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Milk Oversupply

Block Feeding Method

We recently received a plea for help from a mum that was having a tough time breastfeeding and managing over supply / fast letdown.

Maybe this sounds familiar?  She wrote "I have a 3 month baby who is fully breastfeeding.  But she only feeds from one side so I bought a pump to empty the other. I've been doing that for quite a while now, I pump every 4 hours. At the moment I am getting 120 mls each side. But ever since that increase in milk supply every time I breastfeed my baby she gets upset because the flow is way too much and she chokes and ends up getting very upset. So now I have to pump my breasts every time before feeding until the flow slows down, but in turn my breasts make more and more milk. I need to slow my flow down a bit....but it just seems to be a cycle of pumping then feeding."

We asked our Lactation Consultant Barbara (IBCLC) to help answer this.

Barbara suggests:

One strategy that works for some mums is to do a full drainage (pumping) then block feeding method. Caroline van Veldhuisen-Staas from the Netherlands as developed this remedy.

  1. Do a total expression of both your breasts taking off as much as you can.
  2. Then put baby on both breasts to feed from the soft breasts.  Baby will enjoy the slower milk flow & high fat content.
  3. Over the next 3 hours feed baby from the same breast whenever she wants to feed within that 3 hours.
  4. Then change breasts and feed baby from the other breast whenever she wants to feed over the next 3 hours.

The time blocks can be increased to 4, 6, 8 or even 12 hours. Occasional repeat drainage maybe necessary but intervals between pumping will gradually increase as the symptoms lessen.

Only if engorgment is becoming severe again should another full drainage be carried out.

You will need to check your breasts for blocked ducts and prevent mastitis by massaging away any lumps if they develop.

We advise that ideally you carry this out with the support and guidance of a lactation consultant.

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