Courtesy of Sabrina Joy Stevens

Breastfeeding Habits That Make You An Amazing Mom

I've been nursing my son since he was born. At first, it was anything but routine; we were learning how to latch, how to position ourselves to stay comfortable, how to communicate with each other about needing to eat, how to switch sides, and everything in between. But, over time, we developed our own rhythm, our own language, and our own habits when it came to breastfeeding — the kinds of breastfeeding habits that make you an amazing mom, if my breastfeeding friends and role models are any indication.

Breastfeeding can be as challenging as it is rewarding, so you're already amazing for even trying to give your child the gift of your ultra-DIY, perfectly custom made milk. Getting the knowledge and support you need to figure out how to make breastfeeding work for weeks, months, or even years is even more amazing.

Obviously, you don’t have to breastfeed to be an amazing mom. Amazing moms come in many forms: we breastfeed and formula feed, babywear and push strollers, stay at home and work elsewhere, and so much more. However, for those of us who do choose (and are able) to breastfeed, there are certain habits we maintain that flow from our inherent awesomeness. Habits like not letting haters break our nursing stride, and most importantly, taking care of ourselves so we can take care of our little ones. If any of the following habits look familiar to you, pat yourself on the back (or the boob).

You Eat Enough

Whether they’re concerned about changing their postpartum bodies or not, amazing breastfeeding moms know making milk takes a ton of energy, so getting enough good food to eat has to be a top priority. (They also don’t apologize for needing to eat until they’re full, even if that means taking seconds or thirds.)

You Drink Enough

By now, if I get up from somewhere to go to the bathroom or check my phone, people in my life know where I’m sitting because they see the water bottle I’m always carrying there. Milk is mostly water (and awe-inspiring bio-magic), so amazing breastfeeding moms make a habit of drinking a lot of it.

You Rest As Much As Possible

Making milk is an energy-intensive business, so while it can be hard to get enough sleep as the mom of a new person, you get as much of it as you can. Whether you get help handling things at night, or you learn how to co-sleep safely so you can breastsleep, you do what you’ve got to do so you can get some shut-eye.

You Take Care Of Yourself

Breastfeeding requires a lot from a mom, which means it also requires a lot of self-care. By finding ways to stay as comfortable as possible and keeping yourself feeling your best, you make it possible to make this priceless contribution to your baby’s health and wellbeing.

You Stand Up For Yourself When People Try To Mess With You…

Amazing moms know it’s OK to assert our rights whenever it’s safe to do so, and to shut down people who try to shame us for doing a beautiful thing we have every right to do. (Bonus points if you deploy an epic clapback at the perfect moment.)

...And Don’t Let Haters Or Uninformed People Affect Your Choices

Once you’ve made up your mind that this is what you’re doing, you don’t let other people’s ignorant suggestions (all too abundant when it comes to breastfeeding) or hate color your breastfeeding relationship. You nurse because you want to, however often you’re willing to, and will wean whenever you and/or your child are ready; regardless of what an unsupportive family member or some rando at the mall have to say about it.

You Keep Up With Solid Info About Breastfeeding

Amazing breastfeeding moms make a habit of keeping up with breastfeeding resources — and other breastfeeding moms — so they can learn everything from the latest research about breastfeeding, to the best lifestyle tips to make breastfeeding easier, more comfortable, and more fun.

You Set Whatever Limits You Need To To Feel Comfortable With Breastfeeding…

As we’ve moved closer to weaning, I decided I’m sick of on-demand comfort nursing, so now we just nurse at sleepy times. Amazing moms know that we’re an equal part of the nursing relationship, so it’s totally OK to set limits to make nursing work for us as well as our little ones.

...And Teach Your Little One Breastfeeding Manners

As babies get bigger, they can occasionally develop bad habits that make nursing a bit annoying. Amazing moms know it’s OK to teach our little ones good breastfeeding manners so that we can be as comfortable with nursing as they are. (My favorite, as the mom of a nursing toddler, has been, “Ask with your words, not with your hands.”)

You Make Informed Breastfeeding Decisions For Your Own Good Reasons

Whether it’s deciding to breastfeed, deciding when to start weaning, deciding to combination feed, pump, or anything else, you read up and then make your decisions based on what works for yourself and your family. (You also feel free to change your mind when it turns out that something isn’t working for you.)