Healthy Mom, Happy Baby: Self-Care Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers
While breastfeeding is a beautiful and rewarding aspect of motherhood, it can also be a demanding and challenging experience. This period can be particularly difficult if you have other children requiring your care and attention. As you get the hang of breastfeeding, prioritizing self-care is essential for maintaining your health, energy, and mental well-being so you can meet the needs of your newborn. Here are some important self-care tips to help you feel your best in the weeks and months ahead!
Get Support from a Lactation Consultant
Breastfeeding can be a lot more challenging than women expect. If you’re struggling with milk production, nipple soreness, or a baby who refuses to latch, get in touch with a lactation consultant such as Crystel Corbin, RN, IBCLC. A lactation consultant can also help you through other baby feeding challenges like trouble hitting weight milestones, finding the right nursing position, and emotional barriers such as postpartum depression which can get in the way of your breastfeeding plans. According to What to Expect, research shows that getting help from a lactation consultant boosts breastfeeding rates and increases the number of women who initiate breastfeeding!
Make Time for Your Other Children
Do you have other children? Although most of your attention is likely to be on your newborn, try to make time for your other children as well. This is particularly important if you have a child with special needs. Friendship Circle recommends preparing your special needs child for the arrival of your baby well in advance. You can do this by showing your child their own baby photos, pointing out babies in TV shows, and reading your child books about adjusting to a new baby in the house.
After your baby arrives, try to carve out quality time for your older kids by being available to read with them at bedtime or having them help you with simple chores while the baby naps. You may also want to plan some family adventures for the future so your kids have something to look forward to!
Eat For Yourself
The CDC explains that breastfeeding mothers generally need to eat a few additional calories to meet their nutritional needs. Where those calories come from doesn’t matter too much, so feel free to eat what makes you happy! Your breast milk will contain all of the nutrients your baby needs regardless of what you eat. However, eating a healthy and diverse diet can help you feel your best as you navigate sleepless nights with a newborn.
Engage in Gentle Exercise
Along with a healthy diet, exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in light to moderate physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, boost your energy, and improve your sleep quality. Exercise can even help raise your body’s level of prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production. Some fantastic gentle exercises for new moms include swimming, walking, and bodyweight workouts at home.
Manage Your Mental Health
It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions after having a baby. For some parents, breastfeeding challenges and frustrations can contribute to feelings of depression or anxiety during the postpartum period. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, take steps to manage your stress. This might mean talking to loved ones who offer support, practicing deep breathing, taking a break when you’re feeling frustrated, and ignoring criticism from friends, family members, and strangers. Remember that it’s okay to take care of yourself!
Breastfeeding is a time of many ups and downs. Make sure you prioritize self-care so you can remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy throughout this journey. By taking time for self-care, you can make the most of the breastfeeding experience and ensure your other children get some attention too!
Are you looking for a lactation consultant in Iowa? Contact Crystel Corbin, RN, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, to schedule your home visit.