What do you do when the milk ejection reflex seems to be more forceful than what the infant can handle? Well, there are many reasons that this could be happening. It is super important to figure out the reasoning behind the forceful letdown, in order to be able to address it in an appropriate manner.

What causes a forceful letdown? 

One of the main reasons that some nursing parents may experience an overactive milk ejection reflex, or letdown, is due to oversupply. During the first four-six weeks or so, the nursing parent’s body is still learning how much milk to make to meet the demands of the growing newborn. Of course, when the initial production of mature milk begins, the body is typically making more than what the newborn needs. It takes time for the body to then regulate how much to feed. After all, milk production is all about supply and demand. 

Another reason for a forceful letdown is that the milk can be flowing too quickly, which could also be from an oversupply as well. When this happens, the infant may exhibit behaviors such as pulling away from the breast during the letdown, choking, gagging, and sometimes even becoming fussy at the breast.

How can you address a forceful letdown and what could  be done?

The good news is that there are some remedies that help in instances of overactive letdown. One of the best remedies is positioning. If you notice that the baby is unhappy, fussy, or otherwise uncomfortable during the letdown phase of a feed, try to reposition the baby to be in a more upright position. For instance, if you are using football or cross-cradle (modified cradle), or cradle position, try to readjust the infant’s head to a more upright hold within the breastfeeding position. In addition, you can always try laid back breastfeeding. It is important to note, that when trying any breastfeeding positions, that you have created a safe area for you and baby, especially when sitting in chairs like recliners or ones that have lots of cushion.

Consider these tips when creating a safe, comfortable environment for your nursing space.

What tools could I use to help? 

Consequently, there are other ways to address a milk ejection reflex, otherwise known as forceful letdown. One way that you could address this issue is by hand expressing until you feel your milk begin to flow. Once your milk starts to flow, then you would proceed to latching your baby. Another way that would work would be to use a pump until your milk starts to flow and then proceed to latch the baby. You could use either an electric pump or a manual hand pump to accomplish this. A manual hand pump is not only a bit more convenient in this situation, but may even be more effective because you are actually able to control the suction.

Here at Rumble Tuff, we have an amazing option for a manual pump:

The great thing about the manual pump is that it is not only easily accessible, but it is compact and provides you with a convenient option to pump on a whim when needed. Of course, this can also be done with an electric pump as well. The great thing about doing it with an electric pump is that you can pre-pump both sides at the same time, which can initiate the first letdown.

Here is the link to one of our amazing electric breast pump options:

We’ve got you covered!

No matter what the reasoning is behind a forceful milk ejection reflex, please know that there are ways to counteract it. As always, we are here for pumping support HERE!

You’ve got this and we’ve got you!

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