700 Children's Blog

Overproduction of Breast Milk: Can Anything Be Done?

Nov 24, 2017

As a neonatologist, I see many moms who struggle with breastfeeding. But, what if you have too much of a good thing? Is that possible? Can you really make too much milk? And is that bad? Yes, yes and yes!

Women with too much milk may have just as many problems as women who don’t have enough and they might feel just as guilty about their supply, but for different reasons. It is hard for a woman to speak up and say, “I need help. This is too much.”  These women shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.

Moms with an over-supply, or too much milk, are at increased risk of mastitis and plugged ducts. These moms may feel like they need a breast pump attached to their hip, because they become so uncomfortable if they are late to pump. This can cause great anxiety and pain if a meeting runs over, they get stuck in traffic, or if baby sleeps a little longer one night.

Moms with an oversupply may make 2-3 times the volume their baby needs. If these moms are breastfeeding, they could have babies with excessive reflux, to the point of considering medication. Their babies may be extra gassy from a high lactose load, or they might bite or clamp down when breastfeeding to stop the overflow of milk.

They also may be very fussy at the breast because they want to suck for comfort and not nutrition, but are not able to do so without getting milk. This can make for a very unpleasant breastfeeding experience for mom and baby.

There are several ways to decrease a milk supply on purpose, but this should only be done with the help of a certified lactation consultant. The goal should be to decrease your supply just enough to be manageable, but still have enough to feed your baby.

I encourage any mom with extra milk to consider donating to a Human Milk Bank associated with Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). I see the direct benefit this milk has for our extremely premature and fragile infants every day, and I am truly grateful for its availability!

For more information on Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services, click here.

Featured Expert

Vanessa Shanks, MD, FAAP
Clinical Nutrition and Lactation, Medical Director

All Topics

Browse by Author

About this Blog

Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.