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Managing stress during your breastfeeding journey


Dear first-time moms, do you feel stressed out, especially if you're a breastfeeding mom, and at the same time, a working mom?

I do! I'm very stressed. I try very hard to remember that I need to unpack the cooler bag and wash the storage bottles EVERY NIGHT. Then, I need to remember to repack the cooler bag with ice packs and refill my pump bag with storage bottles EVERY MORNING before I go to work.

And all hell breaks loose when I FORGET TO PACK MY PUMP BAG THIS MORNING.

I was in meltdown mode when I remembered I have a pack of breastmilk storage bags in my car. But I hate storage bags. My milk will stick to the sides of the bag and it's such a waste! But I have no choice. It's either the bags or continue to sulk in a corner.

Sigh.

So now, I'm pretty much inspired to write about stress management during breastfeeding journey.

Photo source 

Stress during breastfeeding leads to a few problems, i.e. slower letdown, frustration, and low milk supply in the long run. Working moms might face extra stress due to limited pumping time at work. Couple that with the concern over maintaining milk supply while still being able to perform well at work, the amount of stress is not a laughing matter.

In fact, WORRYING that leads to STRESSING over maintaining an adequate milk supply is the biggest milk supply killer. It's very easy to say, "just relax and your milk will flow", but in reality, that's the hardest thing to do. Really.

So, how?

How to Manage Stress During Your Breastfeeding Journey

1. Understand what stress is and identify your stress sources. I have identified that my stress sources are unplanned circumstances and last-minute changes to my current routine. E.g. I forget to pack my storage bottles. So, I stress about how am I going to store my milk expressed at work?

2. Compromise and give in. At least for a while. E.g. I hate to use storage bags because my milk will stick to the sides of the bag and it's such a waste! So, I compromise. I have to use the bags or I'll have to drive home to get my storage bottles.

3. Set limits and stop comparing. Seriously, I know that we breastfeeding and working moms are superwomen but sometimes we have to accept the fact that there are only so many hours in a day. Don't be afraid to say no if you have to do so. Also, unnecessary stress can be avoided when we stop comparing breastmilk ounces and baby's weight. Motherhood is not a sport.

4. Get a hobby or do something you really like. Get your husband to take care of your baby while you engage yourself in some "me" time. E.g. I take up baking. Check out my budding collection of tried, tested, and proven recipes. Woohoo!

5. Eat. Yes, eat your favorite milk boosters, even if they are sinful such as durian!!! But, everything in moderation. :)

6. Move it, move it! Workout at the gym, swimming, brisk walking, or any physical activity helps your body produces endorphins, i.e. hormones that relieve stress. Some moms experience an increase in milk supply during a post-workout pumping session.

7. Talk to friends or rant to strangers. Depends on your preference. If you join some moms' Facebook groupies, you can rant your heart out there. Just make sure those are closed groups or everyone on your friends list will "hear" you. :)

8. Seek professional help if needed. Sometimes, if you can't seem to get over it, just go to see a psychiatrist. This doesn't mean you're doomed. Seeking professional opinion is always better than trying to guess what's wrong.

2 comments

  1. Cool tips! It sounds like a lot of fun, raising a baby. I know it's stressful too but an ex-boss used to breastfeed (pump and store anyway) at work and put the milk in the fridge so it's getting quite common nowdays.

    All the best Joyce! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Huai Bin! Yes, raising a baby is really fun. Have one soon yeah. :)

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