Breastfeeding a new baby doesn’t have to mean sleep goes out the window, though it does for lots of mamas. Sleep is one of those things that can vary greatly from baby to baby. There are methods to help baby get into a routine for better sleep, though some babies never take to it. The cry-it-out method is fairly outdated, and most don’t use that method anymore, but choose a gentler, more scheduled approach.
Here at Milk Dust, we believe in helping mamas successfully breastfeed, as well as thrive postpartum. Part of thriving is getting at least some sleep. The beginning days are usually a hot mess with lots of sleepless nights learning to breastfeed, diaper changes and more. But after the first few nights, or week, you can start thinking about a sleep routine and getting more sleep.
The big question is HOW to get more sleep with a breastfeeding baby. Let’s get into our best tips to get more sleep.
Wear baby as much as needed during the day:
Wearing your baby is going to help them get peaceful sleep in the beginning. They are used to hearing your heart beat, and the movement for sleeping. By allowing your baby to nap and sleep as much as needed on you, they are getting as much sleep as they need during the day. This may sound counter intuitive, thinking they won’t be tired at night, but a well rested baby will be less-fussy, and still happy to sleep at night. As your baby gets older, and starts napping in larger chunks a couple times a day, this will change slightly. But as a newborn baby in the first few months, lots of naps on mama are great for better sleep at night. As they get older, around 5 months or so, you can start managing their naps, but until then, let them sleep and grow!
You will be able to transition baby into napping independently as you notice they start sleeping longer. Keep reading for tips to do that!
Try co-sleeping or a co-sleeper:
Babies do not like to be away from mama as a survival mechanism. You can train your baby to sleep in their own room and bed, but if your baby is struggling with sleep, we highly suggest co-sleeping. Especially if you do follow our first tip and wear baby during the day. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping with baby in your bed, there are many safe, co-sleeping beds which will help tremendously. By having baby in the same room, and near you, they can smell you and hear you breathing. This is soothing to your baby, so they can sleep longer. Also remember, babies sleep various chunks depending on how fast they are growing, genetics and personality. You may only get 3-hour chunks in the beginning. That’s okay, but usually a baby will sleep longer on or near mama.
Start using a noise machine right away:
Using a soft noise machine can train your baby to associate that noise with sleeping near you. This will help when you are ready to transition into a more independent sleeping arrangement (if that’s what you want!). As baby gets bigger, they won’t be as dependent on having mama so close for sleeping, but they can still associate the sound with safety.
Breastfeed on demand – as much as baby needs:
A full baby will sleep longer. Make sure you are allowing your baby to breastfeed as much as they need. Sometimes they just want to nurse for comfort, while other times their body needs the nourishment. Make sure you are allowing your baby to tell you what they need because their body knows! We have an in-depth post on how to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk, go guide you on your supply and if you need more. Babies will go through growth spurts and changes, so their eating patterns will change too. Roll with what your baby asks for, and make sure you are nourishing your body with lots of nutrient-dense foods, so you can keep up with the changes.
The stress of trying to sleep train a brand-new baby is often times too much. Some newborn babies respond well to a schedule right away, then it all changes as they get older, while other babies never respond to a schedule. Rather than stress over the sleeping issue, try to listen to your baby and work with what they need in the beginning. Most of the time following our first few tips really help with infants sleeping longer. As they get older, they will start showing signs of a sleep pattern for you to follow!
Look for a natural sleep pattern:
As your infant matures and grows, they will start showing signs of a natural sleep pattern. This will give you something to work with, to hopefully set yourself and baby up for success each night. Some babies start napping longer, and around the same time every day earlier than others, so be patient and watch closely. As you are wearing baby in the beginning, you will notice that they start sleeping longer and staying awake longer. This is your cue to think about a place for independent napping. If you know your baby’s favorite time to sleep, you can use that time to transition them into their own space. That most-likely will be in their co-sleeper, because they will be used to that from the evening.
Transition baby to nap independently when they naturally sleep the longest:
It can get exhausting having baby only sleep on you. That’s why as soon as you notice a time of day they like to sleep the longest, you can use that long nap to transition them to nap in their co-sleeper with the noise machine. Start with one nap to transition at a time. Allow for a few weeks to adjust to one nap independently, then work with the other naps and times. Baby might still be sleeping a few times a day in shorter spurts. Which you can transition those times into their nap space too. This will help baby slowly get used to sleeping on their own, but without being a huge, stressful ordeal on mama.
Take as much off your plate as you can:
One way you can manage life with less sleep is to delegate and let go of as many stressful tasks as you can for a short period of time. This is really hard as a mama to do, especially if you have other children and a newborn. Some things you can do are:
Get disposal plates, bowls and utensils. Skip the dishes for a few months, and get bio-degradable material.
