It's important to take care of yourself Mama! Our friends at Belabumbum share their top self care tips.
Any new mom will agree, breastfeeding can be one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of early motherhood. There’s nothing quite like it and you can only do so much to prepare before hand. It also comes with loads of stress and expectations - fear of the unknown and pressures to make it work. Sounds fun, right?! There are so many benefits of breastfeeding, that we wanted to share a few tips to make the experience as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. We’ll even go so far as to call some of this advice self-care. When else in your life will you be forced to sit for hours a day, cuddle with a sweet newborn and just relax? Soak it all in mama, it gets easier and better with every feeding.
1. Create your own space
One piece of advice we always suggest to expecting mamas is finding the time to create a calm space (ideally in the bedroom and one in a living space) in your house for nursing before baby arrives. It will make the world of difference to have a serene and relaxing environment when you’re sleep deprived! We suggest finding (and testing!) a comfortable nursing chair, setting up an area with a basket that can hold your nursing supplies and ensuring you have a table nearby to set your water, burp cloth, lanolin ointment and phone or book on. A relaxing playlist helps create a ritual for both you and baby and can soothe anxious minds.
2. Make yourself comfortable
Comfort is 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. Every new mom needs a nursing wardrobe for wearing around the house - the first few weeks especially this will come in so handy when you don’t have the chance to think about what to wear. And of course you’ll need to consider adding a few pieces of nursing-friendly options to your wardrobe to wear out of the house. We love this tank that you can also wear during pregnancy and layer a cardigan over in cooler months.
A nursing pillow is also very helpful to find a comfortable position when you’re first getting the hang of breastfeeding - and this versatile style is the perfect size, allowing you to use it in a variety of positions.
3. Make time for yourself
“Me time” with a newborn may sound like a foreign phrase but trust us - it’s essential for being the best mom you can be. There are a few ways you can take care of yourself without even realizing it during the first few weeks and months of motherhood.
- Nutrition is so vital for a nursing mom! Stock up on healthy freezer meals while you’re pregnant. Make a big grocery shopping list to fill your pantry with a few weeks before your due date. Ensure you have plenty of breastfeeding friendly snacks on hand at all times.
- Find time to shower every day. Make this your ‘me time’. Listen to music or a podcast, light a candle, indulge in 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! You need to really increase your fluids when you’re breastfeeding so get a nice new water bottle when you’re pregnant that you can keep with you at all times. Set up water bottles at each nursing station, too.
4. Snuggle up
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 as low as possible (having just a nightlight on is a great idea) and wear a nursing nightie or PJs to make it easy. We highly suggest having a Kindle to read (low light output) during nighttime feeding instead of scrolling your phone!
5. Surround yourself with support
One of the main ways to ensure a successful breastfeeding journey is to seek support. Educate yourself (and your partner) with a breastfeeding course prior to having a baby, take an online support course for help, join a Facebook Community or meet with a lactation counselor. There are so many great support resources out there.
6. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful
If it is, seek help from a lactation counselor, your doctor or pediatrician. There are lots of great products to help with nursing discomfort -- we are fans of Lansinoh’s gel packs, gel pads and lanolin minis that are perfect for keeping in your purse or diaper bag.
UP NEXT: Handling sleep deprivation