I wish I would have known about these breastfeeding tips years ago!
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and fantastic thing, but man can it be HARD! Finding ways to make it easier is essential and will help sustain your breastfeeding journey. When I decided to breastfeed my first baby 13 years ago, I had NO clue what I was getting into. I naively thought you put the baby to your breast and boom you are good to go! Man, was I ever wrong?
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If this is your first-time breastfeeding (or you need a refresher like me), I highly recommend that you prepare. Nowadays with the help of the internet, you can take a simple and affordable breastfeeding class online.
Personally, I like the Milkology course. I love that is it is video-based and includes a troubleshooting guide. Even though some might say I was a veteran breastfeeding mama having breastfed multiple children, I encountered breasting problems like many women. I was thankful for such an invaluable resource.
These are the best breastfeeding tips I have uncovered during my AMAZING but sometimes DIFFICULT journey of breastfeeding three babies.
TIPS TO EASE BREASTFEEDING PAIN
(Discomfort in the initial few days of breastfeeding is pretty normal. Pain, on the other hand, is not. If you are experiencing prolonged pain while breastfeeding, please reach out to an IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant).
I was experiencing extreme pain with my last child. It turns out he had a tongue-tie. We were able to have my son revised by a preferred provider, work with an IBCLC, and our breastfeeding journey was able to continue with only a few hiccups. In the meantime, I tried many things to help with the pain!)
- Like I mentioned above, I love the online Milkology course but if you prefer to see an in-person IBCLC check with your health insurance plan to see if they cover your visits. When I needed in-person assistance, my insurance covered my visits.
- Learn and try different positions for feeding baby. Some women find relief in a cradle hold while others discover the football hold adjusts the baby’s latch for a more comfortable breastfeeding session. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Silverette Silver Nipple Cups. These might be a little more expensive than other products for breastfeeding pain but 100% worth it! Silver has natural healing properties, and since they never wear out, you can use them for years.
- Lansinoh Thera-Pearl Hot/Cool Breast Pads – These breast pads can be chilled or heated. If you are suffering from vasospasm, clogged ducts, or mastitis, these breast pads will provide amazing heat therapy. For the relief of tender nipples and engorgement, freezing them provides soothing cold treatment.
- Organic coconut oil for cracked nipples. Really. It also doesn’t clog your pumping parts with thick creams and will help heal those cracked nipples.
- Pineapple Juice or Tart Cherry Juice (concentrate) are naturally anti-inflammatory and can help with the pain of engorgement.
- Nipple shields might provide the relief you need if baby’s latch and sucking cause unbearable pain.
- Avoid clogged ducts by taking Sunflower Lecithin and having a properly fitting bra. Take it from me…you don’t want mastitis.
- If you do wind up with a clogged duct, the LaVie Lactation Massager is terrific at helping to massage them out. Also, try dangle feeding.
TIPS FOR PUMPING BREAST MILK
- If you plan to nurse and pump, check with your insurance company to see if you qualify for a free breast pump.
- Make sure you are using the right size pump parts. Using the wrong size flanges can not only cause pain, but you will pump less milk.
- Save money by purchasing off-brand replacements pump parts! I love this company and shipping is fast (thanks Amazon Prime. Try Prime for free for 30 days!).
- Don’t buy a separate pumping bra. Yup, you heard me. No need. Cut out holes in an old sports bra or use this hack with your everyday nursing bra! Viola, you can thank me later. Here is a tutorial to show you how.
- Take a hot shower or heat up the Lansinoh Thera-Pearl Hot/Cool Breast Pads before pumping to express more milk.
- Invest in a haakaa pump! While nursing baby on one side, catch the milk from the other breast with the haakaa pump! I was able to build up a nice stash of breastmilk from just using the haakaa pump.
- You don’t have to clean your pump parts every time you’ve finished pumping. By keeping your pump parts in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for the day and reusing them saves so much time washes your parts throughout the day. Then wash and sterilize with these sterilization bags at the end of the day.
TIPS FOR STORING BREAST MILK
- Soda boxes are the perfect size for store breastmilk bags upright. They save so much space in the freezer. This tutorial shows you how easy it is.
- Print out a cheat sheet of breastmilk storage guidelines and hang it on your fridge. Here is a detailed storage guideline you can download.
- Are you storing milk in the fridge? Place a reusable label on your bottles, so you don’t have to throw any of that liquid gold away!
TIPS FOR BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
- Don’t flood your wardrobe with nursing shirts! Try the two-shirt method. Wear a tank top under a regular shirt and pull up the top shirt to nurse. I love these tank tops from Kohls. The best part is I can use them after I am done nursing!
- Practice at home! Before breastfeeding in public practice your hold and maneuvering your shirt while holding your baby.
- Find a quiet space to feed baby away from distractions.
- Don’t feel like you have to cover-up. But if you decide to cover-up use muslin blankets instead of a coverup. Those cover-ups can be cumbersome and hot for you and baby. I used them for my first two. This time around I am more comfortable with maneuvering my shirt to stay covered, but when I want my nosey little man to settle and eat, I use these muslin blankets. It provides the coverage I want without all the heat.
TIPS TO MAKE BREASTFEEDING A LITTLE MORE STRESS-FREE
- I found having a nursing “station” with all my breastfeeding tools readily available helped make breasting easier, ESPECIALLY those first few weeks of recovery. You can invest in a rolling cart like this that comes in a variety of colors or just use a basket that can quickly move with you around the house. Stock your station with burp cloths, coconut oil, breast pads, haakaa pump, water, etc.
- Invest in a nursing pillow. It can help you achieve the perfect nursing position as well as relieve stress on your back, neck, and shoulders. It is especially helpful if you are recovering from a C-section. I was able to comfortably nurse and protect my tummy.
- Be comfortable while nursing in bed with proper support. This pillow was also my savior when recovering from a C-section. I slept sitting up for several weeks while I was healing.
- Reusable breast pads. Seriously it took me to my third breastfed kid to finally discover these!
- Vitamins on subscription. First of all, I am forgetful and never remember to order my vitamins on time. Amazon subscription not only saves me $ but they make sure I don’t run out of my vitamins.
- Buy nursing bras when they are on sale- ok this is kind of a no-brainer but still a tip.
The Most Important Breastfeeding Tip
- Take it one day at a time! Breastfeeding is a demanding job and not always an easy one. Create small milestones and reward yourself when you meet them. Keep it up for as long as you can. A day, a week, a month, a year- however long you can nurse. You got this mama!
Do you have some best breastfeeding tips and hacks not mentioned? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll add them to the list!