Breastfeeding a baby is probably one of the most amazing experiences that any woman can encounter. As mammals, nature created our bodies so that we will produce the necessary milk for our young. The most recent recommendations from pediatricians have even been to nurse (or formula feed) your baby exclusively for the first six months of life before introducing solid foods. A mother’s milk is the most perfect food that has ever been created!
All that being said, being a mother is HARD WORK! Finding time in your routine to sit down and nurse can be an overwhelming thought to a pregnant mother, especially if there are older children in the family, or if Mom needs to return to work.
So, here are some breastfeeding tips on ways to make nursing work for you and your busy family:
- At home, set up a comfortable nursing location. Have your nursing pillow ready to go. Many nursing pillows have pockets, so that you can keep little supplies for you and baby tucked away and handy. Have a burp cloth or tissues handy for baby’s little wet cheeks. Keep your remote in this spot, and your cell phone and charger. Just being realistic. Moms are busy; sometimes we have to change the channel for our preschooler, or need to answer a call!
- Try a co-sleeper. These are similar to a Pack-n-Play, but smaller, and connect securely to the side of your bed. The side closest to Mom is open, and baby’s mattress is slightly lower than the main mattress, so that baby cannot just “roll” in to your bed. By having baby sleep close to you, you can nurse “on-demand” at night, and everyone gets more sleep!
- Use a wrap or sling. There are so many to choose from! You may want to borrow a few to try out before you make your purchase. Once you master it, baby should be able to nurse discreetly while wrapped against your chest, and you can engage in your demanding schedule!
- Invest in a nursing cover. These are about the size of a receiving blanket, and they have two straps that secure around Mom’s neck, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off…or baby pulling off the blanket that is “covering” you in public! (Babies do that!) Some nursing covers even have a flexible wire inside the top edge that holds the blanket just far enough away from your chest that you can see baby, but no one else can.
- If you are more modest – as many first time moms are, when it comes to nursing – locate a variety of places in your community that are “nursing friendly”, where you feel comfortable feeding baby. For example, some department stores and malls have “nursing rooms” with low lighting, a rocking chair and changing table. It doesn’t have to be fancy though. Many stores will allow you to nurse in their dressing rooms.
- Try a variety of positions for nursing. It doesn’t always have to be in your “nursing spot” at home. You can comfortably nurse in a side-lying position, and still read a book alongside your toddler at night (with baby between!). Try the football hold to free up a hand, or even play on the floor with your other children while sitting in a tailor-sit (criss cross apple sauce!) with baby on your lap.
- Include your other children in nursing. It is okay to still play, read, and even help with homework while you nurse.
- Have a “baby doll station” for your toddler or preschooler to care for their baby, while you nurse your baby. Guess what? They will probably imitate you!
Using some or all of these techniques can help to make nursing a reality for a busy family. Know that it’s okay to still engage with the rest of your family and your routines, and be nursing your baby. Yes, you will still have those beautiful quiet moments when the lights are low, and the two of you are alone. You will still touch that soft cheek and listen to their sweet suckle, smelling that delicious baby scent. Bonding and secure attachment will still occur, and baby will also be listening as you engage with your other children and routines. No matter what you are doing, baby will hear your voice, feel your skin and heartbeat against their body, and be able to look up and gaze in to your eyes. Life is busy, being a mom is demanding, and nursing your baby is absolutely attainable!