Here’s How Breastfeeding Might Change Your Vagina
Did you know that breastfeeding temporarily changes your vagina? Breastfeeding mimics menopause by keeping your estrogen levels low. Side effects of low estrogen include vaginal dryness and irritation. Here’s what you can do to avoid painful intercourse or vaginal irritation:
Tip #1: Try using lubricant during sexual intercourse
Tip #2: Talk to your OB provider about topical estrogen cream.
Tip #3: See our recipe downloadable for meal suggestions while breastfeeding.
Working and Breastfeeding
If you have to return to work before or at 6 weeks and are hoping to breastfeed here’s what to do:
- Prioritize 1-2 four hour blocks of sleep right away by having your partner, doula, or night nurse feed the baby overnight.
- You will still need to pump to maintain a milk supply. To do this, and get rest: pump at 8pm, even if the baby just fed. You can keep your pumped breast milk out at room temperature, where it can sit for up to 6 hours. Sleep until midnight and either feed the baby directly or pump. Pump once more at 4-5 am when your milk producing hormones are highest.
- If the number of times your baby ate overnight is more than the number of times you pumped, makeup the missed feeding sessions by pumping an hour before or 30 minutes after your baby breastfeeds.
If you get your pump delivered while you’re still pregnant, bring it with you to the hospital. You can ask a nurse or lactation consultant for instructions. Here are a few tips to make sure your pump is working for, and not against, you!
- Make sure you have the right flange size.
- Experiment with pump settings; you don’t want suction set too low or high.
- Start pumping between 2- 4 weeks if returning to work by 12 weeks.
- Realistically, if you work traditional hours, like 9-5, you will only need 2-4 days worth of milk before returning to work. A baby requires 25-30oz of milk per day between 0-6 months.