How Cold Weather Affects Your Milk Supply And Ability To Breastfeed

Ad failed to load

Does the idea of breastfeeding during the colder months make you nervous?Not only is it uncomfortable to have your nips out in chilly temperatures, but colder weather also brings a whole host of new breastfeeding worries. So knowing how cold weather affects your milk supply can give you some peace of mind during these chillier parts of the year.  

For some women, it can seem like your supply is reduced in the cold, but there may be other bodily reactions at work. For instance, a colder body temperature can slow down the body's milk ejection reflex, making it difficult to get the milk out, according to La Leche League International. Even if your supply is fine, pumping or feeding your baby when you feel chilly can feel like your flow is reduced to a trickle. And really, a full supply of breast milk isn't super helpful if you can't get the juices going.

Next, cold weather can decrease milk supply if you get mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue that causes pain, redness, and swelling in the breast area, according to the Mayo Clinic. And dealing with a recent bout of mastitis can potentially cause low milk supply, reports to The Royal Women's Hospital. Unfortunately,  mastitis is most common during the colder months of the year, possibly because because of blood vessel restriction in the cold. Whatever the cause, dealing with this condition is problematic for many mothers. Doctor Natasha Burgert writes on BabyCenter that  breastfeeding when you have mastitis is safe, and sometimes recommended to clear up the infection more quickly, but it can be a painful experience. If you're dealing with this infection during the colder parts of the year, don't hesitate to visit your physician for advice about keeping the milk supply high.

Ad failed to load

Another part of the wintry months can make breastfeeding difficult: cold and flu season. Chances are, it seems like everyone and their dog starts getting the sniffles as soon as the first cold front moves in. If you tend to get sick during the winter months, then breastfeeding when you feel like garbage can bring its own set of challenges. In general, it is safe to continue breastfeeding when you have cold or flu symptoms, notes pediatrician Alanna Levine on BabyCenter. Medicating those symptoms, however, can get tricky. In fact, some over-the-counter cold medications contain pseudoephedrine, an ingredient that may decrease your milk production, according to Parents. If you're breastfeeding and dealing with a cold, it's important to talk to your doctor and find treatments that won't harm your baby or your milk supply. Unfortunately, this may mean you're stuck fighting off a nasty cold or flu with nothing more than a neti pot.

Lastly, the cold weather can make breastfeeding uncomfortable or painful in certain cases, even if it does not directly affect your milk supply. Feeling icy air anywhere on your body is uncomfortable, but exposing your nips to cold air is some next-level misery for pretty much anyone. In some cases, however, this discomfort becomes intolerable. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that people who deal with Raynaud's syndrome of the nipple experience extremely painful breastfeeding in cold temperatures. Because the pain is often severe enough to make breastfeeding impossible, mothers with this syndrome are advised to treat it by avoiding cold exposure. Of course, this is easier said than done in certain environments, but making sure your body is warm before breastfeeding is often the goal. Warm coats, showers, and even gentle heating pads are all your friends. If you suspect Raynaud's syndrome of the nipple — or any other health concern — is making cold-weather breastfeeding too difficult, visit your physician for a check-up and advice.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack