mom wearing bamboobies bra holding peony

How the warmer months affect breastfeeding and milk supply

The calendar is turning to summertime, the sun is shining longer and hotter, and you’re about to be outside in the warmer weather more. If you’re worried about breastfeeding during the hot summer months, we get it! Breastfeeding in summer can be more challenging, from worrying about your milk supply, to getting your baby to feed enough, to wondering if they’re getting enough water. We’re here to quell those concerns. If the hot weather affects you when you’re breastfeeding during the summer, try to stay indoors during the peak hot times of the day. Staying more comfortable in the air conditioning in your house, a coffee shop, or your favorite indoor facility will help keep your body temperature down. Staying indoors during those peak hot times will also help you and baby avoid too much sun exposure when the sun’s rays and UV index are highest. Increasing the frequency of breastfeeding is not only beneficial to making sure your baby gets enough milk in the warmer months—as they likely aren’t drinking as much at each feeding because of the heat. But doing so, or increasing the frequency of pumping, is actually good for your milk supply. The increased frequency helps your body learn of the demand of the milk it’s producing and will support more production. Stay hydrated and healthy A common concern among new parents is around dehydration—both for baby and mom. Babies who are exclusively breastfed get all the water they need through breastmilk, since a mother’s milk actually adapts to have a higher water content in hot weather, so there’s no need to add extra water into your baby’s diet, according to Rumina Naturals.1 In order to make sure baby is getting enough milk, let them eat when they’re hungry instead of on strict time schedules. If your baby seems to want to be fed more often, don’t be surprised! It’s natural for feedings to be shorter but more frequent during hot weather. Dehydration is a concern for mom, too. Make sure you’re drinking enough water to replace what you’re losing. Losing more water through sweat during the hotter months requires a higher water intake to keep up with what’s being lost. Conveniently, breastfeeding actually helps you crave more water. According to TopLine MD, breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, and oxytocin triggers thirst cues.2 The National Library of Medicine explains that oxytocin also allows breastmilk to flow and get to baby easier3, so if you’ve heard that touching, smelling your baby, or even looking at their pictures helps promote breastfeeding, there’s something to that! Oxytocin production is one reason why skin-to-skin contact is so important early in a baby’s life—not only for baby, but for helping with milk production. If you’re worried about the amount of water you’re drinking, try documenting it through a fitness app or using a large bottle that you’ll only need to refill a couple times a day. If you’re out and about, carry a smaller bottle with you. That way you’ll always have some on hand when you need it and it will be a reminder to drink some water when you see the bottle. In addition to drinking enough water, remember to take in other sources of fluids that will help you stay hydrated, like tea, fruits, green leafy vegetables, or juices. Limiting sugary sodas, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol can help as well. Sugary drinks lead to dehydration and other health problems, whereas caffeine is a diuretic, leading to more fluid loss and therefore dehydration. Alcohol can lead to reduced milk production, not to mention other side effects like disrupted sleep.1 If you’re breastfeeding, your body is constantly making milk for you to feed your baby. You may feel extra hungry while breastfeeding, which is natural because your body is expending extra calories to produce your baby’s food. Consume a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet to help keep your body as satiated with healthy food as possible. Another option to help boost milk supply through food is to consume galactagogues, or herbs that are known to help increase milk production. Some options are whole grains like oats, protein-rich foods like fish or chicken, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fenugreek seeds, and ginger.4 Though some do have a lack of research to support the actual correlation, new mothers across several cultures have gravitated towards these types of foods and swear by them. Either way, these types of foods are nutrient-rich and will support an overall healthy diet. In addition to these foods, lactation tea, which often includes galactagogue-filled ingredients, can help to increase milk production. Always be sure to consult your healthcare provider if these food and drink options are right for you, and make sure to check that they don’t interfere with any supplements or medications you might be taking. Be prepared for any feeding location If you’re going to be outdoors and don’t want to breastfeed out in the heat, a breast pump can come in handy. Pumping before starting any outdoor activities can help reduce discomfortable time pumping in the sun and can avoid uncomfortable skin-to-skin contact with your baby that will increase body heat. Nursing pads can come in handy, too. As much as you worry about leaking any other time, doing so in the warm weather—especially if you’re in public without another to top to change into—is more than inconvenient. Nursing pads can help stop leakage from making it to your bra or shirt, plus they can help stop discomfort between your breast and bra. While we know comfort isn’t the number one goal—after all, breastfeeding is to make sure your baby is fed—you deserve to be as comfortable as you can while breastfeeding. The process in and of itself can often cause you to feel extra tired or weak, as your body is using its energy to produce milk for your baby. Make sure to drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and allow yourself to rest. Breastfeeding in summer months and warmer weather brings extra challenges, but we know you’ve got this! References 1. Rumina Naturals Breastfeeding in Hot Weather 2. TopLine MD: 5 Tips For Breastfeeding In The Summer Months 3. National Library of Medicine The physiological basis of breastfeeding 4. UPMC HealthBeat Foods to Promote Breast Milk Production

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.