Some signs that might show if you have a fast milk let down:
- Baby seems to gag, choke, gasp,or cough when breastfeeding
- Baby will pull off the breast often when breastfeeding
- Baby might clamp down on the nipple when your let down occurs
- Baby might make a clicking sound when breastfeeding
- Baby might be quite ‘spilly’
- Sometimes baby will refuse to feed
- Baby just doesn’t seem content when breastfeeding in general
If any of these sound familiar, it could be that you have a forceful letdown, or a fast letdown. This is commonly linked with mothers that have a large milk supply, or an oversupply issue. It can be common for fast letdown issues to only appear when baby reaches 3 to 6 weeks of age – just when you thought you had breastfeeding sorted! Abundant supply does usually subside by about 12 weeks.
Here are a few suggestions to help you continue breastfeeding.
Instead of holding baby in a cradle position down in your arms, where their head is below your nipple and your milk flows fast into their mouth, try more “uphill” positions so that gravity is to your advantage.
Cradle Hold, but with mum laying back (reclining) so that baby’s head and throat are above your nipple level. Such as mum laying back on the couch and holding baby more upright.
Or you could try holding baby in an upright position and facing you to nurse. (You may have to start off using a football hold, where baby’s legs and body are positioned at your side rather than across your body).
One of our mothers Kristin says “My milk also flows really fast and the poor boy struggles to keep up. I have found that if he’s not coping that reclining helps, so that he has to suck uphill so to speak.“
Breastfeeding more frequently will reduce the amount of milk that accumulates between feedings, so that baby doesn’t get the initial milk surge.
You could also try waiting until let-down occurs and then taking baby off the breast until the flow slows. You’ll need to have a towel or breast shellshandy to catch the milk flow.
As a last resort, you could start off hand expressing or using a breast pumpuntil the flow slows down, then latch baby to breast. Use this as a last resort if nothing else works, because expressing milk will stimulate more milk production which will create the fast flow cycle again at the next feed.
Between feedings, apply cool compresses such as frozen flannels on your breasts for 30 minutes.
Keep going, you will get through this. It will either subside, or baby will get use to it and may prefer it.