The holiday season brings a new dynamic to a breastfeeding mom and baby. If you wonder why your breast milk supply drops at Thanksgiving and Christmas, here is the answer!
We will talk about why your milk supply can be affected by the holidays and what you can do about it.
How The Holiday Season Can Drop Milk Supply
Let’s talk about why your breast milk supply drops at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
So you have a new baby, and breastfeeding has been going great. Ideally, you’ve learned how to recognize your baby’s hunger cues and you feed them when you see them.
Your breast milk supply has been good, even if sometimes you question it.
But then the holidays come around.
The main reason your breast milk supply drops at Thanksgiving and Christmas is that feedings stop being on-demand.
A mom will start cutting her baby off from feedings early, or she may delay feedings.
Breast Milk Supply Dropping at Thanksgiving
It’s Thanksgiving and there’s so much to do.
It mostly involves cooking, but if you host Thanksgiving, it includes cleaning the house and getting ready for your company.
You are putting together a pie, and notice your baby starts to fuss. They’re showing hunger cues but you just have a few more things to do before the pie is finished.
You wait five minutes, putting the finishing touches on your pie.
Then you turn to your baby.
They’re sound asleep.
So you start working on the stuffing. And the same thing might happen again.
Your baby should have been fed the first time, but their feeding could be delayed. Then, when you do feed your baby, the timer on the oven goes off.
So you stop the feeding before your baby is actually finished. It’s a common cycle during Thanksgiving.
Breast milk supply is dependent on demand. So if your baby isn’t feeding as long or as frequently as they should, your milk supply will drop.
The important thing to do is just take the time to feed your baby! Feed when you notice hunger cues and try not to cut your baby off. Offer both sides and let your baby breastfeed at much as they need.
Ask someone to help you or you could prepare some food a few days early so you aren’t overwhelmed all at once.
Can sage cause your milk supply to drop?
Sage can cause your milk supply to drop. But the amount of sage you typically eat at Thanksgiving shouldn’t have a huge impact. The most important factor in breast milk supply is how much your baby breastfeeds.
If your baby is breastfeeding on demand and finishes full feedings, your breast milk supply shouldn’t be affected by the sage on Thanksgiving.
Sage has been known to decrease breast milk supply, and everyone is different so some women may be more susceptible to supply changes than others.
Just do your best to breastfeed when you notice your baby’s hunger cues and don’t cut them off too early. Thanksgiving shouldn’t cause changes in your breast milk supply as long as breastfeeding is a priority.
Breast Milk Supply Dropping at Christmas
Let’s talk about Christmas. Similar to Thanksgiving your breast milk supply could drop at Christmas.
Instead of Thanksgiving dinner, you spend time wrapping presents.
Your baby starts to show signs that they’re hungry and you only have a few more minutes until you’re finished wrapping the current present.
So you finish wrapping the present, and when you turn to feed your baby they are sound asleep.
So you start on the next present. And the cycle continues.
Breast milk supply depends on how much and how often your baby feeds. Too much delaying of feedings can cause a decrease in supply.
The same things can happen when you cut your baby off too early. Maybe the Christmas ham is in the oven, ready to be pulled out. But your baby hasn’t finished the feeding. But you unlatch them, pull out the ham and when you come back your baby doesn’t act hungry.
Be careful to feed your baby when they first start to act hungry! And make it a priority to feed your baby a complete feeding each time. Offer both breasts and seek help around the house if you need it.
How to Increase Breast Milk Supply During Thanksgiving and Christmas
If you notice your breast milk supply drops around Thanksgiving and Christmas, try:
- Feeding your baby at the first sign of hunger cues.
- Making sure you complete an entire feeding.
- Pumping or power pumping to help increase your supply.
- Asking for help with cooking or entertaining guests.
- Getting enough rest and reducing your stress levels.
If you notice that your breast milk supply has been affected around the holidays, there’s one great way to increase it…
Feed your baby!
Your baby is the best way to increase your breast milk supply during the holidays. Pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues and feed them as soon as you can. Make sure you don’t cut off your baby from feedings early.
Another great option for increasing your breast milk supply is to also pump. You could either pump after feedings or try power pumping once a day. To power pump, just pump for 20 minutes, take a 10-minute break, pump for 10 minutes, take another 10-minute break, and then pump for another 10 minutes. Power pumping once per day takes a dedicated hour but it can improve milk supply immensely.
Asking for help is another great way to help your breast milk supply during Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re trying to juggle too many things, feeding your baby might not be the only priority. Asking for help can take some of the burdens from you so you can focus on breastfeeding.
Finally, try reducing your stress levels! Stress causes all sorts of problems. It can overwhelm you or make you not eat and drink enough. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby.
Milk Supply Decreasing During the Holidays: Conclusion
If you have noticed your breast milk supply start to decrease, don’t fret! The information in this article can help get you back on track.
And if you stumbled across this article before the holiday season, you’re in luck. Knowledge is powerful and can help you avoid breast milk supply problems. Keep breastfeeding a priority and take care of yourself! You’re the only one that can breastfeed your baby, but there are plenty of other people that can help with holiday festivities.
Kealy Hawk, BSN, RN, CLC
Kealy is a Registered Nurse, Lactation Counselor, and most importantly a mommy! Her own baby feeding struggles gave her a passion to help moms throughout their feeding journey. She specializes in breastfeeding support and evidence-based formula recommendations. To talk with Kealy or take one of her breastfeeding or formula classes, visit https://littlebearcare.com.