It's a New Year, and many of us are making (and maybe already breaking!) resolutions. For those of us breastfeeding, soon to breastfeeding, or now looking back on their breastfeeding journey, it's a good time to give ourselves a pat on the back and consider some great breastfeeding goals & resolutions for 2014. Here are Spectra's suggestions for 2014:
Ask for breastfeeding advice if you need toWhile sometimes being a parent can feel lonely (like when you're struggling to feed your newborn at 3am), you are not alone. You are part of a huge community of mums and families who have been where you are, and may have some great advice. There is also a large network of caring, dedicated professionals who would love to help you out. If you're experiencing something you're not sure about, or you're not sure where to go from here, or just need some moral support, reach out and ask someone. Friends, parenting forums, the ABA and the right lactation consultant will all help. Remember, we're always here too and will help if we can (try asking on our facebook page).
Remember to take in those special moments when you're feeding your babyNo matter how busy you are, how sleep deprived you are, or how interesting that facebook status is that you're reading while you're breastfeeding your baby (lol), remember to take the time now and then to really absorb the moment when feeding your baby. There is something about being totally relaxed with your baby, at the end of a feed when baby is drifting off to sleep and lying contented and trusting in your arms (and this counts for bottle-feeding mums, too) that is so precious. Try to cement those moments into your mind and heart, so you can bring them back to mind again and again through life. It really is all too soon until they're gone.
Stick to your gunsUnfortunately, no matter what parenting path you take, there can seem to be some criticism or guilt trip - breastfeeding in particular can sometimes be a bit of a mine field. Whether it's someone who has a bone to pick with how long or short a time you're breastfeeding, or thinks you shouldn't / should be expressing, or says your baby is crying because they're hungry / overfed- whatever it is.... try not to let it impact on how you feel about yourself as a mum. Sure, if you genuinely need advice and are seeking it from someone qualified to give it, then listen... but if it's just someone spouting off - don't let it make you doubt yourself! Your baby thinks you are awesome, and she is a good judge of character. This brings us to our next point...
Give yourself a pat on the back!Let's just take a moment to acknowledge that mums generally are just pretty brilliant. You have actually grown another human being in your body, achieving trillions of complex cell divisions, hormone balancing acts and physiological magic tricks, and you have even done a large part of it in your sleep. If that wasn't enough, you are now sustaining this new human being with the most sophisticated biological substance ever developed (unfortunately, we have to be awake for this part). Rich people in China pay thousands for this substance, it's available on prescription for cancer sufferers in the US... and you're there giving it to your baby because you want him to have the best start. Yes we're talking about breastmilk! Whether breastfeeding has been a breeze or a major challenge for you, you're brilliant.
REWARD YOURSELF - you a mother, not a matyrSomething it can be a little easy for a breastfeeding mother, or for any mother, to slip into a pattern of missing out on life's treats. Some of the ways that you used to treat yourself - a movie, a night out, a few drinks, a night away, may now feel too hard. Some breastfeeding mums may even have had to give up chocolate! And shopping for clothes can certainly be a more frustrating experience than pre-baby... Just remember that you as a mum deserve a treat - and sometimes you may also have to be the one to make it happen. Organise an in-home massage to get the kinks out of the lower back, which can become stiff when breastfeeding. If you're a pumping mum, maybe get one of the handsfree pumping bras, so you can read a book or even cook while you're expressing. Have a think and work out something that will bring a little excitement or pampering into your life.
Just keep on keeping on..
When we asked on our facebook page about our likers breastfeeding resolutions for 2014, you know what most people said? Just that they simply intended to keep on feeding, and hoped their little one could decide when it was time to call it quits. If you and your baby are both happy, there is never a time or an age when your baby 'should' give up breastfeeding. Your baby will continue to get all kinds of nourishment and benefits from breastmilk that are simply not available from any other source. We hope every one of our Spectra mamas has a brilliant (and milky) 2014.