Hi everyone! I am honored to have with us today Eryn Lynum from From Famine to Foodie. Eryn is doing a 4 post series this week on breastfeeding.
As many of you already know, breast milk is best for a newborn. But sometimes it can be really challenging to breast feed.
Eryn is here to share her breastfeeding story with us and to give us helpful guidance through this journey. I will let Eryn take it from here!
This is part 3 of a 4-part series on breastfeeding.
Click here to read:
- Part 1 ~ Why Breastfeeding Doesn’t Always Turn Out As Planned
- Part 2 ~ There Is Hope For Breastfeeding Success
There Is Hope For Successful Breastfeeding
The other morning as I sat with my coffee, I heard my youngest son stir in his crib. A hungry belly waking up. I lifted a groggy Ellison out of his crib and into my arms. I grabbed my Iphone and sat down to nurse. But then I looked down at my little boy, blonde wispy hair just beginning to cover his head, and I put my phone down. Nothing in my inbox or on my Facebook feed was urgent enough to steal this time away from me and my son.
This is my favorite time to nurse him; early morning, while the house still sleeps, but I am awake, and little Ellis is somewhere in between the two. He lies in my arms completely relaxed, dreamily nursing, absolutely content. And so am I.
In my previous two posts I shared with you my own breastfeeding journey. I also shared some startling trends that dominate our breastfeeding culture today; reasons why many mamas stop breastfeeding. Now I want to offer you this: There is hope for successful breastfeeding.
Stress Is The Number One Enemy Of Your Breast Milk Supply
I’ve been there. Sometimes I still am. I’ve waded through those sleepless nights. I’ve brewed that extra pot of coffee to get me through a rough afternoon. I’ve counted down the hours until their bedtime. I know that life with little ones is stressful, there is no getting around it. But a high level of mental or physical stress will take its toll on your milk supply. Stress is linked directly to a decrease in milk supply, as well as our milk let-down reflex.
In the midst of picking up the toys. Again. Feeding the hungry mouths. Every hour. And changing the diapers. Always. There is joy to be found. And when we can focus on those moments of joy, the stress dissipates. So mama—change your perspective, and slay the stress of your often hectic days.
Try Some of These Stress Slaying Practices:
- Make a list today of the moments that bring you joy. That tiny smile. Laughter in their sleep. Those captivating eyes gazing back into yours. Focus on those moments and the stress will lose its power. Click here for a glimpse at my own joy moments list!
- Wake up at least half an hour before your children. Waking up to children ready to go, go, go without first preparing yourself for the day exponentially adds stress to your morning.
- Rebel against the busyness of our society and stay home. Limit errands and events to once or twice a week. Make your home a place you want to be, and stop wasting time and energy getting yourself and the kids out the door to unnecessary events and activities.
- Get outside! It’s incredible how a little fresh air can restart your entire day!
- Forget the dirty laundry and dishes, they can wait. The house does not need to be perfect all of the time.
- Stop multi-tasking. If you are doing two things at once, neither task has your undivided attention, and so both suffer, and this leads to more stress.
- Don’t check Facebook or e-mails while nursing. Just enter fully into the act of nourishing your baby. Enjoy it.
- And when backup arrives—leave. Get out. Read a book. Drink some coffee. Visit a friend. Do whatever it is you want to do.
How Working Out Will Help You Meet Your Breastfeeding Goals
One of my favorite sure-fire ways to slay stress is by working out. I go to the gym 3 times a week while my husband stays home with the boys. This is my time, and I don’t feel guilty for being selfish with it. I focus on me. I focus on my own health. As I run, the stress of the day melts away. As I meet my personal fitness goals, I gain both physical and mental strength, as well as confidence. As I invest in the health of my own body, I am assured that my baby will also benefit. A healthy and happy mama translates to a healthier and happier baby. Mama–you don’t have time not to do this, so make it happen!
Let Go of Perfection, and Watch Your Milk Supply Increase
Soon enough, I know from experience, my milk will be replaced by raisins and apples. These little one’s we are given, they are only this little for so short a time; only this dependent for a season. Before you know it, that little one will no longer be this willing to lie in your arms.
While you have your little one this small, in your arms, memorize how he feels, how he smells, the noise of his suckle as he draws nourishment from your own body. And memorize that smile. You know the one. When in a moment of playfulness he lets go his latch, looks up, and breaks into grin, his eyes laughing into yours. Memorize that.
You won’t get everything perfect. In fact, you will probably perfect very little in raising these children, and that is okay. Let the stress go. Let gratitude and joy reign. When you do—you should see an increase in your milk supply.
Along with some simple changes in lifestyle, there are also some crucial changes you can implement in your diet to better your chances at breastfeeding success. Stay tuned for my final post where I will share some essential things I have learned about how to eat in a way that will directly benefit your breast milk supply.
In the meantime, click here to head over to my blog, From Famine to Foodie, and read more of my story – From Anorexia to Food Enthusiast!