Five Habits to Continue from Pregnancy to Motherhood

Five Habits to Continue from Pregnancy to MotherhoodAs the life-source of your unborn child, your body becomes a sacred vessel during pregnancy. What you put in your body and on your body, your health habits and outside exposures are constant concerns as a mom-to-be because you want only the best care for your little one in the womb. Many of these recommended health practices during pregnancy are excellent to carry over into motherhood. Today we’re sharing five habits to continue from pregnancy to motherhood.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Clean, green and natural are usually among the top priorities in an expectant mom’s diet and it’s great for motherhood too. Your baby may no longer get wholesome nutrients delivered through the umbilical cord but she’s getting it from your breast milk. Plus, a mom who eats healthier and has more energy is going to better meet her baby’s needs. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, walnuts and flax are great, as well as green leafy vegetables, fruits chock full of antioxidants, lean proteins and whole grains.

Oh, and remember those small meals you were eating during pregnancy because they kept you from vomiting and reduced your acid reflux? That’s a good idea to continue now too to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy and requires extra calories so keep your nutritious meals coming throughout the day.

Taking Prenatal Vitamins

Along with a healthy diet you’ll want to continue taking your prenatal vitamins. They’re good for you, of course, but they are also stupendous for your baby who’s getting that folic acid, vitamin D, calcium and many other fantastic nutrients in your breast milk. Although your hair may lose the prenatal fullness you enjoyed during pregnancy (thanks a lot, hormones!), prenatal vitamins can keep your remaining strands lustrous and your nails strong.

Eliminating Vices

Among other things, smoking, spending hours in the sun, and drinking a few cocktails at a time were probably vices you eliminated during pregnancy. You may want to keep them at bay because they just aren’t good for your health. After breastfeeding, moderate consumption of alcohol may have its benefits but otherwise, leave the unhealthy vices to your past.

Exercising

If you followed your OBGYN’s advice and exercised during pregnancy, you probably reaped some terrific benefits like more energy, the release of feel-good hormones and keeping your weight in check. Guess what? All those benefits exist in motherhood too. And now you can incorporate your baby into exercise as well with mommy-and-me yoga, walks in the park and frequent dance parties.

Relaxing

The exhaustion you may have felt during pregnancy is probably only rivaled by the exhaustion you feel as a new mom. When you were expecting you probably made yourself rest and relax because it’s what your body really needed. Now, even with your little one around, you still need some down time. Sleeping as much as possible, seeking help with chores that others can do, and just chilling with your baby are productive ways to recuperate your energy after nine months of pregnancy and many more months with an infant.

When you’re not sure how to take care of yourself in motherhood, think back to the way you treated yourself during pregnancy and continue these healthy habits.

Common Mom Injuries

Common Mom InjuriesMoms make a lot of sacrifices for their kids and, if you’re like most, they’ve landed you a few cuts, scrapes, bruises, joint and back pain or maybe even broken bones or other internal damage. Common mom injuries may be due to pregnancy or childbirth (truly the labor of love) or might be from your baby’s unintentional enthusiasm, tantrums or fearlessness. Whatever the cause, common mom injuries can be painful and take awhile to disappear.

Today we’re sharing common mom injuries along with a little advice on how to avoid them and feel better.

Back Injuries

How it Happens: A mom’s back pain usually starts during pregnancy thanks to all that extra weight you’re carrying around in front. An arched or swayed back are quite common by the third trimester because pregnancy hormones tend to loosen joints and ligaments to help you carry your baby and eventually give birth. Once your baby arrives, the pain doesn’t miraculously go away and may even get worse.

As you start carrying your baby around (and she continues to get bigger and bigger), lean over to change diapers and lean into a crib to soothe your baby, your back may continue to feel sore. Hunching during breastfeeding, which you will spend hours upon hours doing for possibly years, can make it all the worse.

How to Relieve it: Whenever you lift your baby or anything else for that matter (such as a box of diapers, car seat carrier, or baby furniture), bend from your knees and hold your baby close to your abdomen. Try not to twist while bending. During breastfeeding sit upright and bring your baby to the breast rather than hunching over to bring your breast to your baby.

