A question new moms commonly have is; how do I maintain a sufficient milk supply when I go back to activities that take me away from my little one for periods of everyday?
If you have managed to get breastfeeding going well, you are at about 6 - 8 weeks out and you are looking at; normal life with the addition of your little one, planning some time on your own, or you are returning to work away from baby, you are probably considering your options and wondering about maintaining your milk supply for the near and/or extended future.
Maintaining a milk supply while adding activities and changing schedules is often a concern for parents of babies. Below are a few things to consider and put into practice to help maintain a milk supply while continuing to engage in all of life's opportunities.
Many moms who find themselves with a baby who weans earlier than mom had intended, site the reason as not having enough milk. The perception of, or actual lack of enough milk is sometimes simply the result of not understanding some of the basics of breastfeeding, especially during times of changing schedules in a family.
Demand & supply is the economy of breastfeeding.
Here are some basic facts to consider as you move into your next phase of mothering;
Your body will continue to make milk if you continue to express it either with your baby suckling at the breasts or by expressing with an effective breast pump.
A healthy baby with a good latch and on demand access to the nursing mother tends (generally) to be more efficient at maintaining a supply than expressing milk with a pump is.
If you are concerned about the amount you have stored for when baby is with caregivers other than yourself (if you are leaving breast milk with them) just continue to have a regular pumping session(s) while you are away from baby.
Also, continuing nighttime nursing is important for maintaining a milk supply due to day & night hormonal shifts. This may be especially important as you transition to being away from your baby for hours per day. Keep in mind that your baby may change schedules to be with you more in the night and will stay awake accordingly. Both you and baby will need time to adjust to routine times apart.
Also, note that many caregivers tend to give more milk when you are absent then a baby might actually consume from the breast than if baby had been with you during the same time period. Feeding more is just an easy and effective way to calm a baby who is missing mom or other primary attachment person.
Mother and baby togetherness provides the option for on- demand nursing and an excellent opportunity to maintain an adequate milk supply.
As is always recommended; if you are struggling with maintaining your milk supply, getting rest or adjusting to new motherhood. Reach out for support and assistance.
A Birth Doula or Postpartum Doula Can Play a Beneficial Role in Your Baby Moon.
Visit our Doula page to learn more.
A Lactation Consultant can offer valuable information and support in getting breastfeeding off to a good start and provide guidance in maintaining a milk supply. Visit our LC page for more information.