3 Ways To Prioritise Yourself, Even If You're Breastfeeding Right Now

Mother breastfeeding her baby.
Mother breastfeeding her baby. FatCamera via Getty Images

Breastfeeding as a first time parent makes you second guess yourself quite a bit — is the baby even getting milk? Is the baby latching properly? Is the baby comfortable in this position?

But parents often forget to think about themselves when in reality if the breastfeeding parent isn’t comfortable or in a good mental space, it’s difficult to feel positive while breastfeeding.

Before you begin your breastfeeding journey it’s important to understand the ways you can be kind to your body.

So, here are some ways you can make sure you’re looked after!

Find a comfortable breastfeeding position

Research has also found that when mothers have poor breastfeeding posture, it may lead to shoulder, neck, back or hand pain.

This is common across so many breastfeeding stories of parents who don’t have the adequate support or the right feeding equipment. Breastfeeding in the correct position helps to minimise the risk of this pain.

Nursing chair store iL Tutto spokesperson says there are ways to make sure you are comfortable while breastfeeding, especially to minimise injuring your back or neck.

They suggest that as your bed is a softer space that might not always provide the right postural support for feeding, or enable you to position yourself into the most optimal positions for feeding so a feeding chair can help.

Having a feeding chair in your room or in the nursery will help you support feeding correctly as well as reduce risks of you falling sleep.

At the end of the day, you need to do what is safe for you and your baby — it’s best to see a specialist if you’re struggling with finding the right position for yourself.

Eat as much nutritious food as possible 

You don’t actually need to follow a specific diet while breastfeeding, however it’s always good to nourish your body and look after yourself with foods that are nutritious.

Try to eat at least five fruits or vegetables a day — this can be fresh or frozen!

A balanced diet means you should be eating starchy foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes. This will also ensure you’re getting enough fibre in your diet.

Of course it’s important to eat protein rich foods such as beans, pulses, fish and eggs as well as dairy.

Alongside this, make sure to drink as much fluids as you can, try placing a glass of water next to you while breastfeeding.

Nurture your mental health

Breastfeeding can also be quite demanding on the mother as the baby needs to be fed on demand. This can affect the parent’s sleep and increase tiredness.

Dr Vikram Murthy, GP at Harley Street Dr and co-founder of Murthy Health.
says it is important to be aware of the pressures of breastfeeding and be open to asking for help which is available.

He says: “It is good to have some time to yourself even a few minutes of respite can help greatly. Engage your partner and family or friends to help you as all are aware the struggles of managing a baby.

“Practice gratitude and mindfulness and focus on deep breathing and relaxation techniques. If you find breastfeeding too much do not be afraid to consider expressing milk and asking your partner or family or friends to help with feeds. Remember it is important to ensure you are well first as if you are not your baby cannot thrive!”

At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. This could be getting their help to meal prep, or even just taking some time out for yourself.