Breastfeeding is an unsentimental metaphor for how love works, in a way. You don’t decide how much and how deeply to love – you respond to the beloved, and give with joy exactly as much as they want. –Marni Jackson.
Breastfeeding is one of the most nurturing and most precious acts of love a mom can give to her child. Breastfeeding is also hard work and when we combine it with motherhood 24/7, the result is overwhelming.
That is why breastfeeding mothers tend to forget that we need to care for ourselves too. With all the things that we have to think about: checking when the baby’s last feeding was, making sure the baby’s positioning and latch are correct, and counting all the dirty diapers, we can easily leave our own well-being behind.
We are all aware of the term “self-care.” Although the ability to apply it while taking good care of our baby can seem like an impossible effort, our well-being as a mom is very important. If we fall apart and forget ourselves, chances are, we can not serve the best version of ourselves to our children and family.
So, here are some ways that we can implement self-care while breastfeeding our little ones and reclaim a little bit of our sanity in the process:
Breastfeeding is a physically demanding job. Breastfeeding moms should consume at least 1800 calories a day in order to provide the energy needed for the body to produce milk. That is why it is very important that we eat a balanced diet rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.
But more often, as new moms who are sleep deprived, things like eating and drinking water can easily slip our minds. Keep nutritious snacks like fruits, lactation cookies, and lactation drinks easily accessible and keep a water bottle nearby as a helpful reminder.
Take Extra Care of our Breasts.
To make sure that we are comfortable all the time, we need to take extra care of our nipples and breasts while breastfeeding. We can use nipple salve or balm to soothe and protect our nipples. It is also wise to invest in good and comfortable nursing bras that will provide support to our extra-heavy breasts. (Yes, it will get extra heavy!).
We can also keep warm/cool compresses and a hand pump accessible in the event that we need to solve issues like engorgement or clogged ducts.
Get Comfortable While Nursing.
As breastfeeding moms, we will be spending a significant amount of time holding our baby to our breasts while we feed them. If we stay in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time, it can give us severe back, shoulder, and neck pain. That is why it is important for us to be comfortable throughout the process. We can choose to lie on our side facing our baby or sit in a reclined position with our baby lying in our arms.
Sooner or later in our breastfeeding journey, we will have some visitors at home or we will be going out, maybe to our doctors or to an event (after the pandemic). Nursing clothes can come in handy. It can make breastfeeding in public easier and more convenient.
Nursing dresses can also be a big help especially if we plan to pump at work. It will give us comfort and protection inside our workplace. It also shows that some babies don’t want to be covered when breastfeeding, so it’s a must to use comfortable clothes both for the mom and baby.
Take a Break and Pamper Yourself.
Valianne’s Trends has been sharing their advocacy to promote wellness during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As years go by, thousands of moms have been a witness of their growth in helping the Filipino mom community in their motherhood journey. With its continuous growth, they currently launch their sister brand Momma Cares which promotes products that can be helpful for moms who experience postpartum hair fall, stretchmarks solutions, and skin problems caused by pregnancy. A little care isn’t bad, in fact we need to normalize taking care of ourselves first.
Ask For Help.
Breastfeeding might be uncomfortable at first when our baby latches on, but it shouldn’t be a painful experience for us. If breastfeeding is hurting bad enough to make us cringe, seek out help from a professional.
We can seek help from a lactation consultant. She’ll be able to give us guidance and advice on how to position our baby and our body.
Rest & Find Time for Yourself.
We moms always think that we need to do it all for everyone 24/7. But in order for us to fully take good care of our family, we also need to take good care of ourselves. So, let’s rest when we can find time to do so and let us have some time off once in a while.
Let us sleep when our baby is sleeping or let us take the opportunity to put up our feet and take a nap (forget about the laundry and the dishes, they can wait!).
At times, we can have our partners, or a family member, stay with the baby for a little while and go for a walk, get a manicure, read a book, dance, or journal.
Taking time for ourselves to do something we enjoy will allow us to return to our responsibilities feeling refreshed.
Build our Support System and Find our Own Village
Yes, our breastfeeding journey will be full of ups and downs. It is hard work yet it is also rewarding. We need people in our lives whom we can turn to celebrate with us and to support us. It may be our partner, our mom, our sister, or a good friend.
If we don’t have a strong support system, we can consider joining a local or online breastfeeding or a mom support group. We never know when a breastfeeding issue will pop up and we need a little support to get us through.
Truly, it is easy to forget or to put off caring for ourselves when we are committed to be a good mom to our children and to our family 24/7. But it’s not selfish to set aside some time each day to care for our physical, mental, and emotional health. It may actually be the best thing we can do for our family.
And we are proud to say that Valianne’s Trends can be our solid partner in our mothering journey from bumps and beyond.
Happy breastfeeding, momma!