always consistent, particularly early on, but after a few weeks of regular breastfeeding or expressing, it becomes an automatic response.
Leaking is a clear sign of milk production and milk release—two down, one to go! You're making plenty of breast milk; it's exiting the breasts; now all you need to do is get the milk into your baby instead of onto your shirt.
Avoid unnecessary pumping sessions to build a freezer stash until your baby can feed more easily on the breast. Know that oftentimes, overactive letdown and oversupply will get better with time, usually around the three-month mark.
Gulping, coughing, choking or sputtering during feedings. Frequently detaching from the breast during feedings. Fussiness between feedings and/or cuing to feed all the time (even after drinking plenty of milk) Frequently spitting up.
The milk let-down sensation (aka “milk ejection reflex”) is often experienced as a tingling or a prickly pins-and-needles kind of feeling. But for some, the sensation is felt deep in the breasts and can hurt or be achy, especially when milk production is in overdrive.
Haakaa Pump and Oversupply? Haakaa Pumps can trigger an oversupply in some people, especially when used multiple times a day to encourage excess milk removal in the early days. Remember, your body doesn't know the difference between the baby and the Haakaa, all it knows is if the stimulus caused a let-down of milk.
It's totally up to you and your comfort. If you usually go braless, you do not need to wear one during breastfeeding. Moms often have concerns about leaking a lot at night, so this may be another reason why wearing a bra at night might be helpful.
Foremilk is the milk that is released during the beginning of nursing, immediately following let down. It will immediately quench your baby's thirst as it has a higher water content. Hindmilk is the milk that comes at the end of the nursing session, during expression.
Hindmilk often appears thick and creamy and is richer and more calorie dense than the foremilk. There is no point in a feed where milk suddenly switches over from foremilk to hindmilk, instead the milk gradually transitions as the feed goes on.
This problem is caused by a hormonal release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes the milk to be forcefully released from the alveoli (milk-making glands). In some women, the pituitary gland releases large amounts of this hormone, which in turn causes too much milk to be released at one time.
There is no maximum age, up to which a mother can produce breast milk. Whenever the pregnancy happens, the lactogen process starts immediately. Usually after the age of 40, there are certain hormonal changes in the body, due to which the production of the breast milk is hampered.
When you first start pumping, you might see milk start to dribble out. Then, after a few minutes, milk may start to spray - this is your milk letting down. After some time, the letdown will finish and you'll be back to a dribble.