Being a mom is hard work -- and that goes for breastfeeding, too. For many, these new roles are tied to a period in life where everything seems overwhelming and all you can remember is your growing list of responsibilities (and the dirty diapers piled up everywhere). First off, take a deep breath -- and then take another because self-care is the most important thing you can do at this time, both for the baby and for you.
Now, let Serenity Sleepers walk you through some more essential self-care tips that every breastfeeding mother needs -- and deserves.
Use Your Downtime for Yourself
You’ll likely have some downtime between feeding and pumping sessions. How do you usually use this time? If you’re running around, completing tasks, and caring for everybody other than yourself, it’s probably time for a rethink. Use this downtime for little activities where you can relax and let go. According to a study by Maternal & Child Nutrition, relaxation techniques can prolong the breastfeeding period and increase the quantity of milk produced. So instead of thinking of the next task on your to-do list, watch a show, take a bath, or sit in silence. Relaxation is what you make of it!
Take Care of Your Body
Your postpartum body is constantly going through transitions while you’re breastfeeding. Thus, it is essential to care for your body to feel good in your new skin. Be sure to eat nutrient-rich, wholesome food so that you get in those much-needed extra calories for breastfeeding. Stay hydrated. And as hard as it may seem - get your eight hours of sleep in.
Try to get other family members to take care of the baby at least once a week so your body has time to compensate for all those sleepless nights. Exercising is another one: adrenaline and endorphins could be just the push you need to power through your day. Just remember to go slow with the workouts for an easy transition into motherhood.
Speaking of Sleep…
If that before-mentioned suggestion of sleep had you rolling your eyes, you probably already know how difficult it can be to get the rest you need and deserve. But that’s a knot you can still untie. First, examine the reasons why you aren’t sleeping. Is it too much caffeine, or something in the air? You might actually have smog in your home that’s getting in the way of your sleep quality, believe it or not. If contaminants are to blame, keeping your furnace filter fresh and having a clean chimney can help; for the latter, just search Angi for chimney cleaning services.
Next, if your little one is having trouble resting, don’t just accept that as a hard fact of life. They need rest as much as you do, so it’s well-worth your time to contact a certified sleep consultant -- for both your sakes. They can help you cut down on night wakings and bedtime battles in particular.
Look Good to Feel Good
For most mothers, the new mom uniform is an old ragged t-shirt with spit-up and baby food all over it. Style notwithstanding, you will never feel your best if you aren’t dressed for the part. Look for clothing that makes you feel confident and chic while also being comfortable. A cute nursing tank top is a must, paired with some comfortable tights. Or, go the extra mile with a decorative sweater (but wear pajamas as bottoms). A study by Stylist.com showed that women who dressed well saw their confidence and mood skyrocket. The best part is you never need to sacrifice comfort for style.
There’s nothing like being present in the moment to give you a boost up on your day. Doing a simple meditation or guided imagery exercise can go a long way in maintaining your mental health. Remember to give thanks to your body for all it has done and continues to do through the breastfeeding process. Taking a few minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness can make that endless to-do list so much more manageable and help reduce stress and anxiety along the way.
If prioritizing yourself right now feels impossible, remember: it can be done. You can maintain your sanity while you adjust to your new life as a mom, and your body will follow suit as it adapts to its new routine. So take a little time for yourself so that both you and baby are all set up for a harmonious and joyful time together.
This weeks piece comes to you from Sara Bailey. Sara offers helpful and meaningful information for families to implement and use in their daily lives.
Serenity Sleepers is committed to helping families develop peaceful sleepers using only the safest, healthiest and most gentle approaches that are based on the proper sleep science. We offer both 1-on-1 personalized sleep consultant services, as well as a other services to meet your families specific needs. Contact us today to learn more!