An article from the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (HICHQ) shares the importance of new moms getting the support they need to keep both mom and baby healthy.
 
When a mother breastfeeds, she releases oxytocin, a hormone that soothes her anxieties and helps her feel a unique emotional connection to her newborn baby. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, packs a powerful punch that, while supporting healthy breastfeeding, has the side-effect of making moms tired.  
 
A tired mom may be tempted to fall asleep with her baby, but that could be a dangerous situation for her baby. How can new moms–and babies–practice healthy sleep habits?
 
  • Take care of yourself, Mom! Sleep is always a priority, but as a mom, you may need to use nap time to take care of other tasks, and you may have difficulty falling asleep on command. Consider other ways to help yourself recharge, such as taking a walk outside while your baby sleeps in a carrier or stroller, exercising at home or reading a book while your baby naps. These activities can give you a mental and physical break that may be just as valuable as a couple hours of sleep.
  • Identify your support network. As a new mom, you may be often left balancing the needs of your family, your job and your home, which can make for a seemingly endless day when you add in regular breastfeeding. Consider those who can provide support: Friends, immediate and extended family, and support groups are all important resources that new moms can tap.
  • Plan for a fussy baby. Does the baby feel safe? Is she hungry? Is she wet? These three questions can help moms and caregivers address the most common reasons for crying babies. But once these issues have been resolved, you may be left wondering what else you can do. Swinging motions that soothe babies, checking whether the baby might have been overstimulated by the environment, playing white noise and finding a change of scenery are all helpful strategies to help sooth a fussy baby. A pacifier may also help to calm a baby between feedings, after the first few weeks of life once breastfeeding and breast milk volume is established.
 

Resources

There are several resources available to help breastfeeding moms and dads.
  • Pennsylvania’s Home Visiting Programs: Professionally trained home visitors can provide information and help families
  • Dads, WIC Breastfeeding: Dads, you play an important role in breastfeeding. Learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and what to expect with feedings in your baby’s first hours, days, and weeks. You’ll also read about challenges many breastfeeding moms face. There are also tips for bonding with your baby and supporting and encouraging your partner.
  • Breastmilk Every Ounce Counts Teamwork: Moms whose partners support their breastfeeding efforts breastfeed longer. And they get more benefits from breastfeeding. Get some ways you as a partner can be helpful.
  • Breastfeeding Support: Information about sleep, problems, special circumstances and tips.
  • Womenshealth.gov: Breastfeeding support and information
  • Le Leche League: Breastfeeding support. Find local groups.may

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