It’s been proven that added stress can negatively impact milk production for new moms.
As if you don’t have enough to worry about in life, now you need to concern yourself with whether you’ll be able to feed your little one. This cuts deep. One of the most simple human actions is a mother’s ability to provide for her child. It predates civilization itself. Today, we are all faced with numerous anxiety sources that can severely impact our ability to function normally within our communities. Breastfeeding is one of those “normal” activities that should maintain a prominent place in our culture. Struggling to fulfill that societal need can be a gut-wrenching experience. But never fear! Here are some ways you as a new mother can de-stress along your breastfeeding journey to ensure you are relaxed and promote lactation!
Establish a Walking & Exercising Routine
When your little one enters the world, it’s expected that you put EVERYTHING aside and focus squarely on the needs of your child. This assumption is mostly right, except for the part where if YOU can’t function, the baby will also struggle in its new environment. Taking a few minutes to go for a walk is both stress relief and refreshing. Bonus points if your spouse/partner can watch the baby in your absence so you can get a little precious “alone” time. It allows you to get your mind off the household’s needs, if only for just a moment, and reflect upon life. You’ll return to the fray with a new attitude and fresh outlook on things.
Meditate, Even for Just Five Minutes
Speaking of reflection, when was the last time you were able to take a quiet moment to pause?
A couple of meditation minutes can work wonders to guide your mind from a state of anxiety back into one of positivity. There will always be more laundry to fold or rooms to clean while baby naps, so why not take 5 minutes to perform a guided meditation to relax your nerves? Be sure to limit distractions by turning off the TV, putting down your phone, and adding some soft music to the environment.
Talking It Out
After given birth, your body has gone through a tremendous amount of trauma. Your partner (in most cases) probably hasn’t experienced the feeling of childbirth nor the accompanying stresses. You’ve gone from a walking bearer of hormones and hot sweats to a worrier that is concerned with everything around you. Find someone you can discuss those concerns with. In a perfect world, talking with someone who has birthed a child would work best. Social media has a TON of mom groups with willing mothers who can offer excellent life advice and guidance. Use them!
(Hint: Sometimes it’s best to avoid direct family members & in-laws for this as being completely honest with those folks can prove – risky.)
Develop a Routine
Trying to establish any sort of cadence can be hard when the baby first arrives, but many moms have found that working into a routine can make for a smoother parenting experience. Our little ones can’t understand TIME, but they can recognize processes. Even keeping a vague outline of tasks for the day and working towards developing patterns will help get the baby onto a schedule, so you can too. Undoubtedly there will be monkey wrenches thrown into those schedules. A grumpy baby or a sick family member can impact whatever routine you’ve developed. But know that as you become more comfortable with the repetition of your daily activities, your body will continue to ease anxieties to promote lactation.
No Visitors Unless…
When the baby arrives, EVERYONE wants to see & hold the baby. With the CoVID pandemic unfolding, some municipalities have discouraged households from mingling with others.
We at Milkin’ Cookie aren’t going to tell you what to do.
However, if you decide that you want to roll the dice with visitors, make sure doing so will somehow benefit your household. Ask the visitor to run a simple errand on your behalf or bring over a meal (with digital platforms like Cash App, Paypal & Venmo, it’s never been easier to reimburse someone for their effort. Even having them fold some laundry can be a big help.
(Lifehack: Baby clothes are small & many laundromats charge by the pound for washing & folding, so when you do the math, 4-5 baby garments might equal a single adult in weight. That might be an excellent way to give yourself a break every so often.)
Before the baby arrives, you’ve managed to meal prep for several weeks (or even months) or made other arrangements in a perfect world. It keeps the days more straightforward during one of the more hectic periods of your life. Not a cook? No problem! Meal delivery options are abundant to parents that cater to all dietary requirements. We’ve used Freshly in the past for a couple of nights a week to cut down on dishes, and it was a godsend. (Follow this link to get $60 off your first order.)
It’s easy to order out Chinese or pizza on the routine, but eventually, you’ll want to add diversity to that diet… which brings us to nutrition (besides, you’re going to need that money for diapers anyway!)
Aside from rest, one of the best ways to reduce stress is to ensure you maintain a balanced diet that meets your metabolic goals. Along with lowering stress, a balanced diet rich in omega 3s & iron can help promote lactation. Try enjoying a snack, like one of our lactation cookies, as a way to relax & unwind. Breastfeeding burns on average 500-700 calories per day, so you should keep that in mind when considering your food choices.
A common theme in the above items tends to be varying methods of easing anxiety. However you reach that goal, do it! There is no magical foil for getting rid of ALL the stress within your life. After all, you are a parent now & that comes with it’s own set of challenges. Postpartum depression is real and impacts over a half-million new mothers annually just in the United States. So take a moment to yourself and do what best relaxes YOU. Hopefully, some of the above items will help guide your spirit to a greater place of ease, and with any luck, you’ll be producing more breast milk in no time.