Get the best breastfeeding tips to help you nurse like a superstar!
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural connection between a mother and her child.
Nursing from the breast goes way beyond simply nourishing your little one but, for some women, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily.
After I had my twins, I wanted to breastfeed and I did but it was a struggle for me. I did not produce enough milk for two babies so I had to supplement with donor breast milk and formula.
Fortunately I did breastfeed until my twins were over a year old.
There’s more to it than simply putting baby to boob, so here are some invaluable tips and hacks to help you create a sense of ease and simplify your life as you breastfeed your child.
Getting Started with Breastfeeding
The world of breastfeeding is new, isn’t it? It’s also a little scary.
When I first started, I knew I wasn’t comfortable breastfeeding twins at the same time. It took me a while to have the confidence to do it – and after I tried it? I knew it was better if I breastfed one twin at a time!
Learning what’s best for you will take practice for sure. Here are the best tips to help you get started breastfeeding on the right foot!
1. Take an Online Breastfeeding Course
Many women initially struggle with breastfeeding and there is some great information out there. Check out this course from Milkology that helps women develop the skills necessary to breastfeed and the confidence to do so.
2. Get to Know Your Nursing Positions
Apart from getting your little one’s lips to your breast, there are some holds and positions that help to encourage breastfeeding as well as make things more comfortable for you. Look into the cradle hold, crossover hold, football hold, laid-back hold and side-lying hold.
3. Practice Skin-to-Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact helps to increase your milk supply. Holding your baby skin-to-skin increases production of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for milk ejection and bonding.
4. Nurse Immediately After Birth – or Within the First Hour
Having your baby breastfeed immediately after birth, or soon thereafter, provides the baby with colostrum. Colostrum is the thick substance that first comes out of the breast when your baby starts nursing. It provides the baby with protection against infection and disease.
5. Focus on a Correct Latch
Latching may hurt at first as you and your baby figure it out but with practice it will get easier. Just make sure your baby’s mouth is open wide around the nipple and areola but not grabbing any skin on your breast.
For more help, here’s 5 secrets for getting the perfect latch!
6. Seek the Help of a Lactation Consultant
There are experts in the field of breastfeeding that are available to help you if you find you are struggling. Some hospitals offer breastfeeding clinics you can attend or you can look into La Leche League, a non-profit organization focused on aiding mothers with breastfeeding, for a chapter or support group in your area.
7. Download Some Breastfeeding Tracking Apps
Adjusting to life with a newborn can do a number on one’s head, so why not download a free app to make nursing easier? Baby Breastfeeding Tracker for the iPhone and Baby Tracker for Android are free applications you can use to track your baby’s feed sessions and schedule.
For some of my favorite breastfeeding trackers, check out this round up list!
8. Grab Some Milk Savers
As your milk supply increases, you may notice your other breast leaking as you nurse or pump. Milk savers are designed to collect the leaking milk so that you can store it in the fridge or freezer for a later feeding. You can simply slip one into your bra on the non-nursing side – they are small, portable and hold more than 2 oz. of breast milk.
9. Make a Breastfeeding Caddy or Station
Keep everything you need within arms reach while you nurse by making a breastfeeding caddy. Simply take a basket and fill it with diapers, wipes, receiving blankets and items you can entertain yourself with like magazines, books, etc.
10. Put a Nightlight in Your Room
The goal of nighttime feeding is to satiate your little one without him or her waking fully. Use a nightlight so that you can see what you’re doing and keep your little one sleepy. It’s help from waking you up completely too.
11. Use a Nursing Clip to Hold Up Your Shirt
Keeping your shirt lifted as your breastfeed can be cumbersome. Eliminate the nuisance of a falling shirt by using a nursing clip, a great accessory for keeping your shirt lifted and out of the way.
12. Wear High Waisted Leggings
Wearing leggings up past your navel ensure that your torso isn’t exposed when you nurse, especially in public. Make sure to get the compression kinds to help with the post belly look.
13. Wear Two Tank Tops
Alternatively, if you don’t want to lift your shirt up completely, you can layer two tank tops. Simply pull the bottom of the outer tank up and the top of the inner tank down.
Milk Supply and Flow
14. Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated
What you put into your body affects the quality of your breast milk. Try to focus on eating healthy and wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Drink plenty of water as well – your body is creating a lot of extra liquid.
15. Increase Your Caloric Intake
Your body requires more calories since it burns more energy producing milk. Make sure you are eating enough – and make sure those foods are healthy choices (see above).
