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Do you ever feel that breastfeeding is taking a lot of time out of your day? It’s completely normal to want to be productive, while still providing your child with the nourishment she needs. With a little creativity and a flexible approach, you really can do it all. Here are some ways to make the most of the time you spend breastfeeding.
Lack of sleep, irregular meals, post-natal fatigue – is it any wonder you’re feeling a little frazzled? Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and improve quality of life, but as a busy parent you may find it hard to set aside time to meditate. Why not meditate while your child is breastfeeding? You can experiment with simple breath awareness or try a loving-kindness meditation. At the end of your breastfeeding session, you’ll feel relaxed and centered (and all that oxytocin being released won’t hurt either).
Reading a favorite novel can help you relax and unwind, which in turn helps your letdown. Alternatively, if you’re pursuing a degree or learning a new skill, breastfeeding is the perfect time to catch up on your reading, review your notes or quiz yourself. Breastfeeding mothers have a good friend in today’s ever-dwindling technology, which allows you to slip an e-book reader or smartphone into a pocket for on-the-spot reading.
3. Make Phone Calls.
Do you have a long list of people you’ve been meaning to call for ages? Make those phone calls during breastfeeds. Just ensure they’re not likely to turn confrontational: a chat with little sis is fine while baby nurses, a billing disagreement with your plumber not so relaxing. Put your phone on speaker so you can sit back and relax, or use a video chat program on your laptop (you can always zoom into your face if you want some privacy.)
4. Wear Your Baby.
There’s no reason you have to sit down to breastfeed successfully. Buy or make a baby carrier and learn how to breastfeed while wearing your baby. (Most suppliers now recommend that you use an upright position rather than a cradle hold, as it’s safer.) It takes a little practice, but once your baby becomes comfortable breastfeeding in a sling or wrap, you can do nearly anything you like while nursing: take a stroll, assemble a salad, or organize your music library.
These strategies work best if you and your baby are breastfeeding easily, with no problems or discomfort. If breastfeeding is already a challenge, multi-tasking will be next to impossible. Instead, seek help from a qualified lactation consultant or midwife.