Baby/Toddler & Parent
Enrichment Center

Norwell, MA & New for July 2024 … Pembroke, MA!


Baby and Toddler Sleep Schedules and Daylight Savings

by Melanie Venuti • March 13th, 2017

Happy Daylight Savings! Here are 6 ways to navigate your kiddos through the time change.

Make gradual changes over the course of a week. In the Spring, each night, put your child to bed 15 minutes earlier,  and every morning, wake them up 15 minutes earlier. In the fall, put your child to bed 15 minutes later than usual, and in the morning, wake them up 15 minutes later than usual. This will help you reach your target bed and wake time without causing change too fast. “The biggest challenge of  day light savings is bedtime resistance, so you need to adjust bedtime slowly. Trust me on this. If you don’t adjust bedtime slowly, you will have a baby or toddler who starts to cry, protest, get out of bed, or try to negotiate with you.” Teresa Stewart, Stewart Family Solutions.

Understand the Circadian Rhythm,
also known as the body’s internal clock which regulates the body’s cycle of many functions, including sleep and wake cycles, is also important.

Use Light and Dark.
Melatonin, the hormone that regulates your bodies circadian rhythm increases in the evening as it becomes darker. This process helps induce sleep. Production of melatonin stops with exposure of light, increasing wakefulness. In the spring, keeping the room dark in the evening even if it’s light outside, and light in the morning, even if it’s dark, will help regulate your child’s body’s biological clock. In the fall, keep lights bright inside until bedtime.

Cut a Little Slack. When off their typical routine, most older children and toddlers alike will test limits. Cut them a little bit of slack if they are perhaps resisting rules, keeping in mind they are adjusting and a little sleep deprived.

Gradually Adjust Naps. Naps are driven by sleep pressure, or how tired kiddos are, and not the circadian rhythm. Therefore, have some more flexibility when it comes to nap time. You may have a couple days where the day is not quite normal, but as your child adjusts, you will see things fall back into place.

Make Routines Work For You.
Keep in mind that it may take a couple days to get back on track, but if you stick with a plan, day lights savings doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Read more about establishing routines, here.


Looking for more help with sleep? Check out our sleep training classes and workshops, or take a child development class for more information!

How to Pump at Work

by Melanie Venuti, IBCLC, RLC • September 27th, 2016

Heading back to work with a nursing baby? Read our tips on how to pump at work!

How Often? – When returning to work with a baby at home who is 6 months or younger, I would encourage mom to express milk approximately every 3 hours. For example, if you are separated from baby for 10 hours, it is recommended that you pump at work at least three times. Pumping often while away from baby will ensure that your body continues to be stimulated and will keep production up.

How much will my baby drink? – Breastfed babies are typically eating every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day, some more, some less. On average, they may consume 1 to 1.5 ounces of breastmilk for every hour they are separated from Mom, in increments of 2 to 4 ounces offered in a bottle. For example, if baby is separated from mom for 10 hours, baby will likely be consuming between 10 to 15 ounces of milk. The first few weeks back to work can be trial and error. Communicate with your care provider about your baby’s typical hunger cues so that milk is not offered with every cry. Ask them to offer feedback so that you can plan to leave the amount that works best for your baby.

Nursing and pumping at home – Most of the mothers I work with hope to continue to nurse their baby while they are home in the morning, evening, and on the weekends. While continuing to nurse your baby during the hours that you are home, mothers may find it helpful to pump one more time in addition to feeding their baby at the breast, and pumping at work. Pumping perhaps before you go to bed or before you leave for work, or both, will assure that you keep your supply up, and collect milk to save for times in need.

Some tips for better pumping

Always pump both breasts at each session for 15 minutes. You will be able to get more milk in less time when pumping both breasts and your body releases hormones more freely when both breasts are stimulated at the same time

Play around with the settings on your pump. Put the vacuum/suction strength to the max that is comfortable for you. When using a 2 phased mode pump, keep the cycling speed on stimulation mode for 2 minutes and then change into a slower phase, the expression mode (Some pumps automatically change phases after 2 minutes). After about 6-8 minutes, you may toggle back to stimulation mode for another 2 minutes to trigger additional let downs (some pumps have a “let down button” and some have a dial to increase speed). This will simulate baby being at the breast and offer more hormonal response.

