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The Pill Can Affect your Milk Supply

So what birth control is right for a breastfeeding mother?

The Pill Can Affect your Milk Supply

Bring on the birth control! That’s what many of us mamas are thinking after pushing out our screaming, crying bundles of joy -- and you are right to want to take your time. Pregnancy and childbirth, especially if you had a cesarean, can do a number on our bodies; and rest and recuperation down there is a must. But if you’re breastfeeding, there is a lot to consider when it comes to postpartum birth control: namely, how much milk you make. Which is why you might not want to ask for a refill of the same old pill you took before baby.

Indeed, some birth control options can be detrimental to your milk supply, and doctors say it’s best to avoid them altogether. Any estrogen-containing contraceptive, like combination oral pills, the patch or the shot, are major no-nos. These methods can decrease your supply and cut your production time, according to Dr. Tamika Auguste, obstetrician and professor at Georgetown University Medical School.

It doesn’t mean you should give up on contraceptives entirely. Nor should you rely on breastfeeding alone. Many women swear that breastfeeding itself is a form of birth control, but Dr. Auguste says that relying solely on nursing can be hit or miss – where prescribed contraceptives have a proven effectiveness rate.

“If you consistently breastfeed, then it is a proven method of contraception, however, the qualifier ‘consistent’ is where it varies. Some women who breastfeed only, there’s no way they’re getting pregnant,” Dr. Auguste told Well Rounded. “In other women, it’s not as effective.”

So what’s a breastfeeding mama to do?

You want to focus on the non-estrogen containing methods.”According to Dr. Auguste, the progestin only pill – sometimes referred to as the mini pill – and non-systemic birth control options are great alternatives when breastfeeding.

Non-systemic options include IUDs, implants and rings and are always Auguste’s first suggestions to new moms. Since they don’t contain estrogen and are localized, they have minimal to no effect on milk supply, Auguste said. Plus, they’re long lasting, more convenient and don’t depend on your ability to remember to take them. After all, life with a new baby can be exhausting; and forgetting to take oral contraceptives is potentially just as easy as forgetting to eat anything until the clock hits 5 p.m.

Then there are the barrier methods of birth control: condoms, diaphragms and caps. Dr. Auguste says these are totally fine options when it comes to your supply, but aren’t necessarily as efficient since their reliability really depends on how consistent you are in using them.

“Some women think after a baby, it takes a little while to get going again, and that’s not true,” Dr. Auguste said. “Some women get pregnant the first month after giving birth.” Plus, if you do choose to stick with your previously used diaphragms and caps, you need to have them refitted after pregnancy because the position of your cervix can shift during delivery.

So what birth control should you favor if you are breastfeeding and don’t want to put your milk supply in jeopardy? The progestin pill, the IUD, implants, vaginal rings, condoms and diaphragms are all great options, while you may want to steer clear of estrogen-based and combined pills, shots and patches.

At the end of the day, you are your own boss and decide on the best birth control option for you -- based on your preferences, concerns and comfort level. Just make sure to discuss your options and their pros and cons with your doctor before making your choice.

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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The new top 100 American baby names, according to the Social Security office

Did you have a baby in 2018? Did your name make the top 10?

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[Editor's note: We know that being pregnant can be, well, a lot. And understanding what you really need versus what's just a nice-to-have takes time . With your needs in mind, we've selected the best products for pregnancy in The Motherly Shop. We've got you, mama.]

No one can beat Emma when it comes to naming babies in America. This week the Social Security Administration announced its annual list of the most popular baby names in America and Emma has the top spot on the girls' side for the fifth year in a row. On the boys' side Liam took the top spot for a second consecutive year.

According to the Social Security Administration, these were the top 20 baby names in America in 2018:

Girls: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Charlotte, Mia, Amelia, Harper and Evelyn

Boys: Liam, Noah, William, James, Oliver, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Mason and Owen

How do those top 10 lists compare to the top baby names of 2017? Well, the girls' list is nearly the same except that Mia and Charlotte switched spots, and Harper (a name that fell out of the top ten the previous year) is back and has ousted Abigail. On the boys' side, Lucas kicked Jacob out of the top 10.

The real changes happened lower down in the data. Let's take a look at the popular baby names that were trending hard in 2018:

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