Is Excessive Milk Production or Hyperlactation Dangerous?
Every nursing mother does have different milk production from one another. Some are minimal and some are very smooth and even excessive. So, is excessive milk production or hyperlactation dangerous, Mother?
An oversupply of breast milk is also known as hyperlactation or hypergalactia. An oversupply of milk occurs when the breasts produce more milk than is needed for the normal growth of a nursing baby.
During the first few weeks of breastfeeding, it is normal to experience an overabundance of milk supply. If you have an oversupply, that abundance continues beyond those initial weeks.
Is excessive milk production or hyperlactation dangerous?
People with oversupply usually notice that their baby coughs and chokes on feedings. Babies also tend to get in and out of the breast as they struggle to suckle and breathe. They may pinch or bite while feeding to try to stop the strong flow.
While it’s natural to measure your supply to determine if you’re producing too much milk, the problem isn’t that simple. If you are breastfeeding, your milk will go directly to your baby, not into the container. The best way to determine whether your milk is oversupply is to look at the symptoms in your baby and yourself.
Symptoms of hyperlactation can be seen from both mother and baby. According to Donnya Murray, RN, BSN, quoted from the Very Well Family page, some of the symptoms of hyperlactation in mothers include:
Have breasts that are flaccid and overly full so the baby may struggle when they try to latch on Swelling of the breast Leaky breasts Hard breasts that don’t get softer after feeding Blocked milk ducts Sore nipples
Meanwhile, symptoms in infants are characterized by:
Fussy feeding Poor latch Crying when offered a feed Refusal to breastfeed
Whenever your little one feeds, they start by getting a low-fat, high-sugar, watery milk called foremilk. As breastfeeding progresses, the foremilk transitions into a higher fat and creamier milk called hindmilk. Hindmilk is more filling and helps satisfy your baby’s hunger.
When you have more milk than your baby needs, your baby may fill up on foremilk and stop suckling before getting very much hindmilk.
Babies who don’t get enough hindmilk may want to breastfeed more often because they don’t feel full. Alternatively, lack of adequate high-calorie hindmilk can also cause inadequate weight gain.
Oversupply of milk is often associated with a very strong let-down reflex. If the flow of milk from the breast is too strong and fast, it will be difficult for your baby to suckle. Babies who try to suckle through a strong let-down often choke and gasp for air.
Choking and gasping can cause a baby to vomit, hiccup, gas, and look like colic. These things can lead doctors to misdiagnose gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), colic, or milk protein allergy. Misdiagnosis and lack of proper breastfeeding support can also result in earlier than desired weaning.
When you are oversupplied, you may not be able to fully drain your breasts, which makes you more likely to have recurrent breast infections. Mastitis can sometimes become chronic. Candida, an overgrowth of yeast in the breasts, can also occur.
The risk of hyperlactation for Mother and baby
Mothers with oversupply struggle with frustration and loneliness. Work and social interactions can be difficult because the breasts are often painful and full. They may leak often and are strong, making it hard to feel ready.
You may assume that oversupply is not a problem or that it is a ‘problem’ that other people want. And, this lack of support can feel very isolating for you.
An oversupply of breast milk can also make breastfeeding difficult. The jet of milk during feeding may be too strong, causing the baby to choke and cough. Hyperlactation can cause the baby to gain too much weight, as quoted from the Mayo Clinic page.
Babies can also gain too little weight if they get too much carbohydrate-rich foremilk and not enough fat-rich hindmilk. The baby may be fussy at first, have trouble maintaining the latch, and be disinterested at the feed. They may also contain gas.
If you suspect hyperlactation, talk to a lactation consultant. She may recommend nursing on one side per feed and offering the same breast for at least two hours, until the next full feeding. If your other breast feels full and uncomfortable, express it by hand or pump for a few moments.
Positioning the baby while feeding under certain conditions so that gravity slows down the flow of milk might help. Try leaning back while breastfeeding. Also, burp your baby frequently and let him release the breast as needed.
The hyperlactation usually stops within a few weeks. If the problem persists, contact your doctor immediately, Mother, to get further treatment.
Hope the information helps, Mother.
For mothers who want to share about parenting and can get lots of giveaways, let’s join the HaiBunda Squad community. Register click HERE. Free!
Watch the video about the story of Ratna Galih who experienced hyperlactation while breastfeeding.