Make quick and easy smoothies for fast nourishment
Buy more frozen food that’s easy to heat and serve.
Have a laundry party with friends and family, or put visitors to work with a new baby. True friends and family are happy to help a new mama get some things done!
Get your groceries delivered. It actually doesn’t cost much more at all, and saves a lot of stress!
Have your older children pack their own lunches or buy lunch a few days a week
Ask your significant other to handle more chores for a while
Ask moms to help you with carpooling your other children
There are ways to lighten the load if you get creative, and remember to make smoothies for yourself! These smoothies will help you nourish your body quickly, with only one hand, even when life feels overwhelming. Try our free lactation recipe book for inspiration on what to make.
The decision to be an exclusively pumping mom comes from a variety of reasons. Breastfeeding doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes babies won’t latch. Some babies are too sick to breastfeed. There are moms who don’t want to breastfeed but do want their baby to get their breast milk.
Whatever the reason, exclusively pumping moms have their own unique needs and concerns. If you are struggling with breastfeeding issues, the thought of being an exclusively pumping mom may sound like the perfect answer to your problems.
However, the reality is that it is time-consuming and a lot of work. These tips and tricks will help the exclusively pumping mama make the milk she needs while maintaining her sanity.
How To Have a Good Milk Supply
Follow these rules to build and maintain a good supply of breast milk:
Have a good breast pump! – This cannot be emphasized enough.
A hospital/rental grade pump will be the most effective and efficient to establish a full milk supply.
Are there parts in your pump that are supposed to be replaced regularly?
Are all the connections and seals tight?
How many hours has the pump been used?
If you are using a personal pump, try renting a hospital-grade pump. If your supply increases, a new pump may be needed.
Call the pump company for a replacement if your pump is still in warranty.
Pump Kit Cleaning Tips
One challenge of exclusive pumping is the fact that you have to pump, feed your baby the pumped milk, and you also have to clean your pump parts after each cleaning. The CDC recommends thoroughly cleaning your pump kit after each time you use it.
These pump cleaning hacks can help save you some time.
Have multiple pump kit pieces. This way, you do not have to wash and dry your kit every single time.
You need the breast pump shields and connectors (sometimes these are one piece).
Pumping directly into bags means no bottles to wash.
Use breast pump wipes or sanitizers for cleaning when you are out and about.
Use breast pump kit steam bags to sanitize your pump parts.
Put your pump parts in the dishwasher.
Miscellaneous Tips for Exclusive pumpers
Have a supply of spare parts for your pump. Some things need to be replaced regularly. But even a brand-new part can be defective.
Always have a manual pump on hand for emergencies.
Keep a manual pump in your diaper bag as a back-up when you are out.
You may not be able to find a convenient place to plug in your electric pump.
A battery pack may have lost its charge.
If your budget allows, have a hospital grade pump for use at home, and a personal pump to take when you are on the go.
Time Saving Tips for the Exclusively Pumping Mama
Hands-free pumping bra – moms swear by these. It will free up your hands to do other things while you are pumping.
Hands-free pumps like the Willow and El Vie allow you to pump while you are doing other things. You can pump while you are feeding your baby a bottle, or even while you are in the car.
These pumps plug into an outlet to charge and fit into your bra.
Exclusive Pumping Schedules
The number of times a day a woman must pump to maintain a full milk supply will vary from mom to mom. Some moms have breasts that can store a lot of milk and can pump less frequently. Other moms need to pump more often because their milk production will slow down if their breasts get past a certain point of fullness.
Experiment to determine the number of times you need to pump.
Start with eight times a day.
Decrease to seven times and wait three days to see if your supply decreases.
If your supply stays the same, try decreasing by another pumping.
Continue until you see a decrease in supply. At that point, you would go back to the number of pumpings that produces the amount of milk you need.
Some moms can pump as few as four times a day and still produce e full milk supply. Other moms may need to pump 10-12 times a day.
Exclusive pumping may be a lot of work. However, giving your baby the gift of your breast milk is worth it.
For some breastfeeding mamas, menstruation can mean a drop in milk supply. Some mommies don’t experience a period at all while breastfeeding, and it all depends on the chemical and hormonal balance happening in your body.
If you are looking for The Postpartum Period Smoothie, scroll down for the recipe!
Breastfeeding can actually be a form of birth control, and can inhibit ovulation all together. Of course you shouldn’t depend on this 100 %, just like any other birth control, but it is a natural way to prevent pregnancy.
How to use breastfeeding as birth control
Exclusive breastfeeding, along with night feedings can inhibit ovulation in many women. In general, the more you breastfeed, the lower your estrogen levels. When estrogen drops very low, your body won’t menstruate. There has to be a certain level of estrogen in order to create ovulation, or have a healthy pregnancy, and your body knows this.
