There are a lot of challenges that come with being a single mom and breastfeeding – from late night feedings on your own, to figuring out a solution so you can get that shower in.
In honor of Single Parents’ Day, let’s try to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Here’s a list of ideas and tips for single mamas who are breastfeeding. We hope this gives you the necessary boost to keep powering on!
Always plan ahead. When there’s an urgent situation, it’ll be hard to run out and get medicine since you can’t leave your baby home alone – and you might not want to take them with you to the pharmacy in the dead of winter at three in the morning. Make sure to have extras of everything you might need for emergencies. Once you’ve done that, it also helps to have extras of non-emergency items so you have everything you need on hand.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for and accept help. You might think that as a single mom, you must prove to yourself and others that you can do it all by yourself. Learn to accept and appreciate any help people offer – even if it’s just a family member or friend looking after your baby while you take a relaxing bath or a nap. If you really want to pay them back, buy them coffee or offer to babysit for them another time. Many people want to help, but are unsure how to best support you or where to start. Create a list of things that would help you in your daily life so that when someone asks how they can help, you have ideas ready.
Start preparing for single motherhood before the baby is here. If you’re pregnant and about to be a single mom, cook a huge batch of healthy meals and freeze them for when you have the baby. This will significantly cut down on cooking time during the first crucial weeks after giving birth! Get your breast pump, breast milk storage bags, and more necessities in advance.
Consider shopping online. Yes, even for groceries. Today, there are more shipping and pick-up options than ever that can save you precious time and energy. When you have a baby need, try to hit up online retailers instead of creating yet another errand for yourself.
Get outside. Seriously. Try to have a social life (we know it’s hard), even if it means going on a walk with your baby or having lunch with a friend who won’t mind you taking some time to nurse, too… A good friend will never judge, they’ll just be happy to see you – and if they’re a great friend, they might even offer to help!
Take 10. Then take another 10. Sometimes, you will have breakdowns. You will cry along with your baby when she has a fit. You will have spit up on your shirt, and wear the same sweatpants for a little too long. When these moments happen, count to 10 in your mind and take long, rhythmic breaths to calm your heart rate. Stressed out when pumping? Here’s a meditation video to pump along to.
Realize that you’re not alone, even if it may seem like it. Think you deal with a lot of parenting problems, and that married couples have it much easier, all the time? The truth is, married parents also have problems – even if they don’t blast it on social media. Try to let go of any negative feelings you might hold against others. At least you only have to think about two people’s needs – you and the baby!
Hold on to good memories. Being a single mom can be hectic, but seeing your baby laugh uncontrollably at a funny thing you do or cuddling together on the couch can truly boost your mood. Try to go back to these memories when you’re feeling down. Take photos that make you laugh and reminisce how your baby acted in a funny moment.
Most importantly… know that it gets better. You’re not the first single mother and you will not be the last. When the going gets tough, lean on your support system as much as possible, give yourself a break, and keep on. We believe in you!
Share this to empower a single mom on Single Parents’ Day.