If you have ever traveled through time zones, you'll know how it feels to experience jet lag. Your internal clock gets all confused and your schedule can get out of whack. For babies, especially breastfeeding babies, moms might wonder if there is any effect. Can jet lag affect your baby's nursing schedule?
What is jet lag anyway? According to the Mayo Clinic, jet lag occurs when you travel between time zones and disrupt your circadian rhythm (your internal clock that regulates your sleep and wake times). It's exhausting and it can throw you and your baby's sleep cycles out of sync.
So how can it affect your nursing schedule? Romper asked International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Rachel O'Brien, who says that your body gets used to making milk on a routine or schedule that your baby or pump provides, and it will continue to make milk on that same schedule. "So when you change time zones, it's particularly a big jump," she says, "and it will take a few days for your supply to regulate to the new schedule."
You may need to adjust a little. If you're only losing or gaining an hour or two in your time shift, Baby Center explained that the adjustment shouldn't last too long, and putting your baby to bed an hour earlier or later should help. But if the time change is significant, you should try to start adjusting your baby's schedule before your trip, try to pick a flight time when baby can sleep through and be rested, and when you get there, try to keep your baby awake in the day, and quiet down for sleep in the evening.
When it comes to nursing and jet lag, there are some other things to keep in mind too, like milk supply and sleep scheduling. IBCLC Alyse Lange of Peaceful Beginnings Lactation & Postpartum Doula Services, tells Romper that lack of sleep and the stresses of travel can have an impact on supply, especially if mom is taking long stretches of time between nursing or pumping. So it's a good idea not to skip feedings or pumping sessions, which will help maintain a good milk supply.
Since jet lag has everything to do with sleep cycles, once your sleep schedule is on track, your nursing schedule should fall right in place. (Even if you still feel utterly exhausted.)