Celebrating a newborn is one of the most enjoyable experiences ~ and opting to breastfeed is one of the most rewarding things you can do, too.
As many of you know, Breast is best for a newborn – and we mentioned several reasons why breastmilk is best back on our last post. Sometimes it’s a challenge for women to breastfeed ~ but we can’t ever mistake challenging for impossible.
Successful Breastfeeding Means Making it a Priority
The reasons why many moms stop breastfeeding is diverse – some women go back to work shortly after having their children. While some moms may just find breastfeeding simply too difficult.
My breastfeeding journey hasn’t always been easy – I returned to work after baby #1 just 3 weeks later – and it was a challenge to pump / express milk every 2 1/2 – 3 hours especially when I traveled with that job 3 weeks out of every month. My experiences were different with each child – and with child 4, I was thankful for Essential Oils when my breastmilk stopped when she was 4 months. Thankfully for oils, I was able to find my groove and continue until she self weaned at the age of 1 1/2. Baby 5 is doing well and we are breastfeeding and freezing milk so we have a stash just in case.
Aside from the experiences with baby 1 & baby 4, breastfeeding was truly a wonderful experience. It was difficult and exhausting at times, painful at the beginning, but something I was committed to making work. But there is one thing that I always had to be wary of and that was stress – which can play a huge role in your milk supply.
The Enemy of your Milk Supply
From the moment you start breastfeeding, you panic – are you drinking enough liquid? Are you getting enough calories? Are you feeding enough? Is the baby latching on properly? What if you miss a feeding? Between taking care of the other kids, changing diapers, washing dishes, clothes, keeping everyone fed and happy, and pumping over a missed feeding, it’s easy to see why a mamma can get stressed out.
All of that panic and worry results in a mountain of stress. And stress is the number ONE enemy of your milk supply.
It’s hard – especially during the first few weeks, to get through the nights. Even harder when you have a handful of other children in the family vying for attention. Not to mention doing laundry, cleaning the house, making meals and taking care of all of the other children.
Making sure you have adequate breast milk is another worry on your plate.
Believe it or not, stress takes a huge toll on your milk supply – not only will it decrease your supply, it will also affect your milk let-down reflex.
Best Ways to Avoid Stress
Get off Facebook and Email. As hard as it might be, it’s distracting – it will consume our time – and before you know it several hours have passed. Instead, enjoy your time with your baby – feed your little one and try to find peace. When my little one wants to eat, there is nothing more important than making sure she gets that time – no matter how urgent something might seem to be, nothing is so urgent as her needs.
Wake up a little earlier. If you have work to get done and you find it difficult during the day when everyone is home and your newborn wants time with you, then wake up 30-60 minutes earlier to find time to prepare for your day.
Stay home. Easier said than done – but it’s a great way to save. Limit trips to 1 day per week, and make your home somewhere that you enjoy being. Avoid dragging your kids for activities and ventures, and keep them busy at home.
Don’t Overdo It. Try not to do many things at the same time – focus on the task at hand, as trying to do too much will just place more added stress on your day.
Let the House Go. We’re not telling you to live in a mess, but don’t worry if your house is spic and span every minute – taking the opportunity to enjoy feeding your newborn and adjusting to a routine should be your priority. If you have other children, ask them to help take care of smaller things – and your husband can help at home, too.
Find Happiness. In the small things – try to find joy. The time you have to cuddle with your newborn, the sounds, smiles and reactions that your baby makes. Treasure them all – because it’s only a matter of time before they are grown.
Over time, you will see your supply increase – once you let go of the perfections of life… and let joy and gratitude filter in. Together with a few lifestyle changes, this is a time when you will reap the rewards of learning how to let go of the little things, and enjoy this short time while it lasts.
There is NOTHING like that special quiet time you have when you both sit down for feeding ~ it helps you put things in perspective in your life, as you cradle your baby while he/she eats. It’s almost as if it’s permission to relax, amidst the hustle of the day, or hustle you experience with the other children you have. Sometimes those few minutes of quiet time are some of the most treasured moments of the day.
There is something about breastfeeding that is absolutely amazing – I can’t put my finger on it. I love having the opportunity to be able to make this work well for my children and I wouldn’t have it any other way.