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Breastfeeding provides an awesome bonding experience for mom and baby, but it is also physically demanding. And your partner and other children may feel left out when you spend so much time with your little one. So, what’s a mom to do if she wants to keep everyone happy and engaged without losing her sanity? Brought to you by Sixx Cool Moms, here are some of the most important things you can do for yourself and your growing family.
Have All the Necessary Supplies
From the get-go, it’s crucial to have all the right supplies on hand to make this time less challenging. This includes clothing that facilitates easier nursing; think loose T-shirts with side openings for discreet feedings when you’re in public. Also, a durable and super comfortable nursing bra (or 3!) is an absolute must-have. This will offer you plenty of support and coverage with the added bonus of easy nursing access when the time comes.
Many breastfeeding moms choose to pump, so a top-rated pump and a bag for carrying will be helpful when the time comes to return to work. Finally, stock up on items like reusable nursing pads, baby wipes, hair ties, hand sanitizer, lip balm and nipple cream. All of which you can add to your shopping cart when stocking up on your next round of diapers and other household items.
Be sure that you read unbiased reviews of the home products you consider purchasing. There’s a seemingly endless list of products marketed to make your life easier and safer at home, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. The last thing you want as a nursing mom is to deal with the added hassle of a return.
Strengthen Your Body
Take care of your postpartum body so that you can regain your strength and have more energy during the day. After you get the all-clear from your doctor, start a gentle and safe exercise routine specifically designed for your post-pregnancy body. Make sure to exercise after a breastfeeding or pumping session so you won’t feel uncomfortable during your routine.
Your neck may be stiff from holding the baby, so take time to stretch it during your workout session, as well as a few times throughout the day. Some gentle yoga exercises will also help restore your balance, both physically and mentally. Drink plenty of water and pack some healthy snacks too as your body needs the extra calories. Regular exercise can help relieve stress and prevent postpartum depression, and it will also improve the quality of your sleep, making you a happier mom, friend, and partner.
Include Your Older Children
Even if you don’t have time to take them to an amusement park or to a movie matinee, prioritize spending time with your older children by gently asking them to help out with age-appropriate household tasks like dusting, emptying the dishwasher, or sorting laundry. They’ll get to spend time with you as you work side by side, and you’ll be able to get more things done. Asking them to help you with the baby will encourage sibling bonding: have them prepare a bath for your youngest one, restock the diaper dispenser, or read a book next to the baby as you change a diaper.
And when your newborn is in bed for the night, make sure to spend one-on-one time with your older kids, giving them your undivided attention before they go to bed: listen to them tell you about their day, and together, start planning some fun activities for your next weekend or your next vacation. This personal time with your older kids is important when you have difficulty carving out time to spend with them during the day.
Find Your Village
Get the baby’s older siblings involved while you’re breastfeeding. This is your opportunity to sit comfortably and have your kiddos gathered around you, so enjoy some music or listen to an audiobook together. Get your partner involved in the breastfeeding process as well: ask them to bring you a glass of water so you can stay hydrated, or share a light snack together while the baby is nursing. If you have relatives living close by, ask them if they’d be willing to watch the baby for an hour or two, which will give you some time to go out for a walk or for coffee with your significant other, or to take your older kids to the park.
You may also want to join a mommy group online and talk to other breastfeeding moms. You’ll be able to share freely about your mothering journey, seek and receive advice from women who’ve been there and are still in the trenches, and your older kids may even find some friends too if your mom group lets siblings join in!
Take the stress out of breastfeeding by taking care of your body and your mind. Get your loved ones involved in the journey, and don’t be afraid to seek the help of a therapist if you need to talk to someone. Extend your circle by reaching out to other nursing moms, and enjoy every minute of motherhood!
Author: Katherine Williams knows that one of the most difficult things about parenting is taking good care of yourself so you can take the best care of your children. She created When the Baby Sleeps to help parents prioritize self-care so that they can be there for their kids. She knows that finding time for self-care as a parent never gets easier, but she hopes the advice and resources shared on her site will help her visitors be their best parenting selves.