You’re doing it all, mama–balancing the pressures of home, work and motherhood. Breastfeeding might feel like additional weight on your shoulders, but it doesn’t have to. Here are seven tips to give you a much-needed boost to your breastfeeding routine.
1. Maximize Your Time
Because you’re rocking this whole parenting thing on your own, time management is especially crucial. While you nurse, take time to be in the moment and bond with your baby. Not only is nursing a fantastic way to establish an early connection with your child, but there are no dirty dishes that accompany breastfeeding, so this practice additionally saves you time.
Eventually, you’ll likely want to invest in a breast pump as this can help your milk supplies grow. If you pump while you’re away from your baby, you’ll be able to keep up with your infant’s milk needs. Additionally, you can freeze surplus milk and introduce your breastmilk to your baby through a bottle. This allows a friend or family member to feed your infant and frees you up to do tasks around the house.
Many health plans include hands-free breast pumps. Contact your insurance agency to learn more about your covered breast pump. You can also research pumps on your own and find one with which you’re more comfortable. Many pump parts are top-rack dishwasher safe. If possible, purchase many, so you have interchangeable pieces and can routinely clean some and still pump.
2. Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie Surgery
If your baby is struggling to adapt to nursing, it could be their mouth anatomy is to blame. Inside our mouths are folds of soft tissue called frenula which secure our tongue and lips. Some infants are born with a thick maxillary labial frenulum, which prevents normal movement of the upper lip and causes lip-tie. Other babies are born with a short lingual frenulum, which prohibits the tongue’s movement and causes tongue-tie.
Both conditions can cause your child to have difficulty latching and breastfeeding. If you think your baby has lip-tie or tongue-tie, it can be easily diagnosed and treated through a frenectomy procedure. Often the surgery is performed by laser and only takes a few minutes to complete.
3. Pump At Work
When you return to work, it’s vital you maintain a steady milk supply for your baby. Contact your HR department to learn where you can pump and reach out to your boss to discuss different expectations about your pump schedule. You can block off the necessary time on your calendar when you’ll plan to pump, so no one tries to schedule a meeting.
If you have further questions about your rights about breastfeeding in the workplace, the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires all employers to provide a place to pump. The law ensures this space is separate from a bathroom and completely private.
4. Make Your Life Easier
To make your life a little less hectic, try to make a schedule of your day, so you know what to expect. Plan on fitting breastfeeding sessions around the big events each day. Automating payments is a wise idea to shift any financial stress off your shoulders. You can also set up subscription accounts for diapers and wipes–it’s a great way to save money on baby essentials, and you won’t ever forget to buy more. Now that you’re managing another life, the less you need to remember, the better.
Buying your groceries online and getting them delivered to your home or picking them up at the store can be a great way to save time. However, if you’d prefer to shop in person, be prepared to nurse at the store. Bring a cozy nursing cover and ensure you’re wearing adjustable clothing.
5. Prioritize Rest
Nobody ever said breastfeeding was easy. Any mom can feel out of her league between the middle of the night wakeups and cluster feedings. But self-care and rest can help any mama get through a difficult period. Take a relaxing shower before bed and read a book or listen to relaxing music and meditate to help you wind down for sleep. As much as possible, make your bedroom conducive to sleep–ensure the temperature is comfortable, use white noise and blackout curtains.
If you’re still dealing with night wakeups, have all needed materials set up on your bedside table or in your baby’s nursery. Take advantage of your baby’s naps and try to rest your body while they sleep.
6. Take Breaks
It’s okay to take a break if you need it, mama. As stated earlier, nursing can be challenging. Sometimes your baby might have a fussy moment and refuse to feed. Give it fifteen minutes and try again.
During your short break, go outside on a walk with your baby. Point out the trees and sky to your little one. Breathe in the fresh air and exhale. Remember, this time with your child is precious. Even though breastfeeding presents challenges, it can be so rewarding!
7. Ask for Help
Even though you’re a single mom, you’re not alone. During these early days of adjusting to life with your baby and figuring out how to breastfeed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to your support network. Your family, friends, neighbors, even co-workers will likely be happy to lend a hand around the house or watch your baby as you take a nap.
If you need additional breastfeeding support, you can always contact a lactation consultant. Many consultants work at pediatric practices or breastfeeding centers. Some even provide virtual care visits.
Succeed at Breastfeeding
When you work to maximize your time, pump throughout the day, prioritize rest and take breaks, you’ll find yourself a pro at breastfeeding in no time. Enjoy those beautiful bonding moments with your little one!