By Kate Freeman
La Leche League Leader Barbara posed a query to one of the delightful moms who attends the LLL Midtown meetings: Kate, can you offer other mothers any tips, as a veteran mom?
Kate Freeman responded, with her usual brilliance:
1. If getting out the door is hard (and let's be honest, it's usually impossible), do as much as you can at night when kids are in bed: pack lunches, lay out clothes, pack bags, organize the stroller, fill up water bottles, pack snacks. That way, when the baby has to nurse and your toddler poops right as you are getting ready to leave, you'll only be 5-10 minutes late, instead of 30… Which leads to #2…
2. Lower your expectations. Dramatically. You just had a baby. You are not supposed to: have a clean house, have a flat stomach, take a shower daily, or have children with clean mouths. That just makes other people feel bad. You are really doing the world a service if you stop trying to do those things.
3. If someone offers to make you dinner, but you'd rather eat whatever because you are too tired by nightfall, ask if they will empty the dishwasher or put away laundry instead. I don't know why, but those two tasks are annoying, time consuming, and totally necessary. I remember the first time a friend emptied my dishwasher for me and it changed my whole day. Ask for that when someone offers to help you.
4. Make breakfast "the" meal. Kids don't eat that much at dinner and your husband can always order Thai while you collapse in bed. Give everyone a big breakfast (i.e., not cereal). Then, when you can only manage cereal for dinner, you're totally breaking even for the day. Also, sandwiches were invented for a reason. Don't overlook them.
5. Always have some ground beef / turkey / chicken on hand. With it you can, make tacos (and taco salads), pasta with meat sauce, burgers, sliders, meatballs, stuffed something. It should not be overlooked, especially if you still insist on dinner.
6. As soon as you remember that you are supposed to do something, Write It Down!! Nursing makes one very forgetful. What was I just talking about?
7. Choose ONE goal per day. Some examples are “Today I will: do one load of laundry, or take a shower, or go to the post office, or buy some groceries, or read a book to my older kids, or do some banking, etc. ONE goal. That, and survival and you are so ahead of the game.
8. If you are feeling like you aren't getting anything done, make a list of what you did that day. You'll be surprised. You probably: made three meals and 15 snacks, swept the floor, did a dish, and kept a baby nourished and thriving by feeding it 20 times. That's impressive stuff.
9. Sit on the ground and nurse in the older kids’ room while they do whatever. You'll be surprised that by just being there, you are playing and participating.
10. Stickers. Lots of them. And bath toys. New ones. I can make stickers and bath time take all afternoon, and it's easy to nurse while these activities are going on.
About the Authors
These posts were written by nursing moms (sometimes with their support persons) who attend(ed) LLL meetings in Manhattan. All stories were originally published in our newsletters.