We all know that breast is best but often the process can see complicated and overwhelming! That’s why we gathered these tips that are worth their weight in liquid gold from moms just like you who have breastfed successfully–many exclusively and with all their children! We know that they’re going to help you tons!
See a Lactation Consultant
The biggest and most often recommended tip by successful breastfeeding moms! Set yourself up for success by knowing about possible road bumps before they even happen! Start off by asking your OB if there is a consultant who works with their office. With my first baby there was one locally who even did home visits and didn’t charge! WIC offices usually have them for you to see at no charge even if you’re not on WIC. Here is a super handy tool to help you Find a Lactation Consultation!
Stock Up on the Right Equipment
Purchase a breast pump (or you can borrrow/rent one!) How nice of one you need will depend on how often you’ll be using it. If you plan on exclusively breastfeeding and using the pump on only “must use” occasions then the most inexpensive one off the Walmart shelf is great! If you will be pumping for work, or plan on pumping regularly really do your research and find a model that will be comfortable and efficient while also being cost effective for you! Also if you’ll be pumping often you might want to consider Snugabell which is a bra specifically designed for hands free pumping.
Along this line you’ll need to purchase a few high quality bras. Avoid underwire bras as they can pinch milk ducts and cause mastitis. If you must have underwire, then it’s worth spending the money on a good nursing bra that specially made with flat wire for that purpose.
You’ll also want to stock up on nursing pads (nothing is more embarrassing than hearing a baby cry out in public and leaking through your shirt!).
The circle shaped nursing pillows are worth their weight in gold! You don’t have to splurge for the name brand, however. Many stores with baby departments carry off-label ones that work just as well for a lot less money.
Nursing covers are wonderful to have and we love the ones like Udder Covers that allow you to look down at your baby. They often put out codes for a free cover, you just have to pay shipping, so be sure to google before you buy!
Also if you are having trouble getting your baby to latch at first nipple shields can really help. If you’ve seen a lactation consultant like they can tell you about all the cool products there are, but don’t worry about getting them until they recommend them for your situation.
It WILL hurt–at first!
I read everywhere that if “you’re breastfeeding correctly it will not hurt”. This is true after your nipples get used to the baby latching on and your body gets used to your milk letting down. Ensure that your baby is latching on correctly (your whole nipple should be in their mouth, not just the tip) and that your nipples are not becoming cracked and it will pass after just a few days and it will become a wonderful experience–so just muscle through that first little bit! To deal with the pain use pain reliever and if it’s caused by engorgement don’t be afraid to pump to relieve some of the pressure and allow your baby to get a good latch!
Another cause of pain and discomfort with nursing can be cracked/sore nipples and rash around the breast. ChafeStop will help relieve any rashes you might get naturally. Your Breastmilk is actually the best thing you can use for your cracked/sore nipples! Just express a little bit of it and rub it around–it’ll help them heal quickly and you can’t get much more natural!
Practice, practice, practice
Your baby might latch like a champion the minute they lay him to your breast….or it might take awhile (which is more likely). This is a learning process for both of you and can even vary from child to child. Just keep trying different methods and holds until you land on the one that’s perfect for both of you!
Feed On Demand
You won’t need to worry if your baby is getting enough to eat as long as you’re feeding them on demand. When in doubt–offer your breast! If you’re concerned keep track of their wet and dirty diapers–if you’re changing a bunch each day then you’re good. When it doubt check in with your pediatrician, lactation consultant, or call your nurses hot line. Remember to utilize ALL your resources!
Drink, Eat, and Rest A LOT
To successfully breastfeed you will need to make sure you are guzzling down tons of water, eating plenty (don’t worry about loosing all that baby weight yet–trust us you’ll have plenty of time to do that once your baby is weaned) and be getting adequate rest. A beautiful thing about breastfeeding is that it forces you off of your feet and into relaxing several times a day–this happens for a reason! Embrace it and use it as times to rest and relax and enjoy your little one! And if you choose to sneak in catching up on your favorite blogs, books, or Pinterest during that time we totally won’t judge–we actually encourage it! We recommend Pandora to create a free, soothing music station to listen to and stocking up on all the free Kindle books you can get your hands on! You can download the app even if you don’t have a Kindle and read on your tablet or smartphone. If you’re a classic lover you will flip for Project Gutenberg which offers over 45,000 free e-books.
Watch What You Eat
After what we said this might sound contradictory–but it’s not! What you eat directly affects your milk supply. This actually isn’t too much of an issue (unless we’re talking about drinking in which case you’ll need to pump and dump) but if your baby is very fussy you might want to change your diet up a little. Foods that give you gas will give them gas–but their little bodies aren’t quite ready to deal with that as well as yours yet. Also some babies are sensitive to dairy products at the beginning and then they grow out of it, so cutting them out of your diet for just a few days and seeing if that helps your babies temperament is worth a shot!
Feeding at Night
The name of the game is to get your wee one (and YOU) back to sleep ASAP. Keep a tiny, dim lamp or nightlight in the room where your baby is and do not turn on any lights. A great idea is to nurse baby on one side, then change the diaper, and then nurse on the other. This will wake you both up a little. Make sure that you’re propped up and have a nice, snug grip on your baby and then feel free to doze on and off while they nurse! If you have them on a pillow and they fall asleep at your breast it’s really not a big deal–especially if you’re not nursing them to sleep for the initial lay down it’s fine if you use it to get them back to sleep as quickly as possible during the night!
So there you go! Our Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding. Be sure to checkout our awesome Breastfeeding to Love board on Pinterest for ever MORE amazing breastfeeding advice. Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment and let us know!