As unrealistic as it may sound to not pick up your baby, the best way to heal a muscle injury is rest. Heat or ice can help reduce inflammation. If back pain lingers or spreads to your legs, visit a doctor to ensure you don’t have a herniated disc.

Hip Injuries

How it Happens: Holding your little one on a cocked hip might be your baby’s favorite mode of transportation but it can do some serious damage to your body. When the back, pelvis and tailbone are misaligned, it can be quite painful.

How to Relieve it: If you must hold your baby on your hip, switch sides often and hold her with both arms to avoid slanting too far to one side.  A sling is better option if you want your baby to be close and you need your hands free. A massage can do wonders to help heal this area and you can do specific exercises to strengthen these muscles too.

Pregnancy and Childbirth Injuries

How it Happens: Stretch marks, extra weight and kinky hair aside, pregnancy and childbirth can leave you with temporary or permanent scars. Vaginal tearing, a leaky bladder, broken tailbones and hemorrhoids are common mom injuries after vaginal births, while cesarean sections typically leave an incision scar. Abdominal separation, medically known as diastasis recti, occurs when the uterus puts so much pressure on the abdominal muscles that they separate, leaving many moms with a lasting “pooch.”

How to Relieve it: Many pregnancy and childbirth problems heal over time or with easy solutions your doctor can provide, such as hemorrhoid cream and ointments to reduce the appearance of scars. Abdominal and pelvic floor exercises can help in some instances. Other issues may never go away, at least not without surgery. Consider them the mark of motherhood on your body.

Wrist and Elbow Injuries

How it Happens: Holding your baby in awkward positions, especially while breastfeeding, may lead to wrist injuries because fluid builds up inflaming tissue in the small spaces around tendons. Elbow injuries are common from hoisting the baby’s car seat carrier on the crook of your arm multiple times daily.

How to Relieve it: Try to keep your hand, wrist and elbow in alignment while holding your baby to avoid wrist pain. Consume a natural anti-inflammatory diet to relieve pain. Also, wear your baby more rather than carting around the car seat carrier. When necessary, attach the carrier to a stroller rather than hauling it yourself.

Scratches, Bruises and Other Injuries

How it Happens: Your baby’s crazy-long finger or toe nails may leave you looking like you were in a cat fight. Or she might innocently throw a toy at you unintentionally as she learns to control her movements. Once your baby learns to give hugs, kisses and head bonks, she may do so less than gracefully and cause you injury. And flailing during tantrums or sudden movements to keep your baby from harm’s way may land you with some sad scrapes and bumps as well.

How to Relieve it: Most of these injuries are unforeseeable yet unavoidable consequences of spending time with your adorable little baby. Treat the injury as best as possible and avoid giving your baby something or putting her in a situation that could inflict pain on herself or others like you!

Sources: Redbook, WebMD, and Parents

Sensitive Winter Skin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Sensitive Winter Skin During Pregnancy and BreastfeedingNow that you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you may wonder what happened to the radiant, blemish-free skin you worked so hard to achieve after your teenage years. With all that talk about pregnancy and new-mom glows that didn’t seem to land on your doorstep, you may start dreading your sensitive winter skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Yes, hormones can do crazy things to your body, especially your skin in winter months. The combination of extra hormones and the dry air may lead to itchy, bumpy, red, splotchy skin.

Here are some tips for managing sensitive winter skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

Dry Skin

The biggest winter skin woe during pregnancy and breastfeeding is dryness. When the air lacks moisture, so does your skin. Head off the problem by using a natural moisturizer on your face and body at least twice daily.

Also, use a humidifier in your room at night and drink plenty of water throughout the day. When you need extra moisture and relaxation, enjoy a lukewarm bath with a pure natural oil or oatmeal. (Hot baths are not recommended during pregnancy. Besides, hot water strips the skin of moisture anyways!)

