Postpartum Pain – How To Relieve It All Front To Back

Postpartum Pain – How To Relieve It All Front To Back

Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC

The birth of a baby is a joyous event. It can also be, quite literally, a pain. Many areas of a new mother’s body may experience pain after childbirth. Of course none of the pain is as bad as labor and birth itself. If you are pregnant and getting ready for postpartum, make sure to pack your Milk Dust Bars and a sample pack of Milk Dust in your bag! As a nurse, I know the extent of hospital food, which can be less than nourishing. Milk Dust is an amazing product that you can take with you to the hospital, and keep with you postpartum to ensure you are nourishing yourself properly for healing and milk supply. 

I’ll discuss the different types of pain you might experience in the days and weeks after giving birth. I’ll talk about what is expected and what you can do to be more comfortable. I will also let you know when you should call your doctor.

Uterine Cramping

The uterus is an amazing organ. When you are not pregnant, it is about the size of your fist. It can grow to be able to accommodate a baby. 

After birth, it contracts down to the size it was midway through your pregnancy, right around your belly button. It has to contract to control the loss of blood and help it return to its size before pregnancy.

These postpartum uterine contractions are called afterpains. They vary in intensity. They may feel like mild cramps, or they may require you to do some of the same deep breathing you used during labor. 

Breastfeeding can make the cramping worse because it stimulates your body to release oxytocin to cause the let-down reflex. Oxytocin is the same hormone that caused you to have contractions during labor

The nurse will check your uterus every so often to make sure it is staying hard. If it is not as hard as she likes, she may massage your uterus. That can be uncomfortable. I always encouraged new moms to gently massage their uterus to help keep it contracted.

What Helps Afterpains?

Your doctor or midwife may have ordered some pain medication for severe cramping. Ibuprofen is another medication that is frequently given to new moms for afterpains.

A heating pad on your abdomen can make you more comfortable. 

Keeping your bladder empty can help decrease the intensity of the after pains as well, so make sure you are using the bathroom frequently.

Perineal Soreness

Another common area that can cause postpartum pain is your perineum.  

It used to be routine for a woman to receive an episiotomy – a cut into her perineum – during childbirth. They are done less frequently now, but still, about ten percent of women will have an episiotomy. A larger number of women will have some kind of perineal tear. Either way, this will result in perineal pain.

Even if a woman doesn’t have any stitches, she can still experience some perineal soreness.

Help For Perineal Discomfort?

Ice packs applied to the perineal area for 15-20 minutes at a time will provide relief. This is recommended for the first 24-hours.

Starting the second postpartum day, taking a sitz bath is usually soothing to the area. The hospital may provide you with a portable sitz bath. You can buy one at a pharmacy or online.

Using an inflatable donut cushion can make sitting more comfortable.

Witch hazel pads applied to the perineal area will provide some comfort for the swelling and pain.

If your bottom is really sore, breastfeeding in the side-lying or laid-back position is the most comfortable position.

Hemorrhoids

Another thing that can make your bottom sore is hemorrhoids. These are swollen veins in your anus and rectal area. They can be external or internal. Whether you can see them or not, they are uncomfortable. 

The witch hazel pads can provide relief for painful hemorrhoids as well as perineal pain. There are also creams and suppositories that can be applied to hemorrhoids that contain hydrocortisone, which will lessen pain and irritation.

Constipation

A common concern of women in the days after they have given birth is whether having a bowel movement will hurt. 

The iron in your prenatal vitamins can cause constipation. Pain medication that has narcotics is another culprit. 

Fear of pain from a bowel movement can be another contributing factor.

Remedies for Constipation

  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Eat lots of fiber or take a fiber supplement
  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe you a stool softener
  • Stool softeners are also available over the counter

Breast and Nipple Pain Postpartum

Sore Nipples

Many women complain of nipple discomfort in the days and weeks postpartum. While most will experience tenderness that goes away within a couple of weeks, other mothers will struggle with cracks, bleeding, or blisters.

