This is a guest post.
Congratulations on deciding to breastfeed your new baby. Breastfeeding provides your newborn with protection against common childhood infections and lowers their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You will benefit from breastfeeding as well. It lowers your risk of high blood pressure, type two diabetes, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
It’s important to take care of yourself as you take on this new responsibility. Here are five self-care tips to help you be successful:
Lean on friends and family
Taking care of your new baby can be overwhelming at times. Allow your family and friends to help you out for a couple of hours each day. Getting in a quick nap or shower can be rejuvenating after a night of waking up every two or three hours. And if you have technical questions about breastfeeding that “Dr. Google” can’t answer, contact a lactation consultant. Many insurance plans will cover this.
Breastfeeding requires a lot of calories, up to 500-600 extra calories per day. You should opt for protein-rich foods, like lean meats and seafood low in mercury (avoid swordfish and tilefish). Beans, lentils, and dairy products are also good choices. And don’t forget your fruits and vegetables. Even if you eat a well-balanced diet, many physicians recommend taking a multivitamin as well.
The average baby drinks about 750 ml of breastmilk per day between one and six months. To stay hydrated, a good rule of thumb is to drink enough fluids so that your urine color is clear to light yellow at all times. Plain water is best, but if that gets too boring, it’s okay to drink other beverages, like low-fat milk or unsweetened fruit juices.
Keep in mind that any alcohol you drink can be passed on to your baby, so make sure it’s metabolized out of your system before breastfeeding. Allow two to three hours after drinking a glass of wine, a can of beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Your nursing wardrobe is important to your breastfeeding comfort. But keep in mind, you won’t feel good unless you look good too, right? Nursing tank tops are both comfortable and stylish, while providing easy, discrete feeding. Scarfs are a great fashion accessory that can also be used as a coverup during feeding.
Postpartum leggings are comfortable to wear. They keep things “up and in” and cover your tummy while you breastfeed. They’re also supportive, which helps ease your aches and pains.
Nursing pajamas allow you to be comfortable while breastfeeding, with pull-down or pull-apart fabric on the tops.
Reduce your stress
Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, says, “Putting your house in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life.” Take her advice. Clean your home and declutter your rooms. You’ll create a more positive, healing, and healthy environment in which to raise your baby.
Make self-care a priority
Make self-care a priority, not a luxury. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to handle the new responsibilities that come your way, like breastfeeding a new baby.
Feeling overwhelmed with breastfeeding? Online breastfeeding courses might be your answer.
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