Sensitive Winter Skin During Pregnancy and BreastfeedingItchiness

During pregnancy be sure to coat your belly with a thick balm. When your skin stretches to accommodate your growing bump, it can be extra itchy, especially in winter months. Your breasts may itch more too due to dryness and the metamorphosis they are making to nourish your baby. When you are breastfeeding, use 100% pure lanolin to take care of itchy skin issues as well as cracked or sore nipples.

Blemishes

Some moms become extra oily in the winter months thanks to pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones. If that’s the case for you, be careful of products with contain chemicals that may not be safe for your baby. Most experts recommend avoiding Vitamin A derivatives such as retinol. Instead, try glycolic acid.

Discoloration

The mask of pregnancy is a common darkening of facial skin for expectant moms. While you may not be able to control some discoloration, do be careful of sun exposure. Even the weaker winter sun can make splotchiness during pregnancy worse.

While pregnant and breastfeeding, use a mineral-based sunscreen. Chemical-based sunscreens may enter your bloodstream and affect your baby. You can also use a tinted moisturizer to hide splotchy areas but never use a skin lightener.

Sources: Fit Pregnancy, The Bump and Parents

Babywearing vs. Stroller

Taking your baby out and about is always an exciting adventure for your little one. And how she views the world may be subject to where she’s positioned in it. Both babywearing and using a stroller have their advantages but may change your baby’s perspective on the experience.

Here are things to consider when deciding about babywearing vs. stroller:

Age of your Baby

Younger babies love to be snuggled up close to their mothers so babywearing may serve you well here. Newborn carriers can create a swaddle-like cocoon for your tiny love and make her super comfortable feeling your warmth, hearing your heartbeat and smelling your scent. Plus, breastfeeding is a cinch from the Babywearing vs. Strollerbabywearing position and you can protect your baby from the multitude of germs that may fly her way.

Older babies may still love to be close to you in a carrier but could also enjoy the strolling experience. As your baby becomes larger, babywearing may be more taxing on your body and a mixed-use outing is a great plan.

Weather

Cuddling close to mom is so delicious when the weather is cooler. On warm days, you and your baby may prefer a more breezy experience in the stroller. Do be sure your stroller has a visor or fashion an umbrella on top to protect your baby from the sun. If you’re using a stroller in cold or rainy weather, cover it with a water-proof or wind-reducing layer.

Type of Activity

Babywearing is fantastic in that it gives you two hands free to do many things you might need to do such as push a shopping cart or hold on to your dog’s leash. However, if you’re doing anything that may make you tip over, don’t take the risk of wearing your baby. A spill with your baby attached can be very dangerous as your weight may crush your little one. It’s tempting to wear your baby on terrain where strollers are not ideal but be cautious about your risk of tripping or falling.

Babywearing vs. StrollerTemperament of your Baby

All babies are different, from their preferences to their need for proximity. Some babies may prefer the openness of sitting independently in a stroller, eating a snack from the stroller’s tray and being able to stretch and move in many directions. Other babies may prefer the security of being close to mom while observing the world. Once your baby is old enough you can turn her around to face outward or carry her on your back so she has a better view.

Sleep and Transfer

Some babies can sleep anywhere with ease while others are rather particular. Sleeping on mom’s chest while in a carrier is a wonderful experience for both of you. Your warmth and the rhythm of your movement may rock your baby to sleep. But if you need to put your baby down, she may wake up. Strollers allow your baby to stay sleeping in one spot for longer, especially strollers that are compatible with car seat carriers, but the sleep position may not be as comfortable.

When deciding between babywearing vs. stroller, keep all of these considerations in mind for your adventures outside your home.

Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Moms

Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy MomsThe mornings are probably you’re busiest time as you’re getting everyone, including yourself, ready to face their day. Everyone’s up on time, dressed and ready, lunches and book bags are packed, and everyone has eaten breakfast but you. Moms need to eat too so we’re sharing easy breakfast ideas for busy moms like you!