Pain in the first few seconds after your baby latches on is not cause for concern. It usually resolves on its own. Using good positioning and latch technique goes a long way to feeling more comfortable.

However, any signs of trauma like cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, or blisters indicate you need a lactation consultant.

Breast Engorgement

When your milk comes in around two to four days after the birth, you may experience breast engorgement.

A woman’s breasts can increase in size dramatically in a relatively short period of time when her milk comes in. Initially, that is primarily due to swelling of the breast tissue surrounding the milk-making parts of the breast. 

What Helps Breast Engorgement?

Applying ice packs for 15-20 minutes will help decrease the swelling and provide comfort. Ibuprofen can also help 

While some people still recommend hot showers or hot packs to help with engorgement, it can make engorgement last longer or worsen the swelling’s severity.

It is essential to keep the milk moving by frequent breastfeeding and pumping if your baby is not keeping up with your growing milk supply.

Typically, engorgement only lasts 12-48 hours. Occasionally, an unlucky mom will find it lasts as long as a week or two.

Incisional Pain From a Cesarean Section

Moms who give birth by cesarean section will experience pain at their incision. A c-section is major abdominal surgery, and they have to cut through several layers of tissue to get to the uterus. 

Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help relieve this type of postpartum pain. It will most probably be a narcotic. It is safe to breastfeed when you take these medications.

Postpartum Pain That Can Be a Warning Sign

Certain types of pain experienced during the postpartum period warrant a call to your doctor.

  • Leg pain can be a symptom of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
    • Pain is usually in one leg only.
    • There may be swelling in the leg.
    • The leg may be reddened and warm to the touch.
  • Headaches can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia.
  • Painful urination often indicates a urinary tract infection.
  • Symptoms of a breast infection called mastitis
    • A lump in the breast accompanied by redness and pain
    • Flu-like feeling
    • Fever

Although there are many types of discomfort in the postpartum period, most are short-lived. Try the remedies suggested and call your healthcare provider if you are not getting any relief or you have any concerns.

Don’t forget to nourish yourself well after birth! You can help your body heal faster by giving it the proper nutrients, many of which are found in Milk Dust products!

 

10 Tips For Surviving Your First Three Days With Your Newborn

10 Tips For Surviving Your First Three Days With Your Newborn

Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC

Nothing compares to that thrilling feeling when your newborn is first placed in your arms. You instantly go from being pregnant to being a mom. You can’t wait to get to know this new little person.

Those first few days of motherhood are intense. Your body is recovering from giving birth or possibly from having a cesarean section. Your baby is changing every day. You are trying to master breastfeeding. 

All this would be challenging under the best of conditions. However, you probably haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in days, if not weeks. Having a newborn who needs to eat every few hours means you aren’t going to get much sleep anytime soon, either.

These tips for surviving your first three days with your newborn will help save your sanity. These tips basically fall into two categories, taking care of yourself and taking care of your baby. One of the first rules of motherhood is that you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

Tip #1 – Stay Well Hydrated

Staying well-hydrated is essential for many reasons. Dehydration can affect your milk supply, your energy levels, and your mental clarity.

A water bottle should be your constant companion. My favorite tip to make drinking water easy is to fill several water bottles at the start of every day. Distribute them around your house, where you will be spending time. 

  • The living room
  • The kitchen
  • On your bedside table
  • Next to a special chair where you plan to breastfeed
  • Don’t forget to put one in your diaper bag.

Tip #2 – Nourish Your Body

Your body burned a ton of calories during labor and childbirth. That’s good because it tapped into those fat stores you laid down during pregnancy. Your body is also recovering from pregnancy and birth. You want to nourish it to help it do that job. Milk Dust protein powder is a fabulous way to help your body heal after baby. Milk Dust offers so many amazing nutrients for new mommies, and it is delicious mixed with just water or milk. Even better, grab their free recipe book of smoothies, and your body will be so thankful! 

