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!
Researching all of the various types of breast pumps out there can feel overwhelming. Why are there so many? A variety of choices allows every mom to find the right pump for her – but how do you know when a hospital-grade pump is right for YOU?
Hospital-grade breast pumps have powerful motors (but a lot more comfortable) and are designed to be long-lasting and reduce contamination, so they can be used by multiple people in a medical/hospital setting (each with their own accessory kit). These pumps are much better than the pumps you can buy retail or receive from your insurance company. This extra strength mimics a baby’s natural sucking stimulation and allows for more efficient and shorter pumping times – this is especially helpful in the postpartum period when you are establishing your supply and maximizing your potential for milk production.
A few reasons we may recommend a hospital-grade pump:
Contact us today to discuss your options and do a little trial. Most of our services are covered by insurance, including rentals of our hospital-grade equipment! We also have plenty of personal use pumps available for purchase.
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.
In a word, YES!
Parents and caregivers are rightly concerned about keeping their babies safe as coronavirus becomes a global health issue- read on to learn how your amazing breastmilk protects your baby from illnesses!
The CDC states that breastmilk as the best source of nutrition for infants, and protects against many illnesses.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine says that “there are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended.”
According to UNICEF, mothers can continue breastfeeding.
These guidelines are being updated often, as more is learned about how COVID-19 is spread. Continue to check back for current guidance for breastfeeding families.
Your breastmilk is an amazing substance: It contains antibodies to illnesses you may be exposed to, and helps your baby fight them off.
Human milk provides your baby with the best possible protection against disease. It’s packed with living cells that prevent infection, and the free fatty acids in human milk are antiviral.
Proteins in human milk are antimicrobial and stimulate baby’s immune system. Even the carbohydrates in breastmilk have a role in fighting pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
We can help you protect your breastfeeding relationship, milk production, and your baby’s health. Call us today for support! Now offering virtual visits.
“What can a lactation consultant do for me?” In order to answer that question, I’d ask you “how many different opinions and pieces of advice have you received so far regarding the right way to feed your new baby?” If you answered “more than one”, then scheduling a consultation is for you!
Of course, there’s truly not one right way to breastfeed, but several different ways determined by a variety of factors specific to mom and baby. Lactation consultants (and by the way, we’re all either board-certified-IBCLC’s, or board-eligible) can help you answer all your questions by spending an entire hour with you, baby, and your partner (or even the grandmother, nanny, or postpartum doula!). Everybody helping mom is welcome to come take part in this important visit.
All you need bring is your baby, a swaddling blanket, a bottle of water for yourself, and a list of your questions (or your partner’s questions). The consultant will watch a latch or teach you to latch. She can help you determine how often to feed baby or pump based on baby’s weight and your milk supply. She will also discuss helping you get into a routine to ensure baby gains about an ounce a day from day three onward. With a hospital grade scale, they can even do pre- and post-feed weights (meaning the baby is weighed, you feed and they baby is weighed again). They will address any nipple soreness, teach you comfortable positioning, decipher cluster feeding (meaning feeding ALL the time), and teach you new burping techniques. Maybe you need help with having too much milk or not enough milk; maybe it’s time to wean or baby is simply chomping like a little shark…..this is all part of what they can do for you.
You can rent a hospital grade pump or scale, buy the perfect feeding bottle for your baby, get the best nipple cream or purchase a littlebeam breastfeeding pillow. If you’d rather bring your own supplies, that works too. The responsibility of the consultant is to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals. If you’ve decided to feed both breastmilk and formula, you won’t find any judgement or arm twisting….it’s all about you.
Even if you think breastfeeding is going fairly well, there’s always a trick or two the lactation consultants will be able to teach you. Alternatively, they can offer reassurance that both you and baby are amazingly in sync! Partners are also usually happy to pick up tips on how they can help mom.
So, feel free to getting touch with us- you’ll be on your way to feeling confident on your breastfeeding journey! Most all private insurances accepted for home and office visits, and we have several convenient locations throughout the DC area, including Northern Virginia at TPG Pediatrics, Columbia, MD and Bethesda, MD. Please call Metropolitan Breastfeeding at 301-943-9293 to schedule today