The rooting reflex

The rooting reflex (RR) is a fascinating developmental milestone that begins even before birth and continues to evolve during infancy. RR is an automatic response in newborns characterized by turning their head toward a touch on their cheek or mouth. When you stroke or touch your baby's cheek or the corner of their mouth, they will instinctively turn their head in that direction, open their mouth, and make sucking motions. By turning towards a

touch, babies instinctively position themselves to find their food source and initiate feeding

The RR starts to develop in utero, typically around the 32nd week of pregnancy. During this time, baby's neurological and sensory systems are maturing rapidly. Once baby is born, the rooting reflex becomes more pronounced and functional. Immediately after birth, and often during the first few weeks of life, you can observe your baby's natural response to touch on their cheek or around their mouth. It’s a reflex, so this is also why they will try to root and latch to dad’s nose or even to grandma’s chest.

The RR is at its strongest during the newborn phase, the first 0-3 months. Babies rely heavily on this reflex to initiate feeding, whether at the breast or with a bottle. As baby's neurological system continues to mature, the rooting reflex gradually integrates with other feeding skills. By around 4 to 6 months of age, babies start to gain more head control and may rely less on the rooting reflex for feeding.

You can actively support baby's RR by:

- Positioning baby close during feeding. Their chin and cheeks should be physical touching your breast and your fingers can touch their cheeks during bottle feeding

- Let baby lay on both of their sides during tummy time, not just on their belly. As the floor triggers the reflex, it helps not only integrate it, but also will eventually help with rolling over and finding toys

- Being responsive to your baby's cues and feeding needs, especially during the early weeks and months.

Have you noticed the rooting reflex in your baby? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below! 💬🍼 #RootingReflex #NewbornDevelopment #ParentingJourney

Breast milk supply tips

It's crucial to remember that every breastfeeding journey is unique, and breast milk pumping outputs can vary widely from person to person and even from day to day. Comparing your output to someone else's can create unnecessary stress and pressure.

Natural Variation: The amount of milk a person can pump varies based on factors like breast storage capacity, hormonal levels, baby's nursing habits, and more. Some people naturally produce more milk than others, and this doesn't reflect on their ability to nourish their baby

Frequency and Timing: Pumping output can fluctuate throughout the day and with different pumping sessions. It's normal for milk supply to be higher in the morning and lower in the evening. The timing and frequency of pumping sessions can also impact how much milk is expressed

Storage Capacity: Breast storage capacity differs among individuals. This affects how much milk can be stored in the breast at one time and consequently how much can be pumped in one sitting

Baby's Needs: Babies' needs vary, and not everyone needs the same amount of milk. Your baby's growth and development are better indicators of whether they're getting enough milk rather than the volume you pump

Typically, a newborn consumes around 1-3 ounces per feeding in the first few weeks. However, this can vary based on baby's age, appetite, and individual needs. Here are some general guidelines:

Early Days: In the first few days after birth, when your milk is transitioning from colostrum to mature milk, you might pump smaller amounts (e.g., 1/2 to 2 ounces per session)

Established Supply: As your milk supply regulates (around 4-6 weeks), you might pump around 2-4 ounces per session

Later Months: Pumping output can range from 2-5+ ounces or more per session as your milk supply adjusts to meet your baby's needs

Remember, the best indicator of successful breastfeeding is your baby's growth, diaper output, and general well-being. If you have concerns about milk supply or breastfeeding, it's always a good idea to reach out to an IBCLC for personalized support. And most importantly, be kind to yourself and focus on the special bond you're nurturing with your little one.

Nausea while breastfeeding

The interplay between oxytocin and stress hormones is a fascinating aspect of our neuroendocrine system. Cortisol and oxytocin are both regulated by the hypothalamus, a critical part of the brain that helps maintain hormonal balance. The hypothalamus plays a pivotal role in maintaining the balance between these hormones.

Oxytocin is produced in the paraventricular nucleus inside the hypothalamus, a small but crucial part of the brain that regulates many autonomic functions. From the hypothalamus, oxytocin is transported to and released by the posterior pituitary gland into the bloodstream which then travels to the breast and causes the pulsatile contractions known as the Milk Ejection Reflex (let down).

