Motherhood will turn every woman’s life 180 degrees. From being the perky and carefree lass who treats herself with shoes, bags and a fancy dinner once in a while, she starts to browse online shops that sells the best baby overall products, saves like crazy for the little one’s education and wraps her head around all the possible first birthday party concepts she deems fit for her prince/princess.
Priorities change and even mommy’s mood changes especially when she breastfeeds. Breastfeeding adjusts the brain structurally, functionally and irreversibly that nursing moms and their babies are referred to as a dyad, which literally means “two elements or parts”. The mother takes charge in nourishing the child and the child’s feeding determines the amount of milk she can produces, a phenomenon where the mom is chemically and neurologically in-sync with the child.
Let us face it. This is not a perfect world and there are circumstances or thoughts that hinder harmony in things we do and breastfeeding is not an exception. Some of the factors causing stress in mothers are lack of sleep, an added responsibility especially if there are other children to look after, traumatic labor experience, neglected house chores and of course, paying all the bills. Cortisol level (brought by stress) affects the initial letdown of milk. Stress triggers delayed letdown, causing frustration on the child’s end. Thus, the vicious cycle of stressed baby and stressed mommy knocks in.
With that said, here are five hands-on ways to reduce stress:
The chores can wait! Yes, it is an eyesore to see the kitchen sink holding more dirty plates that it can take but remember that the dirty dishes are not going to run. This goes the same with the laundry and the (not so clean) house. Be confident! Mothers, as determined as they can ever be, will surely find that balance in breastfeeding and attending to the chores once again. After all, the precious time spent with the baby is the one that goes in a jiffy.
Healthy takeaways. Mom was not able to sleep last night, baby breastfeeds every now and then that either a) mom does not have the time to cook; and b) mom is pretty exhausted to cook. The solution is a healthy takeaway! All that a mom needs is her reliable smartphone, an Internet connection and voila! If weight gain is going to be a possible issue because of unhealthy eating (pizza, soda, fries, burger, etc), just find time to search for joints offering a healthier/balanced menu.
Boredom -> Relax. Believe it or not, boredom causes stress in breastfeeding too. It is a tedious task at the start, yes, but once mom gets the hang of it, boredom kicks in and can make mom a little crabby. As for boredom, listen to music that is enjoyable for mom and baby; read or take advantage of audiobooks; eat some healthy light snacks in between the breastfeeding sessions, for instance, fruits, nuts and others; watch television or call your family and friends whom you have not been in touch for quite a while. Remember: the keyword is “relax”.
Find out what really the problem is. Apparently, it is not just the anxiety to clean the house or the worry of a crazy weight gain or the boredom that ensues. What really stresses a breastfeeding mother? Is it her job? Financial matters? The partner who might lose interest? Figure out what really is the reason that causes stress and resolved it with the help and support from other parties instead of facing it alone.
Get help. Sometimes, all it takes is someone who listens and understands. Seek a trained professional to help with one’s load in a healthy and correct way. Examples of the places where you can seek for assistance are Lactation Consultants, fellow nursing moms, local caring communities and family members.
At the end of the day, it is the mother’s welfare that matters the most.