BEST BREASTFEEDING TIPS FOR NEW MOMS
There is a lot of different information out there on breastfeeding, but there are some breastfeeding tips that don’t make it in the books–at least not in the books that I read!
Breastfeeding is probably one of the hardest things to do as a new mother. It can also be one of the most rewarding things you can do as well.
I loved the connection and warm fuzzy feelings that breastfeeding gave me, and it really allowed me a lot of extra time to bond with my little one. It also allowed me to get off my feet temporarily which is always a plus!
MOST breastfeeding issues stem from a lack of knowledge about breastfeeding. Trust me, I am not commenting on your intelligence, it’s just that the process of breastfeeding is complicated.
I encourage you to take a look at Stacey’s Milkology course if you still feel you are struggling with the basics. She goes into serious depth about breastfeeding, as well as offering you troubleshooting advice when you are struggling. If you feel like you already have a good handle on the knowledge bit–read on!
Through two kids and a lot of trial and error, I found what works and what doesn’t when it comes to breastfeeding. After so many women really seemed to enjoy my post on how to increase milk supply, I decided that more breastfeeding tips would be well appreciated!
Related: Newborn Baby Hacks
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BREASTFEEDING ON THE GO
FOR THE BOTTLE FEEDING MAMA’S
If you are out and about, bring a thermos or travel mug full of hot water. You can leave the bottle containing breastmilk (or water for the formula moms) in the thermos to help keep it warm so it can be the right temperature for your littles once it’s time to feed them.
FORMULA TIP FOR ON THE GO
Buy a formula dispenser to take with you when you are on-the-go! Our little one is supplemented with formula right now, and I hate having to lug a huge container around in our diaper bag any time we want to go anywhere, as a bottle of formula is only good mixed up for a limited amount of time.
If you aren’t feeling spendy, use a sandwich bag! Don’t fuss with the ziplock when dispensing, though. Just cut off an empty corner and squeeze it into the bottle. This will also work wonders with ketchup in your babe’s toddler years.
INFINITY SCARF TRICK
If you want to cover up while breastfeeding in public, you don’t need to spend money on a nursing cover that you will only use during this time in your life. Pick up a nursing Infinity Scarf and have something you can use well past the time your littles is done breastfeeding.
BREASTFEED & BABYWEARING
Part of the reason I chose to buy the baby carrier I did is that it makes it super easy to breastfeed while I carried. With my second baby I didn’t have a lot of extra time to sit around, and so being able to feed my littles while still being productive was great. Some carriers advertise that they are breastfeeding friendly, like my Lille Baby (which I LOVE by the way).
Buy some nursing shirts that are specifically designed for breastfeeding. When you go out, make sure that you ALWAYS have a spare shirt with you. Letdown can sneak up on you anywhere so you will want something dry to change into just in case.
THE TWO-SHIRT METHOD
Okay, maybe you have heard of this awesome trick. We needed to include it just in case because it’s quite possibly one of the best ways to help yourself feel more comfortable when you have to breastfeed in public.
Remember that breastfeeding is NATURAL, and you should be supported to breastfeed uncovered if this is your preference. Unfortunately, our society can be judgemental and so some women don’t feel very comfortable being uncovered while breastfeeding in public.
The two shirt method is simple.
Wear a nursing bra, nursing tank, and a regular shirt. Unsnap your nursing bra and tank and pull them down. Pull up your regular shirt, and give yourself as much coverage as you want.
FOR PUMPING MOMS
DIY PUMPING BRA
Pumping can be incredibly time-consuming–especially if you have to hold the bottles while you pump! I did this the first couple of weeks I was pumping, and it was a huge time sucker.
I googled and found that they actually sell pumping kits that you can strap on so you can stay hands-free. Instead of spending money on something like this, make your own! If you don’t have an old full-coverage bra that you can wreck, you can pick one up for cheap, or it may be worth it to buy a pumping kit.
- Grab your flanges (you will need them to measure)
- Take one of your old full-coverage bras and put it on.
- Take a flange and tuck it between your bra and your breast in the position you would have it for pumping
- Mark the area where your flange presses out on the bra (fiddle with it to make sure it is sitting as naturally as possible for the best fit)
- Cut a hole through the pad! You don’t need to make this hole very big, you just need the skinny end of the flange to fit through it
Aaand you’re done! That was a lot cheaper than a professionally manufactured product and super easy to make! However, if you just don’t have the time for this, cut yourself some slack and buy one on Amazon.
PUMP INTO THE BREASTMILK STORAGE BAG
When you are pumping, do it straight into the bag! Your breastmilk has to go into the bag anyway, so there’s no point in dirtying a bottle if you can avoid it.
I will admit that I had NO idea that the bags from my pump manufacturer fit onto my breast pump, but it was a real time-saver once I figured it out! Make sure that you pick up bags that are compatible with your breast pump.
FOR THE WORKING MAMA
If you are pumping at work, bring a picture of your littles with you. Seeing a picture of your baby can help trigger the letdown reflex in some women, thus helping you be more productive with your pumping sessions.
This won’t work for everyone, and if you don’t seem to be getting any warm fuzzies, consider trying an article of clothing that smells like your little one. We all interact with our senses a little different, so find what works.
