Taking care of all of your baby’s needs throughout the day can leave you feeling weary and emotional – I’ve been there. Making self-care part of your routine can be tricky at any stage of life, but especially during this season when you’re on mom duty 24/7.
Click the button below to download and print a handy infographic featuring these tips, and read on for detailed suggestions:
1. Focus on your baby.
Do you feel like you’ve been distracted and not fully present with your baby throughout the day or when you get home from work? Focusing on your baby during a feeding session can be great for bonding, and talking to them promotes their language and social-emotional development. Your baby learns to decipher how you feel based on your facial expressions, tone of voice, and eye contact.
2. Journal about your day.
If you like to journal, use your pumping or nursing session to make an entry. If you’re unable to write while breastfeeding, try using a voice recorder to “think out loud.” If journaling isn’t for you, try using a notebook you keep at your nursing or pumping station to remind yourself of milestones or things you’d like to do (#mombrain).
3. Savor a special drink or snack.
Suffering from breastfeeding hunger? Enjoy a cup of tea? Love flavored water? Take the time to make yourself a snack or beverage to enjoy during a feeding session. If you have family or friends around, ask them to help out.
4. Close your eyes and meditate.
After a long day, I like to turn down the lights, sit back in my glider, close my eyes, and think about the day while I nurse my little one. It allows me to decompress, and it reminds me of when my grandma would look like she was sleeping but would say, “I’m just resting my eyes.” Hang a sign on the door to make sure you’re not interrupted.
5. Read a book or magazine you love.
Whether it’s your favorite poems or The Magnolia Journal, reading something you love is a great way to spend your pumping or nursing time. To help you maintain a positive attitude no matter how bumpy your day may be, read about truth and positivity. Pick out your favorite passage, affirmation, or mantra and write it on your mirror or in a place where you will see it every day.
6. Watch a movie or TV show, or listen to an audiobook or podcast.
Download or stream a movie or show you love so you’ll have something great to watch while pumping or nursing. Avoiding screens during those middle-of-the-night nursing sessions? Download new podcast episodes or audiobooks so they’ll be ready for your listening pleasure wherever you end up nursing. Keep your headphones easily accessible so you can watch or listen without disturbing your little one.
7. Light a candle or lightly diffuse essential oils while you nurse or pump.
Scents can both calm you and boost your energy levels, and they help create a cozy environment for your breastfeeding sessions. If you have kids around, make sure the essential oils you’re using are safe. To relax you even more, have your partner give you a foot or leg massage while you nurse or pump.
8. Complete your bedtime nursing session while taking a relaxing bath with your baby.
A warm bath is pretty much a daily non-negotiable for me in the fall and winter months. I love the peace and quiet of my bathroom, and knowing that my older kids are either asleep or being cared for by my husband is an added benefit that helps me relax. If you have a newborn, you can put them skin-to-skin with you on your chest, allowing them to find your breast on their own. If your baby is older and able to sit up, after nursing you can sit them in between your legs to splash in the water. Be sure the water is a safe temperature, never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub, and follow all bath safety guidelines.
9. Sing or listen to your favorite music.
Always seem to have the theme song to Daniel Tiger stuck in your head? You aren’t the only one, Mama! Take the time to fill your mind, heart, and soul with your favorite music when pumping or nursing. Classical music can relax you, or turn up your favorite pop artist to help power you through your last pumping session of the day. Plus, it’s a great way to introduce your baby to the music you love.
I hope implementing some of these ideas helps boost your physical and emotional well-being during the year ahead! Raising a child takes a great deal of courage and an abundance of love, so remember to fill your cup by introducing a few of these ideas into your routine. You are brave, beautiful, and worthy, Mama – never forget that.