Heather is the owner of Naked Tank, a Canadian perinatal wellbeing brand empowering pregnant and lactating parents to feel Confident and Deeply Supported on their feeding journey.
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As you prepare to welcome your child into the world, it’s common to think about how you’re going to feed them and what you’ll need for your journey. While 90% of new lactating parents begin breastfeeding, this number decreases by over 20% within the first month and commonly, parents report they stop before they want to. Check out these 5 ways to prepare beyond the basics to Thrive on your feeding journey, and build a practical toolbox along the way.
1. Make a plan with your partner & support system
Set a date with your partner to discuss what you think you’ll need to feel supported postpartum, both mentally and physically. Together, write down ways they can help to both strengthen their bond with their child, and support you. TIP: Create a word each you can use when you need a time-out and commit to honouring it for one another. Have fun preparing your feeding journey to be an experience for BOTH of you. Keep the list visible to utilize when the baby arrives! Eg. prep meals & one-hand snacks, daily bath time or a walk with baby so you can do something just for you, burp baby after feeding and skin-to-skin etc.
2. Prepare professional resources
Knowledge applied is power. Research some common issues that may arise on your feeding journey and what professionals can support you (Eg. Lactation Consultant, Postpartum Doula, Registered Massage Therapist). Make a list of contact info for local resources to have on hand if you run into a concern on your feeding journey. Trusting your instincts goes a long way in parenthood, and it’s a great reminder for all of us that there are resources available to support you.
3. Journal what brings you joy
Most expecting parents don’t realize the extent of time feeding takes in the fourth trimester. At times you may feel energized and overjoyed, and other times, tired or frustrated. By writing out a list of things you love (or loved in your childhood) to do, things that fill your cup and make you smile, you have a tool to turn to when your tank is feeling low. Look at your list and get creative brainstorming ways you can incorporate daily self love in your postpartum journey.
4. Prioritize Key Support Items
Keep your feeding gear simple. A few key items to support your confidence and comfort while nursing at home, or in public are: the Naked Nursing Tank, a camisole that you layer under your clothes to have easy access and tummy coverage when you lift your shirt to nurse; a comfortable nursing or sports bra; reusable bamboo nursing pads for comfort and to save on laundry. If you are planning on pumping, think about your goal (exclusive pumping or combo feeding) to determine the type of pump you need. Also, bed pillows are your best friend to support your position and your child’s while feeding at home. Feeling back or neck pain? Check your posture!
5. Be kind to yourself
Know that both you and your baby are new to this journey and feeding is a skill that takes time to develop. Be kind by honouring your magnificent body as it nourishes and comforts your little one while supporting your healing. Check in with yourself each day and celebrate what went well, and if there’s an area you can be supported, take steps towards it. Before going to bed each night, and each morning when you rise, look into your eyes in the mirror, with your hand over your heart, and tell yourself “I love you.” You’ve got this!
Checklist of Tools for Thriving on your Feeding Journey
1. List of ways your partner can be part of the feeding journey
2. A word each you can use when you need a time-out
3. Local lactation professional resource contact info
4. List of things you love (or loved in your childhood) to do, things that fill your cup and make you smile for daily wellbeing
5. Purchase/add to registry your key support items
6. Check in with yourself each day and celebrate what went well
7. Ask yourself if there’s an area you can be supported, take steps towards it
8. Pause in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you” morning and night