In response to stress, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH prompts the anterior pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH then stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream, preparing the body for a 'fight-or-flight' response. The hypothalamus coordinates the release of CRH and oxytocin, attempting to balance the stress response with mechanisms that promote recovery and resilience

These hormones counteract each other: cortisol increases alertness and stress, while oxytocin reduces anxiety and fosters calmness, helping to restore equilibrium in the body's stress response system

What Causes Let-Down Nausea?

The sudden surge of oxytocin, combined with fluctuating levels of other hormones released by the hypothalamus, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can sometimes trigger nausea. This response is similar to the body's reaction to certain stressors or stimuli

Breastfeeding is both physically and emotionally demanding. Anxiety, lack of sleep, and overall stress can exacerbate nausea during let-down

Blood Sugar Levels: Low blood sugar, a common issue for new mothers who might skip meals or eat irregularly, can also cause or worsen nausea as hormones are fluctuating during breastfeeding

Managing breastfeeding nausea

Hydration and Nutrition: Ensure you're staying well-hydrated and eating balanced meals regularly. Small, frequent meals rich in protein and complex carbohydrates can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce nausea, especially when eaten a few minutes before moving milk

Relaxation Techniques: Practice deep breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga to reduce overall stress. Creating a calm and comfortable environment during breastfeeding or pumping  can help

Breast milk nutrition

Breast milk is a complex and dynamic fluid that provides all the essential nutrients a baby needs for optimal growth and development. Its composition varies not only between different stages of lactation but also from one feeding session to another. Here’s an in-depth look at the key components and nutritional value of breast milk:


- Proteins: Breast milk contains two primary types of proteins: whey and casein. Whey proteins, which are easier to digest, make up about 60-70% of the total protein content. Casein constitutes the remaining 30-40%. These proteins are crucial for the baby's growth and immune function.

- Fats: Fats are the most variable component of breast milk and provide the primary source of energy, comprising about 50% of the total calories. The fat content can range from 3-5 grams per 100 mL, depending on the time of day and how long since the last feeding or pump session. These fats include essential fatty acids, such as DHA and ARA, which are vital for brain development and vision.

- Carbohydrates: Lactose is the main carb in breast milk, providing about 40% of the total caloric content. It aids in the absorption of calcium and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.


- Vitamins: Breast milk contains a range of vitamins necessary for the baby's development. These include fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, as well as water-soluble vitamins such as C, riboflavin, niacin, and B12.

- Minerals: Key minerals found in breast milk include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and trace elements like zinc and iron. These are essential for bone development, cellular function, and overall growth.

Immune-Boosting Components

- Antibodies: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is the most abundant antibody in breast milk, playing a crucial role in protecting the infant from infections by forming a protective barrier on mucous membranes.

- White Blood Cells: Breast milk is rich in leukocytes, which help fight infections and bolster the infant’s developing immune system.

- Enzymes and Hormones: Enzymes such as lipase and amylase aid in digestion, while hormones like leptin and ghrelin help regulate the baby’s appetite and metabolism.

Caloric Content

- Calories: The caloric content of breast milk can vary significantly. On average, breast milk provides about 20 calories per ounce (approximately 67 calories per 100 mL). However, the caloric density can range from 15 to 30 calories per ounce (50 to 100 calories per 100 mL) based on factors such as the stage of lactation and the time of feeding. Colostrum, the first milk produced, is lower in calories but higher in proteins and antibodies, while mature milk produced later is higher in fat and overall caloric content.

Variability and Adaptability

One of the remarkable features of breast milk is its ability to adapt to the baby's changing needs. For example:

- **Foremilk and Hindmilk**: At the beginning of a feeding session, the milk (foremilk) is typically more watery and lower in fat, quenching the baby's thirst. As the feeding progresses, the milk (hindmilk) becomes richer in fat and calories, satisfying the baby's hunger and providing sustained energy.

- **Circadian Rhythms**: The composition of breast milk can also change based on the time of day. For instance, evening and nighttime milk often contain higher levels of melatonin, which can help the baby sleep better.

Breast milk is a highly specialized and ever-changing nutritional source that supports infants' growth, development, and immune function. Its unique composition, tailored to meet the specific needs of human infants, underscores the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. The dynamic nature of breast milk, with its varying caloric content and nutrient composition, ensures that babies receive optimal nourishment during the critical early stages of life.

