As a Babywise mom, you’ve probably heard this myth over and over again: you’ll never be able to maintain your milk supply when breastfeeding on a schedule. Yet, seemingly against all the odds, my daughter and I nursed for 13 months using a Babywise feeding schedule.
From one schedule-loving mama to another, let me reassure you that it is possible to use Babywise and still have a long, successful breastfeeding relationship with your little one. Here are just a few essential tips you can use to maintain your milk supply when breastfeeding on a schedule.
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Breastfeeding and Babywise: 3 Easy Tips to Maintain Your Milk Supply When Breastfeeding on a Schedule
1: Never Ignore Your Baby’s Hunger Cues
So many new Babywise moms get caught up in trying to maintain a schedule that they forget this simple concept: If your baby is hungry, feed him.
A schedule is important, but the clock doesn’t dictate your day; you do! One of the most common symptoms of hunger is early wakings, which could be caused by growth spurts or a dip in milk supply. For this reason, Babywise suggests that you treat early wakings as a hunger issue first.
When you treat early wakings as a hunger issue, you are safe-guarding your supply. Ignoring this hunger cue could decrease your milk supply even further or cause your baby’s health to diminish over time.
Don’t worry if it puts a kink in your schedule. If you discover that your baby isn’t actually hungry, you will know that there could be another reason why your baby won’t sleep.
2: Add a Feeding During Growth Spurts
Your baby will go through many growth spurts during the first year of his life. During this time, he might be ravenously hungry. Even on a schedule, your body can keep up!
To increase your production and prevent nap and night wakings, try adding an additional feed to your routine (such as a cluster or dream feed). If your baby is still waking hungry, just shorten the time between feeds. Then, once the growth spurt is over, you can return to your regular schedule.
3: Sleeping Through the Night? Add a Pumping SessionI worked hard to get my breastfed baby to sleep through the night by 8 weeks. When it finally happened, I wasn’t prepared for my supply to drop.
If you’re experiencing the same scenario, don’t worry. In a few days, your body will learn to consolidate the feedings. Until then, continue to dream feed or simply pump during your late evening feed.
If you notice that your supply continues to plummet, you may need to pump during the early morning feed as well (between 3-5AM). Over the next few days, your baby will require more milk in the morning and you can wean your breasts from the nighttime pumping sessions.
With a little practice and experience, it’s easy to maintain your milk supply when breastfeeding on a schedule. If you notice a dip in your supply, don’t feel discouraged. Almost every breastfeeding mom has to cope with this at some time or another (schedule or not). However, if your supply is a consistent struggle, make sure to visit a lactation consultant to diagnose any underlying issues.
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