If I told you that doing almost nothing for two or three days would drastically improve your breastfeeding, would you be on board? What if I said that while you’re doing nothing, it’s totally fine to stay in bed and take a few naps? Really. It’s okay. It might actually help boost your milk supply. That’s the beauty of a breastfeeding retreat!
See, the closeness and relaxation are exactly what make these nursing retreats so incredibly beneficial!
I tend to get a little excited about this kind of awesome stuff. So before I get ahead of myself talking about all the benefits, let’s make sure you know what I’m talking about. Allow me to introduce you to breastfeeding retreats.
What is a breastfeeding retreat?
A breastfeeding retreat is where you take some time to spend alone in bed (or on the couch) with your baby. It can last anywhere from a day to four days – and the longer lasts, the more effective it is!
It’s really just a snuggle fest, but you’re not likely to forget it!
Imagine this: you and your sweet baby snuggled close under the blankets. You’re both mostly naked – just wearing enough to cover your booty. As you cuddle close, she coos at you and plays with your chin. You’re completely relaxed and a bit amazed that your little one is more playful than ever. What’s going on? You’re on a breastfeeding retreat!!
Stay with me here. If you think this isn’t for you – perhaps it sounds boring, or like a lazy mom’s luxury- let me give you three really really good reasons why you have to schedule one ASAP!
Breastfeeding retreats are restorative
What could be more restful than doing nothing? Go ahead, I’ll wait
For however long you choose to spend with your baby, you will have NOTHING on your plate. You just take it one moment at a time, all day every day. You don’t have to do anything.
One of the rules you’ll read below for this nursing retreat is to keep your cell phone away while the baby is awake. It sounds restrictive, but your baby will notice if you’re not paying attention to her. With your phone away, you’ll be present, focused, and intentional with your mama-baby time. And your little one will LOVE having your undivided attention!
Because you’re not doing any work, cooking, cleaning, or running around, you’re gonna feel a little bit like a woman on vacation. You’re welcome.
They strengthen the mama-baby bond
Think of a person (other than your baby) that you’re always happy to see. Someone who makes your day just by walking into the room. Now let me guess two things about them: 1) They always have a smile for you. 2) They pay attention to you.
I’m not psychic, I swear. See, somehow we’re wired to like people who like us first. Barring any freaky stalker tendencies, a person who pays attention to you and smiles at you will always rank higher on your list of favorite people than a person who is just “meh” about being around you.
That’s natural, and not something you even think about.
Guess what? It’s the same for your baby! When you smile at her, it makes her happy. When you’re giving her loving attention, you make her whole day. In turn, she’s glad to be around you. Her body language will speak volumes, even if she can’t smile yet. She’ll be attentive right back at you, which means…
You’ll be even more happy to be around her! It’s like an ever-expanding circle of joy! Am I getting too mushy? Sorry.
I’m not sure if it’s psychology or biology, or combination of both. But she responds emotionally to your attention, and you respond emotionally to her response, and it just keeps circling around.
A breastfeeding retreat will increase your milk supply
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “There are no guarantees in life.” But I’m going to break the rules and give you a guarantee.
If you spend three full days cuddling with your baby, soaking up skin-to-skin-contact, nursing whenever she wants and for however long she wants, and intentionally keeping away distractions, your milk supply will increase. Probably substantially. Guaranteed.
According to Parents.com (and any reliable breastfeeding publication), the more often your baby nurses, the more milk you make. So the fastest way to boost your milk supply is to get your baby latched as often as possible.
If you do this and your milk supply doesn’t increase, see a doctor because there’s probably an underlying physical problem preventing you from making more milk.
Breastfeeding Retreat Rules
- No shirts on you or your baby. You need that skin-to-skin contact.
- Stay put (except for food and potty breaks of course)
- The only needs being met are the needs for attention, food, and hygiene.
- Daddy and siblings are allowed ONLY if they agree to cuddle too.
- You do zero work. I mean it! NO WORK!!! If you sneak a laptop in and start working, then you’re not on a retreat anymore, are you?
- No cell phone while the baby is awake. Ugh, I know. I love my phone too. But this one is important. Not only are cell phones dangerous around babies, but they steal your attention. Your little one will notice. And since part of your goal here is to give your undivided attention, it’s shooting yourself in the foot. Can’t think of what to do? Here’s a printable list of 20 things you can do with your baby instead of being on the phone.
- Allow free access to the milk. You’re not going to worry about whether it’s time to eat, or whether a schedule is being followed. If your baby feels like nursing, let her. It’s kind of the key to the whole event.
- Stay hydrated. It helps keep your milk supply strong and it keeps you healthy in like a hundred different ways. Drink that water girl!
Making it happen
The hardest part of this whole experience is going to be pulling away from the world. Because I’m sure you have responsibilities besides your baby. By no means am I saying you should shirk those responsibilities! But a little planning will enable you to take time away without letting your priorities drop.
Here’s how to guarantee your success:
First, pick your time. Obviously, you need to be off work. Weekdays work great because people assume you’re working and leave you alone.
Second, state your intention. Your retreat won’t work if you have people pressuring you to be available for calls and texts. Of if someone is expecting you to cook or clean during the retreat. You may have to prepare by cooking meals ahead of time. Or check into a hotel for a few days. But make sure your people know that you’re not going to be available.
Third, enlist help. If you have kids (or a pet) who will be jealous and/or needy, then get your significant other, a grandparent, or sitter lined up to keep them occupied and feeling loved. It’s also a good idea to give your kids and furbabies some undivided attention (you know, fill up their little love buckets) before you start.
Let’s do this!
Think you’re ready to start planning your retreat? Awesome!! You won’t be sorry.
Prepare ahead of time to make it as successful as possible, then strictly follow the rules I outlined above. Once again, the longer your nursing retreat lasts, the more you and your baby will benefit from it.
When you’re finished, you will feel renewed, have a closer bond with your baby, and you’ll probably be surprised by how much milk you’re making. Have fun on your retreat!
Have you taken a breastfeeding retreat? What was the best part, the worst part, and what advice do you have for anyone planning a retreat? Tell me all about it in the comments below!