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  • New Moms Who Breastfeed Have Almost Zero Free Time: Take A Look At This Mom's Chart

    Nursing is close to a 24-hour job during the first month after giving birth.
    by Rachel Perez .
New Moms Who Breastfeed Have Almost Zero Free Time: Take A Look At This Mom's Chart
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Any breastfeeding mom knows it takes a massive chunk of the day to be at the beck and call of a newborn who needs nourishing. But it is worth it because of the many benefits to newborns (and moms, too). So, how much time does nursing take over a mom's 24 hours? A data scientist (and a mom!) has actually created a chart to help others easily understand their plight. 

    Caitlin Hudon gave birth to her daughter six months ago. As a lead data scientist at a clinical learning platform for medical students and health professionals, she estimated how much time mothers spend on breastfeeding. Hudon then presented it as a chart so others can easily comprehend just how breastfeeding and caring for a baby is time-consuming.

    "The way you spend your time changes significantly when you have a baby (especially if you're a woman who decides to breastfeed)," Hudon wrote in her tweet accompanying one of two charts. "I think this is best explained visually," she added. 

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    The red bars in the graph represent breastfeeding or pumping breast milk, while the dark blue bars represent other baby-care related tasks, such as changing diapers, giving baby a bath, or putting him to sleep. The light blue bars are for sleep (see how it's not one big block of time), and the green bars are for work hours.

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    You will not see yellow bars, which is for free time, beginning at birth until three or four months later. Its block size is also significantly smaller than before having a child. (Breastfeeding moms can have disrupted sleep for six years after welcoming a child.)

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    "It truly can't be overstated how much time is devoted to nursing in the first six months of baby's life," Hudon tweeted, showing a second graph that isolated nursing time. She admitted she had no idea it was the case until she herself went through it. 

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    After giving birth, a mom's days during the first month is practically dedicated to feeding the baby. The second month postpartum is almost just the same. It's either the mom is nursing or doing other childcare tasks. 

    It gets more complicated during the third and fourth months as some mothers return to work after their maternity leave. It's yet another time of adjustment and striking a balance between work and expressing milk or breastfeeding directly and other baby-caring tasks. 

    The new mom, via separate tweets, stressed the visuals she created are "super simplified."

    "So much more needs to happen in a day (like cooking, cleaning, eating, laundry, washing baby stuff, etc.) than is visible. All of this happens during free time or while watching baby," she stressed.

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    Hudon is thankful she can breastfeed her baby because she's well supported at home. "My husband does a lot so that I'm not nursing and diapering and cleaning, etc.," she said. They are home often at the same time and tag-team dinner, eating, showering, and other tasks, but sleep definitely gets the interrupted. (Click here for more reasons why dads are needed in breastfeeding.)

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    At work, Hudon can adjust her schedule so she can take pumping breaks as needed.  She knows she has it easy compared to other lower-income families and especially single moms. (Demand for your lactation breaks, moms! It's your right.)

    So, if anyone says moms who are taking their maternity leave is like a vacation because they're just at home, feel free to call them out. If you hear comments that suggest nursing moms can choose to give up if they're too tired or can't stop complaining, tell them you don't need their negativity. What you need is a little bit of understanding.

    Wondering how you can help new mom? Click here to get some ideas. Some companies also provide services that can help. Click here to find out if you have use for them.

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