Breastfeeding Tips: How to Overcome the Challenges as a New Mom
Being a new mom can be overwhelming in many ways; there’s so much to think about, plan for, and worry over that it can be stressful even when you’re not sleep deprived. Breastfeeding is one of the biggest causes of anxiety for mothers for a variety of reasons. While it’s the best source of nutrition for an infant and provides much-needed bonding time, it can also cause many moms to feel like they aren’t doing a good job in their new role when breastfeeding becomes tricky or near-impossible.
First of all, it’s important to realize that having issues with breastfeeding is common, and that it doesn’t mean you’re failing at anything. Every baby is different, so what works for one mom may not work for another. Even if you feel prepared for breastfeeding and have read every book on the subject, when the time comes it may not come as easily as you’d hoped. That’s okay! Second, reducing stress and anxiety is one of the first and best ways to help things go more smoothly, so try to be patient with the process, and with yourself.
Here are some tips on how to overcome some of the most common challenges a new mom faces.
Make your home a tranquil environment
Having a relaxing environment can make all the difference when you’re stressed, and that goes double for new moms. Create a comfortable, soothing space where you can feed your baby; a rocking chair with a nearby table that can hold tissues, bibs, salve (nipple care is extremely important during this time; for more tips on that, head here), and a breast pump is perfect. Tailor the space to fit your needs and play relaxing music, burn lavender candles, and tune out the world so you can focus on your baby.
Consult a lactation specialist
There are many details that go into breastfeeding, so it can be difficult to think of everything. Get some help from a lactation consultant who can observe feeding time and give you helpful pointers, such as how to hold the baby, how to minimize pain, and how to make little changes to the routine if something feels off.
A lactation specialist can help you with the physical details of breastfeeding, but other moms can assist with the emotional ones. Consider joining an online support group for breastfeeding moms, where you can vent about any frustrations you may have and get positive feedback. It can be extremely helpful for a new mom to have someone to talk to, especially when that person understands what she’s going through.
Ask for help
When it comes to chores and other housework, leave it to your friends and family members for the first several weeks after you come home from the hospital, or consider hiring a cleaning service. It will really benefit you and the baby if you can focus on both your needs rather than worrying about laundry, cleaning bottles, and tasks others can perform. Don’t be too shy to ask for help or speak up when it’s offered!
Just as every baby is different, so is every mom. Don’t worry too much about what the other mothers in your life are doing; instead, focus on what works for you and your child, and remember to be patient through the first few weeks. A stress-free environment, a lactation consultant and the right support can make all the difference. Soon enough you’ll be riding the high of parenthood with your new bundle of joy.