If you’re a breastfeeding mama, especially if you’re breastfeeding a newborn, you probably feel like you spend more of your day nursing or pumping than anything else. And you’re RIGHT…as a new mom, I 100% spent the majority of my day nursing my son, Mason. He seemed to be a marathon feeder – almost every nursing session averaged about 45 minutes, but some were upwards of an hour plus. In the first few months of the newborn phase, baby eats every 2-3 hours around the clock. That’s about 8 feedings per day at 45 minutes to one hour per feeding (in my personal case)…That averages about 6-8 hours of nursing per day. But, even as baby gets older, breastfeeding or pumping can still consume multiple hours of your day. If you have ANYTHING else going on in your life whatsoever, it can be super hard to navigate! And now, it’s the holiday season. The most joyous time of year! But who takes on a lot of that joy-making responsibility? YOU!
But let me tell you…YOU CAN STILL LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE! Of course, being a mom is a BEAUTIFUL gift. In no way am I saying that motherhood is NOT part of living our best lives because it is DEFINTELY SUCH A JOY. But it is also HARD and mamas sometimes need a break – and that is OKAY!
A couple months ago, I wrote a blog post about self-care and I talked about how, like a lot of you mamas out there, I got this idea in my head that I needed to be a martyr mom…as if you get some badge of honor for sleeping the least, breastfeeding the most, and doing nothing for yourself. And this is simply not true. It is SO healthy for our littles to see us doing the things that make us happy outside of being a mom. Being the best version of ourselves and living our best lives is so important –it helps us be the best moms we can be!
But HOW in the world do you find time to do ANYTHING else when you’re breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is as time-consuming as a full time job! I’m going to share with you my 4 tips and tricks for creating the time and space for you to do the other things that are important to you, outside of being a mama.
UTILIZE YOUR NURSING OR PUMPING TIME. While nursing might be a beautiful bonding time, if you have a marathon feeder like I did, then your nursing sessions are fairly lengthy. Use SOME of this time to connect with friends, scroll Instagram, watch your favorite show, read a book on your iPad…you get the picture. There is so much you can do with one hand with the technology we have, so take advantage of it sometimes! If you’re a pumping mom, the same applies! You could be taking an online class, doing your makeup, cooking, wrapping Christmas presents…whatever is important to you and will make you feel GOOD! I used to actually schedule girlfriends to come by and visit around nursing times when I was on maternity leave. It worked out perfectly because we could chat and catch up while I breastfed. Then, once he was done, it would be time for a wake window so my friends could visit with the baby! Obviously, we are in different times now with COVID, but the point is that you can find creative ways to utilize your time here!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NAP TIME.This is KEY. Everyone always says, “Nap when the baby naps.” I say…do what you want to do when the baby naps! If you want to nap, then nap. If you want to work on a hobby of yours, then get to it! If you want to clean because a clean house makes you feel good, then do that! I did a variety of things whenever Mason would nap. Sometimes I would nap…sometimes I’d clean…sometimes I’d workout…sometimes I’d craft…sometimes I’d have a girlfriend over…sometimes I’d cook…and the beauty of it, especially as infants, is they nap A LOT! You have plenty of opportunities to switch it up and do all the things you may want to do. Even now, as Mason is 17 months old, I still take advantage of his nap time. He only naps 1-2x per day now, so I just have to prioritize the things I want to do during nap time! Right now, my main priorities during nap time are working on Ailana J. and working out, so that’s what I do! (And sometimes a nap…I love naps!)
SCHEDULE THINGS OUT OF THE HOUSE.As we’re in a dynamic and seemingly ever-changing COVID world, this may be more challenging at the moment depending on where you live. BUT try your best to get creative and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE (safely, of course). Pre-COVID, I would schedule coffee dates or lunch dates during Mason’s nap time. Of course, naps at home were always the best naps, but, once in a while, a nap on the go was a great opportunity for me to get out and about! Plus, it would be uninterrupted adult time until he woke up! I’d also set some time for happy hour with the girls once my husband got home from work or we’d find a babysitter for the occasional date night. Even though we are living through a pandemic, there are still things you can do to get out of the house. We just have to be a little more creative about it now than we used to be.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY “NO!”If you struggle with boundaries like I do, this tip is BEYOND difficult. Yet this should probably be the #1 tip! Mamas’ plates are always overflowing and, if you’re breastfeeding, your time is not your own. So, in the limited time (detailed above) that you have to do things that make YOU happy, why would you do things you DON’T WANT TO DO?! SO DON’T! Though it is really hard for me to disappoint people, I’ve been really working on saying “no” more often when I am asked to do an activity that will not be the best for ME. I’m a people-pleaser and I have a really hard time saying “no,” but saying “yes” to everything when I honestly do NOT have the time or mental space for it is 100% a disservice to myself. Now, this does not mean you can say “no” to everything just because you don’t want to do it –I don’t want to take out the trash, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to get taken out! Obviously we all have responsibilities that we NEED to do regardless of whether we want to do them or not. What I mean is you need to RESPECT your own time and fill those moments as best you can with the things that will be FULFILLING for you. You deserve this.
So, mamas, are you ready to live your best life to the fullest?! If you need a way to make nursing and pumping more productive, know that Ailana J. nursing + pumping apparel is designed to make your breastfeeding EASIER by allowing QUICKER access to your milk makers! Pre-order is STILL available with an opportunity to receive 10% off! All you have to do is enter your e-mail on the banner above and you will get 10% off your first pre-order!