How to Meet Your Needs as a New Mom

It can be difficult to adjust to life as a mom; suddenly you are responsible for the well being of another human life for twenty-four hours a day. Taking time to meet your personal needscan help make the transition to motherhood a smoother one. Think about the needs that you had before you became a parent. Some of the following tips might help you find a way to fit those needs into your new baby-centered lifestyle.

Need for Creativity

  • Keep a book next to the spot where you breastfeed most often. Read a chapter or two while baby is happily nursing.
  • If you are an artist, try doodling in a sketchbook while baby nurses. More detailed projects can be done during nap-time. Choose projects that can be worked on in small increments.
  • Crochet or knit during nap time. Baby might enjoy playing with the yarn(with supervision), while you crochet or knit, during tummy time.

Need for Rest

  • Give yourself permission to go to bed early with baby.
  • Sleeping with your baby at nighttime may help you get more sleep.
  • Nap when the baby naps. If you do not want to sleep, do quiet activities instead of trying to get all of your chores done.
  • Rest on the floor with baby while they have tummy time.

Need for Exercise

  • Go for long, or short, walks with baby in a carrier or sling.
  • Exercise with yoga videos while baby is playing on the floor. You can also wear your baby in a wrap-style carrier while you do yoga.
  • Put on some music and dance with your baby.

Need for Affection and Intimacy

  • Go for a walk together; hold hands and talk with your partner while your baby is in a carrier.
  • Have short 20 minute dates while your baby naps – enjoy a candlelit desert or snuggle on the couch and watch a movie in segments.
  • Ask your partner to rub your shoulders or feet while your baby nurses.
  • Put some music on and slow dance with your partner and your baby.
  • Express your desire for more affection. Your partner may not know just how much you need a hug after a long day.

Need for Community

  • Get involved with a local moms group.
  • Attend your local La Leche League Meeting.
  • Invite friends over for play dates.
  • Check out my article, Building a Support Network, for tips on finding other mothers in your area.

Need for Nourishment

  • Stick to foods that you can eat with one hand for the first several weeks.
  • Keep easy to grab foods, such as granola bars, near your nursing station.
  • Keep a water bottle near your nursing spot, thirst can come on very quickly when you begin to breastfeed.
  • Make a double batch of food for dinner so that you have healthy leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Ask your partner to make you a sandwich in the morning(for lunch later) while they are packing their lunch for the day.
  • Chop fruits and vegetables into bite size pieces when you get home from the store and store them in containers in the refrigerator for easy to grab snacks.

Need for Personal Cleanliness

  • Take a bath with your baby, this is a great opportunity for skin-to-skin contact.
  • Shower in the evening when your partner is home, showers can be a nice little break and provide some you-time.
  • Get an easy to manage hair cut.
  • Shower with the door/curtain open while baby is nearby in a bouncy chair.
  • Set a timer on your phone to remind you to brush your teeth, sometimes it is hard to remember when you are not headed out the door at the same time every day.

Need for Household Cleanliness

  • Decide which chores need to be done and lower your standards for the rest.
  • Do chores while your baby is in a carrier.
  • Communicate with your partner, they may need to be in charge of dinner and dishes for a few months.
  • Recognize that your house will not be the same as it was before you had your baby, this is okay!

The newest addition to your family does not mean that you suddenly became someone without interests, hobbies, and personal standards for comfort. Finding a way to honor and respect the needs that you have as an individual will help you adapt to motherhood a little more easily.

Hope that helped!

Breastfeeding Report Card

The Breastfeeding Report Card for 2010 has been released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfeeding statistics have improved over the last year, specifically when it comes to the number of mothers who initiate Breastfeeding. There is still a long way to go, as the number of mothers who continue to breastfeed their babies for at least 3 to 6 months is still low. Only a handful of states have at least 50{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} of mothers breastfeeding their babies for 6 months or longer. Eight states have an alarming rate of lower than 30{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} of babies receiving breast milk at 6 months.

The most common reason for switching to formula is a lack of support. Check out the statistics for your state and see what you can do to help. A simple understanding ear may be all it takes for a new mom to continue to breastfeed.

Here is a sample of the statistics from the Breastfeeding Report Card (to view the entire document, visit http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/BreastfeedingReportCard2010.pdf)

State Ever  Breastfed Breastfeeding at 6 Mo. Breastfeeding at 12mo.
U.S. National 75{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 43{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 22.4{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}
Lowest Ranking States:
Louisiana 56.6{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 20.2{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 9.8{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}
Mississippi 52.5{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 22.5{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 8.0{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}
West Virginia 53{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 25.9{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 12.5{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}
Highest Ranking States:
Oregon 86.5{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 62.2{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 39.6{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}
Hawaii 87.5{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 60.4{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 33.1{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}
Washington 87.9{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 59.9{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6} 33.4{bd38cf312d03cb4cf2fa886c66cfea904e95a03e5609678ac40f4e3903a57cd6}

Seasonal Allergies While Breast Feeding

The sun is finally out in Oregon and my allergies are attacking with full force this year. As a breastfeeding mama I often have to do a little digging to find suitable remedies for my different ailments. Although many medications are fine while breastfeeding(it’s still a good idea to try to find a natural remedy if possible), antihistamines have been shown to lower a mothers milk supply. So I thought I would present a few alternatives for those of us that just need a little help getting through the beginning of the season:

  • Nettle Tea– Many people swear by Nettle Tea for seasonal allergy relief. Drink 3-4 cups a day. Tea can be made using loose leafs or, if you are like me and have never gotten in the swing of making loose leaf tea, you can try an already bagged brand such as Alvita or Traditional Medicinals(but be aware that it will not be as strong, and therefor may not do the trick as well as loose leaf tea).
  • Local Honey – If your allergy is to pollen, ingesting honey that is made from local bees can be quite effective at combating allergies. Try to find honey that was made as close to your home as possible. Honey is often available this time of year at a local farmers market.
  • Netti-Pot – Oh the sinus pressure! Netti-pots are small containers shaped like a tea kettle with a longer stem.To use the netti-pot you fill it up with warm water with a bit of salt, stand over a sink, pour the water in one nostril and let it drain out of the other. Although it is not the most pleasant experience, it really works to help clear out sinuses.
  • Spicy food – I’m sure many of you have noticed that when you eat food that is spicy, your nose starts to run. Eating spicy food every so often will help to keep your sinuses from getting too backed up; just make sure to have some tissues handy!

It is not the most comprehensive list but I only wanted to speak to the remedies that I have tried. I would love to hear what has worked for you; perhaps together we can offer several natural and safe allergy remedies for breastfeeding mamas to try!