The flange (cone) size is key to comfort and successful milk expression. The flange is what puts pressure on the nipple and areola tissue for successful output. If it is too big, it may cause swelling of the nipple and areola, constricting the ducts and milk output. If it is too small, it can cause discomfort and restriction of the ducts which would therefore also effect expressing milk. *lubricate the flange with a little bit of olive or coconut oil to allow for the nipple to move more freely and gently.

Get hands-on. Massage and compress the breast throughout the pump session. This helps increase stimulation (skin to skin contact) and also the volume of breastmilk output eventually, especially in the areas that you are feeling bumps.

Take a short cut for cleaning: after each pumping session, put all parts in the fridge in a bag or a bowl. Continue to use those pump parts throughout the day, continuously putting the back in the fridge between pump sessions. At the end of the day, you can wash everything in warm soapy water and allow to air dry for the next day. Sterilizing is not necessary daily, you can boil for 3-5 minutes or use a steam bag 1 or 2 times per week.

Sample Schedule for a mom working 9AM – 5 PM:
6 AM – Breastfeed
8 AM – Breastfeed at “drop off”
10 AM – Pump at work
1 PM – Pump at work
4 PM – Pump at work
6 PM – Breastfeed
Breastfeed at Bedtime (time may range)
10:30 PM – Pump
Breastfeed during the night as needed

Need more help! Drop in to our free weekly drop-in breastfeeding group or take a breastfeeding class!

Helpful Resources:
Free Breastfeeding Hotline Sponsored by MV Breastfeeding Support: 857-400-0897

Supplemental Nursing System

by Melanie Venuti • February 8th, 2016

A supplemental nursing system (SNS) involves the use of a container or bottle, and a tiny tube leading from the container to the mother’s nipple. An SNS is used for supplemental circumstances when a baby either is not able to transfer milk from mother’s breast, or mother’s milk is in short supply. An SNS can be filled with expressed breast milk from the mother or a donor, or with infant formula.

An SNS may be recommended for a mother to use by a lactation consultant for specific reasons concerning the baby, or reasons concerning the mother. Some circumstances that may affect a baby’s latch including a premature baby, a baby with a cleft lip or palate, or a baby with Down Syndrome, would be perfect examples of when an SNS would be appropriate. A mother adopting a child who either wishing to induce lactation or create an intimate bond by breastfeeding their baby, a mother who has had previous breast-related surgeries, including augmentation, reduction, or removal of breast tissue for medical reasons, or a mother who congenitally has insufficient glandular tissue, would also be examples of which an SNS would offer a positive breastfeeding option.

The benefits of using an SNS versus a bottle for supplementation in the above situations, are both for the mother and baby. When a baby suckles directly on the breast, the baby is receiving nutrition from the mother’s milk supply directly, in addition to the tube. In this circumstance, the mother’s milk supply is stimulated hormonally by the infants suckling, and therefore helping increase her supply. In the event where mother either hormonally or congenitally is not able to produce a full milk supply for their baby, we must remember that breastfeeding is not only about providing mother’s milk to baby, it is just as much about creating and intimate bond, providing comfort, providing a safe place for baby and offering mother and baby a way to feed in the most natural approach.

Some quick tips:

  • Before deciding to use a SNS, talk with an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She/he will be able to give you advice on which system to use, and may be able to assess and improve position and latching. This will ensure that your breast is being stimulated properly, and will avoid sore and damaged nipples.
  • If you have milk, use it! Talk with your LC and figure out when pumping is possible in your day to use your own milk in the device.
  • Donor milk is available, but formula is ok too!
  • Create a consistent routine with using your SNS. Decide what positioning is most comfortable for you (IE: placing in a pocket, hanging around your neck, having a partner or helper hold it), have a feeding area with all of your supplies (tape, water, cell phone) so that each feeding may happen with ease.
  • Make sure the tube is positioned in baby’s mouth towards the roof of their mouth for consistent flow and comfortable swallowing. If your baby seems to be gagging or coughing or coming off the breast, slow the flow of the SNS and re-position the tube.
  • Some mothers find it helpful to feed their baby with mittens or swaddled. This will prevent baby from tugging or pulling the tube out of their mouth. This is not the case in every circumstance, so make your best judgment during your feedings.

Remember that every task takes time to progress into ease. Take a deep breath, and remember that you are doing the best for you and for your baby. Reach out to your local LCs with all questions and concerns.
When you are beginning your journey of breastfeeding, remember that it is a special gift that only you can provide to your baby. If you need more support, take a breastfeeding class, come for a drop-in breastfeeding group, or talk to a lactation consultant on the south shore.

