Although breastfeeding is simple in theory (really, what’s that hard about holding a baby to your breast and feeding them?), it can be much more complicated in reality. From problems with latch, to slow let-down, to over supply, to managing your schedule, to engorgement, and much more, anyone who has breastfed a baby knows it’s anything but simple. No matter how smooth or bumpy your nursing journey has been thus far, there are lots of little things you can do during the day to make breastfeeding easier on both you and your baby, because though it is the most natural thing in the world, some days breastfeeding feels anything but easy.
Lots of these tips may seem like no brainers, but I remember the early days (or, as I like to refer to them, blurs) of nursing, and after learning a few of them my life was simplified greatly.
Each mama’s experience with breastfeeding is different, but there are certain things that can make it easier for all of us. No matter if this is your first baby or your fourth, these tips will simplify your life and help you focus on what really matters (taking care of yourself and your baby) and not whether or not the dishes got done.
No matter how easy or difficult nursing has been thus far, nursing often throughout the day will only do good things for both your supply and your baby. According to Dr. Sears, nursing every two hours or so increases your supply and helps you and your baby overcome issues like poor latch or sucking.
Get Some Rest
As unproductive as it sounds, taking a quick nap with your baby or even just taking some time to relax while you’re nursing can. Relaxing helps your letdown reflex happen quicker, and will allow your baby to stay relaxed as well. According to PBS, most new moms are dangerously exhausted, making motherhood (and just functioning in general) nearly impossible to manage. Plus, if your baby is still waking during the night, catching up on your sleep during the day will be well worth it.
Though La Leche League noted that you don’t need to drink excessive amounts of water, drinking to quench your thirst plus a little more will help you stay energized and healthy throughout the day.
Outsource Other Tasks
As if breastfeeding wasn’t enough of a full time job in itself, there are a million other things on your plate as well, no matter your job or lifestyle. Outsource where you can — aka have your spouse, partner, friends, or older children take over some of the other tasks to lighten your load a bit.
Plan Meals Ahead Of Time
Breastfeeding is as time consuming as it is tiring. Planning meals ahead of time will help you have less to worry about and learn to manage your time in a way that allows you to get everything done that you need to.
Don’t Be A Perfectionist
If you naturally tend to be organized and, as the saying goes, have all your ducks in a row, now may be the time to loosen up a little bit. Motherhood is messy business and though it doesn’t have to be sheer chaos, there will be days where all you can do is focus on breastfeeding and keeping your kids (and yourself) alive. The dishes may not get done, the floor may be dirty, toys may not get put away and that’s ok. Giving yourself a break is liberating sometimes.
Have A Cozy Breastfeeding Spot
According to La Leche League, stress can have a major impact on your milk supply and speed of letdown, so trying to relax as much as possible is key. One way to do that is to create a cozy spot that you go to nurse. It can be as simple as a recliner or maybe it’s just your baby’s room. Either way, this space should feel calm and allow you to have a few minutes to relax.
Try Making Some Lactation Cookies
Yes, that’s a real thing. If you’re struggling with low supply, or simply want to keep your supply as healthy as possible (or maybe you just want some delicious cookies), lactation cookies are thought to help. While there is some debate on the scientific proof of the ingredients, called galactagogues, according to American Pregnancy, many women claim to notice an increased milk supply after eating them.