Breastmilk production relies on supply and demand. Every baby is different, but between the ages of 2-4 months, and again around 6 months, you may notice a change in your baby's sleeping patterns. As your baby begins to sleep longer stretches at night, you may find yourself questioning how to best keep up your milk supply. Most parents are thrilled at the idea of getting more sleep, however, if you decide to skip that night feeding, your body will notice there is less demand for breastmilk and will begin producing smaller volumes.
You may be thinking... why do I need to keep up my supply if my baby's demand is less than before? Well, sleep patterns are not linear. As your baby grows and develops you may notice that there are some challenging sleep regressions along the way. Most commonly, these regressions occur at 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years. Thanks to growth spurts, teething, and other normal developmental milestones, your baby may wake more frequently at night again. Keeping a healthy supply will allow you to keep up with fluctuating demands and provide baby with exactly what they need to get through it.
This is where a breastpump comes in handy! Pumping at night during what would have been a nursing session will help send signals to your body to keep that liquid gold coming. If you are not already using a breastpump, now may be a good time to consult with a lactation consultant about your options and needs. At Metropolitan Breastfeeding, we offer hospital-grade pump rentals (is a hospital-grade pump is right for me?).
Stay Focused on Your Breastfeeding Goals:
-Commit to replacing a missed nighttime feedings with a pumping session.
-Why is breastfeeding important to you? Keep a list handy of all the benefits of breastfeeding to help remind you of your why.
-Keep a journal. Write down things your baby does when you are feeding them. Did they giggle? Smile? Caress you? How is your baby changing day to day and what sweet things did you notice? Look back on your entries whenever you lack motivation.
-Get an app to keep track of feedings. Patterns will emerge and this can help you adjust your schedule as your baby's sleep patterns change.
Build Your Support System:
-Work with a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. A lactation consultant is a health professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding and can help you and your baby overcome breastfeeding challenges.
-Work with a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach to work through those sleep regressions.
-Work with a Postpartum Doula. A doula isn't only for birth support! A postpartum doula can provide you with support, motivation, confidence, and education while you embark on your parenting journey.
-Friends, Family, and Community. Don't be afraid to ask for help with daily tasks so you can get quality rest and have more time to stay focused on meeting your breastfeeding challenges head-on.
Lastly, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. You're doing great!
This year has been especially challenging for everyone with the outbreak of COVID-19. With a surge in cases right now, parents with babies born during the pandemic are more concerned than ever about the health and wellbeing of their children. When it comes to breastfeeding, you may be wondering if it’s safe to do so. The short answer is yes! You can start and continue to breastfeed during this time with some recommended safety measures.
COVID-19 is transmittable through close contact with an infected person when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Currently, the COVID-19 virus has NOT been detected in breastmilk. This tells us that breastfeeding can continue despite the rise of COVID-19 with many benefits to you and your child.
Benefits of breastfeeding during a pandemic
While there is not enough information available to know if breastmilk protects babies from COVID-19, we do know breastfeeding provides your baby with numerous protections against infectious diseases. It also releases the hormone oxytocin in mom’s body helping to relieve the excess stress and anxiety a pandemic can bring. Need another reason to breastfeed right now? It’s free and readily available – this is particularly helpful during a pandemic when so many are unable to safely work or make trips to the grocery store.
What to do if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19
In addition to the CDC guidelines, these steps will help you avoid spreading the virus to your baby:
Wash your hands before touching your baby
Wear a cloth face covering while feeding at the breast
Wash your hands before touching pump or bottle parts and clean all parts after each use
Connect with your pediatrician and a lactation specialist
Symptoms of COVID-19
If you or anyone in your home is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider:
· Fever or chills
· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
· Muscle or body aches
· New loss of taste or smell
· Sore throat
· Congestion or runny nose
· Nausea or vomiting
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Maintaining your supply while isolating
If you test positive for COVID-19, the current guidelines suggest isolating for a period of 10 days from the onset of symptoms. If you choose to isolate you can pump regularly to keep your supply up. Make sure you are washing your hands before handling any pump equipment and bottles and clean your pump according to the directions for your brand. Have a healthy caregiver feed your baby when possible, making sure they thoroughly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before handling bottles.