16. Essential Oils Can Help Boost Your Milk Supply
Mixing essential oils such as lavender, basic, tea tree and clary clage – combined with a carrier oil – can be massaged on your breasts to increase your milk supply.
17. Certain Foods Can Help Boost Your Milk Supply Too
Foods such as oats, almonds, bananas, spinach, carrot and avocado can also help to boost your milk supply. These choices are also healthy ways to increase your caloric intake as well!
18. You Can Use Massage to Encourage Flow
Massaging your breasts while nursing helps to encourage flow, empty the milk ducts and increase milk supply. There’s no right or wrong way to massage your breast, but you can try using your fingers to massage your breast in a circular pattern. You can also use your fist to knead or gently roll your breast.
19. Nurse on Demand
Nursing on demand, usually every 1 ½ to 3 hours, helps to establish and maintain your milk supply. Thankfully, nursing on demand doesn’t last forever. By the age of 1 to 2 months, your newborn will nurse less frequently and feed on a more reliable schedule.
Pumping and Storage
20. You Don’t Have to Wash Your Breast Pump After Every Use
As long as you store the pump and its parts in a clean bag in the fridge, you can sterilize everything at the end of the day.
21. You Can Use the Pump Flange as a Funnel
If you’re planning on storing your breast milk in bags to refrigerate or freeze, you can use the flange part of your pump (it’s the piece that goes over your nipple) as a funnel to fill the bags.
22. Freeze Your Milk Bags Flat
By freezing your milk bags flat, you save on storage space and make thawing a quicker process.
23. Store Your Breast Milk in the Back of the Fridge
Don’t store your pumped milk on the fridge door or near the front of the fridge. Every time you open the door, you risk the milk warming. Keep it at the back of the fridge and store for no longer than 3-4 days. After that, it’s time to toss.
24. Pay Attention to Your Thawing Methods
If you thaw the breast milk in the fridge, you have about 24 hours before it should be used. However, if you thaw your milk at room temperature, it needs to be used within a couple of hours. Very importantly, you should never re-freeze thawed milk.
25. Write the Date on the Bags of Milk Before Freezing
This habit will help you keep track of how long the milk has been in the fridge. Plus, you should use the oldest milk first (as long as it’s still good).
26. You Can Store Frozen Milk for Up to 6 Months
Storing breast milk over 6 months up to 12 months is okay to use but may have lost nutritional quality along the way.
Bonus: Try a Haakaa
Have you tried using a Haakaa for a more natural pumping session?
Pain and Pain Management
27. You Can Use Coconut Oil to Relieve Blocked Ducts
A breast massage with coconut oil in a hot shower may be all it takes to relieve a blocked duct.
28. Lanolin is Awesome for Sore Nipples
As your little one learns to latch, you may end up experiencing some seriously sore nipples. Lanolin in an all natural that can help relieve the irritation of cracked nipples.
Motherlove is one the best nipple creams to help with sore nipples!
29. You Should Always Pay Attention to Breast Pain
While breastfeeding can be a painful learning curve for you and your infant, you should never ignore pain in your breasts. It could be caused not only by a plugged duct or latch issues, but from thrush or mastitis as well.
Other Breastfeeding Tips and Hacks
30. Use a Hair Tie on Your Wrist to Track Which Breast Was Nursed From
To make sure your little one nurses equally from each breast, place a hair tie on the breast currently being fed from. The next time your infant feeds, you’ll know which breast they nursed from last.
31. Put a Band-Aid Above Your Breast, on Your Upper Chest
Keep twiddling fingers busy, and (literally) out of your hair, by sticking a band-aid within reach. Added bonus: it may just help your little one with grasp development as well!
32. Co-Sleeping Will Make Nighttime Feedings Easier
Having your baby sleeping in the same room as you means that you can respond to their hunger signals much quicker than if they were in another room. The faster you can have them nursing, the less likely they are going to fully wake up.
33. Gradual Weaning, and Baby Led Weaning, Helps to Prevent Breast Sagging
Many women believe that early weaning will keep their breasts from becoming saggy, but the opposite it true. When you gradually wean your child off the breast, or allow them to wean themselves, your breasts experience a slow reduction of size as opposed to a rapid one.
Breastfeeding Secrets All New Moms Need to Know
There ya go! Thirty-three breastfeeding tips and hacks to help you relieve pain and enjoy the breastfeeding journey!
Over to you – what are your best breastfeeding tips?
Please remember to pin me!