We are officially in back-to-school season, a busy time of year for any mother. New moms with a baby and a school-aged child may be wondering how they'll manage it all, especially if the youngest is a breastfeeding newborn. Coordinating schedules, planning meal times, scheduling drop-offs and pick-ups is a handful, so when you factor in the sometimes demanding breastfeeding lifestyle, it can seem daunting. Thankfully there are some steps a new mom can take to make this transition a bit more seamless.
1. Plan ahead: Pack school bags and lunches the night before while the kids are asleep for a grab-and-go morning. Having everything ready will make for a calmer start to your day and allow some extra time for breastfeeding without throwing off your routine.
2. Make a schedule: Knowing what you have happening that day, week and month will minimize the stress of your hectic schedule. It will also help to have a set schedule so you can monitor your milk supply, since going too long without expressing can become painful and upset your milk supply.
3. Pump extra milk: Things happen. Whether you can plan ahead for back-to-school night or have a last-minute parent-teacher conference, it helps to always be prepared for time away from baby. Pumping breast milk will keep you be prepared for just about anything, and it will allow for other caregivers to feed baby as needed. Pumping with a hands-free bra such as Simple Wishes will allow you to multitask so you can entertain baby, play with your older child or work on other projects.
4. Distribute responsibility: If your firstborn is old enough to manage small tasks, ask him or her help you. Kids love feeling like they're helping out! If school has not yet started, try a practice run the day before including your child as your helper when possible. This will prepare you and your family for the school season while teaching your older child responsibility.
5. Find support: Befriend other moms at your older child's school that also have newborns. Having someone to relate to within your community provides a reassuring feeling, plus it's always nice to have someone to lean on for support during difficult moments throughout your breastfeeding experience. Most likely you will also have a lot in common when it comes to your older child's experiences as well!
If all else fails, always remember that you are doing the best possible thing for you and your baby. If something doesn't go as planned, it's going to be okay. It is important to be patient with yourself and stay calm when an unexpected issue arises. It's not the end of the world if you miss a chance to pump or are running late so you could breastfeed a little longer! Try taking a step back and looking at the big picture; it helps put your current issue in perspective so you don't sweat the small things. By the end of the school year you'll look back to this time and feel impressed you were able to manage it all.