Today we have our first guest blog post. Written by Emily Graham of www.mightymoms.net she talks about breastfeeding moms (and parents of all descriptions!) need to make time for self-care, and she offers a few tips and suggestions for doing so. Let's see what she has to say.
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Self-Care Tips for Busy Breastfeeding Moms
Welcoming a new child into the world is an exciting moment for any mom. In the weeks and months following your baby's birth, you can establish a strong bond with them through breastfeeding. While it can be a lovely experience, breastfeeding also presents challenges! As a new mom, navigating the hurdles surrounding breastfeeding can help you stay positive and focused on your little one, which is why Amaryllis Doula Services presents you with these self-care tips to maintain your optimistic outlook.
Create a Cozy and Comfy Space for Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can take time, so you want to be comfortable. Start by cleansing, decluttering, and organizing your home. This will create a positive, healing, and healthy atmosphere for you and your child. It will also make things easier as your little one begins to roll over, crawl, and even take those anticipated first steps!
Then, set up a cozy breastfeeding corner with a comfy chair. Breastfeeding Confidential suggests looking for a comfortable and versatile chair that fits both your space and your budget. There’s no need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on this item. Just look for an option that is comfortable for you and that is easy to get out of with and without holding a little one in your arms. Then, equip your nursing corner with other essentials, like blankets and burping cloths.
Eat a Nutritious Diet to Keep Your Energy Levels Up
Breastfeeding moms burn more calories than usual, so it's important that you're eating a healthy diet to keep your energy levels up. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia created a helpful nutrition guide for breastfeeding women that can help you make smart meal choices. You should be eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as sufficient whole grains and protein to keep your energy levels up. Also, make sure you're drinking enough water to stay hydrated and maintain your milk supply.
Make Sure to Create Quality Time for Your Other Kids
When you have a new baby to care for, it's natural that your attention gravitates towards them. However, you don't want to accidentally neglect your other children in the process. Look for ways to make quality time for them, ensuring that they aren't feeling left out. For example, you might give them your attention at bedtime every night, reading them a story before sleeping. You can also have your kids participate in household chores, like helping you to cook, which gives them the chance to experience something fun and new with mom.
Family walks can also be a great opportunity to bond while getting some fresh air and exercise. Gather your family around nap time, so you all get some peace and quiet while pushing the new baby in the stroller. Then, your older children can chatter away and burn off some energy without fear of waking the baby. It’s a win on every front!
Alleviate Stress with Mental Health Best Practices
According to Neuroscience News, breastfeeding is actually shown to be beneficial for mothers' mental health. With that said, nursing can also be stressful. For example, many women feel frustrated if they struggle to get their baby to latch. Additionally, motherhood, in general, can be nerve-wracking, especially if you've got multiple little ones to juggle.
Make sure you are taking steps to protect your mental health. If you're feeling anxious, for example, you have some options; but it’s important to be careful about taking medication while you are breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor first. Counseling can be a great alternative, but you and your doctor will need to assess the severity of your anxiety or postpartum depression.
If you have put off making an appointment because you don’t have insurance, stop and make some calls today. If you can’t join a parent’s or spouse’s policy, look into government subsidized options made possible through the Affordable Care Act. Your mental and physical health is important. Don’t avoid getting help simply because of finances.
Set Aside 15 Minutes of "Me" Time Every Day
Another way you can help protect your mental health as a mom is by ensuring you get your "me" time every day. Even if it's just 15 minutes, make sure you have a small window of time that's just about you and your enjoyment. Don't use this time to take care of errands or other tasks. Instead, do something for pure pleasure. There are plenty of 15-minute self-care activities that you can do, like sipping a fancy coffee, taking a walk, or listening to music.
Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help
Breastfeeding isn't always easy. For example, getting your child to latch at the beginning can be tough. Meanwhile, some moms struggle to produce enough milk. Don't worry. There is help available. There are lactation specialists virtually everywhere, so look online for someone near you. You can also reach out to your OB-GYN’s office or a doula, like Amaryllis Doula Services, for support and recommendations.
Be Kind as You Adjust
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for new moms and their little ones. However, it isn't stress-free. Do your best to prepare a comfortable space, and gather the resources you need to get through the tough patches. This process will be an adjustment, but by being proactive and taking care of yourself, you and your family will adjust and thrive.