As a first time breastfeeder, you may assume breastfeeding will come naturally because it is a completely natural way to feed your little one.
You will quickly find that breastfeeding can not only be painful, but it may take some work, practice, and patience. Some new mamas are unprepared for how difficult and painful it can be. They avoid it during the early days of baby’s life and later end up with a low milk supply. We don’t want that!
Below are 10 tips for breastfeeding like an experienced mom!
1. The pain is real and you will need nipple butter.
Your nipples may chap and possibly bleed. This is normal! If you do not have any mama friends around to give it to you straight, you must know this: you need nipple butter. The most recommended ointment is lanolin, but it’s very thick and some babies hate the texture. We also highly recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter which can be purchased on Amazon
We highly recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter which can be purchased on Amazon here. Note that it contains cocoa butter, which can give some babies gas or upset stomach. We also highly recommend Motherlove Nipple Cream, also found on Amazon
In addition to nipple butter, you can also rub some of your breastmilk on nipples. Within the first two weeks of breastfeeding, your nipples will be less tender and very used to being latched onto by a little mouth. Over time, you won’t even notice or feel the pain that once was.
2. Supply & demand.
Keep at it, mama! Your milk production is based on supply and demand and you do not want to lose any of that liquid gold. Though you may be tender and raw, if you continue to feed your baby at the breast and press through the pain your supply will increase and be an adequate amount for what your little one needs. The most crucial time for “putting in your baby’s order” is the first two weeks: you can do it!
3. Milk machine.
Yes, you will feel like your life is all about constant nursing and you are nothing but a milk machine. Try to be proud of this new way of life: you are nourishing your little one with the very best food he or she can consume! Breastmilk is quickly and easily digested by their little egg-sized stomachs and newborns are constantly hungry, but they won’t always be this way. Sooner than you think they’ll be on to solid foods, they’ll be breastfeeding no longer, and you won’t have to breastfeed them ever, ever again…whether you want to or not! Enjoy it while it lasts.
4. Growth spurts = cluster feedings.
Don’t worry if your baby is suddenly eating every few minutes instead of every few hours; this is a great sign of a growth spurt, not necessarily a drop in milk supply like most moms think. Expect cluster feedings and growth spurts to last 2-3 days.
Cluster feedings have more to do with times of rapid change than with your supply. // www.mom365.com
5. Water, water, water. Hydration nation, mama.
Water is your milk supply’s best friend. Purchase a reusable and easy to use water bottle that you love and be ready to cart it around with you everywhere you go. Side tip: if you’re having problems becoming regular again, stick some lemon in your water and it will help release toxins and you will soon be regular!
Until your body regulates and figures out exactly what it’s doing, you’re going to need a lot of water. // www.mom365.com
6. Nipple shields.
Some women, especially first-time breastfeeders, have flat or inverted nipples. A nipple shield is an amazing tool. It may seem more difficult at first, but many moms have a lot of success using nipple shields and have claimed them as the reason they’re able to breastfeed. A nipple shield is a fitted cover that helps your baby’s sucking reflex kick into gear, utilizing their entire tongue. You may only need this for a couple weeks or months until your breast tissue adjusts. When at the hospital or with your midwife, ask for a lactation consultant to assist you with this as well to help determine when it is time to wean your little one from the shield.
7. Be in agreement with your partner about your feeding goals.
As with everything, communicate and be in unison with your partner about your goals with breastfeeding. If you want to push through the difficulty and pain of it, be sure he knows so that when the going gets tough he doesn’t offer to go purchase some formula. Ask him to remind you in those moments how important breastfeeding is to him, you, and your baby. Asking for support when you need it is by far one of the most important tips for breastfeeding.
8. Practice makes perfect.
Breastfeeding is rarely easy for first-time moms and will take time to figure out. You have probably already seen multiple images online of moms breastfeeding, beautifully and angelic. You have already seen one in this post! These images make breastfeeding appear easy and smooth when in reality that’s not always the case. Yes, breastfeeding is beautiful and natural and the very best for your baby, but it also comes with a cost of time, effort, and, most likely, frustration. You can do it, mama! Practice makes perfect. You will find your routine and it will be beautiful!
9. Side-lying feeds.
Moms have raved about side-lying nursing for years. It’s especially useful at night when you are exhausted and can’t seem to keep your eyes open. After you and baby have the latch down, side-lying nursing is an easy go-ahead. Be sure you research safe sleeping habits.
10. Colostrum arrives first: do not worry.
Before your milk comes in, your colostrum arrives. You may even notice your colostrum leaking towards the end of pregnancy! Do not worry or stress out about your milk not being in for the first couple of days.
Colostrum is a nutrient-rich, syrupy, pre-milk miracle that your baby needs in its first few days of life. // www.mom365.com
The average time it takes for your actual milk to come in is two to three days, but some moms’ supply takes five to six days and that is okay! If you are worried about it, consult a lactation specialist.
Breastfeeding can be extremely difficult at the beginning, but it’s one hundred percent worth it. With these tips for breastfeeding, you are bound to have an excellent start. Go mama! We believe in you.