The early days of breastfeeding/pumping are hard! Even if things are going relatively smoothly, keeping up with the daily grind of meeting baby’s demand and establishing your supply can be daunting. Add in C-section recovery or other challenges, and it’s no wonder some mothers reach their “Nope” threshold.
Everyone has a different “Nope” threshold, even those of us who have stuck it out so far. Any day could be the day where we decide this breastfeeding thing is no longer working for us or our family. And that’s ok.
But the best advice I ever got was to “not quit on a bad day.” So if you’re struggling, pushing through the next pump, taking that day or two to decide if weaning is right for you or if you just need to find new ways to cope, try out some of these coping strategies that helped me get through the early days:
Find Supportive Facebook Groups and Connect With Other Moms.
Being able to reach out and connect with other moms during a late-night feed or pumping session has been a lifesaver. Seeing other moms struggling with similar issues and being able to offer advice on situations I’ve overcome made me feel part of an extended community of other new moms, rather than a lone explorer trying to climb the impossible mountain.
Shout Out and be Proud of Your Successes.
Whenever you need to, broadcast those little victories. Did you have your best pump yet? Did you make it to another milestone? Let us other moms know. We’re proud of you.
Reach Out for Help.
So many times, I would just post on a Facebook group, or text a friend, and say simply “Today’s a rough day. Today I feel like quitting.” Just saying it out loud, and having them remind me “Don’t quit on a bad day,” or, “I know it’s rough, but you wanted me to remind you you’re doing great,” or something similar, made all the difference.
Call or Text Someone Who Will Lift You Up.
You know that person who always manages to make you feel better about yourself? Who can make lemonade with the last of those sour lemons? Who thinks you’re an awesome mom and an all-around decent human being? Call them. Talk. Give yourself another reason to smile.
Listen to a Podcast.
Podcasts are awesome for your new-mom toolkit. You can find something that relates to almost any interest. Pick up some mom-tips. Dive into a mystery. All while nursing and/or pumping.
Ask For Help With Other Things That Are Piling Up.
It really does help. If a friend stops by with coffee after a long night, or a family member comes and does nothing but hold the baby for an hour or do a quick chore, your load feels lighter and your whole mood lifts. I’ve been there.
If You Need to, Shave Five Minutes Off of a Pump.
Cutting one pump 5 minutes short isn’t going to permanently tank your supply (some milk removal is better than none). In the meantime, it feels like cheating the system a little bit, and is enough of a cheat to buy you some temporary sanity.
Make Sure You’re Showered, and Brush Your Teeth.
This is another tip that new moms tend to laugh and and go “Yeah, yeah, I know.” It sounds so obvious. But it’s also obvious to a lot of us that this is one of the first things that we tend to just push back on our schedule on a chaotic day. But I paid attention this postpartum period, and without fail, the days I didn’t take even 5 minutes to myself and clean up a bit were the days my mood tanked the most. This has since become more of a priority for me.
I hope you can find something on this list to make the daily grind easier!