So by the time I had my baby and started breastfeeding, I had probably assisted somewhere around 100 women in breastfeeding their babies. Most of these were initiating breastfeeding on the first day of the baby's life and then a follow up, or 2, or 7 all within about the first week. I felt like I was pretty prepared (although, maybe I'll write about my initial challenges in another post soon) but there was one thing that I just didn't see coming: he Niagara Falls of the voluptuous mother. Now, first let me tell you that if you're pregnant and you think your boobs are out of control humungous on your particular body right now, you ain't seen nothin' yet!!!
Hopefully, for your sake, you won't get too engorged after you have your baby because that's just no fun - it hurts to touch, not to mention the kind of yucky feeling that you get if you happen to get that low grade fever along with the soreness.
Anyway, when I was engorged all I'd have to do was accidentally touch my breast and then both sides would just start flowing... and when I say flowing, I mean FLOWING. If I wasn't careful I'd have milk EVERYWHERE. I remember getting undresed to take a shower one day and just on my way to the shower from the bedroom I literally left a trail of puddles of milk. It got a little ridiculous! I soon realized that I just shouldn't take my bra off because the pressure of the bra and nursing pad was what was keeping me from feeling like a constant leaky faucet.
After a while I figured out that I had an overactive milk ejection reflex coupled with a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance too, and that was part of the problem - and also why Daliya's poops were so green and foamy (check out what I like to call Dr. Gordon's Poop Page - this is really an incredible resource for new parents). Once I started nursing her on one side for multiple feedings before switching to the other breast, the engorgement got worse for a day or 2 and then got soooo much better! Plus Daliya's poops normalized and she was happier too.
From that point until Daliya was probably practically 6 months old I just kept wearing my nursing pads and figuring there was nothing I could do about the leaking from one breast whenever Daliya nursed on the other one. I figured, hey, this was better than leaking all the time and like a floodgate was constantly open like had been happening before.
Somehow no one thought to let me in on this little secret:
You can stop the leaking! And it is so easy too!! Whenever you have a let down on one side, if the other side is even partially full, chances are you will have a let down on that side too - which is great if you are nursing 2 babies at once and one is a weaker nurser than the other - but if you only have one baby to nurse, you wonder what to do about that other breast! Pressure is the answer. Now, let me be really clear here... I don't mean really strong pressure on your breast or nipple, cuz that is just not pleasant at all when you have milk in there, plus could potentially encourage plugged ducts; I just mean enough pressure to stop the flow in its tracks.
I still do this to this day. I just put my forearm against my breast when I feel the let down coming and rest the palm of my hand on my upper chest for a minute or two until the let down is over.
And the really really cool thing that I learned recently about this is that when you have that let down, but then the milk has no room to come out, it actually gets pulled back up through the ducts and back into the deeper part of your breast, so you won't have to feel super full on that side until the next time you switch to that side to nurse.
If you have a similar story or other tips for moms with an abundant supply, feel free to post in the comments below. I love to hear from all you mommies out there!