My 5 Top Tips For Helping your Newborn Cope with Fast Let Down and Milk Flow.
The first month after birth it’s common for milk supply and flow to slowly increase and often be behind or in line with your new baby’s demand but the last two mum’s I’ve helped have had extremely fast flowing milk and strong let down. One mum had super human milk supply within weeks after birth and another mum with a steady supply that naturally depleted throughout the day but with a super fast let down and milk flow.
Having a plentiful milk supply is not a problem if you have lots of freezer space! It’s always great to be one step ahead of your baby’s demand and makes easy work of regular growth spurts.
Fast let down and milk flow can be more problematic for a new baby with an immature gut. The foremilk is particularly gassy and fast flowing which can overwhelm a newborn baby and initially let down too much milk too quickly. As well as the obvious signs of milk pouring out, milk sprays and your newborn seemingly being flooded with milk; other signs are frustration, inability to latch, gulping, latch breaking and crying. This issue will of course rectify itself when your baby grows and is able to handle the flow, which will be efficient for feeding later on down the line.
My 5 top tips to ease this situation during the newborn stage:
- Express a little milk from each breast before each day feed. Try expressing 1oz of foremilk from each side to start with but with milk depletion, throughout the day this can reduce to 1/2oz each side by the afternoon. If you have the milk supply of a dairy cow then you may need to express more than 1oz each side, especially for the first morning feed. The amount you express will of course depend on your supply. The expressed milk will be less white and creamy in colour and often be clear or grey looking, this is foremilk.
- Break to wind/burp frequently, especially at the start of each breast when milk is faster flowing. Breastfeeding babies need winding as often as bottle fed babies, especially on a routine of taking milk as meals rather than frequent snacking. Newborns are unable to self wind for the first 10-12 weeks and will need to be winded throughout a feed. I would normally break to wind a newborn at 5 minute intervals but with a fast let down and flow, start each breast with two sets of 2 minute burping intervals and work your way up from there. With an extremely fast flow, break at 1 minute intervals x 2 then 2 minutes and work your way up. Check out chapter 1, The Gut ( link?) and pop over to my video page ( link here?) for wind positions and technique.
- Space out feeds to at least 3 hours but ideally, as shown in my routine, 3.5/4 hours apart. This allows the stomach to completely empty between feeds and helps stop the wind build up. Of course you will need enough milk supply to support this change.
- Eat a gas-free diet while breastfeeding. Contrary to popular belief, what you eat while breastfeeding can have an impact on your newborn’s digestion. Wind forming foods such as onions, spices and peppers can increase gas during feeding and digestion. Fast flowing milk makes a baby more prone to wind issues but can also cause bloat and vomit.
- Expressing breasts will help you gain a better understanding of your milk supply and flow. Knowing exactly what your breasts are doing will help you set out a plan to help your baby cope and be more comfortable. Expressing as set out in my breastfeeding routine, after feeds and one before bed will help you understand how quickly your newborn is drinking by timing how quickly you express, you can then gauge how often you need to break to wind. A fast let down might not mean an abundance of milk but simply that it releases quickly so expressing can also help increase your supply. This advice is based on a routine fed baby who is taking meals and not fed on demand as and when. For more information, grab a copy of my book 7pm to 7amSleeping Baby Routine it book check out consulting options on my Booking page.