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MILK or SLEEP?

As a new parent, there’s two factors that are going to be competing against each other for your attention big time: breast milk production versus your sleep.


Choose your priority, and then plan accordingly. But you can’t have all of both. If you plan to provide exclusive breast milk, don’t plan on getting 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night (or even 2-3 hours, or even possibly 1-2 hours during cluster feeding mania!). If getting solid blocks of sleep is important for your mental health, I commend you for knowing this and advocating for yourself. You will likely want to employ support, because your newborn baby is not going to know this about you and will need care, cuddles and feeding throughout the night.


Milk supply DEPENDS on night time milk removal. At night, a woman’s prolactin levels rise. Prolactin is the hormone which is crucial for the creation of breastmilk. Skipping night feeds or night pumps suppresses your body’s overall milk production.


Additionally, your baby does not come out with the awareness that there is a difference between night and day. Your baby is born with the exact physiological mechanisms to tell their mommy or parent’s body to make them their milk. They do this by eating during the night!


Given all this information, you as a parent can make a choice. While I, as an IBCLC, am going to promote breast milk production and breastfeeding, my goal is to give you the education, tools and resources. YOUR job is to decide what you want to do with the tools and how to apply them to your situation. Together, we can tailor a plan that is safe and works for your lifestyle - there are so many ways to parent, and there is no right or wrong way. But you will need to figure out a safe way to do so.


When you’re armed with information, you are able to make an informed choice. It does not have to be all or nothing but you know what you’ll need to do to make it all one thing or all the other, or a combo of things.


And remember the mantra: Everything is a phase and nothing lasts forever! Surrender, and find your support.


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