8 Ways to Take Time For Yourself When You Exclusively Breastfeed
When you’re a breastfeeding mother, it’s difficult to take time for yourself. Some breastfed babies don’t take bottles or pacifiers well, so you take the role of both for them. This means that as long as you breastfeed you can’t be more than a few minutes away from your baby, and this can get tiring. Baby comes first and sometimes mom gets neglected. It’s important to take time for yourself though. If you are recharged and rested you’re able to tackle everything life throws at you (sometimes literally if you have a toddler too!).
Here are some tips for spending time on yourself that work around your baby’s schedule.
Exercise is a sure way to improve your mood and boost your energy. Every little bit counts, even if you only have 15 minutes a day to commit. Online programs like The Daily Burn let you stream workouts to any device you have. They also mix up the workouts so you don’t get bored watching the same DVD over and over again.
If you don’t want a structured workout, get creative! Make an obstacle course in your backyard or living room and get your kids involved. If they aren’t old enough to run and jump, put baby in a baby carrier. You can do lunges, squats, and workout your arms while wearing baby.
2. Get a hobby
Having a hobby that interests you is a good way to get away from being all “mom” and none of yourself. Learn to knit or sew. Take up puzzles or canning. There are so many things you can do in your home that will relax you.
Some hobbies even benefit the household. You can sew Halloween costumes, can vegetables that last you all winter, or knit booties and blankets for any new arrivals you or your family might have.
3. Get a babysitter (But Stay Home!)
Another way to take advantage of someone hanging out with your kids is to finally get a project done that has been bugging you. If the pile of clothes in your closet threatens to bury you every time you walk in, you can finally clean it out. Do a deep scrubbing of your bathrooms without worrying that the kids are going to interrupt you halfway through.
If you don’t want to work hard while you have a babysitter, don’t! A nap is a great way to take advantage of extra help.
4. Find a social group
If you are interested in it, Facebook has a group for anything. People who baby wear, knit, ferment foods, love Disney, cloth diaper and a whole host of other interests have united through social media. You can connect with like-minded people without leaving your house, and become part of a potentially world-wide community. This is a good way to socialize even if you only have five minutes at a time to get online.
5. Have an at-home spa day
This tip involves getting a little bit of help from those around you. Get your partner, parents, in-laws, or friends to babysit your kids.
Lock your bathroom door for an hour with strict rules for when to interrupt you (baby is hungry or someone gets hurt), and have an at-home spa day. Set the mood by lighting candles and burning incense, and pamper yourself in any way you want. You can paint your nails, take a bubble bath, finally shave your legs, or deep condition your hair. The choices are unlimited.
Whatever part of your body has been feeling the most neglected will get some attention and lead to a calmer you.
6. Take advantage of nighttime
Once your kids reliably sleep a large chunk of time, you can feel more comfortable going out. Summer is the time for big blockbusters, so check out a midnight showing. If you can’t find a babysitter, you can take small babies with you! Find a seat in the back where you can discreetly feed your baby, and it’s likely that they’ll sleep through the whole movie.
7. Grow a garden
While you’re busy nurturing your small people, it might also be fun to nurture small vegetables by starting a garden. You don’t need a huge amount of space to start one either. Herbs can thrive in pots on your kitchen sink, and urban gardens can be made if you live somewhere without much space.
Older kids will love to get messy in the dirt, and they can try out the new foods they helped you grow. Make a shady spot for baby and entertain them with toys while you plant and weed.
8. Cook those veggies with the kids
Once you grow veggies, you’ll have motivation to cook them. You can put your older kids in a learning tower and teach them the benefits of eating healthy veggies. It’s much more likely kids will eat what you grew, and you’ll have more vitamins to pass through your milk to baby.
Sometimes it’s frustrating when it feels like baby is latched all day long and you can’t get away, but implementing just a few of these ideas can make for a happier and less stressed mom. With a little planning, taking time for yourself can work around baby’s schedule.
If you have multiple children, or a nursing toddler with a new baby on the way, check out our post on Tandem Breastfeeding: The First Weeks.
Photo Credit: Tricia
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Tricia lives in North Carolina with her husband, toddler, and baby. She’s a stay-at-home mom who loves tennis, running, sewing, and babywearing. She even combines hobbies by making DIY baby carriers. Tricia loves to travel and looks forward to taking road trips across America when her kids are older. Until then her goal in life is to get both kids on the same nap schedule. In her free time, Tricia writes about family life and raising her two crazy kids on her blog, The Wild Williamsons.