Cluster Feeding

Cluster feeding is a normal and common behavior in newborns, where they nurse frequently and irregularly over a period of several hours, often in the evening. This behavior helps stimulate milk supply and can also provide comfort to the baby, who may be going through a growth spurt or developmental leap. Despite its normalcy, cluster feeding can be particularly challenging and frustrating for new parents, especially if they are unprepared for its intensity and duration.

New parents may find cluster feeding overwhelming for several reasons. First, the frequent and seemingly incessant nursing sessions can lead to physical exhaustion and a sense of being constantly tethered to the baby. The lack of predictability in feeding patterns can also make it difficult for parents to find time for their own basic needs, such as eating, sleeping, and showering. This can contribute to feelings of frustration and stress, as the demands of cluster feeding can seem relentless.

Additionally, new parents might worry that their baby is not getting enough milk or that there is something wrong with their breastfeeding technique. This anxiety can be exacerbated if they are not aware that cluster feeding is a typical behavior that helps regulate and increase milk supply. The emotional toll of seeing their baby seemingly insatiable and unsettled can add to their frustration.

Education and support are key in helping new parents navigate cluster feeding. Knowing that cluster feeding is a normal part of newborn development can alleviate some of the stress and help parents manage their expectations. Seeking support from lactation consultants, pediatricians, or breastfeeding support groups can provide reassurance and practical advice. Understanding that this phase is temporary and that it plays an important role in establishing a healthy milk supply can also help parents cope with the challenges of cluster feeding.

Milk supply at night

Infant sleep patterns, especially during the early months, are characterized by frequent waking, often every 2-3 hours, which is largely driven by their need for regular feeding. Night feedings play a crucial role in maintaining and boosting breast milk supply due to the hormonal mechanisms involved. Prolactin, a hormone essential for milk production, tends to be at its highest levels during nighttime. When an infant breastfeeds at night, the mother's body receives signals to produce more milk, ensuring an adequate supply for the baby's needs. Frequent night feedings help to maintain high prolactin levels and stimulate continuous milk production. Consequently, consistent night feeding is vital for establishing and sustaining a robust breast milk supply, particularly during the early weeks postpartum when the milk supply is being established. Skipping night feedings can lead to decreased milk production as the demand decreases, sending signals to the body to reduce milk output. Therefore, understanding and supporting infant sleep patterns that include night feedings are essential for successful breastfeeding.

Research indicates that newborns typically wake every 2-3 hours during the night for feeding. This frequent waking is due to their small stomach capacity and high metabolic rate, requiring regular intake of nutrients. Studies show that by the age of three months, many infants may start to sleep for longer stretches, though it is common for them to still wake at least once or twice during the night for feeding. On average, these night wakings can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on how quickly the baby feeds and settles back to sleep.

A study published in *Sleep Medicine Reviews* highlighted that infants between the ages of 0-6 months wake up approximately 2-3 times per night. Another research in the *Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine* found that these night wakings typically decrease in frequency as the infant grows older, but individual patterns can vary widely. Some infants may continue to wake frequently throughout the first year, especially if they are breastfed, as breast milk is more quickly digested than formula, necessitating more frequent feedings.

Night feedings are crucial for maintaining breast milk supply due to the elevated levels of prolactin during nighttime. Consistent night feeding supports ongoing milk production by keeping prolactin levels high and ensuring that the body continues to respond to the infant's nutritional demands. Thus, understanding typical infant sleep patterns and their need for night feedings is essential for breastfeeding success and ensuring adequate milk supply.

What you weren’t told about breastfeeding a preemie


Babies born under 38 weeks gestation are considered premature, with those born between 34-36.6 weeks gestation, known as late preterm infants. While those born in the 37th week are considered term, lactation consultants call them the Great Pretenders, because they can look like full term babies, but still act like late preterm babies. All of these babies exhibit distinct feeding habits compared to full-term infants (those born at 38+ weeks). Here are the primary differences:

Feeding Efficiency:

   -Late Preterm Infants: Often have less developed oral motor skills, which can lead to less efficient suck-swallow-breathe coordination. This can make feeding slower and more labor-intensive for both the infant and the caregiver.