5 tips for nursing mamas

by Melanie Venuti • February 1st, 2016

1.) Breastfeeding can HURT…but it shouldn’t.
After your baby is born, and you and your baby are learning to breastfeed together. Sometimes it can be a little bit uncomfortable, and this is when you want to ask for help. When breastfeeding is painful, it typically means that something isn’t right with positioning, latch, engorgement, or even water retention or swelling. A Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) has knowledge and experience working in the field of maternal and child health and has specialized skills in breastfeeding management. IBCLC’s use a problem solving approach and provide evidence-based information to breastfeeding women and make appropriate recommendations as needed to ensure breastfeeding success. Breastfeeding help is available!

2.) “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.”
You can read books, take classes, and talk to friends and family to prepare for the arrival of your little one, but it’s also a great idea to take advantage of this community when your baby is born. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Send an email with questions to the instructor of your newborn care or breastfeeding class. Reach out to friends and coworkers who have children for tips. Allow family to cook, clean and do laundry so you can rest.

3.) To make milk, you have to feed your baby.
Breast milk production starts during pregnancy. At about 18-20 weeks a woman’s body starts to produce colostum, baby’s first milk. After delivery, the endocrine control system continues to drive milk production, meaning that milk starts to increase by volume at about 36 hours due to changes in hormones. After milk has come in, production works via supply and demand. The more milk the baby takes the more the mother makes. So, feed your baby early and often!

4.) Some women have TOO MUCH milk.
Oversupply is a very real situation for some women. If your baby gags, chokes or pulls off the breast during the feeding or seems to have an uncomfortable gassy tummy, or if you are feeling “full” all the time or see sprays of milk coming from the breast upon stimulation, it is possible you have an oversupply. Talk to your IBCLC for what to do.

5.) You can enjoy your much-needed cocktail.
Alcohol does pass into breastmilk, and after one drink (1 beer, glass of wine, 1 mixed cocktail) typically peaks at about 30-60 minutes after consumption. Alcohol also passes out of a mother’s milk and her system, within 2-3 hours, making it safe to resume breastfeeding. Just like blood alcohol level, of course, the more alcohol that is consumed, the longer this process takes. “An occasional celebratory single, small alcoholic drink is acceptable, but breastfeeding should be avoided for 2 hours after the drink” as stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Looking for Breastfeeding Support? Take a breastfeeding class, talk to one of our lactation consultants in the boston area or drop in to our breastfeeding group.



How does milk production work?

Postpartum Depression

by Melanie Venuti • January 25th, 2016

Congratulations! You have just given birth to a beautiful baby! Everyone around you is so happy and excited for you and your partner. You, however, are feeling a bit confused; you love your baby but still feel so, so sad.

You are not alone. Childbirth and new parenthood can trigger a jumble of emotions from joy to extreme fear, as well as something unexpected: depression. About 9-16% of women experience Postpartum Depression (PPD) and up to 80% of women report having some degree of Baby Blues after delivery.

Baby Blues may include symptoms of anxiety, mood swings and crying spells, and almost always resolves after the first 2-3 weeks. Some women however, experience more severe symptoms and this is characterized as Postpartum Depression.

If you experience symptoms of Baby Blues or PPD, help is available for south shore moms.

Symptoms of Baby Blues (for first 2-3 weeks)

Mood swings
Trouble sleeping
Symptoms of PPD (beyond 2 weeks)

Loss of appetite
Intense irritability or anger
Lack of joy in life (especially with baby)
Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
Difficulty bonding with baby
Thoughts of harming self or baby
Causes of postpartum depression.

Hormonal changes
Emotional factors
Lack of support from family or partner
Financial difficulties
Outside responsibilities including caring for demanding older siblings
Other risk factors:

Family history of mental illness
Previous history of depression or anxiety disorders
If you suspect you may have symptoms of PPD, contact your health care provider immediately and discuss your options. Postpartum depression is a treatable condition that most mothers overcome within a few months.

Postpartum Depression Support for South Shore Moms:

South Shore Postpartum Support Network
24/7 Parents Helping Parents Line: 1-800-632-8188
Postpartum Support Group
Post Partum Progress
Sign up for a New Moms Class with New Arrivals Educators!
Talk with your OBGYN or PCP about a referral to a mental health counselor



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