Too much milk!
ok so i know some moms would hate me for this since too little a milk supply is a more common problem, but my 4 week old cannot handle my supply or more importantly, my forceful let down! the poor boy chokes and gags everytime he starts and usually once more during a feeding. i dont want to vastly decrease my supply because i want to be able to freeze/store some but with him eating every 3 hrs i can't pump much extra ever. should i maybe pump for 2 mins before each feeding to get past the let down or something? then i can store some every day but i also dont want to make things worse and increase supply by too much!?
Oversupply and forceful let down is much more common than you'd think. I had both something fierce. Do a google search on laid back breastfeeding. That really helped us with the forceful let down. It will get better with time. For the oversupply, you mustn't pump unless you schedule in a pump session every day with the sole purpose of creating a stash. BFing is all supply and demand. If you demand more by pumping you're going to exacerbate the problem. If you're uncomfortable or LO can't latch on because you're too full then hand express just enough to soften up your nipple. Honestly, unless you have to go back to work in the next few weeks, the stash can wait. You don't need a monster stash because you'll always need to pump just as much as you offer so having even 20 ounces of surplus around will be more than sufficient to fill in any minor gaps (such as ooops, I left my EBM in a hot car and now it STINKS). Put off pumping and creating a stash until you really have to. BUT, if you are going back to work you should think about when to introduce a bottle. Don't wait until the prescribed 6-7 weeks have gone by. Introduce it as soon as you know in your gut that your baby loves booby and is doing well. That doesn't mean that things are going perfectly but you'll just know. If you wait too long you might deal with bottle refusal, which is not fun ... trust me.
Another little hint. Do a quick test of how well your breast milk stores before starting a stash. A small percentage of women find that their milk takes on a rancid smell and taste after refrigeration/freezing. I have this problem and I didn't know it until I'd created a 200+ ounce stash. Since I also have oversupply & forceful letdown I'm more inclined to suggest you do this test as I'm not positive these two qualities and the storing issue are unrelated. To test you milk, pump a little bit (just an ounce or two) then stick it in you refrigerator. Do a quick sniff and taste test every day for a week. If your milk is fine and dandy after the week is up you're good to go. If not (you'll know), contact me and I'll tell you how you can deal with it. Its so easy to do this test and SOOOO worth it.
For the forceful letdown, I found that it was very helpful to unlatch during letdown and let the excess spray into a prefold or a towel so that baby wasn't choking/gagging. Since you're wanting to create a stash, spraying into a bottle may be more helpful for you here. For pumping itself though, I wouldn't pump before nursing, I'd pump after so you're only getting the "extra" milk if that makes sense.
As for the oversupply, any amount of pumping will continue to signal the body to produce the extra milk. The best thing for us, was to block nurse. Feed on the same side for two sessions before switching (if you can) because it tells the body to stop producing so much milk. Only do this though if you find that you still have too much even after creating your stash. :)
I'm tired and headed to bed so I apologize if that's incoherent :P