Hyperlactation – The story of too much breastmilk

Last year, 2017, I found about the World Breastfeeding Week. As the breastfeeding week was going on, the Internet was flooded with beautiful tips, advantages, and colorful experiences. I found a few really inspiring stories and help for low milk supply. But another topic is quite left out, it’s overabundant milk supply or hyperlactation.

My story of hyperlactation

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My initial months of breastfeeding story was a zig-zag road. I must confess many times I thought to stop breastfeeding. During every feed, I kept pushing the stop of lactation period to 6 months mark. By the time my Penguin was 6th months old, I pushed the mark till 1 year. Now, it’s 2 years at least and self-wean from the breast. Even WHO recommends it till 2 years.

My penguin was born 2.3 kilos. He was a bag of bones. Upon that my milk didn’t come out immediately and the baby was formula-fed. Adding to it, he rejected the top feed and puked badly. I was feeling so bad at that moment. Guilty with motherhood kicked in. Along came suggestions saying eat this or that to increase supply. I was confused. It was overwhelming. Colostrum made its way a few hours later.

It is a common practice to have boiled veggies and lots of milk enhancing food in the early postpartum period. I was no different. I ate garlic, palak (spinach), unripe papaya, fenugreek seeds, carrots, oatmeal, fennel seeds. You name it, I ate it. I was desperate to feed my baby. But nothing changed. My son cried a lot and elders were convinced he was wailing out of hunger and I was not producing enough. I was frantic. Even though the doctor wasn’t sure of low supply, still she prescribed galactagogues upon my pleading. And I had it religiously for weeks. I thought mothers either have a good supply or a scary low supply.

Meanwhile starting from 3rd day, my breast was engorged and painful. The baby struggled to suck and was restless. I was suggested to use hot compress (not warm, but hot). And I burned myself. Followed by a trip to the hospital and I was introduced to a new term – hand express. I was that ignorant. It was painful and I had already burned myself. It was bad, but I was happy that now my baby would be well fed. But the horror had just begun.

In less than an hour, after a feed session, I was engorged again. So, I decided to keep feeding the baby until I get relief. And marathon feed foundation was laid, my baby’s demand feed happened later. The next couple of months passed with my Maa and me figuring out what happened. I consulted doctors in gynecology, medicine, and surgery. But nothing worked. Before the end of the 1st month, I stopped eating the home remedies to increase milk supply. Yet by 2nd month painful bouts with every feeding sessions started. I was so exhausted that I planned to stop breastfeeding. But once my baby was hungry and started crying I would ditch the plan and nurse him. It was so depressing, I used to cry with pain yet feed him. My parents used to cry in the next room. That’s parenting.

Even after stopping every kind of galactagogues I was in pain. I was scared to breastfeed. And after every feeding session, I prayed to let the baby stay happy for the longest period. The vicious circle of warm compress- feed- warm compress was tiring. I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I used to have a low-grade fever for days together. My breasts used to be swollen and tender most of the time. While pumping my milk was grain-like or string-like, or too fat and creamy. I was scared to pump when a few days later the milk turned pinkish with blood mixed.

It was new for my family to see a new mother with pain before -during -after breastfeeding. Old grannies and aunts got a new case study in me. And by then, I was clueless yet determined to breastfeed at least till 6 months.

As if the sore nipples, fever, fatigue and painful feeds were not enough to experience, I had lumps around breast and armpits. Finally, I stumbled across homeopath and it worked. I was relieved and more determined.

It was a case of hyperlactation. Earlier appearances of fever, swollen breasts, inflammation were from plugged ducts, mastitis and abscess. It took me 4 months to enjoy breastfeed my miracle baby.

So, are you wondering, what is hyperlactation? How to read the symptoms? What are the reason and the solution? I can read your thoughts. Read on more about it in next post.

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41 thoughts on “Hyperlactation – The story of too much breastmilk”

  1. I had no idea that there was such a thing as Hyperlactation. Truly, mostly mothers are worried about low feed.

    I could understand the pain and the discomfort though. Also, the pain and the discomfort around breastfeeding is not talked about much and is even frowned upon by the older generation.

    Reply
  2. Aah swthrt must have been so painful for you yet you held on to the mother’s instinct of giving the best to your baby. I am so proud you decided to share this.

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  3. Oh . I have heard about hyper lactation but never encountered someone who is going through this. Oh, swollen breasts, fever, inflammation would be a painful phase but I am glad you continued to breastfeed your baby.

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  4. I have not heard of this before but I can imagine what you must have gone through …It’s so nice you shared this as might be someone who have same issue can relate and it can help them.

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  5. Oh this looks to be an painful ordeal that you have gone through. Hugs to you and kudos that you found the strength to continue it.

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  6. Mothers are bundled up with lot of patience. I could hear you so well as I was also one of the hyper lactation mom, and went through lot of pain for first 3 months, later things got normal.

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  7. Low supply or hyper-lactation both issues are painful for a mother.. Seeing a blood coming out with milk is scary. I too have faced this. Kudos to us moms who don’t give up breastfeeding despite all this.

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  8. My lactation period was the toughest thing I have faced in life. Baby was always hungry and the supply was so low. I had to give him top feed and then he hated bm!!! To accept that was the hardest thing. I wish I had traits of hyper lactation!!

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    • Oh no dear Tina. For low milk supply there are supplements, science is boon in form of formula when doctors say so. While with hyperlactation you suffer months of wrong diagnosis, not to mention the pain and struggles, it lead me to PPD in worst form. Grass is always green the other side dear.

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  9. I had something similar and can so related with the pain and all the fatigue it caused. But I started pumping milk and my husband and my mother happily fed my son while I use to catch on some sleep

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    • I wasn’t aware for breastpump until day 10. Later got a manual one, another horrible misinformed mistake. It never worked well. I couldn’t afford or borrow an electric one.
      I am glad you found a solution with pumps, I remember reading about them in your blog .

      Reply

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