Everyone knows about the benefits of breastfeeding. I'll be the first to jump on the bandwagon and promote it. After breastfeeding two babies for more than 15 months each, I feel like I've experienced every breastfeeding-related emotion, from empowerment to overwhelm. But as people scream the benefits of breast milk from the rooftops, they can sometimes forget that it can actually be incredibly frustrating and stressful for some. But if you're determined not to give up in the face of frustration, there are some ways to deal with breastfeeding agitation that may just help ease your stress a little bit.
Whether it's your first baby and your struggling with all of the adjustments of being a mom, or you've nursed before and are adjusting to life with more than one kiddo, it's totally normal to be frustrated, angry, stressed, or overwhelmed when things don't automatically click when it comes to breastfeeding. In fact, a study reported that most new moms experience enough worry or stress about breastfeeding that they consider stopping altogether, according to Today Parents. The same article stated that, although there is a huge gap in care after women are discharged from the hospital (when most of the stress happens), about 95 percent of problems regarding breastfeeding are reversible given the proper support.
All that to say, although it can be incredibly difficult at times, there are solutions — oftentimes very simple ones — to your breastfeeding woes. Here are a few ways to cope with your breastfeeding agitation.
1Share Some Skin To Skin Time
Aside from being a great chance to bond with your baby, Fit Pregnancy noted that skin to skin time can help your baby breastfeed better and signal to your body to increase your milk production. A win, win for everyone.
2Join A Support Group
New-motherhood can be a lonely time, especially if you're struggling to breastfeed. Chances are, there is a breastfeeding support group in your area that would help you see that you're not alone, and give you a few other mamas to seek advice from.
3Take A Warm Shower
Aside from getting some much needed alone time, taking a shower can actually help your milk let-down, according to Mother Love.
4Use A Breast Pump To Get Some Alone Time
As long as your baby has already established a good latch, there's nothing wrong with using the help of a breast pump to give you a little bit of freedom. It can be overwhelming when your baby nurses around the clock, and if you have a partner or trusted caregiver to help out with a feeding here and there, you can take a much needed, and well-deserved break.
5Have A Non-Motherhood Related Hobby
I know it sounds crazy, but your entire identity doesn't have to get wrapped up in motherhood. It's harder than it sounds, but being intentional about having a hobby that isn't about your baby or life as a mom can help bring some normalcy back into your life and reduce your stress levels drastically, even if its only a few hours a week.
6Get Your Heart Rate Up
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association Of America, making time to exercise will reduce your stress levels majorly — even if it's just a quick yoga class or a brisk walk around your neighborhood with your baby.
7Meet With A Lactation Consultant
If nothing else helps and you're considering giving up, before you do, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant. Chances are they'll be able to help with whatever is causing your breastfeeding-related stress and in time the stress will relieve itself.