You did it – you just became a parent! Not only that, but you’ve decided to breastfeed your little one and you’ve probably already figured out breastfeeding takes some work and personal adjustments. Throughout all of the joyful chaos that comes with this new chapter, it is important to learn how to balance breastfeeding, parenting, and your personal life. (What’s a personal life, right?) Remembering who YOU are is so important, but how to balance that during this chapter of your life? Looking back can help you move forward!
Your interests: Do you enjoy cooking? Drawing? Singing? Exercising at the gym? It might be hard to do everything you enjoyed doing right out the gate, but with a few adjustments you could begin to treat yourself to variations of those hobbies again. For example, if you enjoyed cooking but don’t have time to cook because of your new breastfeeding schedule, there are plenty of different alternatives like cooking games and watching competitive cooking shows. Once you become more comfortable with your feeding schedule it’ll become easier to get back in the kitchen and start cooking that signature meal your family loves! That goes for any passion: Draw on a notebook or tablet during your free time until you can get back to your canvas. Try less intense, home-workouts until you can make it to the gym. Sing in the shower until you can get back onstage (heck, have someone watch the baby so you can have a full concert and spa in the shower!). You deserve your interests. You deserve the joy you get from fulfilling them. Don’t forget that! And if you feel like your old hobbies aren’t for you anymore, sites like Pinterest are a great way to start finding other things to enjoy!
Your goals: Having a healthy and happy baby is one but think more of a past individual goal. Did you want to go back to school? Did you want that promotion at your job? Are you getting overwhelmed thinking about your past goals and trying to fit them into your future? Don’t be! You are human, and humans are known to change with time and experience – what you planned for yourself before you were pregnant may not be close to what you have planned for your family’s future, and that’s okay. Look more into what those goals meant to you, whether they were fully achieved or not, and try to get to know who you were a little more. It might seem like meeting a whole new person! For example, if you wanted to go back to school to get a degree, then that could mean that you have a hardworking, diligent personality trait, which will come in very handy when creating and following a dedicated breastfeeding/pumping plan. If you wanted that promotion but life had other plans for now, don’t forget that you are still that same persevering person and maybe even more so since you have another tiny person to care for!
Your confidence: Breastfeeding parents can seem like the most confident people in the world to outsiders looking in, and this can be daunting to new breastfeeding parents. But fear not! Many breastfeeding parents will have their confidence shaken with the unfamiliar territory of breastfeeding and any setbacks that might come along with it – some may be better at hiding it! If you’re experiencing a lack of confidence due to problems breastfeeding, lactation consultants, like the ones at our very own Metropolitan Breastfeeding, are available to help encourage and guide you. However, if you’re experiencing lack of personal confidence and self-esteem you may feel that it’s a little harder to regain that confidence. You’re different; you’ve changed. Looking back at your past confidence can help find a new confidence, though. You were strong, smart, witty and funny as ever, opinionated, compassionate, loved to dance like no one was looking, never held grudges or regret. You still are those things. Through balancing the world on your shoulders, you may have forgotten that you still are you. A different, stronger, funnier, stronger, kinder, more compassionate, and all-around better you.
If your self-esteem does not improve or gets worse, please reach out for professional help and remember you are not alone.
No matter what, always know that you’re going to do great!