Question: I have a two week old baby who nurses around the clock. We co-sleep, and I don’t have any problem with that, but I feel really tied down during the day. He nurses for 45 minutes at a feeding, and it’s hard to get anything done. I had a c-section, and I know I need to move around some, but I’m still sore. As a single mom, I find it hard to sit and rest. I have family who helps as much as they can. How can I get more rest when my baby is nursing so often?
Answer: The first thing that comes to mind is that with a baby that young, you really don’t need to be trying to do too much, especially if you’re recovering from a c-section.
One advantage of breastfeeding is that it’s nature’s way of forcing you to sit down and rest, at least for a few hours a day. You need to rest while he nurses, but I know it’s hard. New moms tend to take advantage of those sleepy times to rush around doing other stuff like housework instead of resting.
You need to learn how to let go of the small stuff – dust bunnies never killed anyone that I know of. If you have family or friends who want to help, let them. Ask them to do stuff like preparing meals, doing loads of laundry, running errands, etc. There will be plenty of time for them to hold the baby later.
Your job right now is to rest, snuggle your baby, and nurse often to build a good milk supply.
One way to make things easier is to set up a ‘nursing station’. Ideally, you’ll have one in the living room (or wherever you spend the most time), as well as in the bedroom. Getting comfy is important: rocking chairs are awesome, and so are recliners and footstools. Couches will work fine, too. The important thing is to be comfortable.
To set up a “Nursing Nook”, get all the supplies you need to stay in one spot for hours so your baby can nurse in your arms as you rest. Supplies include diapers, wipes, medications if you’re taking them regularly, burp clothes, changing pads, a towel to sit on in case you’re still leaking lochia, comfortable pillow for your back, nursing pillow if you use one, a blanket for the baby (and one for you if it’s chilly), change of clothes for the baby, a drink for you, remote control, magazine or books, computer, phone, a pump if you’re using one. The idea is to have everything you need close by so that you can rest while you nurse your baby during those marathon nursing sessions, without having to get up and down as much.
Once you’re past the newborn stage, your baby won’t be nursing as often, and you won’t be sitting in one spot for those long nursing sessions that can last for an hour or more.