This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way, a TRICARE breast pump provider. All opinions about breastfeeding are entirely my own.
by Kimmie Fink, Guest Contributor
Motherhood is a sleep-deprived, spitup-covered, “feed change repeat” marathon. It’s an even harder race to run when you’re doing so with a handicap like a deployment. Navigating motherhood when your spouse is deployed is a challenge unique to military partners, and it’s one that often gets little recognition.
If you’re a military spouse taking care of a newborn by yourself, I tip my hat to you. But beyond my admiration, I’d also like to provide you with some advice based on lived experience. I can’t make the next six, nine or 12 months go any faster, but if you take the following steps, they’ll be just a little bit easier.
Give Yourself A Leg Up On Breastfeeding
If you’re planning to nurse your new baby, you want to set yourself up for success, especially with an absent partner. An essential piece of any breastfeeding mom’s repertoire is her breast pump. A pump can not only help you maintain and increase your supply, it’s essential if you ever plan to be away from baby. 1 Natural Way can help you access the Medela, Spectra and Kiinde brands, and they’re all covered under Tricare at zero cost to you. They’ll even handle contacting both your insurance and your medical provider on your behalf. Easy peasy.
There’s all kinds of guidance for how to take care of yourself when your spouse is deployed, including ensuring proper nutrition and staying busy. This takes on increased importance when you have a newborn (although you won’t need any assistance in the staying busy department). Whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, you’re in recovery mode. Sleep when the baby sleeps is easier said than done, but do try to rest and don’t feel guilty about putting your little cherub in the swing so you can have a sitz bath.
Find A Babysitter
It may seem a little premature to be thinking about child care, but I promise you’ll thank me later when you need a night out or want to run errands by yourself. Make sure you’ve registered your child with Child, Youth & School Services because you’re entitled to some free hourly care every month. If you’d rather have someone in your home, try a caregiver app or website or work your contacts. I grabbed the digits of our mommy and me swim instructor and my friend’s single co-worker.
Join A Mom Group
In most communities, you can find a group of local, like-minded mamas online. If you live near post, chances are there’s a group of military mothers, many of whom have experienced or are in the midst of solo parenting thanks to deployment. They’ll likely know the best parks and play gyms to take your bundle of joy, can provide you with much-needed company and sympathy, and will often be your go-to people when you find yourself in a bind (like when you need an emergency contact for your new addition in order to access CYSS).
Opt for Convenience
Nothing about new motherhood is easy, but modern marvels can lighten your load. Do yourself a favor and sign up for a subscription service for diapers and wipes. When newborn care falls solely on you, the last thing you want to do is run out of essentials and have to haul your baby to the store. As a new mom, there’s always something to sanitize (pacifiers, bottles, breast pump parts). A microwaveable sanitizing bag makes this a painless process, and 1 Natural Way has the hook up for accessories like this.
Nothing can really prepare you for the realities of new motherhood, and honestly, the same could be said for deployment. In combination, they’re admittedly a lot to handle. Remember you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for, and with a little help, you’ll be crossing the finish line in no time.
Kimmie Fink is a stay-at-home mom, staff writer at Romper, and consultant, Expert Trainer, Nationally Certified Facilitator, and blogger for Welcoming Schools, a project of the Human Rights Campaign. Her work has also been featured on Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, NextGen MilSpouse, and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Kimmie blogs on issues of diversity and equity for elementary educators and parents of young children. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.