   - Full-Term Infants: Typically have more mature feeding skills, allowing them to feed more effectively and efficiently from the breast or bottle.

Energy Levels and Fatigue:

   - Late Preterm Infants: These babies tend to tire more quickly during feeding due to lower energy reserves. This can result in shorter, more frequent feedings and a need for longer feeding sessions.

   -Full-Term Infants: Generally have higher energy levels and stamina, enabling them to complete feedings more quickly and efficiently.

Latching and Milk Transfer:

   -Late Preterm Infants: May struggle with latching onto the breast properly, leading to inefficient milk transfer. This can necessitate additional support, such as the use of nipple shields or supplementary feeding devices.

   -Full-Term Infants: Usually latch more easily and effectively, facilitating better milk transfer during breastfeeding.

Feeding Frequency:

   -Late Preterm Infants: Often require more frequent feedings due to their limited ability to consume large volumes of milk in a single feeding session.

   -Full-Term Infants: Can typically consume larger amounts of milk per feeding, allowing for longer intervals between feedings.

Supplementation Needs:

   -Late Preterm Infants: More likely to need supplementation with expressed breast milk or formula to ensure they meet their nutritional needs and support adequate growth and weight gain.

   -Full-Term Infants: Generally able to meet their nutritional requirements solely through breastfeeding or standard bottle feeding.

Risk of Jaundice:

   -Late Preterm Infants: Higher risk of developing jaundice, which can affect feeding patterns and overall health. Effective and frequent feeding is critical in managing this condition.

   -Full-Term Infants: While jaundice can occur in full-term infants, it is typically less severe and easier to manage through regular feedings.

Growth Monitoring:

   -Late Preterm Infants: Require closer monitoring of their growth and development to ensure they are meeting milestones and gaining weight appropriately.

   -Full-Term Infants: While growth and development are monitored, they generally follow a more predictable growth pattern.

Understanding these differences is essential for caregivers and healthcare providers to offer the appropriate support and interventions to ensure that both late preterm and full-term infants thrive.


This means your expectation is you may have to triple feed or do lots of pumping until baby becomes efficient, which is usually 2-3 weeks PAST their due date. They need extra time to figure out how to efficiently feed. Many parents who had babies born at 37 weeks were not told their baby may struggle to breastfeed for the next 4-6 weeks, so they give up on breastfeeding just a few weeks in  don’t give up!!! Your baby just needs time to figure it all out  

#preemie #preemiestrong #preemiepower #preemiemom #preemieawareness #preemielife

Painful white spot on nipple: Milk blebs

Managing a milk bleb (also known as a milk blister) can be uncomfortable, but there are effective ways to address it. Here are steps to help manage and treat a milk bleb:

🤱🏽Frequent Nursing: Continue breastfeeding frequently to keep milk flowing and prevent further blockages. Start nursing on the affected side first to ensure thorough drainage.

🤱🏼Proper Latch: Ensure your baby has a proper latch to prevent friction and irritation that can contribute to milk blebs. Change your feeding position to have baby’s mouth come from a different angle to the bleb

❤️‍🔥Warm Compresses: Apply a warm, moist compress to the affected nipple before nursing or pumping. This can help soften the bleb and promote milk flow.

👐🏼Gentle Massage: Gently massage the area around the bleb while breastfeeding or pumping to help clear the blockage. Be careful not to cause additional irritation.

🌦️Soak in Warm Water: Soak your nipple in warm water mixed with a little Epsom salt. This can help reduce inflammation and soften the skin.

🫒Olive or Coconut Oil: Apply a small amount of oil to the nipple to soften the skin and make it easier to remove the bleb.

⚔️Avoid popping it with a needle as this can increase your risk of infection.

🩹Antibiotic Ointment: For persistent or painful blebs, contact your healthcare provider and ask for a prescription of triamcinolone cream .

🥑Stay Hydrated and Healthy**: Maintain good hydration and a balanced diet to support overall health and effective milk production.

🤱🏽Consult a Lactation Consultant: If milk blebs are recurrent or particularly painful, consult a lactation consultant for personalized advice and support.

Always ensure good hygiene, wash your hands before touching your breasts, and keep your nipples clean and dry. If you experience persistent pain, signs of infection, or recurring blebs, seek medical advice promptly.

