breastfeeding, dry up breast milk

Overactive Letdown | When Your Breasts Feel like a Fire Hydrant

If you’ve ever found yourself going to breastfeed and quickly almost drowning your baby with breastmilk, you’ve likely experienced what’s known as “overactive letdown.”

Your letdown reflex comes into play when your baby latches to feed. It’s a normal process; however, sometimes it can feel like there’s just way too much milk in there for your little one to nurse in one session! 

No need to worry, we have some tips that can help you slow your breastmilk flow and feed your little one in comfort. 

But first, what is overactive letdown?

The overactive letdown reflex is described as the (rather) forceful release of breast milk while breastfeeding a newborn. Doctors aren't quite sure what causes some mamas to experience this. 

Some believe it is due to a strong reaction to the hormone oxytocin or that some women naturally have an oversupply of breast milk. When you have an overactive letdown, breast milk often comes out faster than your little one can handle and may cause fussiness and discomfort to your baby.

Signs and Symptoms of Overactive Letdown

You will most likely know when this is becoming a problem. Signs and symptoms can include your baby suddenly unlatching, choking, gulping, acting fussy at feeding time, or refusing to take the nipple. 

You may notice milk spraying from your nipple once your baby unlatches. If your newborn chokes on the breast milk because of an overactive letdown, they may not want to latch back onto your nipple and can become frustrated and hungry. If they keep gulping it down, it could lead to gas and colic when can make breastfeeding even more difficult. 

What Can I Do to Ease the Flow?

If your breasts feel like they’re a busted fire hydrant, you'll want to learn how to dry up your breast milk naturally. 

For years, lactating mothers used cabbage leaves to dry up breast milk by placing them in their bras. However, we don’t want that for you. Friends don’t let friends wear vegetables in their undergarments! 


cabocream for overactive letdown

Using CaboCreme made with cabbage leaf extract. CaboCreme is available in regular or extra strength and has a pleasant, lavender aroma. It’s easy to carry with you and works to help slow your milk within about 15 minutes (and soothes engorgement) which is why so many mamas in our community love it! 


You can also try using a nipple shield, pump your breast milk, and take more breaks while breastfeeding so your baby can latch and be nourished more easily. In addition, you can try positioning your body by leaning back so the baby faces down to the nipple. This position will help excess milk drain away from your newborn's face. 

We have so many wonderful lactation consultants in our Instagram community, we’d love for you to join us there and connect so you can get the support you need.