The first thought that may pop in your head when we bring up easy breakfast ideas for busy moms is something you bought from a store that comes in an individually wrapped package. Yes, those protein bars, breakfast biscuits, tubs of cereal and frozen breakfast sandwiches are super convenient but they are also filled with a lot of nonsense you don’t want in your body, especially if you are breastfeeding. We’re talking lots of sodium, unnatural chemicals and sugar.

Every once in awhile a pre-packaged breakfast will have to do but try to stick with natural whole foods whenever possible. Try some of these wholesome easy breakfast ideas for busy moms:

Oatmeal:  Not the kind that comes in the packets, but real whole oats are an amazing superfood that offers fantastic fiber to support stable blood sugar levels all day long. Plus, oatmeal is a known galactogogue, which means it helps naturally increase your milk supply.

Oatmeal is pretty simple to prepare on the stove or you can prep it the night before. If you’re not a fan of pure oatmeal, flavor it with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or fruit. If you want an amazing twist on a regular bowl of oatmeal, work on flavor combos like carrot cake, banana maple crunch, apple cinnamon or berry delight. When taking oatmeal on-the-go, use a small insulated thermos to keep it warm and delicious.

Egg Muffins: In about 15 minutes time you can have a protein-packed breakfast ready to go and we bet your kiddos will love these too. Simply beat some eggs, pour them into greased muffin tins and bake for about 10-12 minutes. The eggs should fluff up nicely. Feel free to add spices you enjoy, cheese, turkey bacon, or veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, peppers and onions.

Smoothie: In about two minutes time you can have a delicious, healthy smoothie ready for the road. Just be sure to have the right ingredients on hand. Try hitting up every food group in your smoothie by ensuring you have several fruits and veggies, a source of protein (yogurt, nuts, nut butters, tofu or a hard boiled egg are all great choices), dairy (or alternative calcium source if you are dairy-free) and a superfood like amla, Spirulina, Moringa or maca.

Baked Bars: Did you know those store-bought breakfast bars can be made fresh in your own kitchen and without all the processed ingredients? There are many variations of homemade granola-type breakfast bars. The gist of them is using butter, baking soda and a natural sweetener combined with grains like rolled oats, flaxseed, chia seeds, quinoa, whole wheat flour, plus adding in the flavor tidbits you love like chocolate chips, dried fruit and nuts. Give this one a go and toss in some galactogogue ingredients like oats, almonds and ginger.

Quinoa: You may not think of quinoa as a breakfast food but it can absolutely be one. This is actually a great breakfast to prepare on Sunday nights and eat hot or cold throughout the week. Try flavoring your quinoa with dried fruit, berries or vanilla beans. You can eat it with similar fixings as oatmeal and enjoy some plant protein first thing in the morning.

Nut-butter Protein Bites: This no-bake popable breakfast is equally as easy to make and eat. In a food processor, mix together your favorite unsalted nuts, a few tablespoons of your favorite nut-butters, 5 pitted dates, super grains (like hempseeds, flaxseeds or chia seeds), oats, honey and coconut oil. Once your mixture is blended, scoop it into balls. Eat them right away or refrigerate for breakfasts during the week.

Superfood Muffins: Muffins are great for breakfasts and snacks on-the-go and freeze beautifully too. There are many ways to make an all-natural muffin but start with a base of ripe bananas, unsweetened applesauce or a pumpkin puree. Add in oats or whole wheat flour, a couple of eggs, a teaspoon of baking soda, super grains, and a natural sweetener (or two).

Greek Yogurt Parfait: Forget the fancy layers and just throw some Greek yogurt, nuts, fruit and a drizzle of honey into a to-go cup for the road. You’ll love the taste and feel satisfied until lunchtime with the perfect mixture of nutrients.

Extra Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Moms

When you have a minute or less to grab something but you want it to be healthy, natural fuel for your day, try one of these ideas:

  • A spoonful of almond butter
  • One handful of walnuts + one handful of dried fruit
  • Edamame
  • Peas with hemp hearts
  • Avocado on whole wheat toast

Sources: Creative Green Living, Keeper of the Home. Meraki Lane and Mom 365

Alternatives to a Baby Book

A traditional baby book is a fabulous account of your baby’s life but can be quite time-consuming. If you’re like most modern moms, you’re looking for a meaningful way to save the memories without interrupting your time to make new ones. That’s why we’re sharing alternatives to a baby book that help you keep track of your little one as she grows.