Choose foods that will give you energy, like protein (a Milk Dust Bar or shake!), fruits, and vegetables. Foods that are high in fiber will help with something that most new moms who had an episiotomy or any tears dread – bowel movements. Smoothie are a great way to get in fiber and protein together, to help keep your bowel movements regular. 

Also, Milk Dust Protein Powder has vitamin B12 and Folate, which can really help with energy levels postpartum. Think of it as super vitamins to help your brain function, when you feel like you need 10 more cups of coffee.

Tip #3 – Get Some Sleep

The reality of being a new mom is that you won’t be getting long stretches of sleep for a while. In the hours after birth, even an exhausted mom will find it challenging to sleep because of the adrenaline wave she is riding.

Most babies have an alert period in the first couple of hours after birth. Then they typically will take a long nap. Take advantage of this gift from mother nature and turn off your phone, turn off the lights and close your eyes. It can be really hard to make yourself sleep when there are so many things to do, but just even some rest, with your eyes closed can be super helpful. 

You may also like: The Best Sleep Tips For A Breastfeeding Baby

Make afternoon naps a priority in these first few days. Even if you don’t consider yourself a napper, lay down in a dark room and close your eyes. A lot of new moms find they can nap after all. Naps will also help your body heal, so you can get back to feeling normal again. 

Tips #4 – Be Prepared For Your Baby’s Second Night

The tip to nap is especially crucial before your baby’s second night. Baby’s go through something called second-night syndrome. They stay up all night wanting to eat very, very frequently. 

Many moms think their baby is not getting enough from breastfeeding because they eat so frequently. But this is normal behavior that almost all babies experience. They often will suck for a few minutes and then fall asleep. Mom will try putting her baby in his bassinet or crib only to have him awake within a few minutes and showing his cues that he wants to eat again. This can go on for hours. 

I encourage moms to keep the baby with them during the second night. Of course, you will want to observe all safe sleep measures.

The second night is an intense period of time with your new baby. The benefit is that all that frequent feeding will help bring your milk in. It also encourages a good milk supply.

Tip #5 – Be Prepared For Breast Engorgement

Most new moms will notice their milk starting to come in on the second or third day. It is common to experience some degree of engorgement when your milk comes in.

Engorgement is when a woman’s breasts get full and hard. They may feel very tender. They can get astonishingly large. 

When your breasts first start to make milk, there is swelling of the breasts. The two best things to do for engorged breasts are to feed frequently and apply ice packs for up to twenty minutes every 2-3 hours.

It is essential to keep the milk moving with frequent feedings or pumping if necessary. Breasts that get hard without relief can result in the milk-producing cells being destroyed and a subsequent low milk supply.

Tip #6 – Use a Log or an App to Keep Track of Feedings and Diapers

Beginning with the second day, you need to make sure your baby is eating at least eight times every twenty-four hours. 

You also want to track how many pees and poops your little one is having. The number of diapers your baby has is one way to know that he is staying well hydrated and getting enough of your colostrum from breastfeeding to meet his needs. 

However, when we get tired, our memories become less reliable. Running on so little sleep can make it hard to remember when you last changed a diaper or when your baby last ate. 

Using a newborn feeding log or an app to keep track of the feedings makes it easy to keep track of this important information.

Tip #7 – Keep Diaper Changing Supplies Together

While we are talking about diapers, do yourself a favor and keep your diaper changing supplies together. If you plan to have a diaper changing station, you will have everything you need. But it will be easier if you can change diapers in several places throughout your house. Putting diapers, wipes, and bags for used diapers in a basket or caddy will mean less walking to your primary diaper changing station. 

While a newborn may not have a lot of diapers in the first few days, the diaper count goes up significantly after a mom’s milk comes in. It is also very common for a baby to have a bowel movement during breastfeeding. It will be less disruptive to be able to change the diaper where you are.

Tip #8 – Limit Visitors

You will be excited to introduce your new baby to your family and friends. But you want to make sure that you have time for that ever-important afternoon nap.

