Breastfeeding is beautiful, but it is HARD!
You may encounter many struggles as you and your baby find the perfect rhythm for breastfeeding.
Here are 13 breastfeeding tips for new moms that will help you have a positive breastfeeding experience.
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Tip 1: In the beginning you may not “see” anything but keep going, your baby is getting the liquid gold (colostrum)
In the beginning of breastfeeding it can be very discouraging because you don’t “see” any milk coming out. Don’t worry! The first milk your body produces is called colostrum. This milk is very dense and you only produce a few drops but it’s all your baby needs!
Keep latching your baby and as long as they are wetting diapers, you’re doing just fine mama!
Tip 2: Don’t worry about the clock.
As new moms we are constantly told “feed the baby every 2 hours” but the truth is that your baby will tell you when they are hungry.
Feed your baby on demand (when he/she is hungry). Don’t worry about the clock because it will drive you crazy trying to keep up with that schedule.
Also, there will be times when your little one wants to eat every 30 minutes -this is called cluster feeding. Other times your baby will wait 3-4 hours before they are ready to feed. Allow your child to dictate when they feed and you’ll have a much easier breastfeeding experience.
Note: If it’s been more than 4 hours since your little one last ate, rouse your little one to eat.
Tip 3: Have your entertainment ready
I tracked how many hours I spend breastfeeding with the app “Baby Nursing” and in one week I spent 35 hours actively breast feeding.
35 hours is a full time job, and it can get really boring so before you sit down to start a session grab your headphones, snacks, phone, laptop, and Netflix to occupy your time.
Tip 4: Take care of yourself
As a breastfeeding mom it’s even more important for you to take care of your body. Drink lots of water and eat healthy.
Your breast milk is made up of a lot of water (also fat, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, white blood cells, antibodies, and other things to boost your little one’s immune system)! The more water you drink the better you milk supply will be.
Also, focus on self care – pamper yourself! Breastfeeding can be painful and emotionally taxing.
My three breastfeeding staples for self care are:
- nipple cream (here’s my favorite organic brand vs a regular brand I use)
- nipple pads
- a wrist brace (trust me you’ll thank me for this when you’re experiencing wrist pain from holding your baby in the same position for several hours).
Tip 5: Clip/file baby nails
Remember how I said I spent 35 hours breastfeeding? Well, I learned the hard way just how much babies like to grab your breast while eating and when they have nails – it’s game over!
Make sure you file or trim your baby’s nails! They will scratch up your breasts or their cute little faces!
Tip 6: Have pillows and blankets on hand for comfort
Pillows and blankets come in handy when you are breastfeeding because you are usually sitting upright (unless you are feeding laying down when sleeping). Pillows and blankets can relieve some of the strain on your body while breastfeeding.
Many mamas use a boppy pillow to support them while feeding but if you don’t have one (or you don’t like using it) pillows and blankets work just fine.
Tip 7: Wear comfortable clothes
Dressing yourself as a breastfeeding mama requires quite a bit of finesse.
Here are a few clothing items I recommend:
- Go without a bra (for the first couple of weeks I didn’t wear a bra under my husband’s button down shirts)
- Wear bras with no underwire (I learned the hard way that bras with underwire can lead to clogged ducts which lead to mastitis)
- Get a cute robe (or two) – eliminates the need to wear a bra or offers an easier cover up than wearing a shirt
- Purchase a good nursing bra (here’s my favorite one)
- Purchase a few night nursing bras (I wear these more than I wear my nursing bra because it’s more comfortable)
- Get a nursing top and a nursing or regular/loose fitting tank top
Tip 8: Ask for help
Breastfeeding can be emotional – especially for us first time mamas because we don’t know what to expect.
I got mastitis and was in so much pain that I would scream and cry when he latched so I stopped latching and gave him formula for 2 feedings.
I was devastated and felt like a failure because I didn’t know that I should have been asking for help (and getting medication). Luckily we have moved past this but I share this to say, ask for help.
Ask for help from your partner (ask them to cook, get things for you, hold the baby).
Ask for help from a lactation consultant (they can help you if you are having trouble breastfeeding)
Ask for help from friends and family. ASK. FOR. HELP.
Tip 9: Use a hakaa
The hakaa is a breastfeeding moms secret weapon. A hakaa catches any extra milk that leaks while you’re breastfeeding. You can also use it as a manual pump and store the milk!
Get a hakaa, it will become your very breast friend (te he).
Tip 10: You don’t have to focus on storing milk in the beginning
It takes about 6 weeks for your body and baby to regulate – then you can start pumping to store! Give your body some time to regulate itself.
If you choose to start pumping before six weeks (maybe you have to go back to work or put your little one in day care), put yourself on a schedule! You can find a ton of pumping schedules online!
Tip 11: Introduce a bottle
This way your partner, mom, or anyone can help you feed and you can get a break!
A lot of professionals are anti-bottle introduction because of nipple confusion but in MY experience, I give my son one to two bottles a day and he still gladly drinks from the tap!
Tip 12: You can get a pump with your insurance
You’re welcome! Once you start googling breast pumps, you’ll start seeing Facebook ads for free pumps with your insurance. That’s exactly how I found mine. (Here’s the pump I use)
Tip 13: Listen to your body and tune out all the noise
Things get hard when you’re breastfeeding, especially the first time – trust your body. So many people will discourage you when it gets hard but remember that your body is built for this!
Join facebook groups specifically for breastfeeding moms to have community and encouragement.
If baby is wetting diapers then you are producing enough milk even if you think you aren’t. Talk to a lactation consultant if you are ever concerned about milk production.
Just because your breast doesn’t feel full, doesn’t mean you aren’t producing enough milk.
One thing I have noticed now that my supply is regulated is that I don’t have super full breasts. Your breasts will change as you continue breastfeeding and the size of your breast does not directly correlate to your milk supply.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey. Whether you breastfeed for two days or two years, you are doing something incredible for your little one.
Hope you enjoyed these breastfeeding tips for new moms! Comment below and let me know some of your tips and hacks for breastfeeding!