For more information and guidance for multiple scenarios, visit the CDC website
Build your support team and have a plan in place for emergencies. Your support team can include:
· Friends and family
· Pediatrician & other healthcare providers
· Lactation consultant
· Postpartum doula
We can help you maintain your breastfeeding relationship safely as we now offer virtual support! You don’t have to go through these challenges alone, give us a call.
Oh- the weather outside is frightful, but the Winter Baby is so delightful!
That’s right, we’re going to be talking about Winter Babies! Some parents may be a bit worried about the logistics of having a baby during the colder months of the year, so we wanted to ease some of those concerns by highlighting the pros of having a Winter Baby.
Snowing? No need to worry! You can stay in with your baby and enjoy watching the snow fall while cuddling up with your little one! Throw on a movie or a show to binge and get comfy with your bundle of joy.
Baby will be ready to go out on Spring adventures
By the time Spring comes around, your baby will be more interactive and ready for Spring and Summer adventures with the family.
Holidays and sense of togetherness
The holidays are the staple of the winter season, and you’ll have an amazing gift to share the season with. Click here to read our blogpost on setting holiday boundaries with your family!
Pajama Season> Bathing Suit Season
After giving birth, you probably want to cuddle up in your pajamas and fluffy blankets. This is what winter is all about! We think pajama season is a hundred times better than swimsuit season!
Who doesn’t love food? Winter time is known for turkey, stuffing, mac n’ cheese, and all types of desserts (are you drooling yet?). There’s something about a plate of food, a cup of hot chocolate, and cuddles from a newborn that can bring a feeling of happiness to anyone.
Did you have a Winter Baby? If so, what are some of your favorite things about having your baby during the cooler months? Tell us on our Facebook! Also, check out our tips on surviving winter with a newborn to make sure you’re prepared for cold and flu season.
Tis the season of holiday gatherings and events, and we know how stressful the season can be for parents with a newborn. This season is full of love and family togetherness, but it can come at a price for newborns. With the weather getting colder and families spending most of the days inside, colds and flu are a cause for concern for many parents of newborns. Because of this, it’s important for new parents to set boundaries with family and friends during holiday get-togethers. A general rule we believe is important is the ‘No touching’ rule. It seems simple enough, but we all know that there will be at least one person that wants to believe they are the exception to the rule.
The grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., will want to cuddle and kiss on their new addition to the family, and you might be a little more hesitant to tell them ‘no.’ We get it – they’re family! But the little bundle of joy you brought into the world needs you to be the one to protect them from possible exposure to the cold and flu. If you are having trouble thinking of how to lay down the law, here are some helpful tips:
Sick and Breastfeeding
If you or your breastfed baby do become sick, the best thing you could do is continue breastfeeding. The amazing thing about breastmilk is that its composition will change to help baby’s needs. For example, your body will know if you or your baby is sick and will increase the antibodies produced in the breastmilk. So, if the breastfeeding parent stopped breastfeeding they will not only hurt their supply, but they’ll also prevent the baby from obtaining those needed antibodies.
The holidays can be a tad stressful, but don’t let that stop you or your family from enjoying it! Set your ground rules, be sure everyone fully understands, and go have a little fun. If you have any holiday stories about your baby, we’d love to hear about it on our Facebook!
It’s getting colder and messier outside, and it’s time to start prepping for winter! If you just gave birth or are expecting to give birth in the midst of the cold months, there are some important things to keep in mind as it gets colder. Be sure to check out the links for more detailed information! Let’s begin!
Staying Around the House
When Going Out
If you or your baby gets sick
We hope that this little guide was helpful! If you suspect yourself or your baby have the cold or flu, please schedule an appointment with your pediatrician as soon as possible. If you feel as though your breastmilk supply is affected by the cold or flu, please schedule with an IBCLC as soon and possible to adjust your routine.