GENERAL BREASTFEEDING TIPS AND TRICKS
FEED ON ONE SIDE LONG ENOUGH
Keep in mind—the fuller your breast, the less fat content your baby is getting. This happens because the fat globules collect and get stuck further back in your breast during milk production. As your baby continues to feed, more of the fat will become loose and pass through your milk.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you let your littles finish one breast before moving them to the other. Remember, foremilk and hindmilk are terms that relate to how long your baby has been feeding at that breast DURING that feeding.
There is not some magic formula for when your baby moves from foremilk to hindmilk…it’s a process.
FOR THE TEETHING BABY
Is your little one teething? Unfortunately, products like Oragel are NO LONGER considered safe for babies. For a safe alternative, use these steps to make an exceptional breast milk pacifier!
- Buy a pacifier with a cover cap
- Pour your breast milk into the cap
- Insert the pacifier
- Stick it in the freezer!
You can also consider buying one of these cute baby popsicle holders that are specifically for freezing baby-sized drinks! Keep in mind that it can get really messy when baby uses it. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t spend most of their time covered in milk during this time?
In case you haven’t heard, dreamfeeding is one of the very best things you can do to help both you and baby get more sleep. I absolutely hated the 3 AM feedings, and so I needed to figure something else out.
We are HUGE advocates of safe sleep practices, so I can’t recommend you do this while cosleeping, although there are plenty of parents who choose to do it that way.
We went to bed much later than Moppet, and so I would gently pull her out of her crib and nurse her right before I went to bed. The key is to keep it dark and avoid stimulation. No coo’s or smiles–keep it business.
When I did this, my bleary-eyed baby girl would nurse for a while and then I would gently put her back in her crib. On the nights that I did this, she slept through the ENTIRE night—which was a lifesaver.
Related: Newborn Sleep Tips and Tricks
FEED ON DEMAND
Your baby doesn’t know what a schedule is, and they don’t need to right now. A newborn should be eating roughly every 2 hours—but that’s a rough estimate. The more your baby feeds, the more milk you will produce. Don’t worry about a schedule and listen to your baby’s cues.
Remember, you are burning a pretty good amount of calories while breastfeeding, so eating enough is essential. Keep some snacks close by that are easy to eat one-handed. If you can cook meals you can eat one-handed too, you’ll be set!
BREASTFEEDING SANITY SAVERS
AWESOME HAIR TIE HACK
Remembering which side you nursed on last is a serious chore! I always forgot–and this kept happening until I decided to do something about it. Use a hair tie on your wrist or grab a bobby pin and pin it to your bra on the side you nursed last.
Milk savers are neat little contraptions that can catch the breastmilk you are leaking on the opposite side that your baby is eating. Remember, your milk is a precious commodity, so it’s definitely worth picking one of these up if you seem to experience a substantial amount of leakage. Some moms get a whole extra ounce or two a day!
When my baby was born, I couldn’t remember my own name half of the time, let alone the last time my baby ate. It’s important to be aware of how often your baby is eating so you will (hopefully) be aware a bit sooner if your littles is having issues. There are plenty of apps available—so pick one up! If you would rather use a good old-fashioned paper and pen, we have a free feeding and diapering printable!
MEDICATION FOR ENGORGEMENT
Remember that an anti-inflammatory (like Ibuprofen) is going to be more useful than a medication like Tylenol for engorged breasts. Deal with the symptom, not the pain, and you will feel better almost instantly.
COLD & WARM COMPRESS
Do a warm compress for 10-15 minutes before feeding your littles.
Not only will it relieve your discomfort if you are experiencing engorgement, but it will also help with milk flow.
Use a cold-compress for 10-15 minutes after breastfeeding to help with pain and inflammation.
These thermopads can be used for hot AND cold compresses, and they are reusable!
CABBAGE LEAF COMPRESS
Cabbage leaf compressions have been said to help with engorgement. While no scientific data proves this, many women seem to benefit from it.
- – Make sure the cabbage is cold, fresh, clean, and dry.
- – Place the cabbage leaves over your entire breast while leaving the nipple exposed.
- – Compress your breasts with your hands or a bra for 20-30 minutes. You want to throw the leaves away once they become wilted.
MASSAGE YOUR BREASTS
Not only does it feel kind of nice, it’s going to help stimulate blood flow in your breasts. If you massage your breasts while your littles is eating, they may be able to get more fat content, as you are helping break up those fat globules.
Also, it helps the milk flow which makes things easier for your baby. It also will help you prevent issues like plugged milk ducts, engorgement, and even mastitis. Seriously, it’s good for a lot of reasons.
INCREASING MILK SUPPLY
You have your options from numerous galactagogues, with the most common being fenugreek, fennel, and milk thistle. You can purchase these as teas, capsules, or even some yummy lactation cookies. Many women swear by these herbal products despite the lack of scientific evidence.
Remember, power pumping and staying hydrated can also help you increase your milk supply more quickly. You can read more in-depth about increasing your milk supply if you are interested.
What were some of your favorite “hacks”? Do you have any others to add that you found particularly useful? Share in the comments below!
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