Take a look at these alternatives to a baby book:

Memory Box

Set aside memorabilia, growth charts from your baby’s doctor’s visits, report cards, special clothing and other items in a memory box. You can even jot down notes and stick them inside to remind you of certain special moments.

Alternatives to a Baby BookPhoto Apps

There are many apps that will aggregate your photos from your smart phone and social media accounts and curate them into an online album. Some will print the album for free or for a small fee.

Memory Quilt

Take scraps of favorite outfits, blankets and stuffed toys and stitch them into a quilt. If you’re not a sewer, you can send off your patches to a professional and then mail you back a beautiful memory quilt for your baby.

Create a Website

This may sound like it would take more time than a baby book, but once you have the initial setup figured out, it’s really quite simple to add updates. Plus, you can send it to friends and family so you can share photos, videos and stories in real time. Then you have your baby’s childhood recorded online for posterity.

Calendar

Make a photo calendar for each year of your child’s life. Add funny quotes throughout. Once it is printed, go back and add in special dates on the calendar such as first words, first steps and first teeth.

Journal App

Keep a log of moments you want to remember such as first words, funny things your child says or does and observations. You and your little one will love looking back at it together one day.

Time Capsule

Create a time capsule for each year of your baby’s life. After the year is over, seal it up and start a new one. This way you’ll collect memories and be able to sort through them per year when your baby is older.

Letters to Your Baby

Write a letter to your baby each month or on special occasions and keep them for your little love to read when she is older. Your letters can include milestones and things the two of you are doing together at that time.

Fill-in-the-Blank Baby Book

Keep it super simple and buy a fill-in-the-blank baby book that will give you spots to record all sorts of important data so you don’t have to otherwise remember what to write.

Sources: Mom.me and Café Mom

Baby Nap Schedule

You may not notice it every day but your baby is constantly growing thanks to the phenomenal nutrients in your breast milk and her voracity for sleep. Babies are known for their ability to sleep, although it may not happen exactly when and for how long you desire. Today we’re diving into the baby nap schedule to give you a frame of reference for what to expect from your little love.

Baby Nap ScheduleNewborns tend to be quite sleepy and may take a nap every hour or so. But the naps are usually shorter and somewhat erratic. This is partially because your baby needs to eat every two to three hours. Focus on feeding on demand and let the naps happen as they will. No need to develop a baby nap schedule in the newborn stage.

Somewhere around 6 to 9 weeks your baby may start napping for longer stretches and become wakeful for longer as well. Three to five naps are common at this age although the timing may vary daily.

By three or four months a baby sleep schedule may naturally fall into place, though for some babies it doesn’t happen until six or nine months. Your baby might continue to take three to four naps but the timing may be more predictable.

At six months most babies are on a fairly regular routine of two or three naps daily. A morning and early afternoon nap are typical. Depending on their bedtime, some babies need a catnap in the early evening too.

By around nine months your baby can work with a solid two nap schedule. One will be in the morning, just a few hours after waking. The other will be in the early-to-mid afternoon. Expect naps to last between one and two hours.

Most toddlers transition to one midday or afternoon nap by 18 months. The loss of the morning nap is bitter sweet for many parents, but it does allow your baby to be more active for longer in the early part of the day.

Most children continue to nap throughout their 3rd and 4th year, some even nap into their 5th year. Naps may vary from one hour to three hours at this stage. As time progresses, your child may be OK skipping a nap every now and then and some children only nap occasionally when they really need it. If you find that naps are interfering with nighttime sleep, you may need to limit them to a shorter timeframe or push bedtime back a little.

Keep in mind that all babies, toddlers and young children are different so there is not a “one size fits all” template for a baby nap schedule. Rather, it’s important to take note of patterns and natural rhythm cues that your baby displays and then try to create a somewhat predictable baby nap schedule from there.