In order to decrease your estrogen, you need to increase your breastfeeding.
Pumping doesn’t quite do the job as well as nursing your baby, but you can also increase your pumping sessions too. Adding in night feedings is the easiest way to ensure you are breastfeeding enough to drop your estrogen low enough to prevent ovulation. Keeping baby close at night, and skin-to-skin as much as possible is also a great way to keep up the pheromones necessary to produce more milk.
Low estrogen levels are required for healthy breastfeeding. There are individual factors that come into play on what is considered “low” for your body. One mama might have much lower levels and still ovulate, while others will have higher levels and not have a period. In general, more breastfeeding means less estrogen.
What happens to your milk supply when your period comes?
Your body won’t have a period unless estrogen levels increased enough to support menstruation. When you get your period postpartum, your hormone levels are fluctuating, which can affect your milk supply temporarily. During ovulation is when your estrogen is the highest, so while this is happening, you may notice a drop in your supply. Higher levels of estrogen are necessary to release an egg.
Estrogen and progesterone stay increased during the Luteal phase, or 14 days after ovulation, which also cause changes in breasts and milk ducts. Depending on how your body reacts, these changes may slow down your lactation for a bit, as your body adjusts.
How to handle changes in milk supply during menstruation
If your period has returned postpartum, and continues to show up regularly, dealing with some ebs and flows in your milk supply might become a normal part of life. There are some simple ways to handle these changes, particularly at specific times of the month.
Pump more and increase milk supply right after your period:
Right after your period is when your estrogen is at its lowest. Make sure to take advantage of this time to pump more milk and increase your supply.
We have a lot of great ways you can increase your supply, written by our lactation consultant and nurse, as well as our Milk Dust, which can quickly help you jump back into breastfeeding and a larger supply.
As ovulation approaches, increase skin to skin contact:
As your estrogen slowly rises, make sure to increase skin-to-skin contact with baby, and add more feedings.
During ovulation and leading up to menstruation, use lactation boosters:
Lactation boosters like fenugreek, fennel seed, milk thistle, brewers yeast and other herbs and nutrients can all boost milk supply during this time.
Adding in more Milk Dust smoothies is an awesome way to nourish your body as well as boost your milk supply. Milk Dust has Red Raspberry Leaf, which is known to help balance hormones and increase hormonal health. This is such a great herb to take during this time, or all month to make the monthly transitions a bit smoother.
Try this hormone balancing smoothie during the PMS phase to encourage a happy mama and milk supply:
1/2cupfrozen cauliflower (or ice if you don't have)
1-2cupsmilk of choice, though cashew milk does well with this oneUse milk according to desired texture and blend
Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!
This smoothie is particular great as a smoothie bowl, topped with some berries and nuts for added omegas and nutrients. Any berries will work for this recipe because they are all very beneficial for hormonal health.
This smoothie offers key nutrients to help you balance your hormones and milk supply during menstruation.
Milk Dust offers hand-picked nutrients specifically for the postpartum and breastfeeding mamas. These nutrients, combined with a unique lactation-herb blend protect a mother’s milk supply combat sugar cravings, hormonal roller coasters and nutritional deficiencies.
Breastfeeding has a funny way of making new mommies obsessed with cookies. Cookies, brownies, ice cream and all the sugary foods really. Milk Dust is amazing for combating those cravings, but we also believe you can have healthy, nutrient-dense cookies too.
Here at Milk Dust we love cookies. We think cookies are a great way to get in some needed nutrients, satisfy cravings and even boost your milk supply. Peanut butter cookies are an even better way to do this! These peanut butter cookies in particular are super simple to make. They take just a few ingredients, are gluten-free, healthy and full of the good stuff.
If you are still pregnant, make these for when baby arrives! If you know someone who just had a baby, make some for them!
This recipe is so simple because everything can be added to one large bowl, and mixed all together. Mix all the ingredients, then form small balls to place on greased cookie sheet. Use a fork to flatten the cookies into their shape. Put in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.
If you want to give these babies a try, use code: LACTATION for 10% off your first order! Milk Dust usually offers enough sweetness for the recipe, but if you find you need more, add 1/4 cup of honey to the recipe, and you will be perfect!
Working out postpartum is essential for rebuilding your body, improving your mood and feeling healthy again after baby arrives. Many new mamas fear that their workouts are going to affect their milk supply, or have experienced a drop in milk supply once they started working out. If you have a low milk supply naturally, you may think working out is out of the question all together.
If you are looking for the post-workout lactation shake, scroll to the bottom for the recipe!
At Milk Dust, we aim to help new mommies not only boost their milk supply, but also properly nourish their bodies to function and thrive postpartum.
