My mother passed along these 6 breastfeeding tips when I was pregnant with my first child and they have proven to be some of the best advice I have ever received. Thanks, mom!
I hope that you find them to be as wonderful and useful as I have all these years.
Drink at least two quarts of fluids per day. Water is best, but herbal tea is great, too! Traditional Medicinals makes a yummy Organic Mother's Milk Tea that is great for increasing your milk supply. You can find their tea at your local health food store or in my shop! Try to limit juice and coffee as those can be dehydrating.
Eat whenever you are hungry! Even if you are eating every twenty minutes. Don’t worry about counting calories. When you are breastfeeding, it is like you are climbing a mountain every day; you need lots and lots of fuel. Do, however, eat highly nutritious wholesome foods, because you want whatever calories you are eating to count. Depending on your personal diet restrictions, what you eat will vary, but a good rule of thumb is to focus on complete proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
I love this idea from Caitlin, over at HealthyTippingPoint.com, to set up a nursing basket, with snacks, water, a book etc... that you can have stationed around your house or in a grab-and-carry type basket. Check it out on her post called, New Mom Survival Stations.
3. Prevent Sore Nipples
One thing that I hear a lot from new moms is that they had no idea how much breastfeeding was gonna hurt in the beginning! And it is true, breastfeeding does hurt a bit in the beginning because your nipples are really sensitive. Thankfully, this discomfort passes as your nipples toughen up and become desensitized. The key here is to prevent major nipple soreness or cracked nipples.
Here are a few ways to do just that:
- Make sure your baby is latched on correctly.
- Nurse on each side for short periods of time, like 2-3 minutes, and alternate breasts frequently during a feed.
- Use a nipple cream. My favorite nipple cream is HPA Lanolin Cream, by Lansinoh. I have used lanolin cream with each of my four babies and it has worked wonderfully!
4. Nurse On-Demand
Frequent feedings for your baby, or on-demand breastfeeding, is the best way to keep your baby nourished and growing up happy and healthy. Nursing on-demand also helps prevent engorgement. The supply of your breast milk is highly dependent on the demand for it! When your baby suckles at the breast, milk production is stimulated. Even if it seems like your baby is nursing constantly and not getting any milk, you are making milk for later!
Your body knows what your baby needs, and will provide, if you let your baby nurse and suckle as often as he or she wants! It is an amazing system! I am constantly blown away by it.
If you have to pump for work, and can not always nurse on-demand, here are some articles to get you started:
- 18 Breast Pumping Tips by Dr. Sears
- 8 Tips For Successful Pumping by KAYRIS
- I’m Not Pumping Enough Milk. What Can I Do? By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC
It is so important that you rest! You can rest when the baby does, if at all possible, or you can just take the moments to rest as they present themselves. Try to allow yourself time to rest and take it easy every day. Like I said, you are climbing a mountain, and just like climbing a mountain, you need pauses along your ascent. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say!
There is one caveat to this, of course, and that is: if you have more than one child, like me, then it will seem as if you never have time to rest and that may very well be true! But, try all the same.
Do your best to relax and enjoy breastfeeding your baby. These early months (or years in my case!) go by so fast! Before you know it, you will be introducing solids, potty training, enjoying baby-led weaning, and then getting them ready for school. It just flies by!
So, please, relax…. take deep breaths, rest, and rejuvenate while you breastfeed. Take a moment to memorize your baby’s beautiful face at whatever age they are and just hang out with them.
I always find myself wanting to multi-task while I am nursing, by reading, texting, or talking on the phone—and while this is all fine, it is also important to just breastfeed and enjoy that time with your baby. Remember, breastfeeding is a great time to bond, play, and love your baby.
Hope these tips are helpful! If you have any other tips for successful breastfeeding, or breastfeeding questions, please share or ask them in the comments section below! Thanks!
Check out my breastfeeding board below, on Pinterest, and follow along!