Baby is Four Months Old: Congrats, mama! You have officially made it to the 4 month mark of breastfeeding. You all deserve a big clap on the back! I’m sure by now you and your baby have likely fallen into a predictable breastfeeding routine. Remember breastfeeding is not all or nothing. Breastfeeding could look like all feeds at the breast, some feeding at the breast and some breastmilk bottles, or all bottles. Whatever combination of feeding you need to do to give your baby any amount of breastmilk that fits your routine. So let’s talk about what happens next. This is the time when mama’s start to question their decisions and compare their baby’s progress to their mama friends’ babies. You’re probably wondering how much your baby should be sleeping, whether or not to introduce some cereal or offer breast milk at daycare. These are common worries and totally normal to question!
Here are 3 things to help you keep your mommy sanity at the 4 month breastfeeding stretch mark (I just said stretch mark -all though those may be still on your mind too).
- There is no normal breastfeeding routine at this time! You have likely fallen into a predictable breastfeeding routine -yay! But guess what, this routine will look nothing like your best friends. There may be some weeks that there are sleep changes and feeding friendzies. Be wary of Baby Books that recommend the same feeding pattern for every baby. Feeding patterns depend on the storage capacity of your breasts. It also depends on how fast your let-down is and the general feeding wants of baby. There is no one-size fits-all recommendation to decrease the number of breastfeeding sessions (or pumping sessions at 4 months). Follow cues of your baby and what fits your routine to keep up your milk supply!
- Your breast storage capacity also affects sleeping routines. If you have a larger breast milk storage capacity, your baby may take more at one feed. This is because their stomach has adjusted to taking more from you. This means that she may have longer sleep stretches. Versus if you have a smaller breast milk storage capacity (you are still certainly providing adequate milk for your baby), but your baby needs to feed more frequently, even overnight. A note to the wise, sleep feels like a million dollars at this point. However, interfering with your baby’s feeding pattern can affect your milk supply.
- At the 4 month mark your baby may be back at daycare. And you may feel like stacking the freezer stash and supplying milk for day-to-day is a never-ending battle. And it may seem that your breasts never seem as full as before. Well, take a deep breath mama, there are simple ways to be assured your milk supply is just enough for baby and that you can supply enough milk for daycare or for the workday.
So, how do you assure your milk supply is enough exactly
- Look at your babies rate of growing at his 4 month check-up – if weight is good, all is good.
- Look at the amounts that the daycare provider is giving at each feeding
Does it look like the daycare daily total equals more than an ounce/an ounce and a half each hour that you are away from baby? Think about having the daycare pace the feedings more. Offer a slower flowing nipple, or see if they can hold off on offering as much before the end of the day pick-up. No matter what your frets, stresses or hallelujahs you may be experiencing, you are doing fabulous mama! And like I said, breastfeeding is not all or nothing, so however you are giving breastmilk in any amount is amazing!