Oversupply with breastfeeding, the struggle is real my friends! I feel the breastfeeding conversation usually centers around how to boost supply or fearing that you’re not making enough, but some of us make more than enough and while it’s great, it’s also incredibly painful! I knew that I’d have an oversupply issue with Baby H, I had the same issue with M when he was a baby. I mean, what newborn needs 8oz of breastmilk every 2 hours? And that was when I didn’t even empty my breasts while pumping. I know it’s pretty normal to have a large supply when milk comes in, but usually mama will adjust to her baby within the first couple weeks. I was bonding with a pump and not nursing when it came to M so 3 weeks in, I was still pumping 8-10oz every 2 hours.
When Baby H was born, I talked with a lactation consultant a few days after she was born since I was having some latch issues and I wanted information on how to deal with my oversupply since she wasn’t able to empty one breast, let alone two every two hours! I was also concerned with my actual flow, it was fast, and there was a forceful (and painful for me) letdown. It would make Baby H cough, gag, and sputter. Thankfully, my lactation consultant was able to give me some tips and as time went on I figured out what worked for me.
Tips for Breastfeeding with Oversupply and Discomfort
- Talk with a lactation consultant. This is my very first tip for dealing with oversupply. Everyone’s situation is different and what has worked for me, may not work for you. With that said…
- Hand express milk in the shower, just enough to help make you comfortable. Hand expression is less likely to stimulate your breast into thinking it needs to make more, unlike pumping which is designed to simulate breastfeeding.
- Ice packs or frozen wash clothes to help with pain and swelling. Never thought I’d like something freezing cold on my breasts as much as I did when my breasts were so engorged I could barely move my arms without discomfort.
- Ibuprofen for swelling and pain. I didn’t like to take ibuprofen often, but when it got bad enough I would take some to take the edge off.
- Nurse often. When baby is still unable to empty your over full breasts, nursing frequently, even for short times, will help keep the major discomfort at bay.
- Pump if you have to but only enough to make you comfortable and try to avoid pumping if you can. As I mentioned before, pumping is designed to simulate a nursing baby so it will stimulate your body into thinking it needs to provide milk during that time, when in fact, you don’t really need more milk! But, it can help to take the edge off. I pumped a handful of times during those early 6 weeks of crazy engorged breasts.
- Cabbage leaves can also help from what my lactation consultant mentioned, but I was hesitant to use them since they can actually reduce your supply. I didn’t want to reduce my supply and risk not having enough. Cabbage leaves are also recommended for stopping lactation so I tried to avoid them and managed to get by without using them.
- Get support! And by support, I mean for that ample bosom that is causing you so much discomfort. I was told at the hospital to wear a loose fitting bra. Forget that! I tried that and had to fight off a painful (almost) case of mastitis. After pumping, massaging the lump, and then a hot shower while combing the lump (literally, I used a comb and went breast to nipple to work that sucker out!), I realized that what made it feel better was to have my breasts lifted more. Enter the use of a supportive bra. You know what sucks about wearing a nursing bra instead of a nursing tank? That mama belly just hangs out and gets cold! So, I’d wear both a nursing tank and a nursing bra, meaning two straps to unhook while poor Baby H laid there waiting for her liquid gold.
Enter the: Undercover Mama Nursing Shirt!
Undercover Mama sent me one of their nursing shirts to try out, in polka dot. Seriously, this thing rocks! I was skeptical at first. I wasn’t sure how it worked or how it work with all nursing bras. I mean, there are so many different brands out there, how could it possibly work with all nursing bras? They swore to me that it would…challenge accepted!
I own 5 nursing bras, all different brands, that use the standard clasps – clearly, I have been looking for the magical nursing bra. Undercover Mama was right, it works with all of my nursing bras. All.Of.Them…Perfectly. The miracle nursing shirt fits and has been a saving grace to no longer needing to wear both a nursing tank and a nursing bra. I will definitely be getting more!
How Does it Work?
You know those clasps that you see on strapless bras when you can attach separate straps or on swim suits with adjustable straps? The Undercover Mama nursing shirt has those little clasps that easily slide onto your bra straps. Then you take the rubber loop and use that on the bra clasp instead of the plastic piece that comes with the bra. Easy peasy! No more unhooking 2 hooks and my belly stays warm and covered while nursing.
I have now added the Undercover Mama nursing shirt to my must have list for all nursing mothers. In fact, I know I’ll be getting more, at least a white one and a black one. The only thing I would do different is order a size medium instead of a small. I am 5ft tall, about 135lbs with a bust size of 37, I can wear both a 38D and a 36D bra size depending on the brand. I went off the size chart provided on the Undercover Mama website, but I am in between sizes bust-wise so I opted for the smaller size but it is snug across my chest, not too tight, but I do prefer my clothes to fit a little looser for comfort. So, my recommendation is that if you are in between sizes go with the larger size if you’re like me and like loose fitting clothes, if you like form fitting clothes the size smaller should fit you just fine as well.
Buy Your Own:
On the Undercover Mama website for $24.99