If you are a new mom who is struggling with breastfeeding, hang in there! I know it’s so hard to want to breastfeed sometimes, but these breastfeeding tips for success will help motivate you to keep trying! 🙂
Once you start to get breastfeeding figured out, you will fall into a routine and it will all get easier. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you are going through with those who are close to you. Sometimes, you just need a little extra support.
On the other hand, if you are very unhappy in your breastfeeding situation, don’t feel guilty if you need to stop! Remember, fed is best!
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Now, on to the breastfeeding tips!
1. Stock Your Nursing Station Before You Deliver
While you are still pregnant, make sure you stock up on all the breastfeeding essentials. It’s super important to have everything you need ahead of time. This way, you won’t be in a pinch if you run out of something as necessary as nipple cream.
I recommend having a couple of nursing stations in your home. I had a nursing basket in our bedroom since we room shared when our son was born. Also, I had a nursing station in our living room.
You can always just have one basket to start out with. Sometimes you won’t quite know where the most comfortable place to nurse your little one is until you are doing it.
2. Take A Breastfeeding Class
Don’t skip taking a breastfeeding class! This is one of the breastfeeding tips that is so important! It’s crucial to sit down and learn the in’s and out’s of nursing your baby.
There are different ways you can take a class. You can choose between going to a physical class, usually provided by your hospital, or you can take an online class. Either way is great, so go whichever route you will like most.
Things you will learn through a breastfeeding class will be subjects like how you produce milk, how to get your baby to latch, different positions to feed your baby in, and how to know if your baby is getting enough milk.
3. Breastfeed Within The First Hour After Birth
Once your little one has arrived, you will want to try breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. This is often referred to as the “golden hour” or the “magic hour”.
If you can’t for any kind of medical reason, don’t be discouraged! There are many women who are able to breastfeed successfully, even if they can’t nurse in the first hour.
Typically, once your baby has been born, they will be put on your chest. Your baby will instinctually know to creep up to your breast to latch on. This will trigger hormones to get the milk-making process started.
Another thing worth noting is that the amount of milk your baby will get during this first nursing session will not be much. In this first feeding, your baby will be getting milk called colostrum, which will only be about a teaspoon.
As your milk comes in, and your baby’s stomach grows, they will start to get more milk at each feeding.
4. Do Skin-To-Skin A LOT
There are so many benefits to doing skin to skin. Some of these benefits include keeping your newborn warm, calming both mom and baby, and an easier time establishing breastfeeding.
Also, newborns nurse so often! When you are still learning how to latch your baby, and which positions are easier for you, it’s more convenient not to have to deal with having a shirt in the way.
In the beginning, I used these shirts, and also this nightgown. They are both so great for breastfeeding since you don’t have to have a shirt in the way of nursing. Not to mention, they are both super comfortable.
Also, you will want to invest in some nursing bras. I used these for the most part because they are so comfortable, and they worked very well. (I am still using them a year later 😉 )
5. Speak With A Lactation Consultant
Before you leave the hospital after giving birth, ask to speak with a lactation consultant! This is a great opportunity to get help with whatever questions you have before you head home.
When it comes to what you should ask the LC, that can be whatever you need help with. You can ask them to show you different breastfeeding positions, help with latching concerns, or you can ask them questions like when you should start pumping to give your baby a bottle.
Which brings me to my next point!
6. Avoid Pacifiers/Bottles Until Breastfeeding Is Established
Definitely wait to introduce bottles and pacifiers until breastfeeding is established if you can. But, don’t wait too long! This is among the many breastfeeding tips I wish someone had told me.
Have you ever heard of bottle rejection? I never knew what bottle rejection was until my baby was about 10 weeks old and I was getting ready to go back to work part-time.
I had just pumped for the first time, and my husband was trying to give our son his first bottle. That sweet little baby WAS NOT having it! No matter what we did, our son would not drink from a bottle.
Finally, after trying numerous bottles over a long period of time, he would kinda drink from one. I definitely think it could have been avoided if I wasn’t so scared of my baby refusing the breast after having a bottle.
So, if you are planning on pumping and giving your baby a bottle, don’t be afraid of your baby refusing your breast. Try to bottle feed shortly after you are confident in your breastfeeding, usually around 4-6 weeks.
By the way, if you are wondering which bottle our baby finally took to, it was these ones! They worked great, and I feel like they have the closest resemblance to the real deal! 😉
7. Use A Rolled Up Swaddle For Extra Support
Breastfeeding pillows are awesome! But, there are some times when you might need a little extra support under your wrist. This is one of the breastfeeding tips that helped me so much when my baby was first born.
All you do is take a swaddle blanket, like these ones from Aden + Anais, and roll it like the picture above. Then, you put it between your wrist and breastfeeding pillow to give you a little extra support.
Once my baby grew a little more and wasn’t so tiny, I was able to use only the pillow comfortably.
8. Try Using Different Positions
While we are on the topic of being comfortable, if a certain position isn’t working for you, switch it up! There are a number of different positions you can try, and when you find the right one, you will know!
When I first started breastfeeding, this article from Medela was a great resource on all of the different positions to try.
9. Set Goals!
Setting breastfeeding goals is a great way to stay motivated when you are struggling. What I did to stay motivated was I set small, attainable goals.