Exclusively pumping is like having unexpected twins

The Double Duty of Exclusive Pumping:

🧑🏽‍🍼Time and Effort: Exclusively pumping requires significant time and dedication. You're not just feeding one baby directly; you're also spending extra hours feeding your pump. Not to mention all the set up and clean up that involves

🎛️Logistics:Managing the logistics of pumping and feeding your baby involves intricate planning and organization—keeping track of pumping schedules, milk storage, sterilization, and bottle preparation

🎢Physical and Emotional Demands: Exclusive pumping can be physically and emotionally demanding. It requires resilience and perseverance to maintain a steady milk supply while

Remember, You Are Incredible:

- Your dedication is extraordinary. Unlesss they’ve done it before, people don’t understand that exclusive pumping (or triple feeding) is like having twins. It’s not **just pumping**, it’s feeding two babies, one is just electronic

- It's okay to feel overwhelmed or exhausted at times. Stay hydrated. Make sure you have plenty of snacks. Naming your pump can help some feel more connected to the process. Find support to make sure you have a quality pump and the right size flanges as well as help with pump schedules to make sure you reach your goals

- Celebrate your achievements. Every ounce of milk pumped is a testament to your determination to reach your feeding goals

This message is a reminder of the incredible dedication and love that goes into exclusive pumping. It's important to acknowledge the challenges while also celebrating the immense strength and resilience of parents who undertake this journey

Weaning toddler from breastfeeding

When and how you wean from breastfeeding is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Weaning a toddler from breastfeeding is a gradual process that requires patience and sensitivity.

🗝️Introduce Alternative Milk or Drinks. Start offering cow's milk or a suitable alternative if they are over 1 year old. Gradually replace breastfeeds with milk in a cup. Cow’s milk is a good source of fat and calcium, but never needed if your toddler eats a well balanced diet with other foods rich in fat and calcium

🗝️Gradually reduce the number of breastfeeding sessions. Start by dropping one feed at a time, perhaps beginning with daytime feeds before tackling bedtime or morning feeds

🗝️Don’t offer, don’t refuse. Don’t offer the breast at routine times, but it’s ok to offer it when asked. Eventually this will turn into distract, delay, and don’t sit down!

🗝️Distract and delay. Engage your toddler in other activities or offer comfort in different ways when they ask to breastfeed. Substitute breastfeeding with a favorite toy, book, or snack

🗝️Gradual Shortening of Feeds. Try shortening the duration of each feed over time. Set a timer and when it dings, it’s time to stop. Start the timer at your usual nursing length and shorten the time each day

🗝️Discuss this with your toddler! They understand more than you think. Have a discussion with them about why you’re stopping in language they can understand. This is a good chance to introduce the concept of bodily autonomy and consent. Read a book that talks about weaning, like The Booby Moon, and talk about it together

🗝️Cover your nipples and reduce access. Wearing clothing like sports bras and high neck shirts and dresses can help reduce access. For older toddlers or preschoolers, some moms will cover their nipples with bandaids and say either their nipples hurt or their boobies are broken, whichever language resonantes best with your child

🗝️Understand that weaning can be an emotional process for both you and your toddler. Offer extra cuddles, reassurance, and comfort during this transition

🗝️Be Consistent and Patient: Create a plan you feel you can carry out and stick to it. Once you establish a rule about breastfeeding, don’t change it. Especially for tantrums. If you give in, this only reinforces that your toddler just has to escalate the tantrum and you’ll give in to their demands. If you don’t want to cold turkey wean, come up with a plan with gradual steps that you fell comfortable enforcing

### Night Weaning:

- Night weaning can be a separate process. Gradually reduce nighttime feeds or comfort your toddler in other ways if they wake up seeking breastfeeding.

### Celebrate Milestones:

- Celebrate each step achieved towards weaning. Praise your toddler for being a big boy or girl and trying new ways of getting comfort.

### Seek Support:

- Talk to other moms, friends, or a healthcare professional if you need guidance or emotional support during the weaning process.

### Final Transition:

- Once breastfeeding is fully phased out, celebrate this milestone together and focus on the new ways you can bond with your toddler.

Remember, weaning is a personal journey that varies for every child and parent. The key is to approach it with love, patience, and understanding.