Also remember that almost everything in early childhood is temporary. Once you figure out your baby nap schedule, surely things will change far too soon. It’s the nature of parenting and raising children!

Sources: Baby Sleep Site and BabyCenter

The Diaper Change: Tips to Make Diaper Changes Easier

The Diaper Change: Tips to Make Diaper Changes EasierThe diaper change is one of the less-than-pleasant realities of being a new mom. It’s probably not so bad most of the time. But when you enter a diaper blowout phase or get sprayed with urine a time or two, you may start to dread the process. A fussy or squirmy baby only makes things worse.

You’ve probably got the diaper change basics under control. Your diaper changing station is set up with all the supplies you need. You’ve determined the right size diaper. You wash your hands before and after changing your baby. And you discard of soiled diapers in the least offensive manner possible.

But the diaper change can still be a difficult scene. Here are some expert tips to make diaper changes easier:

Special Toys

Distraction is the name of the game when babies get fussy during diaper changes. Reserve special toys for the diaper change so you know your baby will be engaged, if only for the few minutes you need to do the deed. When you see she’s getting tired of the toys, switch them out for something better.

Special Songs

Sing a special song your baby loves during diaper changes only. If you can’t find one, write one yourself – about diaper changing of course. This can be something silly your baby looks forward to during diaper changes.

Make it Positive

When you have the dreaded face of a parent about to change a diaper, it’s hard for your baby to get excited about the proposition. Rather, be positive about the diaper change so your baby can mimic your good mood.

Change the Scenery

Perhaps a new environment is what you need to keep diaper changes more peaceful. Take it down to the floor or in another room if necessary. Always ensure your baby’s safety by never taking your hand off of her if she’s above ground level.

Offer Participation and Choices

For older babies, involve them in the process by letting them pull wipes from the box and select a diaper or clothes for the day. These small elements of participation and control can make your baby feel good about the diaper change and the role she has played in it.

Connect

It’s tempting to hold your breath and get through the diaper change as quickly as possible. But sometimes it’s nice to connect with your little one when you have the moment and proximity. Look her in the eyes and tell her a story. Tickle her precious skin. Give her kisses on her belly. Rub her nose with yours. Anything that helps your baby remain calm and feel your love is a great way to connect during a diaper change, and it may just keep her calm and engaged long enough for you to get the job done.

Sources: What to Expect, Mommy Shorts and Red Tricycle

Baby Skin Care: Protecting Your Baby’s Winter Skin

Baby Skin Care: Protecting Your Baby’s Winter SkinBurns, rashes, chapped skin and eczema are all common baby skin care issues this time of year.  Protecting your baby’s winter skin will help her avoid discomfort and maintain that smooth, soft, delicate skin you love to snuggle.

Here’s a guide to baby skin care issues and how to help resolve them:

Chapped Skin

The Issue: Dry winter air outdoors and indoors plus gusty winds beating on your child’s delicate skin can lead to chapped skin and lips. You may notice rosy cheeks or peeling lips as signs of chapped skin. Windburn looks and feels a lot like sunburn.

The Solution: Moisturize your baby’s skin day and night in the winter. Use a formula designed for a baby’s sensitive skin. Apply a baby-safe lip balm daily as well. Keep your baby protected from the wind with long clothing and a stroller cover.

Frostbite or Frostnip

The Issue: Frostbite and her younger sibling frostnip may set in faster than you think. Our bodies react to cold weather by reducing blood flow to the extremities in order to protect our organs. Frostbite and frostnip may appear as redness or skin may look bluish or lose color.

The Solution: Cover your baby’s body as much as possible with clothing, mittens and a hat that wraps around her ears and chin. Don’t stay out in extreme conditions too long. If you notice redness or discoloration that may be frostbite or frostnip, put your baby in a lukewarm bath and call your doctor.

