Most mums would envy the breastfeeding mother with a surplus of milk. This mother's personal account tells us it really isn't a walk in the park to have oversupply issues either.
You never think it will happen to you
Before my baby came along, I had heard many stories about the breastfeeding woes some mothers had faced.
Many of my friends told of either a lack of breastmilk and how they had to supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding prematurely. I was also warned that my milk might not come in immediately. I wasn’t too worried, figuring that I wouldn’t stress myself more than I already was as a first time mummy! Besides, I was strict about my regular intake of supplements.
But no one told me that oversupply of breastmilk would ever be a problem.
My milk came in just hours after the birth of my baby. And even though my little boy weighed a hefty 3.6kg at birth, I had no problems putting him on a 100% breastmilk diet. Not even as he grew, complete with chubby Michelin arms and legs.
In fact, I was producing so much breastmilk that I had to pump regularly. So much so that my husband started to complain that our freezer was looking like a milk storage facility.
When feeding become frustrating
I began to realise I might have a problem of oversupply when my little one began to thump his tiny fists on my chest during feeding and seemed to have problems keeping up with the speed of my letdown, occasionally even appearing to choke in the midst of a feeding.
Although I was more than able to satisfy his hunger, feeding became a somewhat frustrating process for him.
Eventually I resorted to bottle feeding whatever I had pumped instead of allowing him to latch. Luckily he took to the bottle as readily as he had taken to my nipple.
Honestly, that was rather upsetting for me, because I cherished our skin-to-skin bonding sessions. I dismissed my feelings of inadequacy and sadness. After all, I only wanted him to be happy when feeding.
My problems of oversupply also led me to have painfully swollen breasts all the time. My first few months of breastfeeding were almost completely preoccupied with pumping. If I did not pump for a couple of hours, my breasts would feel engorged and tender, it was a thoroughly uncomfortable experience.
I never thought I would actually be so unhappy about having large breasts!
Things became painful
Things came to a head when my baby was about 4 months. I contracted a high fever and felt tired all the time. At first I dismissed it as a common cold or flu. Then I realised my breasts felt even more tender to the touch than usual.
I could also feel a lump on my left side. When I visited my family doctor, I was diagnosed as have contracted mastitis, a common painful inflammation of the breasts tissues for mothers who are breastfeeding. No thanks to my overactive milk ducts.
Over the course of my 2-year breastfeeding journey, I contracted mastitis 3 times. This was on top of already feeling swollen and tired most of the time. Gradually though, with the help of other mums and my doctor, I learnt to manage my milk supply better.
I am happy to say that despite my breastfeeding woes of oversupply, if I have a second baby, I would still be happy to breastfeed from the get go. Except this time, I would probably go slow on the pre and post natal supplementation that everyone was heaping on me to encourage milk production!
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