Increase Breastfeeding Milk Supply with a Nursing Vacation
There’s nothing as stressful to a new mom than the fear of not producing enough milk to feed your baby. As new mothers, we know that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby. How could something that’s supposed to be natural be so hard?
There are a ton of tricks and tips out there for how to increase your milk supply, but so few of them focus on the core of the solution: you have to be there to breastfeed your baby at every opportunity. That’s where a nursing vacation comes in.
If you’re not sure how to overcome a low breastfeeding milk supply, keep reading. We’re going to talk about taking a nursing vacation, what that means for you, and how it can help you get your breastfeeding milk supply back.
What Causes a Low Breastfeeding Milk Supply
The key is to remember that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean that breastfeeding comes easy to every mom or every baby. Everyone has their own unique hurdles to jump over when it comes to breastfeeding. From a shallow palate to low milk supply, there is no end to the number of troubles that you can experience when you’re trying to breastfeed your baby.
But if you come armed with knowledge and determination, you can make breastfeeding work for you.
Here are some of the things that can influence the amount of milk that you produce:
- Waiting too long to begin breastfeeding
- Infrequent feedings
- Supplementing with formula
- Poor latch
- Previous breast surgery
There are a few other factors that can rarely change the way your body produces milk, like having a premature baby or uncontrolled diabetes.
What is a Nursing Vacation
While a nursing vacation might sound like a break from breastfeeding, it’s actually the opposite. However, taking a nursing vacation can make all the difference in bonding with your baby and increasing your milk supply.
During a nursing vacation, you and your baby will spend at least 36 hours doing nothing but relaxing together, bonding, and breastfeeding.
While you’re on a nursing vacation, your job is to do nothing but take care of yourself and your baby. You shouldn’t have to worry about making meals, taking care of other household chores, going to work, or hosting visitors.
A nursing vacation also isn’t a prison sentence. Instead of looking at it like it’s a long weekend of being trapped in your bed, look at it as a time to truly rest.
Sleep when your baby sleeps, read when your baby is resting, and breastfeed at every opportunity you have.
The most important aspect of a nursing vacation is uninterrupted skin-to-skin time with your new baby. Listen for their nursing cues and act on them as soon as possible.
Reasons to Go on a Nursing Vacation
While it might seem like a big commitment to put your other priorities on hold while you take care of you and your baby if you’ve got low breastfeeding milk supply it could make all the difference.
If you’re experiencing low milk supply, you’re stressed out by the outside world and the responsibility of being a new mom, or you just want to bond with your baby for a while, you’re a great candidate for taking a nursing vacation.
Taking a nursing vacation isn’t just good for increasing your breastfeeding milk supply. It can also greatly increase your mood, improve your baby’s development, and support and strengthen your bond.
What to Do on a Nursing Vacation
The main thing you should focus on while you’re on a nursing vacation is yourself and your new baby.
You’re trying to accomplish one very clear goal here: you need to trick your brain and your body into thinking that your baby is in the middle of a growth spurt. During these growth spurts, your baby requires more milk in order to support their developing bodies. So our bodies know that when growth spurt time comes around, they need to increase breastfeeding milk supply.
The best way you can do this is by repeatedly responding to your baby’s hunger cues and by pumping at every available opportunity. The more you use up the milk in your breasts, the more your body will produce milk in return.
You should also ensure that you’re doing as much skin to skin contact as you can during this time. Skin to skin contact causes you to create certain hormones that will, in turn, increase your milk supply.
Another thing you should focus on while on a nursing vacation is bonding with your baby. The more you spend time with your newborn, the better you’ll come to understand their cries and other cues.
And lastly, you should try to relax as much as possible. One of the worst ways you can psych yourself out of breastfeeding is by stressing too much. There’s often so much going on in our day to day lives that we forget to take a minute and breathe.
You’re a new mom! It doesn’t matter if this is your first baby or your fifth. You need time to rest and relax with them.
The Benefits of a Nursing Vacation
When you take a nursing vacation and spend time doing nothing but bonding with and nursing your baby, your body will undergo a series of changes.
You’ll increase your production of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. This helps you by stimulating your breasts to let down the milk, lowering your stress levels, and improving your blood pressure.
It helps your baby by increasing their ability to recognize your face and helping them handle stress in the long run.
It’ll also stimulate your production of prolactin, which is also known as the parenting hormone. Prolactin helps you increase your breastfeeding milk supply. It’s also known for improving your behavior as a caregiver and relaxes you.
Spending this time skin-to-skin bonding with your baby can also help you produce pleasure hormones, adrenaline, and pheromones. These will all help you with pain awareness, bonding, energy, and brain function.
A nursing vacation can also help you bond with your baby, alleviate their need for comfort nursing, and help you relax.
Tips for a Successful Nursing Vacation
Taking time out of your busy life to do nothing but lay in bed and bond with your baby might seem like an impossible task. How will the rest of your life go on without you for a few days?
But as long as you take the time to plan ahead and organize, your weekend of bonding with your baby will go smoothly and in the end, you will have increased your breastfeeding milk supply.
The main things you should keep in mind when you’re on your nursing vacation is to rest as much as you can. Relax, read, knit, watch your favorite TV shows, and eat your favorite (breastfeeding friendly) foods.
If you can, make sure that you have help around the house. Whether that means your partner gets to take care of the housework or you enlist your family and friends to join in, you need to have support during this time.
Prepare your meals ahead of time, freeze them, and reheat them when you need to. Cooking is a stress reliever for some people, but those are precious minutes you could be bonding with your baby. Also, make sure you’ve got a steady supply of lactation snacks on hand!
Make sure everything you could need while nursing is close by.
Don’t worry about the housework, either. Your only jobs are to relax and feed your baby!
How to Make a Nursing Vacation Work
The best way to make sure that a nursing vacation works for you is to plan ahead and prepare. Even if you don’t have a husband or a partner, even awesome single moms can make this work. You just have to make sure your schedule is organized and that you’ve planned ahead.
If you have other kids, find things to keep them occupied while you’re resting. New books, special video games, arts, and crafts, or even sleepovers at friends houses can do the trick. Also, skin to skin with their new sibling can be a great benefit for them too! Don’t be afraid to enlist their help.
Let Compassion Lead the Way
Last, but certainly not least, you need to make sure that you’re being compassionate during this nursing vacation. That doesn’t just mean compassion towards your new baby, but compassion towards yourself.
No more negative self talk, no more doubting yourself, no more beating yourself up for your perceived breastfeeding shortcomings. You are doing the best you can.
And guess what? Your best is amazing.
Being a new mom is stressful. You don’t want to become your own harshest critic while you’re in this vulnerable place in life. Be patient with yourself and your new baby and soon you will be breastfeeding like a pro.
Increase Your Breastfeeding Milk Supply
Having a low breastfeeding milk supply can feel like a failure. But issues breastfeeding are common, normal, and natural. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help or a little boost in your productivity to get things flowing smoothly again.
The key is to take the time out of your schedule to learn your baby and adjust to a new lifestyle. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to tackle any hurdle that breastfeeding a new baby throws at you!