Self-Care Challenge - Day 7: 10 Tips for New, Breastfeeding Mamas

Today is the last day of our week-long, self-care challenge. Have you been working on making yourself a top priority?

If you've got a newborn, you must make yourself a top priority; if you don't take care of your basic needs, you simply won't be able to take care of your new child. 

During the first few weeks you're home with your new baby, self-care and hypersensitivity to your own needs are crucial -- particularly if you're breastfeeding. Be aware of a few things that will make it easier to adjust: 
  • Think of your days in two- to three-hour increments. That is the approximate schedule of feeding for a newborn; anticipating the pattern is a good idea.
  • When the time is nearing that your baby will start to stir and give you a cue to feed, do a quick self-assessment. If you're in any physical discomfort, check to see if you're due for pain medications; if so, take them. You won't enjoy breast feeding if you're in pain and the stress from any physical discomfort can impair your letdown.
  • If you're physically feeling okay, the next thing to do is empty your bladder. New mamas often need to do a little bladder retraining, whether you've had a vaginal delivery or a c-section. Even if you don't feel like you have to go, go anyway. Usually the sense memory of cool porcelain on your tushy will trigger your body to empty your bladder. The empty bladder is also important for your safety. If your bladder is full, it puts pressure on your uterus, preventing it from staying low and contracted, which it needs to be to prevent excessive bleeding post-delivery.
  • Wash your face. It's refreshing and just makes everyone feel more human; in the few weeks after delivery, prioritizing your comfort is a must.
  • Stay hydrated. Get that big glass of ice water to sustain you through the upcoming feed. My patients always comment on how incredibly thirsty they become when they feed their newborns. Put the beverage where you can comfortably reach it during the feed. It is a good idea to keep a healthy snack within reach, as well; sometimes new moms forget to eat!
  • Adjust pillows and blankets so the feed will be comfortable and enjoyable for you as well as the babe. Nothing is worse for a new mom than having to disrupt a good latch because they can't sustain the position they are in.
  • Get skin-to-skin with your baby as much as possible. This proximity helps to establish your milk supply. And having your baby directly against your body also makes the transition to life outside the womb far easier for both mother and baby. Nature provides an awesome balancing act: your baby’s temperature is maintained by you: when your baby is cold, your body automatically warms up; when your baby is hot, your body cools down. Closeness = success.
  • Rest as much as possible. The dirty laundry and dishes can wait.
  • If you have visitors coming over and you're nervous about having to feed the baby while they're there...don't be. You have every right to excuse yourself, go to your room or another comfortable place in your home and nurse. Even if it takes a really long time (and it often does, in the beginning). Your guests will have to understand and will have to wait. You and your baby are a significantly higher priority than entertaining visitors!
  • You also have every right to nurse in front of your new guests. If they're uncomfortable, they can go in the other room. Again, whatever you want to do is fine. There is no "right" or "wrong." Only "right for YOU" and "wrong for YOU."

Remember: you can't take care of your baby if your most basic needs haven't been met.

For more on this topic, check out Five Things to Do in your Baby's First 24 Hours to Ensure Breastfeeding Success.


  1. So much to think about that never crosses your mind as a childless person.  I do look forward to these days, but I am taking my time in getting there.  It is a whole new world...  (When I do finally get there, expect to see a lot of comments/questions from me!)

  2. Take your time! And, when you're ready, bring on the questions!! :-)

  3. I could have used this tattooed on my arm when I had my first.  I was still so concerned about doing everything around the house when the baby was born that I didn't do a good job taking care of myself.  And it was the worst when guests came over.  Although I did like escaping to another room to feed.  

    I'm looking forward to reading more upcoming posts!  Glad we've connected.

  4. Yes, I'm so glad we found each other!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts