Self Care For A Smoother Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding can be one of the most challenging parts of early motherhood, but most moms will tell you it’s also one of the most rewarding. There’s nothing quite like being able to give your baby the nourishment she needs while cradling her in your arms. Because many women don’t have blissful beginnings to their breastfeeding journeys, we wanted to share a few tips to help make the experience as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. We’re calling these self-care tips because honestly, when else in your life will you be forced to sit for hours a day, cuddle with a sweet newborn and just relax?
Create your own space. One piece of advice we always suggest to expecting mamas - before the baby arrives - is to create a calm space (ideally one in the bedroom and one in a living space) in your house for nursing. A serene and relaxing environment makes a world of difference when you’re sleep deprived! Find a comfortable nursing chair, set up an area with a basket that can hold your nursing supplies and ensure you have a table nearby to set your water, burp cloth,
Make yourself comfortable. Every new mom needs a nursing wardrobe. Although you’ll likely be spending the majority of the first few weeks inside your home, having comfy nursing-friendly pieces - especially ones that make you feel pulled together - will come in so handy when you don’t have the energy to think about what to wear. Comfort and easy-access are key when you are breastfeeding! You’ll be wearing nursing bras around the clock (they are especially helpful at night to keep nursing pads in place) so invest in a few soft and comfortable nursing bras. We love this set, which is as comfortable as pajamas and designed for both lounging and strolling. In addition to a comfortable chair and nursing clothes, a nursing pillow is also very helpful when you’re first getting the hang of breastfeeding.
Make some ‘Me Time.’ Finding time for yourself with a newborn may sound unrealistic to say the least, but trust us - it’s essential for being the best mom you can be. We aren’t suggesting a day at the spa. In fact, these tips are really no different than the things you did regularly before having a baby. The difference now is that someone else is relying on you to take care of yourself so you can take care of her. Here are a few things you can do take care of yourself during the first few weeks and months of motherhood.
- Nutrition is vital for a nursing mom! Load up your freezer with up on healthy meals while you’re pregnant. Make a big grocery run and fill your pantry with a few weeks of supplies before your due date. Make sure you have plenty of breastfeeding friendly snacks on hand at all times and if someone asks if they can bring you something, say 'yes.' Keep a list of your favorite snacks in the Notes on your phone and copy and paste your answer when asked.
- Find time to shower every day. Make this your ‘me time’. Listen to your favorite play list or a podcast, light a candle, enjoy a new body wash or face mask and spend 10-15 baby-free minutes by yourself and enjoy it! Our MAMA robe is the perfect gift for a new mom to encourage this daily routine!
- Hydrate! It’s critical that you increase your fluids when you’re breastfeeding — especially when it’s hot outdoors. Grab your favorite water bottle or treat yourself to a new one when you’re pregnant and keep it with you at all times. Set up water bottles at each nursing station, too.
Snuggle up. Set yourself up so you can make nursing in bed during the night a priority. Work with your partner to help with diaper changes so you can stay in bed some nights, keep the lights low (using just a nightlight is a great option) and wear a nursing nightie or PJs to make it easy. Keep yourself relaxed so it’s easier to go back to sleep after the feeding. We highly recommend an e-reader on low light output instead of scrolling on your phone!
Remember: Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. If you are feeling pain during breastfeeding, seek help from a lactation consultant, your doctor or pediatrician immediately. For general discomfort, there are a number of products that can help — we are fans of Lansinoh’s gel packs, gel pads and lanolin minis that are perfect for keeping in your purse or diaper bag.
Build your support network. One of the best ways to ensure a successful breastfeeding journey is to seek support from the very beginning. Take a breastfeeding course (with your partner) before your baby arrives, join a breastfeeding class or support group through your hospital or local moms club, or meet with a lactation counselor. And very importantly, surround yourself with people who will support your decision to breastfeed. There are many great support resources out there and people who can support you on your breastfeeding journey. Soak in all the baby cuddles mama and remember, it gets easier and better with every feeding!