Let-down is when milk made in the alveoli is released and the milk flows through the various ducts in your breast and ultimately exits through your nipples. Let-down is also called the milk-ejection reflex.
As the milk travel through the ducts, it may hurt and this is called “painful let-down”. Most women will notice let-down as a tingling sensation or a feeling of “pins & needles”. Some women don’t notice anything during let-down while other women find it extremely painful: they experience sharp, stabbing pain across the chest as the milk is released.
For women who experience tingling sensations during let-down – this is not a real problem. It is a reality that must be accept as a apart of breastfeeding. Sometimes, the tingling sensation diminish over time and is remembered only as a
“oh yes, that happened to me before.”
For women who experience extreme pain during let-down, it may be due engorged breasts and/or your body making too much milk.
- If the painful let-down is due to engorged breasts, follow the ideas here to reduce engorgement. In about 4 or 5 days, your breast will regulate its milk production according to supply and demand. Hopefully the painful let-down will stop once your breasts are no longer engorged.
- If painful let-down is due to your body making too much milk (even after the engorgement period), then you can try to train your body to make less milk. To do this:
By allowing your breast to stay full, it will send a signal to our body that there is too much milk and less should be made. Hopefully, the amount of milk your breasts produce will decrease within a few days. With less milk gushing through your milk ducts, there should be less pain.
- breastfeed your baby from one breast at each feeding.
- Alternate to the other breast on the next feeding; but again, feed from one breast only.
- Painful let-down can also be due to a yeast infection, or other complications. Ask your physician for more information.