If you're exclusively breastfeeding, you can barely get an hour alone, let alone an entire afternoon. So long to the days of Netflix marathons and spontaneous road trips. As amazing and empowering as it is to breastfeed your baby, sometimes all of the "mom" duties can feel overwhelming and you lose sight of the "non-mom" parts of yourself. Prioritizing self-care is essential for moms to stay healthy, but unfortunately that's a struggle for many moms. That being said, there are lots of ways to make time for yourself when you're exclusively breastfeeding that don't require much extra effort at all.
One piece from The Huffington Post noted that having alone time isn't just good for you, it's good for your kids as well. When you feel refreshed and cared for — not stretched too thin and exhausted — you're more likely to be the best mom you can be.
These tips aren't hard to implement. You could start right now if you wanted to. They're cheap (or totally free,) and most require minimal planning ahead. Exclusive breastfeeding may never be a walk in the park, but adding a few of these routines to your daily life can help you feel like a person and not just a milk-making mom.
1. Take Advantage Of Nap Time
Although it's not necessarily on par with an all inclusive spa day, learning to take advantage of the small moments you have during your day will make a huge difference. Instead of cleaning during your downtime, rest, read your favorite book, or do something else that makes you feel refreshed.
2. Make "You Time" A Priority
Family Share noted that moms are notorious for taking care of everyone else and not themselves. Once you realize that you can't effectively care for others unless you're taking care of yourself too, you'll make yourself a priority too. Write down an afternoon on your calendar (in sharpie, if need be,) go out with friends, do whatever you need to do to sneak away for even a few minutes a day.
3. Don't Feel Guilty About Hiring A Babysitter
According to Parenting, "mom guilt" is real and keeps moms from taking care of themselves everyday. Even exclusively nursing moms can get away with a little bit of planning ahead. You shouldn't feel guilty about leaving your baby with a trusted friend or relative while you get some alone time.
4. Make The Pump Your Best Friend
Medela suggests that using a breast pump, although not nearly as sweet or personal as nursing, can give you freedom that you'd otherwise never have. If your baby is nursing every few hours, pumping will allow you to leave for longer periods of time.
5. Embrace The Relaxing Moments Nursing
Although it doesn't technically count as "alone time," turning your nursing sessions into a relaxing, snuggle session can help you feel less exhausted by them.
6. Ask Your Partner For A Break
Believe it or not, your partner is there to help too. Even though they're not breastfeeding, they can still do just as much to care for your baby as you can. Ask them to relieve you for a few hours each day, or better yet, start taking the night shift so mama can get some sleep.