We have some of the best tips to help you protect your milk supply while starting your workout routine – so you can workout, and have your milk too.
Start using milk supply boosters:
One of the best things you can do if you are planning on working out is to use milk-supply boosters to encourage your supply while you start working out. There are many milk-supply boosters on the market, and finding the best one for you is going to be key.
Some things to look for in a milk-supply booster:
Fenugreek: for most women, and according to studies, Fenugreek is one of the top herbs for milk supply. Of course everyone has different reactions, but this is a great herb to start with.
Fennel Seed: Another great herb used for centuries to encourage milk supply and breast health
Red Raspberry Leaf: Promotes hormonal health, which is the center of a thriving milk supply
Brewers Yeast: This is high in B vitamins, which has been linked to a higher milk supply
Milk Thistle: Another herb that has been used to increase milk supply for centuries, in addition to promoting breast health.
Of course, Milk Dust has all these herbs, in addition to micro and macro nutrients a postpartum mama needs. If you find ways to increase your milk supply as you start working out, this will help prevent a drop in supply with added exercise.
Start with low-impact strength training:
Low-impact strength training like Pilates-based workouts are going to increase muscle and stamina, without the added cortisol increase that can happen with cardio or HIIT workouts. When cortisol increases in our bodies due to stress, both physical and mental, it can throw off some of our other hormones and chemical balances needed for lactation.
Jumping into an intense HIIT or cardio program can alter your chemical balances and increase stress in your body, thus making it harder to produce milk.
Start by adding Pilates work and walking for the first month or so of your workout routine. This will build back your muscle, help you heal your abdominal muscles and still give your body the activity it needs.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet with milk-boosting foods:
The foundation of our theory is that nutrition and nutrients are essential to healing postpartum and producing a healthy milk supply. Milk Dust offers specific nutrients like L-Methylfolate and vitamin B12 to encourage healing and energy, and there are many foods that are very helpful for your milk supply. Focusing on foods with lots of antioxidants, protein, healthy fats and fiber are going to keep you full, satisfied and encourage your milk supply while you work out.
Some awesome foods to promote your milk supply while working out:
Avocado: These blend SO WELL with Milk Dust, and also make a great post-workout snack to give your body fiber, healthy fats and a creamy satisfaction.
Sweet potato: Full of beta-carotene, healthy fiber, low-sugar carbs and a very satisfying snack when roasted with salt and pepper.
Berries: All your berries are full of antioxidants and nutrients that are wonderful for breastfeeding. Throw them in a smoothie with avocado and Milk Dust, and it is so quick and delicious!
Lean protein: Lean protein is the cornerstone to staying full and maintaining muscle. Milk Dust is a great source of lean protein, as well as ground turkey and chicken. Milk Dust offers a source of protein that allows you to satisfy those sweet cravings that are so difficult while nursing.
By filling your daily diet with healthy smoothies, salads and nutrient-dense foods, you are supporting your milk supply, as well as combating postnatal depletion.
If you want more information on nutrition during breastfeeding, we have a free ebook that goes into more detail on what to eat, what nutrients you need and how to properly nourish yourself postpartum.
Add in some baby-carrying workouts:
Believe it or not, having baby close to you, and skin-to-skin is one way to help increase your milk supply. By incorporating your baby into your workout, you are keeping the skin-to-skin contact necessary to keep the pheromones thriving and working strong.
There are many exercises you can do with baby in a wrap or carrier, and the added weight makes for a perfect strength workout. Some of these moves include squats, lunges, arm weights with dumbbells, marching in place for heart rate and walking.
Add in more feeding sessions:
If you add more feeding sessions with your new workout plan, you are increasing your demand. This will increase your supply as you begin your workout plan. We suggest adding more skin-to-skin feeding sessions, rather than pump sessions if possible to really encourage that milk supply to pump up.
By feeding more as you begin your workout routine, you can ensure your milk supply gets a boost as you start. Depending on your baby and body, it may be necessary that you keep these extra feedings for a while, as your body adjusts to the extra physical activity.
Never skip your post-workout snack:
We highly suggest our Milk Dust smoothies as your post-workout meal or snack, and we never want you to skip this important meal. Especially if you’ve experienced a low milk supply before, or struggled with working out and breastfeeding.
The perfect post-workout snack for breastfeeding mamas includes:
Healthy fruits and veggies for fiber, nutrients and antioxidants
Lean protein like Milk Dust, clean deli meat, lean ground turkey or chicken
High-fiber carbs like roasted sweet potato, quinoa and oatmeal
Healthy fats like avocado, nuts and beans
It can be hard to combine all these foods into the perfect snack, which is why we suggest this post-workout smoothie for breastfeeding mamas.
The Perfect Post-Workout Shake for Breastfeeding Mamas