20 Breastfeeding Tips: New Mom’s Guide To Easy Breastfeeding
There is now widespread knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding and how healthy it is for your newborn. While most moms plan on breastfeeding, it’s not always the easiest course to take.
While some women really enjoy it, breastfeeding can often present its challenges for plenty of new moms. Between the middle-of-the-night feedings, nipple pain, and worrying about whether you’re producing enough milk, there can be a lot of stress associated with breastfeeding.
On the other hand, breastfeeding doesn’t have to be hard. If you take the advice of moms who have been there and read these breastfeeding tips, your breastfeeding journey should be smooth sailing!
Breastfeeding tips for a new mom
The key to being successful at breastfeeding is finding little ways to make it easier on yourself and your baby. Here are all the breastfeeding tips and tricks that I’ve learned after raising three little ones.
1. Create a breastfeeding basket
Set up a little station or basket that is easily accessible while you’re nursing and fill it with all your breastfeeding must-haves. Since you may not always be nursing in the same spot, make it a portable station that you can carry around with you. Your personal essentials may vary, but typically you’ll want to include: a water bottle, nursing pads, lanolin or other nipple creams, milk cups, nipple shields (if you need them), teething necklace (for mom to wear when baby is about three months old), burp cloths/bibs, pacifiers and holders, tissues, television remotes, hair ties, your cell phone or tablet, headphones and a charger, snacks, breast pump, bottles or storage bags, nursing cover (if you have guests over), and an extra shirt for mom and onesie for baby.
2. Keep a hair tie on the same wrist of the last breast you fed on
When breastfeeding, try to start your breastfeeding session on the breast that you ended on last. The easiest way to remember which side to start on is to keep a hair tie on your wrist. Make sure you switch the hair tie to the other side while you’re feeding.
3. Use a breast feeding tracker app
Download an app like Baby Tracker or Glow to jot down the start times of each feeding, which breast the baby was on (right or left), and how long the baby was feeding for each nursing session. This is a great idea in the early days when you first start breastfeeding your newborn and you feel like there’s a lot to learn and keep track of.
4. Try a nursing pillow that straps to you
For example, the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow straps high around your waist to provide more support for you and the baby. This pillow prevents you from hunching over while feeding. It also allows you to easily walk around with your baby while they nurse, giving you the ability to multi-task while breastfeeding. A footstool may help with positioning your body properly too.
5. Drink lots of water
Breastfeeding makes you so thirsty! Always have a large jug of water close by. Using a straw helps to drink more water in a faster time frame. Water also naturally helps to increase breastmilk production. You could also try some herbal teas that help to increase your milk production.
6. Wear comfortable nursing bras
When your breasts are full and achy, you want good support from your bra while also staying soft and comfortable. Choose a bra that can free your breasts easily so they are more accessible while giving maximum support during the day, but conform to your body as you sleep.
7. Use a silicone manual breast pump on the opposite breast
If you don’t want to pump a ton but would still like to save some extra breast milk, you have to try this tip! A silicone manual breast pump uses suction to attach to the opposite breast while feeding. It provides mild suction to dispense any additional milk out. By using a manual pump, the milk that would just drip out from your let-down is contained and saved for later use. Otherwise, it would just end up going to waste in a nursing pad.
8. Use breastmilk testing strips if you’ve ingested any alcoholic beverages
If you are worried about whether or not you should feed your baby after having a drink or two, use these little strips to test for the presence of alcohol in your breastmilk. They work by determining pH levels to let you know whether the breastmilk is safe enough to give to your baby or if you should “pump-and-dump.” This way, you can feel confident that you’re safely feeding your baby, even after a couple of drinks you may enjoy now and then.
9. Use herbal supplements to increase milk supply
Your breastmilk supply can start to dip for various reasons. If this happens, try an herbal supplement, such as fenugreek, as an aid to increase milk production. Fenugreek is the most common supplement that you can take orally to increase your supply and it worked wonders for me! There are also various recipes for lactation cookies that you can make to increase your milk production.
10. Keep your baby on the same breast for a whole feeding
Your body produces two different types of milk: fore milk at the beginning of the feeding and hind milk at the end. Hind milk is the fatty stuff that will fill your baby up and keep them satisfied and gaining weight. To ensure that your baby is getting this milk, make sure they are staying on one breast until it’s empty. If you keep switching breasts during one feeding, they may only take in the fore milk, which will not keep them full as long.
11. Cue your let down before starting to feed baby
Your let-down could sometimes take 30 seconds to one minute before your baby can get any milk out. If your baby gets frustrated from this, help them out before they start suckling. You can take a hot shower, pump for just a minute or two, or manually massage your breast and nipple to stimulate the let down before the baby has to do it on their own.
12. Take off their clothes if they fall asleep during feedings
Newborns are always sleepy, but nursing makes them even more tired. Before the feeding starts, strip them down to just their diaper to keep them awake. The slight chill on their body will wake them up to maximize their milk intake.
13. Try “chewlery” for babies who can’t keep their hands to themselves
Once your baby turns about three months old, they will start reaching for everything. While you’re nursing, this will include your jewelry, hair, glasses and anything else that is within their grasp. Chewlery necklaces are made from food-grade silicone that your baby can reach for, chew on and play with if they’re distracted while feeding. Be sure to only wear the type designed for this purpose, as they are made to be especially safe and not fall apart.
14. Keep recently used pump parts in the refrigerator for later use
One of the most time-consuming things about pumping is washing the parts between each session. Instead of washing them so frequently, just place your parts in a Ziplock-style bag in the refrigerator. As long as milk is refrigerated, it can stay good for up to four days. This way, any milk residue that is left on your pump parts doesn’t need to be washed off right away. Simply reuse the same parts later on without worry!
15. Use a hands-free pumping bra
Holding your breast pump for 20-30 minutes can certainly be a waste of time. A hands-free pumping bra will give you the ability to multitask while pumping. Plus, it keeps the flanges tight to your chest which ultimately maximizes suction.
16. Pump directly into bags for storage
If you’re pumping to save up a stash of milk for a later date, you’ll want to store your milk in bags instead of bottles to take up less space in the fridge or freezer. Purchase an adapter to pump directly into breastmilk bags instead of pouring milk from the bottles into bags for transport, storage or freezing.
17. Hot showers are great for breast engorgement
When your milk comes in and your breasts feel rock hard, take a hot shower and manually express some milk. The warm water will trigger your let down and some milk will come out just until you feel comfortable again.
18. Be sure to wear nursing-friendly shirts
You want your breasts to be easily accessible to your baby at all times. However, a lot of these nursing top styles are unattractive and expensive! You don’t actually need special nursing shirts to breastfeed your baby. Try to buy nursing-friendly clothing that you can also wear when you’re not breastfeeding. Button-down and zippered shirts make great nursing tops that you can wear anytime. These are the easiest tops to nurse in and you can find them almost anywhere.
19. Get a breast pump car adapter or battery pack for pumping in the car
During family vacations or even your work commute, pumping in the car can save you a lot of time. If you have a battery-powered or wearable breast pump, this can be fairly easy to manage. If not, you can purchase a car adapter or battery pack that can make your breast pump portable!
20. Keep a multipurpose nursing cover in your diaper bag.
Being in public with your baby while breastfeeding can be tough, especially if you don’t feel too comfortable exposing yourself in public. Always keep a nursing cover or scarf with you for easy feeding while staying covered.
The bond between a mother and her nursing baby is so special. It’s an amazing experience to be able to provide your little one with all the nourishment they need to grow healthy and strong. I hope these breastfeeding tips have helped you improve your nursing experience with your newborn.