Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips

10 Things Every Mom Should Know About Breastfeeding

August 8, 2011


10 Things..., Breastfeeding, Farah Silver, hot topic

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10 Things Every Mom Should Know About Breastfeeding
I’m not a doctor or a lactation consultant, but after nursing two kids past the age of two, I like to consider myself a bit of an expert when it comes to breastfeeding. And while it hasn’t always been easy, it’s been one of my proudest achievements as a mom and worth every second. So if you’re pregnant and planning on doing the same with your baby, here are 10 breastfeeding tips that every mom should know. Pass it on!

Be Prepared: One of the keys to a successful breastfeeding relationship is preparation. Read up on it in your pregnancy books and on your favorite websites, and if you can, see a lactation consultant before baby arrives to ask specific questions about breastfeeding that your books don’t answer.

Breastfeed Early and Often: Make sure to tell your OB and nurses that you plan to breastfeed. They should provide you with some breastfeeding supplies and help you get started within one hour after delivery. And as tired as you may be, nurse often to get your milk supply going, even if this means hooking yourself up to a breast pump.

Don’t Be Surprised if it Hurts: I’m not going to lie. Breastfeeding can be a pain—both literally and figuratively. Baby might not latch on correctly the first few days (or weeks), your nipples can crack, or worse, you could develop mastitis, a painful breast infection. For me, it was all of the above, but I got through it. Just remember to always ask for help when you need it.

Breastfeeding Benefits Baby and Mom: By now you probably know how breastfeeding benefits your baby, but don’t forget to enjoy the benefits yourself.  Not only will you save time and money– no need to sterilize bottles and measure and mix expensive formula, but it will help you lose the baby weight, too.  Really…so keep this in mind when you’ve had it “up to here.”

Get Props: There are plenty of breastfeeding tools available, so invest in a couple to make your breastfeeding experience more comfortable. Many moms swear by the Boppy Nursing Pillow, but I prefer the My Brest Friend. And then I have a friend who was content with a throw pillow. Experiment and see what works for you, and don’t forget the nursing stool.

Keep Baby Close for Nighttime Feedings: Breastfeeding is a round-the-clock job, so make those nighttime feedings easier by keeping baby close to you. Both my kids slept in my bed in a Snuggle Nest Co-Sleeper, but if you’re not comfortable with baby sharing your bed, you can invest in a bassinet or simply set up the crib in your room.

Invest in a Nursing Cover: There’s nothing more natural than breastfeeding, but doing it in public can be stressful, especially when you’re first starting out.  That’s why I love Bebe Au Lait nursing covers.  Whether I’m on a plane, at a park or a playdate, it’s as easy as finding an comfortable seat, throwing the cover over my head, and breastfeeding my child discreetly without worrying about blankets or burp cloths slipping and showing too much skin.

Know That Breastfeeding Can Be Messy: Don’t be freaked out by leaky boobs. Whether it’s another crying baby in the distance or holding your baby close to you, your breasts can leak, so keep a supply of nursing pads on hand or invest in a couple of padded bras.  And speaking of bras, invest in a few different types of nursing bras.  I like a lightweight sleeping nursing bra or nursing camisole at night, and during the day I like wearing a sexy, but comfy nursing bra—yes, they do exist!  Just skip the ones with underwire.

Do Wear a Dress: Nursing apparel has come a long way, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can only wear separates. There are many designer brands like Japanese Weekend and Maternal America that have chic nursing dresses, but here’s a secret: any dress with a deep V-shaped neckline will get the job done. Just wear your favorite nursing bra underneath, and voila.

Breastfeed As Long As You Like: Breastfeeding is a very personal choice, so whether you breastfeed for one week, one month, one year or more, it’s up to you. Don’t let other people bully you into weaning because “your baby is too old” or give you a hard time for only breastfeeding for one month. Hey, it’s better than nothing, and every mom is different and doing what’s best for her child and herself.

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  • StaceyL
    August 9, 2011

  • Great article, especially the last point about how long you nurse. I am currently nursing my second son (he’s 7 months) and plan to do so until he reaches a year, and possibly longer. With my first son, I was only able to nurse for 5 months before my doctor suggested we move to formula, and I felt so guilty. As natural and great as breastfeeding is, it isn’t for everyone (every mom or every baby in our case) and I appreciate it when I hear comments like yours – that a little is better than nothing, instead of the typical “judge-y” advice that you should stick it out no matter what. Your other points were also good – and definitely on point for my second time around!

  • Debbie
    August 9, 2011

  • Loved the point about it hurting! I’m breastfeeding my 4th child and my nipples cracked and bled with all four of them…and they were all latching perfectly! It’s just a part of your skin getting used to being sucked on for hours a day! It will go away and Lansinoh and gel soothies are your best friend during that time!

  • K
    August 9, 2011

  • You forgot to point out that some women just aren’t able to breastfeed. I am all for breastfeeding, but articles like never mention that some women just can’t do it and it’s ok if you can’t. I met with a lactation consultant twice in the hospital, I had a baby that latched on, I breastfeed constantly in the hospital, but still took home a dehydrated baby. As many times as I was told the milk will come in, your body is doing what it is suppose to, I just couldn’t produce enough milk. I tried pumping for 6 weeks, and I finally gave up after I was producing a total of 2 oz a day. New mothers have enough stress, just let them know that they aren’t awful mother’s if you can’t breastfeed.

  • Sherry O'Neal
    August 9, 2011

  • And if you end up pumping, don’t forget a hands-free bra like PumpEase. It was a lifesaver for me – worth every penny!

  • Lou
    August 9, 2011

  • Thank you for the very brief mention at the end of the article about it being ok if you can’t nurse your baby or if you can’t do it for very long. My daughter latched on in the hospital and continued to do so but my body would not produce much milk. I would nurse and pump and she would only have a few ounces a day. It was so upsetting to have to give up nursing after only a month. But my daughter was not thriving. I don’t think people realize nor should they judge when they see a small baby drinking out of a bottle. I think it happens often enough where a moms body just doesn’t produce enough for their child.

  • Naya
    August 9, 2011

  • You forgot to mention that there is help and support available if needed. There are lots of breastfeeding support groups (including La Lache League) that offer more than tips. I found it very comforting to be around like-minded mamas who were going through the same things as I was. A private lactation consultant also helped me when I was ready to quit. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help and support!

  • Haley
    January 24, 2012

  • Also you can do both. I nursed my daughter until she was 14 months, but not exclusively. She started formula at the ripe old age of 10 days. I pumped but it didn’t orifice nearly as much milk as when she was latched on. So when I was at work, she was on formula. Those nights when I was just too exhausted, dad swooped in to the rescue. Supplementing is ok. Don’t be discouraged by the super mom down the street, because now as a preschooler my daughter is just as strong and healthy as any other kid.