The supply of breastmilk basically depends on a simple formula of demand and supply. Your breast will produce the same amount of milk that has been drawn from the breasts. The more quickly and frequently the breasts get empty the more quickly they’re filled back. No matter if you empty the breasts with a pump or the baby does it. In order to maintain a steady supply mothers must nurse the babies exclusively for the first six months and put them to the breasts at least 6-8 times daily initially. Later on, when solid foods are introduced the feeding schedule can be altered as per the demand. If a mother feels her breast milk production is low she can visit to learn more on how to boost production with the help of breastmilk supplement. But oftentimes the case is reversed and the mother has an overabundance of milk supply.

You might think that an oversupply of breastmilk is a dream but the ones who experience it have a different view.  Anything in excess is bad and so is breastmilk supply. An overflow of milk can be temporary if the mother has engorged breasts, has missed a couple of feeding sessions in a row, the baby is having a problem in latching or an overactive letdown reflex. These phases are transitory and will go away as the reason is fixed. But if a mother has a surplus milk supply in general without any milk supply booster then block feeding is a great way to combat it. But first you have to make sure that the reason for the overabundance of milk supply is in fact natural which can be identified by your lactation consultant easily if the baby is peeing, pooing and gaining weight steadily.

This article will be a complete guide about block feeding, how to do it, for whom it is great, its benefits, side effects and the proper schedule to follow for success.

What’s Block Feeding?

In simple and understandable words, block feeding is a technique that is applied so that the body supplies milk in accordance with the demand. As mentioned earlier, the milk production is based on the demand, when the breasts are stimulated with sucking or pumping the body will understand that demand is high and the production will step up. But if the breasts aren’t frequently stimulated and the milk isn’t entirely drained from the breasts then the milk production will not be overactive. Block feeding is a way that leaves the milk in the breasts and decreases the rate of production significantly.

How to Block Feed the Baby?

Block feeding isn’t something very complicated or hard to comprehend, it just needs determination, persistence and routine. The mother has to feed the baby from one side of the breasts for a specific block of time, usually 3-6 hours or 2-4 feeding sessions. After the first block of time, she can switch the breasts and do the same for the next block of time. The preferred way to go about block feeding is to start by emptying the breasts just enough to ease the pressure with a pump. When the breasts feel a bit softer and touchable, offer just one breast to the child. Offer the same breast all this block of time approx. 3-6 hours. Nurse the baby on demand, let your baby drink milk from the same side even if you feel that the other breasts are getting heavier.

Once you have fed from one side for a block of time, you can then switch the breasts and repeat the whole process on this side of the breast. If you feel that the unused breast is really getting engorged, pump it just enough to relieve the pressure but DO NOT empty it, otherwise all the effort will go in vain. The block feeding method does take a few days to work in its entirety but it’s an effective way to normalize the milk production. The recommended time for a block is 3-6 hours but if the supply is just too much then the block timing can go up till 8-10 hours.

Block Feeding should Be Avoided by

Block feeding methods should only be used by mothers who experience an oversupply of milk production problems. Mothers wouldn’t relate to it as most of them might experience a low milk supply, taking breast milk supplements as a milk supply booster. But there are mothers who have stimulated breast production more than the need. If you want to increase milk supply then steer clear of block feeding. Mothers of new born babies should also avoid this method as the body is trying to strike a balance between demand and supply and block feeding can disrupt the process. You should only opt for block feeding if after frequent feeding sessions you experience breasts engorgement, the child gags, coughs or gulps when you put him/her to the breasts or your breasts are leaking profusely.

Benefits and Side Effects of Block Feeding

Block feeding is a blessing for mothers dealing with overabundance of milk supply as it can really cause some embarrassing situations due to leaky breasts. Block feeding also saves mothers from engorgement, breast tenderness and pain in shoulders and neck due to heavy pressure of milk. But block feeding has several benefits for the babies as well. The hind milk left in the breasts is full of protein, fats and other essential vitamins which is a great source of nourishment for the babies. It also protects the baby from gagging due to high pressure of milk.

Block feeding also has some side effects which can lead to various other problems. The hind milk left in the breasts for long periods of time can ultimately clog the milk ducts and lead to mastitis. Block feeding done for prolonged periods can also decrease the supply of milk which is not good at all.

Takeaway Points

Blocking feeding schedules differ from mother to mother but it usually starts with a 3 hour block and goes up till 10hours depending on the superfluity of milk. Make sure to consult your doctor before starting block feeding.