Any breastfeeding mother will tell you there are just some things she wish she knew sooner – breastfeeding hacks or tips and tricks that made nursing a little easier. Because let’s face it, breastfeeding can come with its share of challenges.
From best ways to store breast milk and increase milk supply to relieving engorgement and pumping like a pro, I’m sharing a few nursing tips moms will truly appreciate.
Such genius ways to make life easier for nursing moms and a must-read for moms who feed on demand or moms who want to keep baby full.
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How to help make breastfeeding easier
First, let me just say nursing is not always an easy endeavor. Sure it’s what the experts say is best for baby, but sometimes we encounter many breastfeeding challenges along the way that don’t always make it a very long experience for moms.
So anything that can make that process a little easier in the day to day is a God-send.
I breastfed all three of my boys and each experience was a little different — a learning curve for the baby as well. But there were several things that made it a success for me that I want to share.
Feeding on demand
Feeding my baby on demand meant just that. Anytime baby would show hunger cues, like rooting or smacking his lips together I would let him breastfeed. Many people choose to follow a 3-4 hour window feeding schedule, but I found that bringing the breast to baby whenever he showed the signs helped me cater to his developmental and nutritional needs. For two of my kids, this meant feeding very frequently for 1-2 hours or so. It was exhausting, but that initial schedule helped breastfeeding become second-nature for both me and baby.
When you’re breastfeeding, it’s essential to keep hydrated. Your body is working extra hard to produce fluids to nourish baby with. Drinking lots of water was key to produce more breast milk. This was something I always tried to do while nursing. During the day I made sure I was drinking plenty of water and kept a non-toxic water container at my bedside, when I really needed it.
Finally, another key factor that helped make breastfeeding easier was the support I had. My spouse encouraged it because of the all the health benefits (and of course this freed up some of his time hehe) and my sisters and mom provided priceless advice from what pump to use to what creams and foods to eat to help the production coming — this helped immensely when it was time to build up a stock for when I needed to be away from baby for a day!
Keep these tips in mind throughout your breastfeeding journey AND let your family know their support means the world.
Breastfeeding Tips and Hacks New Moms Need
Find a nurse-friendly shirt.
To make breastfeeding doable, when you may want a little more privacy you’ll need a nursing cover. If you don’t have one handy, a nurse-friendly shirt is the quick solution.
Try the two-shirt method so you literally just have to lift one shirt up to feed baby. Since you have that second shirt underneath, no more exposing your whole tummy. This also helps a nursing mother feel more comfortable when she has the top shirt covering the top portion of the breast.
This is the method I use now with my third baby, but I didn’t even think of this simple strategy the first time around. I depended on this nursing top that basically used that two-shirt principle, however. Whatever you choose, this is one tip you must keep in mind!
Use a scarf as a nursing cover.
Another great alternative to a nursing cover or nursing shirt is an infinity scarf. These things are so amazing — not only are they a fun way to dress up an ordinary outfit (new mom clothes aren’t always the greatest), they make it super easy to get a little privacy for nursing in public!
Try the hair band hack.
A pediatrician shared this great nursing tip with me. When you are feeding baby at night and switching from one boob to the other, it’s easy to forget which breast you last fed from. Wearing a hair band on the breast you are feeding from helps to remind an exhausted new mom what side she should start feeding from for her next session. (The nursing clips that attach to the bra are another option to help you remember!)
If you don’t know why this is important you may want to read my post about keeping a breastfed baby full.
Stock up on nursing pads.
Every nursing mother will experience that moment of let down. When it’s time for a feeding and your milk comes out with or WITHOUT baby around. I’ve lost count on the number of times I had to toss another soaked shirt into the laundry basket or feel a little mortified when out in public without breast pads. Whether you like the disposable or washable kind, nursing pads make your life a LOT easier.
Purchase milk savers.
I WISH I knew about these when I first started nursing. Simply attach the milk savers to your bra to catch any otherwise-wasted-excess milk you release after a feeding session. These would have made it so much easier to build up a milk stash for bottles. And any nursing mom will tell you how painful it is to see their precious breast milk go to waste.
Use soda boxes to store breast milk.
I definitely had a case of buyer’s remorse with a number of baby products I purchased for my kids. Extra baby bottles and storing containers topped the list. Because I rarely used them or I could have gone the DIY route with soda can boxes.
Use cabbage to alleviate engorgement.
Breast engorgement is a very painful feeling many breastfeeding moms experience either when they are between feedings, away from baby or just have to stop nursing baby and begin the weaning process. Cold cabbage leaves are a homemade relief option many moms swear by!
Carry a nursing or teething necklace.
I never gave much thought to this, until I experienced the inevitable baby grab. You know…when your little bundle of joy decides to squeeze your breast with all his might and dig those little nails into you. OUCH!
Wearing a nursing necklace is a great way to keep those wandering hands full and make for a little less painful feeding.
Make a Pumping Bra
I missed the memo on those pumping bras for nursing moms the first time I created a baby registry. It definitely was frustrating to have to juggle bottles of milk and just sit in a chair listening to the whirring of a pump when I wanted to do things…anything than just sit there with my hands occupied. Little did I know I could have just used an old sports bra and got a little crafty like this gal who created her own hands-free pumping bra – genius!
Lactation Stimulating Smoothies
Of course, healthy food consumption can be a great way to boost your milk production. Fruit-filled smoothies made with natural oats are a very easy and yummy way to help with milk production. I love this lactation smoothie perfect for the nursing mother!
I hope these tips will help alleviate any breastfeeding stress or frustrations — it’s definitely not an easy job, so doing it for any amount of time is surely a success!