For as long as I can remember, my mom has referenced the moon as a source of chaos, whether it was my younger brothers' hijinks or a particularly hideous headache. I can guarantee that if I called her today and ranted about my daughter's obnoxious grocery store tantrum, she would say, "Is it a full moon?" Like my mom, the most recent planetary shift into Mercury Retrograde has people questioning its effects on mood, communication, and even their sex life. But what about breastfeeding? I've got the inside scoop on how Mercury Retrograde affects your milk supply. Turns out, it could be a thing.
"During Mercury Retrograde, the most common emotion is frustration," Dr. Athena Perrakis of Sage Goddess tells Romper in an email interview. "Adults and children feel annoyed when they believe they are communicating clearly, but their messages are not being accurately received or interpreted by the other party, which is Mercury Retro’s most common effect."
So what's that mean for your milk supply? According to La Leche League International's The Breastfeeding Answer Book, it's not uncommon for a mother in a stressful situation to say that she has "lost her milk." The authors of the book noted that "it is not unusual for breastfeeding mothers to notice a temporary drop in their milk supply or a delayed or inhibited let-down, or milk-ejection, reflex when they are under great stress."
That means then — at least according to my math — a frustrating stint in Mercury Retrograde could lead to a difference in milk supply, correct?
The Breastfeeding Answer Book authors are sure to note that the decrease in milk supply as a result of stress is temporary, and that relaxation is the most important factor in helping things return to normal.
Another thing? Don't let frustration get in the way of your normal breastfeeding routine. "A poor latch by the baby is cause for poor milk transfer regardless of whether a shield is used or not," she says. "We know that milk supply is based on a supply-and-demand process," Kaylie Groenhout, a birth and postpartum doula and the owner of Doulas of Northern Virginia tells Romper in an email interview. "When the breast is emptied, the body learns that it must continue to supply that milk in the future."
That means that if the planetary shift has you and your little one at odds when it comes to breastfeeding, then you may have to hand express or pump to "ensure that the breast is given the opportunity to be emptied, and maintain — or even increase — the mother's supply," Groenhout says.
The perk of all of this chatter, of course, is that it's short-lived. Mercury Retrograde began Dec. 3 and will last until Dec. 22, opening cosmic channels for patience and clear communication just in time for the holidays (and your in-laws' arrival).
Of course, if your issues with supply or finding a good latch extend beyond Mercury Retrograde, then you may want to seek out the help of a lactation consultant who can help with issues like low milk supply. Consider also finding a La Leche League leader near you or popping in on one of their online meetings and chats for quick answers to common breastfeeding issues, like pumping, increasing milk supply, and how often to feed your little one.
All in all, Perrakis says, "stay in the present moment. That is my eternal parenting advice, both as a mom and as an astrologer. Take a breath and know that soon Mercury will begin its forward movement and with that direct momentum will come a renewed sense of clarity, direction, and inspiration."
Now if that forward motion shift also inspires your little one to sleep through the night, then you will be golden, am I right?
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