I WISH I’d known these breastfeeding tips a year ago.
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Breastfeeding is hard, and anything that can make it easier is essential information. I had no idea what I was getting into – there is just SO much to know about nursing a baby!
You’re wise to prepare for breastfeeding by taking a simple affordable breastfeeding class. (I like the Milkology course. It’s video based, and comes with a trouble shooting guide – that’s important. There’s almost certainly going to be at least a little trouble when you start nursing.)
These are the best breastfeeding tips I found from across the internet land when I started on the Great and Scary (but Wonderful) Breastfeeding Journey.
Related: 11 Things To Do In Baby’s First Year
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Tips to control pain from breastfeeding:
(I was in pain for two solid months. But it DID go away – you just gotta keep at it… and try to get to the bottom of what’s causing pain if it’s more than just the whole learning to breast feed thing. The squishy baby had a tongue tie, and that was the cause of a lot of our trouble… and then we got thrush. Yay. Check out this list of 9 common breast feeding struggles and how to fix them if you aren’t sure why you’re in pain!)
♥ Booby ice packs SHAPED to fit your boobies! These are super easy, and wow, I love them. Because lumpy ice on sore boobs sucks.
♥ Pineapple juice is a natural anti-inflammatory, and can help with the pain of engorgement. I loved this post: why I pack pineapple juice in my hospital bag.
♥ Learn new positions for feeding your baby. When things get terribly painful in the traditional cradle hold (baby across the front of your body), ease the pain by trying different positions. I found the football hold REALLY made a huge difference.
♥ This DIY sore nipple remedy is way better for your baby to ingest than commercial creams and (more beneficial than straight up plain coconut oil, which isn’t a bad option either).
♥ Breast shells – to keep your shirt or bra away from your nipples AND collect any extra milk. Win-win! (I personally never felt that a bra full of wet nursing pads was that comfortable, and I was always frustrated that milk was being “wasted” as it escaped…)
♥ A nipple shield might be the relief you need, if baby sucking is just unbearable. I used one in the first week with my second baby and it made a HUGE difference.
Tips to make breastfeeding a little easier:
♥ Some say a breastfeeding station is needed, I say breastfeeding basket. (For the first month every time I say down and got squishy baby latched I started yelling requests to my husband in the other room. “Please bring the burp cloth. Some water. The advil. The nipple cream…” Throughout the day I’d collect all the stuff in the living room, and at night I’d get into bed and 2 am would come only for me to find that I was again without the burp cloth, the advil, some water, the nipple cream. If everything is in a breastfeeding basket, all your stuff can go with you from living room to bed room, no extra thinking required.)
♥ Decent support for feeding in bed. (My back actually went into spasm because I kept getting confused and holding the baby for hours on end in bed at night after feeding. I wish I was kidding.)
♥ Science has proven that getting skin to skin with babe helps the whole breastfeeding experience – it helps baby latch and increases breast milk production. (And besides that it’s just super great for your babe).
♥ If your milk supply is low, you can increase it by doing a few simple things at home. (Yes, I have done all. the. things. They worked!)
♥ Keep a hair band on the wrist you fed on last. Next feeding, switch wrists! Never forget which boob needs to take the first turn at the next feeding.
♥ Cut holes in a sports bra for cheap hands free pumping. Get the instructions here.
♥ These microwave sterilization bags make it SO easy to clean your pump. Believe me, you will get tired of sterilizing.
♥ Have a hot shower before pumping to get more milk out.
♥ Look at pictures of your babe and focus on him to help your body produce more / letdown.
Breast milk storage tips:
♥ Freeze Breast milk in ice cube trays so you’re not stuck thawing 5 ounces when you need 4 or 3 ounces when you need 5. Each cube is around an ounce, so you can thaw JUST how much you need.
♥ Soda can boxes are the perfect size for storing bags breast milk in the freezer.
♥ Print out a cheat sheet of breast milk storage guidelines for the front of your fridge. And if you’re keeping milk in the fridge, use date stickers to ensure you don’t have to throw any out. (You’re tired and you have no idea if this bottle has been in there for 4 days or 8 days, so you dump it out. Save yourself this heartbreak.)
The most important breastfeeding tip EVER:
♥ The secret to keeping a breastfed baby full. The milk that comes out later in the feeding has more fat, and the fat keeps babe fuller longer. Hindmilk is so. very. key. to having a baby that doesn’t need to nurse 24/7.
What are your best breastfeeding tips and hacks? Leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!
Related: 10 Ways to Increase Milk Supply