Breastfeeding is natural, and wonderful, and INCREDIBLE for moms and babies alike, but hot damn if it’s not one of the hardest things you’ll ever do (short of having a baby in the first place).
That first year is a period when baby is incredibly dependent on you, and between cluster feeding and nursing in public, it can be super stressful for a lot of moms.
BREATHE. Slow down, heed our advice, and know that bamboobies has got your front, little mama. Follow the sage wisdom of women like you who have been there and back, and we’ll make sure you don’t lose your marbles while trying to raise a healthy, happy tiny human.
Get Ready for the Day
Nursing can be all-consuming, and that means you often roll out of bed in the same thing you slept in two days ago. By all means, don’t put on airs if you just wanna rock pjs all week, but there is definitely a psychological benefit to getting ready for the day.
When you look good, you feel good, so even if it’s just a flash of mascara and a messy mom bun, do something when you wake up, and you’ll feel a million times better.
Pro tip: Nipple balm makes BOMB lip balm, too. Seriously — don’t knock it til you try it.
Set Up Nursing Stations
Before you get super savvy with a carrier, nursing involves a lot of sitting. You’ll notice you’re trapped under a happily nursing baby a lot, so make sure that anywhere you nurse, you have an arsenal of everything you need in a cute little basket.
Here are a few things to stash in your nursing baskets:
- Burp cloths
- Snacks for you — bite-sized snacks or bars are the easiest to eat while nursing
- A bottle of water
- Fresh nursing pads
- Kindle or magazine/catalog stash
Aside from that, make sure you bring the remote or your cell phone with you when you go to sit down if your baby takes a while to feed.
Pro tip: Make sure everything in your basket can be opened with one hand, and don’t sweat it when you drop crumbs on baby’s head — he’s too busy eating to care.
Get All the Gear You Need
We might be a little biased here, but countless other moms agree: a comfy nursing bra and nursing tank are going to make your day a whhhooole lot more enjoyable. Don’t settle for sports bras that don’t yield and underwire that digs into your skin — get what you need to be comfortable.
This is one area where it’s okay to splurge. Nursing is a full time job, and you need the right equipment to get the job done. Get a great pump (hospital grade if you can), a nursing pillow, PLENTY of ultra-soft, absorbent bamboobies nursing pads, some super comfy nursing brahhhs, and plenty of nursing tanks for easy, one-handed boob access and comfort you can enjoy all day and all night!
Get Out of the House
Most moms fall into hermit-mode pretty easily those first few months after baby’s arrival, and who can blame them? It can be a SERIOUS pain in the bum to go anywhere when your baby needs to nurse every 90-120 minutes.
Do it anyway.
If you’re nervous about nursing in public, that’s okay, but remember that you’re doing a mega-important job in feeding your baby, and you can absolutely do that anywhere your baby decides he needs to eat. Bring a chic nursing cover or open nursing shawl if you feel more comfortable that way, and scope out places to nurse in your favorite shops and malls so you always know exactly where to go to grab some quiet and a comfy seat.
Pro tip: Try to snag a corner booth in a restaurant if you’re feeling particularly shy, they’re great for nursing discreetly without attracting curious glances.
Find Your Tribe
Here’s a little bit of anthropology for you: moms were never meant to do it all on their own. For thousands of years, families in cultures around the world have (and still do) parent collectively, with several generations and other mothers from the community coming together to take care of the children as a joint effort. The fact is, we all need help — and lots of it.
Don’t sweat it, making mommy friends isn’t as hard as you might think. Most moms are super eager to socialize, and all it takes is a little local networking to break the ice. Facebook is a treasure trove of local mom groups, and it’s a great way to join a play date and make some personal connections.
Your hospital or birthing center might host a new mom tea, a locally-owned maternity store might have a new mom meetup, and infant music class can be a great place to meet moms with kids the same age. Next thing you know, you’ll be saying “OMG — ME TOO!” and have a new BFF.
Pro tip: If you’re not sure how to strike up a conversation with someone, always start with a compliment. Ask them where they got their diaper bag, carrier, breastfeeding gear, or amber necklace — whatever. People love to be complimented, and this opens the door to an introduction.
Get Some Boob-Like Bottles
Breastfed babies can be some bottle snobs, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get away for more than two hours if you need some space.
Stock up on some boob-like bottles and see if your baby has a preference for one. Keep in mind that a lot of nursing littles won’t take one from mom (because hellllo, the tap is right there!). Get a few pumped for dad and take a walk (that’s right, LEAVE THE HOUSE), and check in after a while to see if any of them were winners.
Pro tip: There are lots of bottles available that mimic breastfeeding and could be good options. Talk to your other breastfeeding mom friends and see what bottles have worked for them.
Self Care Isn’t Selfish
It might go without saying, but guess what, we’re sayin’ it anyway: it is 100% okay to take care of you. Self care is NOT selfish, and if you feel yourself slipping down the path of mommy insanity, take a time out, hand your hubs a bottle, and take the space you need to recover.
The bottom line is, you can’t be your best self for your baby unless you take care of yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask for time alone when you need it.
Get the supplies you need to comfortably breastfeed, and give yourself room to be a little more like ‘you’, even if it’s just a bit of mascara, a nap and your phone on silent, or a beautiful carrier and a walk around the park.
Decide what you need to be happy and present for your baby, and go for it — because you 100% deserve to be a happy mom.