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How to Manage Housework and Chores Whilst Breastfeeding

(Because most of us don't have a village)


Lower Your Expectations


I did not want to hear this as a new mother. My birth had been traumatic and I was desperate for some semblance of control. The moment my newborn son fell asleep, the race was on. I would whizz around our home like a woman possessed, cleaning and tidying before he stirred. When I explained this to my Health Visitor, her eyes widened as she held my hand and told me that I didn't need to do anything but prioritize eating, sleeping and taking care of my baby. Everything else could wait. It took me around two years, two nervous breakdowns and literally collapsing with exhaustion before her words actually sank in.


If you are reading this now and thinking, "If I don't do it, who will!?" I can completely relate. I felt exactly the same, but I did not appreciate until years had past that my breastfeeding days were numbered. They were wonderful and frustrating and empowering and exhausting and numbered. For as long as I was breastfeeding on demand, I was dedicating 30+ hours a week to nourishing my little boy. If you have a partner, imagine if they were given 30 more hours a week of responsibilities at work. Would you expect them to still do as much as they currently do at home? No? Then give yourself the same grace, mama.


Prioritize Ruthlessly


In the knowledge that your time is finite, focus on the areas of family life that matter to you most. This may change from day to day and that's OK!

Think to yourself that on any given day you can prioritize one of three things:


  1. Having a clean and tidy home

  2. Having a well fed household

  3. Having an emotionally nourished family


I am yet to meet a family out there who is able to achieve more than one of the above every day without support. Realizing this for the first time left me feeling pretty heartbroken. I felt like I had been sold a lie. Mothers can't have it all - not at the same time and I felt angry about the reality of life for most families in the traditional West.


As time has passed, I feel calmer about the reality of our situation. I cannot do everything because I am human and by demonstrating my imperfections to my son, I am giving him permission not to be perfect too. That might give the control freak within me palpitations, but it makes the mother in me immensely proud. To do the same, actively give yourself permission to focus on one priority each day in the knowledge that it is more than enough - and so are you.


Practise Acceptance


If you are reading this article and thinking where are the tips for getting stuff done!? I apologize, because it is my belief as a mother and a lactation professional that it is likely not possible to get as many things done as you would probably like to do alongside breastfeeding on demand. Accepting that fact will be the most liberating paradigm shift of your early motherhood.


There are practices which you may want to adopt like: babywearing whilst vacuuming; bathing with your baby and cleaning alongside your children. I would argue though that the best advice would be to get help or support to do all of the above. It may be that your partner can only do the laundry once or twice a week around work, or that your parents can only drop off a home cooked meal once a fortnight, but every little helps. Accept any help offered and more importantly, accept that even if all that you do on any given day is breastfeed, that is incredible. You are incredible.


Own It!


Give yourself permission to truly own the fact that this is your breastfeeding season! During this time that you are giving so much of yourself so selflessly, this is not also the season where your home will be immaculate, or the one when you will regularly be hosting five-course-dinner-parties. Own the fact that for now, you are a breastfeeding mother first and foremost. Be unapologetic about that fact in the knowledge that this will not be the case forever, but it is right now.


If you would like support navigating life, relationships and self care as a breastfeeding mother, book a 1-2-1 consultation with me. I specialize in breastfeeding wellness; breastfeeding whilst you are back to work and stopping breastfeeding gently and responsively too. Get £45 off a personalised consultation here, using discount code: BF2024.


With love,

Danielle

❤️



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