It is increasingly becoming common to find single-parent families globally. Most of these families are headed by women. Between earning a living, child rearing — breastfeeding can pose a unique challenge to these young single mothers. Add exclusive breastfeeding to this & the challenge it can pose can be easily be overwhelming to say the least.
Some of the most important challenges that will stand out to a exclusively single breastfeeding mother are:
Nurturing & Self-Care: One of the most neglected for all young mothers is self-care and recovery from childbirth in today’s time. This is where Traditional wisdom has always strongly guided communities across the world with postpartum rituals and routines of caring for a young mother nourishing and nurturing her with herbals routines and traditional warm foods. In modern times these practices are eroding and especially the single mothers may miss them completely. Therefore seeking postpartum services or any help from family or friends to allow a period of rest and nourishment can be helpful. Always keep a bottle of dry nuts and seeds. These provide packed energy anytime with no preparation.
Night Feeds & Baby Care: are the most exhausting for young parents. It is desirable & normal for a baby to feed a couple of times during the night and often milk producing hormones are on a surge during the nights. Not having help around can be extremely overwhelming especially if a baby is being bottle fed. Exclusive breastfeeding can provide more rest for the mother and baby. Co-sleeping on the same bed can make it easier to support exclusive breastfeeding and keeping baby close provides deep bonding and responding to baby’s natural cues of hunger and other needs a lot easier.
Planning is the key: In urgent situations, it’ll be hard to run out and get medicine since you can’t leave your baby home alone – and you might not want to take them with you to the pharmacy in the dead of winter at three in the morning. Make sure to have extras of everything you might need for emergencies. Once you’ve done that, it also helps to have extras of non-emergency items so you have everything you need on hand.
Staying honest to priorities: Being a single mother means having to manage all baby care, finances, home care and other needs all alone with no partner to share responsibilities including handling emergencies. Keeping the list of priories and absolute musts is critical to have stress-free days and keeping calm to provide an emotionally safe environment to baby. Accepting help can give you an opportunity to even just have a bath or comb your hair or have a meal.
Building the ecosystem & community: Many people want to help, but are unsure how to best support you or where to even begin helping. Listing down matters those need attention pass them onto when someone asks how they can help. Joining regular mother to mother support groups like La Leche League International or Breastfeeding Support Group for Indian Mothers (Online Facebook Group)
Use of Technology: From mother support groups such as BSIM or online shopping, sometimes technology can help in significant ways to reduce stress. Saving you immense amount of energy.
Yoga Nidra: Nidra or sleep is an ancient practice to calm your nervous system and resource you immensely physically and emotionally. All it requires is rest. Here is a quick access to the Nidra Guidance which is soothing and resonating. You and your baby can feel deeply supported listening to it everyday. Listen to yoga Nidra. Nothing to do, just lie in bed and listen. This is facilitated by Mirabelle D'Cunha! Take your pick from Hindi & English (https://youtu.be/ASH5t6-cYSA / https://youtu.be/QI8WcXjej84)
You are surely never alone ! Always know you are never alone in this. There is always help just a call away either in your circle of friends, family, Lactation consultant or counsel, Facebook group or even mother to mother support groups.