Can you believe it’s the end of the year already? And that in less than a month we’ll be welcoming in a brand new year? Time flies by so fast! Let’s take this moment to pause and reflect a bit on your breastfeeding journey. Overall, how has it been? Tiring? Fulfilling? Difficult? Worthwhile? Maybe it was all of those things. So if you’re tired and feeling a bit worn out, if you need something to keep you going for the next year, read on for some tips on how to start your 2019 breastfeeding journey right!
If you’re looking for something to help get rid of your blues, we’ve found that doing a little bit of reflection can make a big difference. Try to take the time to sit down and think about your whole year so far. How are you feeling? Why do you think you’re feeling that way? Are there certain factors that contributed to why you’re feeling the way you are? If you’re feeling tired, is it because you’re having difficulty balancing work and feeding time? Is it your lack of support? Lack of milk supply? Is there anything you can do about it? Maybe you can try talking to your husband, parents, in-laws, or co-workers for some help. Maybe you can look for supplements that can help you produce more milk. These may not necessarily be the grand solution that will fix all your problems, but reflecting and doing a small thing to change the way you do things, can go a long way. And momma, it’s okay to feel tired and stressed. Because even though you might be feeling a bit worn out, the mere fact that you’re still doing what you’re doing makes you an amazing, resilient, super mom.
It’s so easy to get sucked in in the daily motions of breastfeeding–timing feeding schedules, pumping, making sure you have enough milk for your child, and repeat. Sometimes, you become so used to your routine, that you forget why you did this in the first place. Why are you breastfeeding? Is it because you know it’s the best nutrition for your child? Is it because it’s a simple bonding activity that brings you and your child closer? Whatever your reason for breastfeeding, try to repeat it to yourself. Create a mental flag in your head, a badge of honor, and wear it proudly.
Breastfeeding, like any big endeavor, is best done a day at a time. While it’s very easy to simply say that your new year’s resolution is to breastfeed for one more year, we all know it’s a lot harder to follow through on it. So why not take baby steps? Set small goals for yourself–be it daily, weekly, or monthly. Having that feeling of accomplishment when you tick off a small goal is better than having to wait an entire year before finally achieving something, right? You don’t necessarily have to go big or go home, going small and steadily can also produce more consistent results. And hey, before you know it, months will have gone by too!
Sometimes it’s the small things–like your diet or water intake–that can go a long way in making you feel better. Sure, we could all use a bit of discipline when it comes to our guilty pleasures (hello wine and chocolate!), but everything in moderation is a good practice too. Try to look at your diet. Is there anything there that is making you feel not so good about yourself? What about your water intake? How many glasses of water do you drink everyday? Food and drink is essential to our health and wellbeing (especially for breastfeeding moms), but as long as you eat healthy and drink lots of water, you’re good to go!
Just in time for the new year, fitness is another common new year’s resolution. It’s not about losing weight or gaining muscle, it’s about staying fit and healthy. Find a workout plan that works for you–be it pilates, yoga, circuit, or something else. You don’t necessarily have to have abs by the end of the year (maybe in our dreams!), but even committing to 10-30 minutes of brisk walking around the neighborhood will work wonders. Not to mention the endorphins that’ll definitely help make you feel better too!
Surrounding yourself with other people who are experiencing and going through the same thing that you are going through can help boost your spirits and keep you motivated. Having a support group who understands the difficulty of what you’re doing, who have gone through the pain you have, and who can completely relate to the feeling of knowing that you are the sole provider for the nourishment of your child should not be underestimated. They can help provide you with a sense of validation, and can provide you with the emotional and mental support you might need.
Had a long, hard day at work? Stressed with all the holiday planning? Upset that something’s not going the way it should? Take a break from all those negative emotions, and play with your baby. Try to set aside at least 10 minutes of your time to do something other than feed him or her. Read books, listen to music, sing songs, or simply stare and touch your little one. You’ll soon find all your worries and frustrations washing away. That’s the magic of babies–they might not know how to talk or understand what you’re saying yet, but somehow, they make you smile, and your heart grows bigger just by being with them.
Sometimes, all you need to do to make yourself feel better is to have a little talk with your husband. It doesn’t have to be about breastfeeding all the time (poor hubby haha!), it can be about whatever is stressing you out, what you want to do, your dreams for your child, and more. There’s nothing you shouldn’t be uncomfortable to talk to him about–anything and everything under the sun goes!
You’ve probably heard this time and time again, right? But there’s a reason people keep on repeating it–it’s because it is true. Yes, there are days when you just need a break, but you shouldn’t feel massively guilty about allowing yourself to indulge in some me time. Go out with some friends, go to the spa, get a massage, get a haircut, go shopping, eat out, watch a movie–do this one thing for yourself that you’ve always wanted to do, and you’ll find yourself coming back home refreshed and energized, ready to start the next day with a happy disposition, a huge smile, and the strength and inspiration you need to breastfeed again. Enjoy, mommas!