Another reason to limit visitors is to minimize what I call the game of pass the baby. Visitors usually want to hold the new baby. This may not seem like a big deal. However, it can be over-stimulating for a new baby to be passed around and held by many different people. Most babies will respond by sleeping a lot. This can result in them not feeding as often as they need to. 

It can also result in you missing their feeding cues. If a baby doesn’t get to breastfeed when they show interest, they may just fall back to sleep. This can result in a baby not feeding frequently enough. 

Tip #9 – Accept Offers of Help and Food

People genuinely want to help when they offer. But that sleep-deprived brain of yours can make you forget all the little things you need to do. Have a list of errands or chores you can refer to when you get offers to help. Most visitors would be happy to fold some laundry or stop at the store to pick a few things up for you. 

Definitely say yes to any offers to bring you dinner.

Tip #10 – Cut Yourself Some Slack

Don’t try to be supermom. Your top three priorities in the first three days should be to get to know your baby, learn to breastfeed, and take care of yourself. 

Don’t worry about having an immaculate home or responding to every text and email you get.

Take this time to enjoy your newest family member and learn how to be a mom.

Postpartum Healing Tips After Vaginal Birth

Postpartum Healing Tips After Vaginal Birth

Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC

When you are pregnant, you are focused on preparing to welcome your new baby into your life. You ready the nursery, buy a car seat, and stock up on diapers.

Don’t forget to spend some time preparing to take care of yourself after your little one arrives. Your body will need some TLC as you recover from giving birth. Nourishing your body properly is KEY to taking care of yourself. We have a free ebook on all the nutrients you need to care for your body postpartum. 

Key Nutritional Requirements For A Healthy Pregnancy and Lactation

Whether you give birth vaginally or by cesarean section, your body has been going through changes for nine months. It will take time to return to its pre-pregnant state. 

In this post, we will provide tips on postpartum healing for the mom who has had a vaginal birth. We will tell you what you can expect from your postpartum recovery and what you can do to help the postpartum healing process.

Recovery of the Uterus

The uterus goes through some incredible changes during pregnancy. It grows thicker and has a rich blood supply. It will change rapidly after you birth your baby and the placenta.

Bleeding

You will have vaginal bleeding for up to six weeks postpartum. The discharge is called lochia and is blood from the placental site and the lining of the uterus. There are specific names for the different stages of the discharge.

  • Dark red bleeding experienced in the first 3-4 days is called lochia rubra. 
  • This bleeding is like a very heavy period. 
  • In the first few hours, you will be changing your sanitary pads every 1-2 hours. 
  • You may pass small clots. Any clots larger than a quarter should be reported to your health care provider.
  • From day 4-10, the discharge will be a pink-brown color called lochia serosa. 
  • During this time, you will need to change your pad every 3-4 hours.
  • Call your health care provider if you soak more than one pad per hour.
  • Week 2-6 the discharge will be a white-yellow color and is called lochia alba.

After you give birth, your doctor or midwife will massage your uterus to encourage it to contract. This helps minimize bleeding. 

Your nurse will check your uterus to make sure that it is staying firm. She will massage it if it is not firm enough. You can rub it as well to help keep it firm.

Things That Can Cause a Temporary Increase in Bleeding

  • Most women will have increased bleeding with increased activity.
  • Breastfeeding moms will often notice some extra bleeding during nursing.
  • A scab forms over the area where the placenta was attached to the wall of the uterus. It sloughs off around ten days to 2 weeks. Many women notice a day of heavier bleeding when this happens.

Cramping

Your uterus will continue to contract after the birth. These contractions are called after pains. Women describe them as feeling like intense cramps. The contractions compress the blood vessels and return the uterus to its prepregnant size. It takes about six weeks for the uterus to shrink back down.

After pains are usually most intense in the first few days after birth. Some women will feel discomfort from them for up to a week. If your health care provider has given the ok, you can take ibuprofen to help the discomfort. A heating pad on your tummy can also help.

The hormone oxytocin causes the after pains. This is the same hormone that caused labor contractions. Oxytocin is also the hormone that causes the milk to let down during breastfeeding. Because of this, many women will experience increased cramping when they breastfeed.

