Being a solo parent and breastfeeding at the same time comes with challenges, but with the help of families, friends, faith communities, your community, and the understanding from your job, you can take some of the pressure and the worries off of you. My motto is a happy parent breastfeeding is a happy baby eating. See some great advice offered by local solo parents and some additional local resources below!
Here are some top tips from single parents:
- Create a space to care for yourself! When the baby is asleep, take time out to breathe and do whatever you can do to relax. Find a friend who makes you laugh, talk together about the hard times and the good times. As a single parent stealing sleep when your baby is sleeping is a must (Yes! I said steal). Most of the time it’s good to get as much sleep as you can. Sleep when the baby sleeps or steal a nod off any time that you can get it.
- Sometimes it can be easiest to do things with your little one. Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or another form of carrier on your body. Some moms say “babywearing and co-sleeping are always my go-to, but I’ve gone through phases where I’ve needed to wear a fussy baby from the time I got up until the time I went to bed and that’s VERY physically demanding.” It is my go-to for mostly everything in those early months.
- But, do I need to carry the baby all the time? If you don’t have pets or other young kids running around, I think a lot of people forget that it’s perfectly safe to lay your baby on a blanket on the floor before they get mobile. Many families also find a bouncy chair or another similar device perfect to allow them to set the baby down and tend to what they need or simply relax!
- Get to know your community and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is good to have someone to help if you have appointments and can’t take other children, but if you have to take the children with you, think about seeking virtual support. If you can’t find a meeting that works with your schedule or that is on a preferred platform, contact the group and see if they can help to locate different meetings.
- It is hard to find time to cook. Some parents find it easier to cook in the morning or at times when the baby is the happiest. The routine that you did for a shower you can do for cooking. You can use the baby on the hip and the one hand mommy move.
- How do I go to the bathroom or take a shower? Many parents find it easier to bring their baby into the bathtub or shower. Everyone gets clean all at the same time. Some parents find it helpful to put a towel on the floor to place your baby before you step out of the bathtub. Other parents find showers easiest when the baby is either sleeping or laying in the crib quietly, or if you have older children, they can help.
- What about my other kid(s)? It is always a learning process to bring a new child into the family, and it will be an adjustment for them and you! It can be a challenge to make sure you are still caring for your older children even when caring for the newborn. A trick one parent told me was to keep a basket of toys that only comes out when they are nursing the baby. Older siblings also can offer lots of support and fun towards their new sibling!
- How do I venture out into the world again with my baby? Almost anything you can do, you can do drive-through or curbside pickup. Because of the pandemic, there are many more options for curbside pickup, and if by chance you don’t drive, then by any means necessary when getting on the bus or in a Uber/Lyft, take your time, and get the things you need not what you want (that was something I had to learn). Again, it’s ok to ask for help.
- Can I breastfeed when I go out in public? Yes! At any time, you can breastfeed in public. Don’t feel discouraged when it comes down to breastfeeding your baby in public, it’s ok. Some women like to practice in front of a mirror at home or put a blanket over the baby and breastfeed.
- How do I transition back to work and still keep breastfeeding? Find out if you can pump your milk on the job or bring your baby to the job during feeding times, if possible, and make sure that you keep a lot of breastfeeding pads with you.
Clink here to see a list of local resources for solo parents.