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Oversupply of breast milk

Some mums produce too much breast milk, which comes with its own challenges.

What are the symptoms?

If you have engorged breasts and frequent leaking or spraying, you could be producing more milk than your baby needs. You'll be able to tell best from your baby's behaviour - if you're producing too much milk for your baby they may splutter, gasp, fuss and perhaps rapidly gain weight.

What causes it?

Everyone's different. Some mums produce too much milk, others produce too little and it's not always clear why. Sometimes over-supply is the result of expressing and stockpiling milk too often, or attempting to feed to a set schedule, timing feeds or only offering one breast per feed rather than feeding responsively.

What's the solution?

Make sure you're feeding your baby responsively whenever:

  • Your baby shows feeding cues or is unsettled (sometimes they just need a little drink from the breast)
  • Your breasts feel tingly or full.
  • You think that your baby has overslept
  • You just want to sit, rest and feed your baby

Speak to your health visitor or a Breastfeeding Helpline Advisor (0300 100 0212) about your breastfeeding and expressing patterns. They may recommend stopping expressing for a while to bring down your supply to match your baby's needs. However, you could just be one of those mums whose bodies are made to make extra milk. An answer to your problem and something to consider would be to donate your excess milk to the Scottish Donor Milk Bank for vulnerable babies whose mums can't express enough milk. You can find out more about how to do this in our article on the Scotland-wide donor milk bank.

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Last updated: 20 May, 2019