These are what my goals looked like:
- Make it to 6 weeks of breastfeeding
- Then, make it to 3 months of breastfeeding
- After 3 months, make it to 6 months of breastfeeding
- Then, make it to 9 months of breastfeeding
- And lastly, make it to 1 year of breastfeeding!
Once I made it to a full year of breastfeeding, I didn’t set any more goals. At that point, whenever my baby and I decide to quit, it will be the right time. 🙂
10. Get Dad Involved
One of the best ways your partner can help you is just by being supportive. As a new mom, you are going through so much! A little extra help and attention are always great. 🙂
Other ways your partner can help is by doing things like bringing you snacks/water while you are nursing, burping the baby after feedings, or changing the baby’s diaper.
11. Use A Nursing Pillow
Nursing pillows are great for helping you support your little one while breastfeeding. My favorite pillow is the Boppy Pillow.
The Boppy pillow was my favorite because it is so versatile! You can use it while nursing, you can use it to prop up your baby for sitting and you can also use it for tummy time!
If you choose to get a Boppy, make sure you also get a waterproof cover to protect it from blow-outs and spit up! You just put the waterproof cover underneath the cute cover that comes with the pillow, and you are good to go.
12. Nurse Often
Keep in mind that your baby will want to nurse frequently. Nursing frequently will help get your breastfeeding established, and it will also prevent things like clogged milk ducts and engorgement.
13. Drink More Water!
The way I always thought about water during breastfeeding was that you have to drink more liquids to make more liquids. haha
Keep a large water bottle like this one around so you don’t have to fill it as often. I have used this water bottle so much since I first got pregnant with my son. It holds 48oz, which is quite a lot!
You might also be surprised about how thirsty you will get suddenly while breastfeeding. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t had any water for days!
14. Bump Up Your Calories
In addition to drinking more water, you will also need to add some more calories to your diet. When you are producing breast milk, you will need about an additional 500 calories a day.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should eat a cheeseburger a day. (Even though sometimes that will seem like the best idea ever 😉 ) Keep eating healthy, nutritious snacks with lots of protein.
15. Have Heating/Cooling Pads Ready
Heating/cooling pads are a MUST-HAVE! They are a lifesaver for times like when you get a clogged milk duct.
You will want pads that can be heated up and also stuck in the freezer. The cold will help you with engorgement pain, and the heat will help to get the milk flowing.
I loved these pads. They are made of flax seed and can be thrown in the freezer or the microwave. Plus, the material feels much better on your skin than plastic. 🙂
16. Don’t Ignore Pain
Pain is probably one of the top reasons why people don’t follow through with breastfeeding. It’s definitely a big reason why I thought about quitting in the beginning!
Let’s get into some of the most common reasons you might experience pain while breastfeeding and what you can do about it:
Clogged Milk Ducts
Clogged milk ducts are exactly how they sound, a blockage in one or more of your milk ducts. You will know if you have a clogged duct if you have a painful lump in your breast that might also be warm.
The best way in resolving a clogged duct is to use warm compresses and to nurse often!
Mastitis is an infection in your breast caused by either bacteria or a clogged milk duct.
If you suspect you have mastitis, you should call your doctor right away. If they determine that’s what you have, they will prescribe you some antibiotics.
If your baby isn’t latched correctly, then there will be some pain. If you are really struggling with getting your baby to latch, seek help from a lactation consultant! As I mentioned earlier, this is a great topic to address before leaving the hospital.
I had no idea letdowns could be painful when I first started breastfeeding. Luckily, your body will adjust and as you breastfeed more, it should go away. If you’re like me, one day you will realize, “Hey, that didn’t hurt like it used to!”. 😉
One way to help relieve this is to take a warm shower or use a warm damp towel as a compress before nursing.
If you are experiencing frequent clogged milk ducts, talk to your doctor about taking sunflower lecithin!
Sunflower lecithin was another one of the huge breastfeeding tips that helped me keep going with my breastfeeding journey. Once I started taking it, the clogged ducts stopped and I was more comfortable.
Dry, Sore Nipples
Sore nipples will go away with time, but to help protect them from getting worse, use nipple cream!
If you ask any breastfeeding mom, I’m sure they have dealt with at least one of these things. As long as you know how to fix the problem you are experiencing, and not to ignore the pain, you will be able to move past these problems!
17. Room Share
To help prevent the risk of SIDS, it is recommended that you room share with your baby until they are a year old. With that being said, room sharing also makes those night feedings easier on you.
When you have your baby right there next to your bed, there is no stumbling to their room in the middle of the night. You can just lean over, grab your baby, nurse, and then back to bed!
18. Call Your Insurance Before Buying A Pump
Most health insurances will cover the cost of a breast pump! Give your insurance company a call and ask them if they will cover a pump for you.
If your insurance does cover a breast pump, make sure you ask them what steps you need to take. To get my breast pump, all I had to do was purchase the pump I wanted, and then send them my receipt for reimbursement. Super simple!
Another thing to ask your insurance provider is if they also cover additional parts for your pump. There is a good possibility that they do, and that will save you some extra cash!
And there you have it, the most important breastfeeding tips I have learned in the 14 months (and counting) that I have breastfed. When you are having a hard time, but you push through and don’t give up, you will be so amazed by how strong you are.
Before you know it, you will have breastfed for a year (or however long you plan for) and you will look back at your struggles and know that you did the right thing by sticking to it!
Before you go, check out these related articles:
I would love to hear about your breastfeeding tips or success stories in the comments below!