With all the awareness and advice everywhere around us, we know that mother’s milk is the best nourishment for a baby, at least for the first six months of her life. In addition to the nutrition, breastfeeding is nature’s way of helping a mother bond with her new-born. A new-born is solely dependent on her mother for the first few months of her life and a mother is responsible to ensure that her little one is getting the nourishment she deserves.
But is it only a Mother’s responsibility to make sure of her baby’s health? She is already dealing with the sudden dramatic changes in her life after the childbirth. She needs plenty of help, support and love from people around her.
As a father, friend, sibling, colleague, grandparent, employer or even a next-door neighbour, your practical help is a golden investment in making life-time bonds. Let’s see how.
Support at Home | Lend a helping hand
The image of a mother feeding her baby is probably one of the best in the world. It reflects unconditional love. But ask a mother, and she will tell you feeding her baby every two hours is not an easy task at all.
Being awake all night long, taking care of the household chores in the morning, grappling with her tired body, and dealing with all the new duties as a mother take a toll on her, both physically and psychologically. This is where a little support can do wonders for a new mother.
It all starts with respecting her decisions.
Breastfeeding is not an imposition on a mother. It is a tough job and every mother should be respected for her decision. When a mother chooses to exclusively breastfeed her new-born, creating a support system around her and taking some load off her shoulders will make sure that her baby receives the most nutritious food in the world – Mother’s milk, because a happy nursing mother will lead to a healthy baby.
It takes more than your moral support and affection to ensure the health and happiness of your baby and her mother. Taking basic responsibilities such as doing the dishes, wrapping up your day a little quicker at work, washing and folding the tiny rompers and jumpsuits, preparing at least one meal of the day, and listening to your partner’s struggles of her day at home will not only help her unwind and relax, but she will also feel new found love for the father of her child. A loving environment at home in the middle of all the cry and wails of your baby is one of the best things you can give your loved one to support her as she continues to feed the little angel through sleepless and tiring nights.
Take turns to be sleepless. Just because a mother feeds her child, it does not mean that she is the only one who needs to let go of her sleep. When the baby cries after a feed, wake up and take your tiny bundle for a stroll or rock her in your arms till she goes off to dreamland.
Mommy’s ‘ME’ time
A mother is an epitome of selflessness and sacrifice. But that does not mean that she does not need any time to herself. She NEEDS it, especially when she is taking care of her new-born and feeding her throughout the day. If someone in the family babysits for some time, then mommy can catch up on her favourite TV show or a movie that will crack her up and take away her stress. Small acts of help can be a blessing for the mother while she catches up on her me time with things like a long warm shower, some light reading, a funny movie, her favourite TV show, or just lying on the bed doing nothing.
An elderly person can be imperative in restoring order and sanity in a new mother’s life while she spends days, weeks and months, taking care of the needs of her baby and her feeding requirements. A few domestic chores, preparing nutritious meals of the nursing mom, brushing her tangled hair with care, and sharing experiences of child rearing will make the day more promising. Just giving a mother the assurance that someone is there for her baby when she is tired body seeks respite in sweet slumber can work as an awesome stress buster for the ever-anxious new mother.
Be her emotional ANCHOR
Being a new mother is like going through an emotional roller coaster. You may think that holding new-born can only bring joy to a mother. Contrary to popular belief, a mother undergoes tremendous emotional turmoil after giving birth. When her exhausted body demands rest, it is precisely at that time that her new-born demands nutrition. In addition to that, there are fierce hormonal changes that affect her physically and psychologically. Add to this the tremendous post-surgery pain in case of a C-section delivery. Sometimes the milk takes time to come and the mother feels like a failure unable to feed her baby.
Postpartum depression is a brutal reality and unless a new mother finds a robust support system around her, it is extremely difficult for her to take care of her baby’s nourishment through breastfeeding. This is when family, friends and loved ones have to come to her aid and be her emotional anchor. Assure her, help her with her chores, give her a break every once in a while, and understand her unsaid need to feel pampered, loved and understood.
Nursing babies while juggling with a hectic schedule, is the biggest challenge working moms face when they return to work after childbirth. Employers and co-workers can play a positive role in supporting her decision to breastfeed. A better infrastructure and a few positive initiatives create a conducive work environment and help mother to sustain breastfeeding for longer.
She chose to Breastfeed while doing her job. We need to applaud her for this. Allowing flexible work hours and a freedom to choose her work shifts and timings is certainly the best way to support a nursing mom. Believe me, she will always be grateful to you for this.
Office Amenities and Hygiene:
A clean feeding room or a wellness room in the office premises is required to make things easy for a breastfeeding mom. While pumping, or feeding, a mom needs a quiet and restful environment. A small and private place where she can nurse peacefully or express and store milk for her baby, would be a blessing for a nursing mom.
Sharing her workload:
New moms often go through phases of emotional distress and exhaustion. It would be great to share some of her work load so that she gets that much-desired tiny break. Helping her wash or sterilise the bottles is a sweet gesture that takes a lot of workload off her shoulders while she juggles with office work.
Organisations can demonstrate a great sense of commitment and a supportive work culture to assure a Breastfeeding friendly workplace for a new mom. Setting up a day-care or a crèche facility in the office premises is a sensitive approach towards a nursing mom’s needs. This in turn would result in less absenteeism from work and a positive employer-employee relationship.