Those mothers who make the commitment to breastfeed their babies quickly discover that it is indeed quite a commitment. We're talking breastfeeding sessions of at least thirty minutes, at least eight times a day, in the early months. And do not underestimate those "at leasts". They can stretch into feeling like forever. Without a doubt, your decision to breastfeed has amazing benefits for both you and your baby. Yet no matter how motivated you are at the start, breastfeeding can take a lot out of a you, both literally and figuratively. As the mother of a new baby, tiredness becomes your constant companion, and time for your own needs disappears as quickly as your baby wets a diaper.
Most new moms soon toss their idealistic pre-baby visions of contented homemaking while their newborn slumbers peacefully for hours. Reality strikes. The baby keeps waking, crying to be fed yet again, and when the baby is sleeping, mom's too exhausted to tackle even the barest necessities of existence.
Many nursing moms feel like they're working full-time, because they are. So what if they're sitting down holding an adorable baby? They're glued to their job more than if they were working in an office. No sick days here!
Life can begin to stretch bleakly if you do not keep some perspective. If you find yourself becoming insanely bored as you nurse your baby, do not think you're a bad mother; you're only human. Staring lovingly at your bundle of joy never gets old, but realistically it is not very entertaining after an hour or two. What too many new mothers do not realize is that you do not have to just sit and gaze adoringly at you baby while breastfeeding. It's good for a mother's sanity to have some time for herself. This just does not always equate to time by yourself. Yes, you may have your arms full, but your mind, eyes, ears, and feet are free. Use them! This time is yours to enjoy as you wish. Once you consider the possibilities of all you can do while breastfeeding, you'll start to anticipating this time!
1. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Whether you long for a soothing song or an upbeat tune, you can listen to it while nursing your baby. You know what you like. Now turn on the radio, stereo, CD player, or IPod. Your baby may like the music, too. If not, simply use headphones.
There is no limit to the possibilities. Fiction or nonfiction, romance, suspense, mystery, history – you name it. You can browse the library or bookstore and definitely find something that is more interesting than staring into space. You may learn a thing or to as well. Read about a hobby that interests you, or become lost in an imaginative story that takes you worlds away.
3. LISTEN TO AN AUDIO BOOK
Not the book reading type? How about listening? You'll find a large selection of audio books available at the library or online. Your hands are completely free, and you do not even have to turn the pages or keep your eyes open.
4. SOAK YOUR FEET
Do not deny it; you've been on your feet too much lately – what new mother has not? Would not a hot foot bath feel amazing? Prepare it yourself, or, ideally, convince someone else to do it for you. It will not take long, but the soaking will, thank goodness!
5. WATCH TV
Who does not like to watch TV or a movie? Take advantage of the time to do this now, because once your child becomes a bit older, he or she will find the TV fascinating, and will likely be too distracted by it to nurse when it's on.
6. LIE DOWN
Yes, you can lie down while breastfeeding. And what a blissful discovery this is! You may even be able to catch some much-needed shut eye. Just be sure to have your baby in a safe, supported position where he or she will not be able to fall off the couch or bed.
7. TALK ON THE PHONE
It's no secret that most women love to talk on the phone. Take advantage of this chance to indulge in it while doing something else worth while. Catch up on the latest goings-on in the outside world. You will not feel so isolated. And plan an evening out while you're at it!
You're baby's not the only one who needs to eat frequently. You need to nourish yourself so you can keep producing milk for your baby. Choose smart snacks such as whole grain bagels and fruits and vegetables. It's easy to perch a bowl or plate near you and snack while you breastfeed. Be sure that the food is not hot, in case it should fall on your baby.
9. PLAY A GAME
You can play a game by yourself or with some other willing person who does not care that you are breastfeeding. By yourself, take advantage of hand-held games that you can play with one hand. If playing a board game such as checkers, you'll likely need to enlist the other person's help in moving your pieces for you. So be sure they are not cheaters!
10. GO FOR A WALK
Really, who says because you are breastfeeding, you have to sit still? Maybe a little exercise is just what you need. If your nursing baby does not mind, take a stroll as you hold him or her. A change of scenery will do you good. But please watch where you are going so you do not trip! The walking movement will feel like rocking, and may put your baby to sleep. Then it's finally time for you to take a nap. Now that's fun!