7 Self-Care Tips While You Breastfeed

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For many new moms, getting to breastfeed their new baby is a joyous part of motherhood. But it’s not all baby cuddles and roses (not even close). It can be difficult and painful in the beginning–if it’s even successful at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) babies may want to breastfeed every 1 to 3 hours, and that’s not even counting those infants who enjoy cluster feeding.

This is why more than ever, prioritizing your physical and emotional well-being is important. Not just for you, but for your baby. As parents, we often find it hard to focus on our own self-care. It becomes harder still right after childbirth, as you juggle all your new mommy roles on 2.3 hours of sleep a night and limited shower time.

7 tips to help new moms get through a newborn feeding journey

1. Lean into your support system while breastfeeding

Don’t hesitate to ask friends for help when you need it, so you don’t get overwhelmed by your new role. Let trusted family members and friends come over and help with your baby and chores around the house.

We know it’s hard to put your new baby down, and you feel the urge to check in on them every five minutes–or every 4.5 seconds. But accepting help for a couple of hours so you can indulge in a shower or a nap is a fantastic start to developing a healthy self-care routine. Engaging a lactation consultant can also be really helpful.

2. Don’t forget to eat while breastfeeding

It’s easy to forget to eat when the focus of your attention is on your new baby. If you’re forgetting your breakfast and your afternoon snacks, you’re not alone. Skipping meals is something a lot of new moms can relate to. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and nutrition for both you and your baby. Eating healthily at regular times, also ensures that you are producing the best quality of milk for your baby.

Oh, and don’t forget your vitamins! Eat vitamin-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. You can also take vitamin supplements, but check in with your doctor to make sure they are safe for your baby. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) recommends that breastfeeding moms consume more calories1, between 2,300 to 2,500 calories a day. So you might need to up your diet, eat larger portions, and keep nutritious snacks around you.

3. Stay hydrated while breastfeeding

Breast milk is made of about 87% water2, so breastfeeding moms are likely to get dehydrated faster than usual. This means that you’ll need more water than you’d ordinarily drink. It often seems like drinking more water is the answer to a myriad of problems. Well, that’s because it is–especially when you’re breastfeeding. Consuming enough fluids prevents dehydration and even aids the production of breast milk. If plain old water is boring, you can also get your hydration needs from yummy water-rich foods like watermelon.

4. Make breastfeeding sessions about mom, too

As you breastfeed, of course, it’s a good time and important to focus on your baby. Make sure they’re latching correctly and getting the most out of each feeding session. But it’s also a splendid opportunity to focus on yourself. While baby is busy feeding, you can take the time to listen to a podcast, your favorite music, or watch a TV show. It’s also a perfect time to try your brain at a little meditation. Pro mediation tip: If you’re meditating while breastfeeding you should do so in a quiet, relaxing corner of your home.

5. Get enough sleep while breastfeeding

As a new mom, this is easier said than done. Between feeding, changing diapers, and looking after your baby, it can seem like 24 hours isn’t enough to get everything done. But taking the time to shut down and recharge is important. Nap in between feed times and listen to your body. Take brief breaks when you need them, to avoid a sudden breakdown. When baby naps, no need to fold laundry or answer emails, it’s ok to use that as your nap time, too.

6. Exercise while breastfeeding

No one expects you to hop back into your regular fitness routine right after having a baby, but it’s important for you to keep moving. You can take power walks around your home, down your street, or do some light stretches at home to get your body moving. Doctors even recommend regularly getting in some form of exercise after childbirth to help with recovery.

7. Pumping can give you a break from breastfeeding

If you breastfeed exclusively that’s great, but if you don’t, it’s perfectly fine to switch up your feeding routine. The first couple of weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest and tend to leave your nipples cracked and sore. You can use breastfeeding essentials like nipple balms and gel pads to ease the discomfort.

Dont’ forget, you can also give yourself a break from breastfeeding and substitute certain feedings with pumping so that other people can be in charge of feeding time. This gives you the freedom to be out and about, relying on family and friends to take over.

Bonus tip: Consider supplementing breast milk with baby formula

There is also the opportunity to supplement feedings with a healthy baby formula. Supplementing can happen when you just need a break, or as regularly as you’d like. If supply is dwindling or nursing times have you feeling tied to the house, these options give you and your nipples some much-needed downtime. Not to mention freedom.


  1. Maternal Diet | CDC
  2. Review of Infant Feeding | NCBI
The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant's pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant’s pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.