Breastfeeding has countless benefits for mom and baby. However, one of the so-called disadvantages of breastfeeding is the perception that mothers are tied to their babies or to the nursing chair all the time. Unless you’re good with a breast pump, you can’t just drop your baby off with the sitter when you need to run an errand or take time for yourself. What if she gets hungry while you’re away? And how can you explain to a babysitter why it’s so important not to give a bottle of formula while you’re gone?
These challenges can be overcome so as not to disrupt the breastfeeding relationship. Here are some ways you can plan to get things done while you’re breastfeeding your baby.
- Ignore the things you can. If household jobs are calling, put them off if possible. After all, the bedroom will wait if it doesn’t get painted this month, or this year. Baby, on the other hand, is growing and changing everyday.
- Lower your standards. Life after a new baby is a time of adjustment. Life will never be the same, and you have new priorities now. If your home doesn’t pass the white glove test, so what? You’re raising a new human. What could be more important than that?
- Invest in a sling and use it. A sling keeps your baby close to you while you work around the house. The rocking motion and your closeness will help baby relax. And it’s very convenient when it’s time to nurse. With some slings you can even nurse hands free so you can be doing things you need to do while meeting baby’s needs.
- If you do have to be away from baby, enlist the help of your friends and family. Bring a friend along for an appointment or function to help occupy your baby, and when it’s time to nurse, you’ll be right there. Or, invite her over to your house to cuddle baby while you get stuff done. When baby gets hungry, you can take a break and nurse.
- If you do need to use a babysitter, look for a breastfeeding friendly caregiver who you can educate on the importance of breastfeeding. If you think you’ll want a babysitter, start looking for the right person before baby’s arrival. Once she’s here, you’ll want to spend time with your new baby, instead of looking for someone to look after her.
- You may want to begin by leaving baby with a caregiver between feedings, so you know she isn’t likely to get hungry while you’re away. If you plan to leave a babysitter during a feeding, tell your caregiver to hold your baby while she gives your baby your milk in a bottle, and to pick her up when she fusses.
This time with your baby is precious, and you won’t want to miss a minute of it. But when you do need to get things done, relax and find an option that will work for you and your infant. If you do take the time you need, you will be a happier Mom, which means a happier baby.