This week, my blog is written by talented the Leslie Campos. A busy mom herself, Leslie Campos has dedicated her site Wellparents.com to all the moms and dads out there searching for ideas on being physically and emotionally well. Check it out!
I thought this information was especially appropriate this weekend because one of our Team Members, Ms. Samantha, gave birth yesterday! Congratulations again to her family. =)
Self-care Strategies for Breastfeeding Moms
by Leslie Campos, WellParents.com
The transition to breastfeeding can be difficult for new moms. While it can be a bonding experience for mothers and their babies, it’s also a challenge to adjust to the routine. Being a new mom is tricky on a number of fronts, so give yourself time and remember to practice self-care. For more guidance, Sunrise Montessori offers tips, tricks, and coaching for new moms and parents.
Becoming a mother is a major transition, and many women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. While this is a normal experience, it’s vital to learn some simple self-care strategies to help manage depression and the challenges during breastfeeding. A few strategies to consider are good nutrition, exercise, and seeking support from friends and family.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating well isn’t just about weight loss. Even if losing baby weight is a high priority for you, eating a nutritious and balanced diet is also important for your mental health. Eat whole foods, avoid processed foods, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during breastfeeding. Remember that breastfeeding takes a toll on your body, so be sure to take in about 500 extra calories per day to help make up for what you’re losing.
Consider keeping some healthy snacks in your pantry and fridge: often a simple snack is much easier to put together than a full meal. Good options include whole-wheat crackers or veggies with hummus, celery sticks with peanut butter, or single-serve yogurt packets. The easier the better, especially if you often get hungry in the middle of the night after nursing.
Get some exercise
Another self-care strategy is exercise. While it might feel nearly impossible to get time to yourself in the first weeks and months of your baby’s life, getting exercise is vital for both mental and physical health. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout to be beneficial: even some gentle yoga can get your blood flowing and allow you to unwind and focus on yourself. Just be sure to breastfeed or pump before you exercise, stay hydrated, and wear the right bra for extra support.
Lean on your support system
For women who experience postpartum depression, having a strong support system is important. Be sure to lean on your support network during the early days of learning to be a mother, and reach out to friends who have their own children to help talk through your experiences. If you don’t have friends or family to reach out to, look online for breastfeeding support groups to talk about what you’re going through.
Focus on your mental health
While many of these strategies will naturally boost your mental health, it’s important to check in with yourself frequently during the early stages of motherhood. It’s common for mothers to feel depleted from childbirth and the subsequent lack of sleep, so keep tabs on how you’re feeling emotionally. It’s a great idea to seek out therapy if you’re finding it difficult to cope and adjust.
Take care of your breasts
Breastfeeding can be hard on your breasts, so be sure to care for your nipples and overall breast health by cleaning up gently after feedings. Your nipples will naturally secrete oils that will help clean and moisturize the area, so you don’t need to do much to stay clean, other than changing out your bra daily to keep your skin from developing a rash or plugged milk ducts.
One way to feel better emotionally is by treating yourself to some new clothes while you’re breastfeeding. Your maternity clothes will likely soon be unwearable, and you’ll benefit from some stylish yet comfortable clothes as you transition from pregnancy to motherhood.
A great option for new moms is a comfortable dress with stretchable fabric. If you can, find one with a nursing panel to make it easy for feedings on the go or at home. Another great option for new moms is a new bra that’s perfect for nursing and sleeping: find one with breathable, soft fabric to avoid chafing or discomfort. A new robe could be a nice addition to your wardrobe, allowing you to wrap up when you need to get up for late-night breastfeeding.
Items for baby
Along with getting new clothes, think about what items might make it easier to care for your baby. If you’re struggling with finding ways to get exercise, consider getting a new stroller with an umbrella so you can take your baby on a walk around the neighborhood. An umbrella stroller can make it easy to go out in the sun or light rain, and they’re relatively lightweight for easy packing in and out of the car. Before you buy, compare reviews and costs so you know you’re getting one that’s right for your needs.
Seek out coaching
Every woman goes through a major transition when becoming a mother, so it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. The good news is, you don’t have to go at it alone: there are resources out there to help new moms cope with the challenges of motherhood and breastfeeding.
One great resource is coaching: rather than endlessly searching the internet for answers and guidance, you can save energy by finding a coach to help you. The Simplicity Parenting program can help new parents navigate their transition to parenthood and ease stress and anxiety. Along with providing guidance, a coach can help instill confidence in your parenting and help you learn coping strategies when things feel difficult.
Becoming a mother is full of challenges, but breastfeeding doesn’t have to be one of them. Keep your body well-fueled and hydrated as you’re breastfeeding, and don’t underestimate the power of exercise to keep you mentally and physically healthy. Lean on your support network during this time, and find ways to socialize to take your mind off things. Seek out coaching if you need extra guidance, and remember that you’re doing a great job.
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!