There are a ton of challenging adjustments new parents have to make, and breastfeeding is often one of the trickier ones. Although it’s an amazing way to feed your little one, getting the hang of it can cause a ton of stress. Here are a few tips for making the process a little bit easier on yourself from Leslie Campos of Well Parents.
Breastfeeding can be rough on your body in myriad ways, so it’s important to make yourself as comfortable as possible during the process. You might want to consider using nursing pillows for support while you’re feeding and try to practice good posture. Many first-timers will hunch over their child while they’re feeding, but this is certain to cause back issues in the long run.
You should also focus on comfortable clothes. As long as you’re indoors, pajamas and loungewear is the name of the game. Look for nursing bras and maternity tops that provide support while also offering easy access during feeding times. It’s also worth stocking up on stretchy, high-waisted pants for the newborn stage. You won’t want a ton of pressure over your uterus, especially if you wind up having a C-section.
Feed Yourself, Too
Breast milk is an awesome way to get your kiddo the calories they need to thrive. But remember that those calories are coming out of you! If you’re not eating enough, not only will your supply drop, but you’ll feel like crap, too. That’s why it’s so important to focus on proper nutrition while you’re breastfeeding.
This is hardest early on. Newborns take a ton out of you, and those freezer meals you made before they were born will only last so long. Keep snacks on hand, such as trail mix or Puffworks Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs, to nibble on while you’re feeding. You don’t need a ton of additional calories to keep your supply up, so light and filling snacks like these are perfect.
If you’re currently breastfeeding or you’ve done so in the past, you’re already well aware just how thirsty breastfeeding leaves you. For those expecting to try breastfeeding for the first time in the near future, be prepared now. Invest in at least a nice, big water bottle that will keep water at your ideal temperature.
Your best bet is something with a straw. You don’t want to be stuck trying to unscrew a lid and drink out of a wide opening one-handed while cradling your feeding little one. Best case scenario, you only spill on yourself. Worst case. . . Well, let’s just say many a nighttime feed has taken a loud, unpleasant turn, thanks to strawless water consumption.
This is a challenge for breastfeeding moms, especially early on, but find ways to take some time to yourself. Breastfeeding is an intensive, high-touch process, and you can start to feel a little bit glued to your baby. It’s okay to need time apart — it doesn’t mean you love your baby any less, and in no way does it reflect poorly on you as a parent. In fact, getting some quiet time to recharge will help you be more emotionally available to your little one so you have higher-quality connections.
Go Easy On Yourself
Finally, try to embrace a gentle, self-affirming mindset. Breastfeeding is hard! It’s tough (in the best-case scenario), and many moms just aren’t able to do it as long as they’d like — or indeed, at all. It’s tempting to be hard on yourself if this happens, especially in that high-emotion, new-parent phase. However, keep in mind that, whatever your breastfeeding journey looks like, it’s based on what’s best for you and your family.
Remember: your well-being is one of the most important gifts you can give your little one. When you’re happy, calm, and energized (as much as that’s possible for parents), you’ll be able to give your child the connection they need to thrive. Take care of yourself — you deserve it!
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