Breastfeeding is selfless. Day and night, breastfeeding moms put the baby (or toddler) above themselves to meet their needs as growing little people. However, in this selfless act of raising little people, the constant care gets old, real quick.
You can only give, give, and give of yourself before you crash and burn.
You are talking with the expert of the crash and burn.
It’s hard to balance you, motherhood, and breastfeeding. Especially, if like me, you choose not to introduce a bottle, and not to leave your babies till you and baby are ready (however long that might take). However, just because you aren’t ready to spend the night alone in a hotel catching up on sleep, or hitting up a girls night on the town, doesn’t mean you can find ways to put you first.
Complete Disclosure: Momzelle & I working together to put together this post and giveaway. I was paid in product and with a giveaway. Because a good chunk of my readers access my blog from the USA, the FTC wants me to also let you know some links might be a referral or affiliate links. When you click those links and make a purchase, I might earn a commission on that sale.
Also, I’m not a medical professional. This post should not take the place of any medical professional, and always consult with a qualified care provider before making any medical decisions.
It’s all about self-care.
I can see you rolling your eyes at me. I get agitated every time someone brings up self-care. Making self-care important sucks. Self-care is one of the hardest things we do as moms and caregivers. If you’re a breastfeeding mama like me, you probably shake your hands in desperation wondering how you’ll find the time and space to take care of yourself when you can’t leave your little. Hey, I get it. But, focusing on you doesn’t have to mean leaving your babies/toddlers/kids.
There isn’t a ‘u’ in breastfeeding; there should be. Breastfeeding isn’t just about the infant. It’s also about you because it’s a two-way relationship with giving and take (just like anything else in life). Breastfeeding is mostly all about baby, and there are ways you can concentrate on you while breastfeeding.
Put the you back in breastfeeding.
1. Surround yourself with a village of supportive women to share the struggles and successes of motherhood.
Sharing our story of motherhood and breastfeeding is empowering and makes us feel good. Find other women who share in your journey of motherhood because they will ground you, and they will lift you when you are your weakest. Attending breastfeeding support groups can remind us that the challenges of breastfeeding and motherhood are normal and frustrating/overwhelming/joyful/impactful/exhausting.
Where can you find these villages of women? Check out your local La Leche League. Resources might also be available at your hospital or health unit. Find a local or regional based mom-group and ask around. There might be small groups or play groups that are a good fit.
2. Establish physical boundaries.
Don’t forget you are a person in the breastfeeding duo.
Don’t let your child smack you, scratch you, or abuse your body during breastfeeding. It is okay to set boundaries. Encourage curious hands to play with a toy, twiddle a necklace, or just stroke gently.
Did you know, they twiddle, scratch, and massage the breast to encourage milk to come in. It’s biological, but it doesn’t have to drive you nuts.
Just because you’re breastfeeding a toddler doesn’t mean they can rip on your clothes, pull down your shirt, or unclip your bras if you don’t want them to. I get it. Creating these boundaries can be hard, but it’s okay. There might be a tantrum when you tell a toddler he can’t pull on your clothing, but it’s okay.
3. Find other alternatives for comforting little ones.
I’ll comfort nurse a baby all day if that baby wants, but sometimes its just not going to work for my mental health.
So, with older nursing babies may be a baby wearing close to mama’s heart will soothe their weary soul, or a little back rub to ease their day away. Maybe, you just need to take 20 minutes to go for a car ride or try a bath. It’s okay to find other ways to soothe your baby beside breastfeeding when babe isn’t hungry and just wants comfort. It’s also okay to soothe your baby with breastfeeding. It just needs to be right for you and baby.
4.You don’t have to love breastfeeding and its okay to admit it.
One thing I’ve done for me in the past couple of weeks is admitted that I don’t enjoy the sensation of breastfeeding and it’s okay that I get lost on my phone for the 3-10 minute nursing session. I know there’s articles and blog posts going around about the gushy feelings of breastfeeding, and soaking in the moment, and acknowledging our baby. But fuck that. That doesn’t work for me. Put you back into breastfeeding by acknowledging what works for you, and your feelings about the situation.
5. Feel Comfortable Breastfeeding.
Use a cover. Find a separate room. Or don’t. Breastfeeding your infant, baby, or toddler needs to be comfortable for you.
For me, that’s when Momzelle Nursing Apparel changed my life. — In 2022, I’m now dreaming of zippered hoodies like this beautiful one from Cadenshae available at Nest & Sprout.
Clothes don’t make me who I am, but they do influence how I feel. After six months of tank tops, v-necks, and low necklines I felt like yuck in my breastfeeding wardrobe. These just weren’t clothes that made me feel great in my body. I wasn’t a fan of the 2-shirt method because tank tops made me feel squeezed and squished in all the wrong places. I wasn’t a fan of low necklines because my chest gets cold, and I just don’t love pulling my boob out from my shirt.
One day, on a trip to Montreal, I splurged, and I bought a nursing hoodie from Momzelle. This was one of the best decisions I made for me in my breastfeeding journey. I now purposefully buy nursing clothes so I can feel comfortable breastfeeding my babies. I missed having a warm neck (#Canadianproblems), and that’s why I find comfort in my Momzelle Sophie Top.
Nursing clothes are a fantastic choice because they can give you a more discreet and comfortable nursing experience. My nursing clothes also hold up a lot longer than my regular clothes because I’m trying to pull my boob up and over a neckline that didn’t want to be stretched a half dozen times in one day. For even more nursing and breastfeeding clothes visit Nest & Sprout Maternity.
The other great thing I did for me, bought a new bra. And buy new bras frequently because wearing them every day 24/7 wears those bad boys out quicker than nothing.