Episiotomy or Tears

If you had an episiotomy or any tearing, you will have some extra soreness in your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus). 

  • Ice packs for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will help decrease swelling and provide relief from the soreness. Do this for the first 24 hours.
  • After the first 24 hours, warm water sitz baths for 20 minutes will help with healing.
  • Using a squirt bottle with warm water when you use the restroom will help keep the area clean.
  • Using witch hazel pads is soothing and reduces inflammation. Keeping them in the refrigerator will take the comfort factor up a level.
  • A donut pillow or inflatable ring will keep the pressure off tender areas

Preventing Infection

The cervix takes a few weeks to completely close. Follow these guidelines to minimize the risk of a uterine infection.

  • Don’t use any tampons for the first six weeks postpartum
  • Follow the guidelines provided by your health care provider for when you can resume sexual intercourse. 

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can be another gift of the postpartum period. For most new mamas, they will go away by six weeks. In the meantime, these tips can help.

  • Avoid straining during bowel movements.
  • Drink lots of water and eat lots of fiber to help keep bowel movements soft.
  • Your health care provider may prescribe a stool softener. These are also available over the counter. 
  • Apply witch hazel pads for comfort, and to decrease inflammation.
  • Apply a hemorrhoid cream.

Rest

New moms are often exhausted with a capital E. This has several causes.

  • New moms start out with a sleep deficit because it is the rare pregnant woman who sleeps well in the last weeks of her pregnancy. 
  • You might have gone a night or two without sleep if you had a long labor. 
  • Post-birth adrenaline can make it a challenge to sleep in the hours right after birth.
  • Babies typically cluster-feed most of their second night.
  • When you do get to sleep, it is going to be in two to three-hour blocks.

Make getting rest a priority. It may be a cliché, but rest when the baby sleeps. Even if you are not a napper, just lying down in a dark room and closing your eyes can help. 

During the night, keep everything you will need for feedings and diaper changes close by, so you don’t have to get up and walk to another room. 

Weight loss and Diet

How A Nursing Mother Can Lose Weight Safely

Your body needs proper nutrition so that it can heal. That is partly why Milk Dust is formulated with the vitamins and ingredients that it is, to help with healing and nourishment postpartum. 

  • Feed it lots of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat healthy fats like those found in avocados, eggs, salmon, and olive oil.
  • Avoid eating foods with processed sugar and that have empty calories.
  • Stay Hydrated

It took your body nine months to grow a baby. It went through a lot of changes during that time. Most of your body will return to its pre-pregnant state by six weeks. Be patient with the things that take longer. Most importantly, take good care of yourself. You are recovering from growing a baby and birthing it. That’s an amazing feat!

Breastfeeding and the Holidays – Sanity Saving Tips

Breastfeeding and the Holidays – Sanity Saving Tips

By Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC

The holidays are an exciting and busy time of year for young families. It is also a time with elements that are a recipe for a stress-fest.

There are constant disruptions to routines. Families may be traveling to visit friends and family. They may be hosting house guests. Between gift shopping, trips to ship packages and mail cards, and going to parties, a new mom may continuously be on the go. Throw in cooking, baking, and decorating. The thought of being a Grinch and skipping the festivities altogether may cross her mind.

 A new mom needs all the help that she can get to not only survive the holidays but to enjoy them. Fortunately, there are many time-saving tips and hacks to help this happen. 

Gift-shopping hacks

Some people look forward to shopping and choosing gifts. It can be nice to get out to the mall to see the decorations. Who can resist getting baby’s first photo with Santa? However, some sleep-deprived mamas may want to take a pass on it this year.

The good news is that there are many ways to get it all done and keep your sanity too.

