Breastfeeding is a beautiful way to feed your child. It’s also super hard, and breastfeeding moms are rarely given credit for what they go through to keep breastfeeding going. Many people who breastfeed successfully often have to put in hours and hours of sometimes painful work to make it work. It’s a challenge, and moms deserve props.
They also deserve to indulge in self-care. In the spirit of helping moms stay healthy and happy while breastfeeding, Professional Mom has gathered some self-care tips to help out. Here are some ideas to inspire you to thank yourself for your hard work:
Focus on Comfort
In a perfect world, breastfeeding would never be painful. However, sometimes latching issues, tongue ties, and dry or sensitive skin can make it a shockingly uncomfortable process, especially early on. You should always bring up such issues with a lactation consultant who can help you get things back in order. However, you should also take steps to control comfort wherever you can in the meantime.
For example, focus on comfortable nursing wear. Stock up on tops and bras with removable cups or straps so you can breastfeed without getting undressed. You should also invest in comfy pajamas and loungewear. Prioritize options with loose and comfortable elastic waistbands. You won’t want anything pressing into your tummy for a while after birth, especially if you’ve had a C-section.
You should also remember to have good posture when you breastfeed. Many moms fall into a bad habit of breastfeeding hunched over. This is bound to cause back problems. Instead, prop yourself (and baby) up on pillows so that your little one is comfortably at breast level. Keep your shoulders up and avoid leaning over to check their latch as much as possible. This is hardest early on, but once you get the hang of breastfeeding you’ll have an easier time feeling the difference between a good and bad latch.
Carve Out Downtime
Often, one of the most challenging parts of parenthood is discovering that you’ve taken on a whole new identity. Being a parent is beautiful and fulfilling, but it’s also hard and exhausting. It can start to feel like you’re losing yourself in the task of motherhood. Not only does this cause stress and anxiety, it can start to make you feel resentful about the role you’ve taken on. This is normal, but it’s still challenging and – most importantly – manageable.
This is why downtime is so incredibly important for new parents, especially breastfeeding moms. Carve out a specific time that you get for yourself. For example, you could make a deal with your partner that they handle bath time so you have a chance to unwind.
As your little one gets older, you can start teaching them how to play independently, which gives you a chance to snag little moments to yourself throughout the day. A jumper is a great way to get this started. Once your child is old enough (age limits depend on the device, but six months is normal) you can set them up in the jumper to take a breather. These devices are great because they give your little one a chance to exercise, build core strength, and learn how to find fun on their own. Independent play is extremely good for kids, so you’re doing everyone a favor by helping them learn how to manage it.
Give Yourself Grace
For some moms, breastfeeding comes naturally and they hardly ever have issues. For most, there’s a learning curve, and for some people, it’s just not possible. The psychological pressure to succeed at breastfeeding can be extremely damaging. In fact, breastfeeding issues may be a trigger for developing postpartum depression. Stay mindful of your emotional state, and go easy on yourself.
Give yourself the grace to feed your child in a way that works best for your family. If that means breastfeeding, pumping and bottle feeding, formula, or some combination, that’s all okay. Your mental health is more valuable to your child than the specific food they eat early on.
Focus on keeping yourself healthy and happy throughout your breastfeeding journey, no matter how long that journey is or what it looks like. Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for you, your family, and your little one.
Looking for advice on how to manage family and business at once? Check out Professional Mom for tips and guidance!
Photo Credit: Pexels
*Leslie Campos hopes to provide relief and tips for other busy parents through her site Wellparents.com. Parents can find a variety of information from stress-busters to exercise ideas to healthy eating tips.
A note from Patti McDonald, Professional Mom. I want to thank Leslie for reaching out to me and writing this article specifically for professionalmom.com. I look forward to more insight from Leslie in the future!