Heat Rash

The Issue: Heat rash is common when babies are over-bundled for the weather. It is marked by red pimply skin in the areas that are overheated and sweaty, often in the creases of a baby’s arms, legs, neck and groin. This occurs when sweat glands become clogged.

The Solution: Aim for lose fitting clothing that still offers warmth rather than wrapping your baby too tightly. If your baby does develop a heat rash, blot the area with a water and baking soda mixture.

Sunburn

The Issue: Despite cold weather, the sun can still burn your baby’s skin during the winter. This is particularly common when the sun is out and snow is on the ground because the white snow reflects the sun back onto your baby’s skin.

The Solution: It’s great to help your baby get her Vitamin D naturally during winter months. It can boost her mood and support her entire body. But do apply a baby-safe sunscreen before spending time outside in the sun and try to stay out of direct sunlight in peak hours.

Eczema

The Issue: This dry, bumpy skin condition may be chronic but it is usually worse when skin is dry. It may look red and flaky with raised bumps.

The Solution:  Moisturizing, especially after a bath, is the best way to treat eczema. Also, keep your baby’s nails short so she doesn’t scratch the area and make it worse.

Sources: Parents, What to Expect and CNN

Overactive Letdown

Breastfeeding is a delicate balance – on the one hand you want to ensure your milk supply meets your baby’s needs and she’s able to suckle properly for adequate nourishment. On the other hand, sometimes overactive letdown and oversupply can become an issue that hinders your breastfeeding experience and causes some uncomfortable side effects for your baby.

Overactive letdown, also known as forceful letdown, occurs when your milk is forcefully ejected in great quantity early in a feeding to the point that your baby is overwhelmed by it. Your baby may immediately unlatch or clamp down on your breast to slow the flow of milk. She may also start to choke, gag, spit up, or swallow air that leads to gas and fussiness. In some cases babies refuse to nurse out of fear of the overactive letdown.

Overactive LetdownFor those moms who experience it, overactive letdown usually begins between three and six weeks once your mature milk is in and your milk supply is strong – in this case perhaps too strong. All the wonderful efforts you have made to increase your milk supply may lead to an oversupply, one of the most common causes of overactive letdown. Usually the issue naturally resolves by around three months because your body learns to adjust to your baby’s needs and your milk supply stabilizes.

In the mean time, there are several methods to control an overactive letdown and how it affects your baby. Most experts first recommend trying to position your baby to use gravity to her benefit. This means your baby will be more upright than sideways the fast flow of milk will more easily drain down her throat.

You can also try nursing your baby more frequently to avoid a larger build-up of milk in your breasts between feedings. If that doesn’t work, you can let your baby nurse until the letdown occurs, then remove her from the breast for a few minutes to allow the forceful ejection to occur (into a towel or cup) and then resume feeding. Or you can pump through the letdown and then begin feeding your baby. Another tactic is nursing when your baby is drowsy so she won’t suck as hard and hopefully the letdown will come slower and smoother.

If overactive letdown is still an issue, you may need to address the root cause, your oversupply of breast milk. It’s important to first note that trying to decrease an oversupply of milk should not be attempted in the first month of breastfeeding as it may backfire and lead to low milk supply.

Pumping may seem like the obvious solution to oversupply but pumping may actually increase your milk supply. Experts suggest two methods. The first is simply switching sides frequently during a feeding. However, one issue with this method (which also may be true of the entire issue of overactive letdown): your baby is primarily getting foremilk and not the valuable fatty hind milk.

The other method is block feeding. In this scenario moms will feed from only one breast for a period of time and then switch to the other breast for the next block of time. This allows one breast to drain fully and letdowns are not as forceful. Of course the other breast may then be rather full so you can pump it until you are comfortable, trying to pump less and less day-by-day. Cold compresses between feedings may also restrict milk supply but be careful not to cause plugged ducts and engorgement.

The delicate balance of your milk supply can be challenging to say the least. Overactive letdown is a temporary issue, though. With the right combination of solutions and handling the problem in stride, you and your baby will find this balance.

Sources: Kelly Mom, La Leche League and Mama Natural