Inside: Because mastering the art of breastfeeding can take some time, these breastfeeding tips for new moms can help set you up for success early on.
Breastfeeding like parenting is one of those things you are never truly prepared for in full. Sure you might do your research to prepare as much as you can, and may even hear a million and one stories from other moms who’ve been there.
But the truth is, none of them will be an exact match to your breastfeeding experience.
Every mother’s journey in breastfeeding is unique. And unfortunately, most moms have to learn the ins and outs of breastfeeding first hand, the hard way.
But when we stumble upon a few golden nuggets, it’s important to share them with other moms out there embarking on this new chapter in life. These breastfeeding tips for new moms will make the journey much more manageable in the long-term.
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Breastfeeding Success Tips for New Moms
Here are a few of those tips to keep in mind, especially as a new mom breastfeeding for the first time:
Create a Nursing Station
Create a comfortable space for nursing baby — it could be the couch, a nursing chair, or your bed with the help of a boppy or MyBrestFriend pillow (the one I used due to back pain!). These breastfeeding supports will help you relax and take your time — which are both key to your milk supply and practicing proper latching.
Don’t forget to keep a basket of nursing essentials handy with anything that you need to comfortably feed: snacks, bottles of water, the remote and charger…and the ONE thing that I never had enough of at almost EVERY nursing session(was this you too?)!!
All of these items make the experience so much easier during long nursing stretches.
See more gift ideas nursing moms will appreciate!!
And whatever spot you choose, make sure that location is safe because you’ll be spending lots of time there — during the day and night when you may inevitably fall asleep. (Worried? You can read this post to prepare for the feeding exhaustion at night too.)
Don’t just resign yourself to “dealing” with breastfeeding pain forever. Although nursing may hurt at first, it shouldn’t be excruciating. If it is, that’s a sign that something is wrong — it could be the position, a poor latch or even tongue tie. Experiment with different techniques and make sure baby’s mouth is covering as much of areola as possible.
You can also use lanolin or even the colostrum to alleviate cracked nipples.
If you experience severe nipple pain while breastfeeding that doesn’t seem to be getting better, ask to see a lactation consultant. These professionals are also available in hospitals and can help you get adjusted and reduce issues you have early on.
Understand your output
Don’t use a pump to measure how much milk your baby is getting. Your body will respond to a pump differently than to your baby. A better way to judge whether or not your baby is getting enough is to watch for wet diapers. If baby is wetting roughly every two hours than she is getting enough milk and you can relax knowing you’re doing a great job.
Learn to nurse in a baby carrier. There will come a time when you feel like your baby does nothing but nurse and sleep cuddled to your breast. While this is normal for growth spurts it can make things a bit hard when you have other things to do. The baby carrier (I used a few, but liked this all-in-one carrier the best) will allow you to nurse and get things done on the go. Win-Win.
Save your milk
You can find lots of options for milk saving inserts for your bra these days like this one here. In just a few sessions you can have the start of your freezer stash with just the milk that leaks while nursing off the other side. I really wish I had known about these the first time around!
Enlist some help. A great support system from your dr to loved ones willing to help with baby can make all the difference in your nursing journey. A loving helpful hand when stress takes hold can go a long way. Especially if they will care for a fussy baby while you take a shower. You can even find online support groups in a more intimate community of moms.
Feed on Demand
Build a healthy milk supply by nursing on demand. Forget the clock and feed your baby when she wants to be fed. Because the more you feed baby, the more breast milk your body will produce. And the less you feed baby (by supplementing or skipping a feeding) the less your body will produce during that time/day. Set your milk production by how often you feed.
Eat a balanced meal
While a perfect diet isn’t necessary for breastfeeding succeed, you do want to make sure you are fueling your body with the right nutrients. Eat a balanced diet that encourages supply — protein, oats and healthy fats are all good choices. And of course, hydrate as much as possible to support your milk production.
Did you know that stress can detrimentally affect your milk supply? Sadly, it’s true. The more super stressed you are — about breastfeeding, your milk supply or this whole new phase in motherhood, the more that it can hurt your experience and supply.
Instead, try to unwind and relax knowing that yes, breastfeeding may be challenging at times, but it really does get better with more practice. The more time and energy you put into, the more you take care of yourself while breastfeeding, and the more you enjoy it, the easier it is.
Enjoy this time
You don’t have to love every minute of breastfeeding, but if it’s something near and dear to your heart that you want to do, then savor the bonding time that it creates between you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is sometimes messy and a learning curve…but also so incredibly beautiful as you progress and master it.
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.