  • Take advantage of online shopping. You can do it while you breastfeed at any time of day. You have an endless selection. If the recipient lives out of town, you can have the gift shipped directly to them. Most retailers even offer gift-wrapping!
  • Buy gift cards. Everyone loves a gift card. You can order them online or buy them at the grocery store. You can get a variety or just choose a store that will work for everyone.
  • When you do venture out in public, take hand-sanitizer. Those malls and grocery stores are cold, and flu Petri dishes.
  • Go to places where you know there will be a comfortable place to breastfeed. Pick the mall with comfy couches and chairs.
  • Take healthy snacks and a bottle of water. Fast food courts are not known for their healthy options.

Holiday Dinner Tips

I discourage moms from hosting major meals if they have a baby under the age of six months. If you are expected to bring a dish to dinners and parties, take advantage of the many prepared foods and baked goods at your favorite grocery store.

If you absolutely feel compelled to be the hostess with the mostest, then consider ordering a fully prepared meal. All you have to do is heat it up. Another easy option is a pre-cut baked ham that only requires you to put it on a platter. Assign side dishes to your guests.

Order meals and groceries online and either take advantage of delivery services or the option of having your order brought to your car.

Maintaining You Milk Supply During the Holidays

Between milk-busting foods and missed feedings or pumpings, the holidays can wreak havoc with your milk supply.

  • Avoid all the yummy peppermint treats that are popular this time of year. Peppermint is known to decrease milk supply.
  • Two other common holiday foods that can result is lowered milk production are sage and parsley. The amounts in most stuffing recipes are probably not going to have an effect if you just have one serving of stuffing. But if you are the type who has a little turkey with your stuffing, you might want to dial it back a little when you are a nursing mama.
  • Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water.
  • Always start your day with a nutrient-dense smoothie with a high-quality protein powder like Milk Dust. 

USE CODE LACTATION FOR 10% off your first order!

A Lactation Consultant’s Best Tips to Increase Your Milk Supply

Alcohol and breastfeeding

It is ok for a breastfeeding mama to enjoy a glass of champagne or some spiked eggnog.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends moms wait four hours until they breastfeed. Pumping and dumping do not speed the process up.

Traveling Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

One of the biggest pitfalls when traveling is stretching out the time between feedings. Make sure that you are not going for long stretches without either feeding or pumping.

If pumping is part of your daily routine, make sure you have a manual pump for those times when you don’t have access to an electrical outlet.

TSA rules do allow you to take breast milk on a plane. Moms have had to deal with uninformed TSA agents. Keep the TSA web page that addresses this on your phone: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/frequently-asked-questions/breast-milk-formula-and-juice-exempt-3-1-1-liquids-rule

Find out if the airports where you will be, have designated nursing/pumping rooms. More and more airports do. Find out where they are located. 

Nursing or giving your baby a bottle of expressed breast milk will help with the discomfort the air pressure changes can cause to their ears.

Dress for breastfeeding when traveling. Wearing a stretchy tank top under a sweater that you can pull down from the top will keep your tummy covered when feeding time comes around.  Another option if you like to cover up is to wear an infinity scarf. It will both keep you warm and serve as a nursing cover-up.

Follow these tips and make some memories this holiday season.

The Best Sleep Tips For A Breastfeeding Baby

The Best Sleep Tips For A Breastfeeding Baby

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.

A Lactation Consultant’s Best Tips to Increase Your Milk Supply

Don’t try to sleep train an infant:

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.

How Your Postpartum Period Affects Milk Supply

How Your Postpartum Period Affects Milk Supply

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 increases impact milk supply increased estrogen changes breasts and milk ducts.

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:

postpartum hormone balancing smoothie

The Postpartum Period Smoothie

Balance those hormones with this delicious, nutrient-dense smoothie full of hormone balancing ingredients like Turmeric, Red Raspberry Leaf, L-Methylfolate and Vitamin B 12.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1

Equipment

  • Blending

Ingredients
  

  • 1 scoop Milk Dust
  • 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower (or ice if you don't have)
  • 1/2 fresh avocado
  • 1-2 cups milk of choice, though cashew milk does well with this one Use milk according to desired texture and blend

Instructions
 

  • Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Notes

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. 
Keyword hormone balancing, lactation recipe, lactation shake, lactation smoothie

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.