Breastfeeding may not be as easy as it looks, especially for first-time mothers. Pregnancy itself is so overwhelming that post-birth period may seem like a new life altogether. Mothers read book after book about pregnancy and how to take care of their little ones but often forget to acknowledge the need to take care of themselves.
Mothers need to take special care of themselves when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers have to alter their sleep patterns according to their baby’s sleep patterns. New babies feed multiple times through the day as well as the night and this may take a little while getting used to. The first few months after the birth a baby is the most tiring and the most important thing you require during this period is - rest.
Don’t take up too much on yourself. Allow others to help you around with household chores or hire a full time or part time help. Ask your partner to take turns to look after the baby so that you can catch up on some sleep. Even if you are feeling well and energetic, allow others to help you and instead save that energy for what the rest of the day might bring.
As your body continues to produce more liquid gold (breast milk!) for your little one, you will feel very thirsty. You are nursing and it is important to keep hydrated all the time, so make sure that you have a jug of drinking water near you at all times. It is not just water that is necessary, but also food. Mothers often fall under the impression that since they are no longer eating for two, they should reduce their amount of intake and start dieting immediately to get back in shape. Do not do this at all. Your body is recovering and needs just as much energy as it did before. So while you should make a conscious effort to eat healthy food, do not compromise on portions.
The postpartum period can be overwhelming. Your emotional state, birth experience, the baby’s health and breastfeeding challenges will make you feel like you work 24 hours! It may make you go ballistic sometime. In such instances, talk to a family member or a close friend to seek help and advice. Although rest is advisable for a couple of months, you can start with some basic exercises to keep yourself healthy, both body and mind.
Mothers feel the compulsive need to constantly fulfil their parental duties. Sometimes you need to take out a little ME time as well. Ask your parents or in-laws to look after your baby for an evening so that you and your partner can go out on a romantic dinner date. This will not only give you the chance to spend some time with your partner and feel nice about yourself, but it will also get you energized to fulfil your mom duties from the next day on.
When you choose to breastfeed, hygiene is extremely important, for both you as well as your little one. Wash your breasts regularly throughout the day so as to prevent any infections. While you do not need to bathe your baby every single day in the first couple of months, it would be a good idea to give them a sponge bath.