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Breastfeeding is one of the most amazing things mamas can do! It’s not the easiest journey, but it sure is one of the best.
The early days and months of breastfeeding can be difficult as you figure out how to meet your baby’s needs and adjust to your new life as a mama. Use these breastfeeding tips to help you as you begin breastfeeding your sweet bundle of joy.
Here are 13 breastfeeding tips that will help you through the early days with your sweet baby!
1. See a lactation consultant
This is one of the most essential breastfeeding tips I can give you! You’ll definitely want to see a lactation consultant when learning to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is tough, so don’t be afraid to see a lactation consultant when you feel like you need help.
When I had my first daughter, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing in those first couple of days. I didn’t want to see a lactation consultant at first because I thought it would make me less of a mother for not knowing what I was doing.
After a few days, I had a clogged duct and was in tears as I called the consultant for help. I was in tears the entire time I was meeting with her. And I was in tears as I left because of how much better I felt.
Now I knew how to feed my baby properly. I will never forget that woman! So, shoutout to all the amazing lactation consultants out there!
I quickly learned that reaching out for help actually made me a better mother. I was able to learn and better understand how to serve my baby and meet all of her needs.
2. Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after birth
The sooner you feed your baby after birth, the better!
If you can, let your baby latch as soon as they lay her in your arms. This will increase your chances of breastfeeding successfully and begin your bond with your baby.
3. Stand your ground in the hospital
Remember that you are the mother of your child.
You are the one who knows what’s best for your baby, not the nurses and doctors. When it comes to certain things, you need to stand firm on your choices no matter what anyone else says.
After I gave birth to my first daughter, I was out of it! I lost a lot of blood and ended up passing out. I was weak and exhausted.
One of the nurses tried to convince me that I needed to give my baby formula so I could rest. I politely said no and assured her that I would be just fine to breastfeed my baby.
I knew that if I did what she was asking me to do, my chances of successfully breastfeeding would decrease drastically.
She continued insisting, and I repeatedly said no. She then began to try to convince my husband in hopes that he would agree. That’s when I was no longer polite. I very firmly said no and made it clear that the conversation was over.
Stand firm in your choices as a mother and let no one sway you away from what you know is best for you and your baby.
4. Nurse until your baby is done
Babies are little, but they’re also smart. Babies know when they’re tired and when they’re hungry. And they’ll always let you know!
One thing I learned from my LC (lactation consultant) was to let your baby nurse on each side until they’re done.
Just like you, your baby knows when they’re full. When they’re done, they will pull their head away from the breast to let you know they are finished. Switch sides and let them nurse until they pull away from that side too.
My LC said to think of the side they nurse on first as the main course and the second side as dessert. They’ll always eat less dessert since they filled up on the main course, which is why you’ll start on that side for the next nursing session.
Feeding on both sides will ensure that they are good and full. But remember to let them tell you when they’re full.
5. Feed on demand
Feeding on demand is important, especially in the early days. Remember, a baby knows when they are hungry so forget trying to keep them on a schedule.
A schedule may cause you more stress than you need as a new mother. Focus on meeting your baby’s needs now, and the schedule will work itself out later.
Feeding on demand is a good way to create a safe and secure bond with your baby.
When you respond to your baby’s cues, you are letting him know that you will always be there for him when he needs you. He is able to trust that you, as his caretaker, will always take care of him when he’s in need.
Remember, crying is your baby’s way of communicating with you. He’s not crying to keep you up or annoy you. He’s trying to tell you something.
Whether it’s hunger or just comfort that he needs, your baby must be able to trust that you’ll be there for him.
6. Beware of cluster feeding
Cluster feeding is something I didn’t know about at first. I remember the first time it happened. I would feed my baby, and when she finished, I barely had time to use the bathroom before she wanted to nurse again.
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But that sure is what it felt like at the time!
Cluster feeding is when your baby wants to feed more frequently than usual. Don’t worry; it won’t last forever. It just might be a little more time-consuming for a while, so make sure you’re prepared.
7. Continue taking vitamins
You want to make sure that you and your baby are getting the nutrients you both need. So along with eating a healthy diet, continue to take vitamins just like you did during pregnancy.
Here are the vitamins I took while breastfeeding. Consult your doctor when choosing the vitamins that will be best for you.
8. Stay hydrated
Just like during pregnancy, staying hydrated while breastfeeding is super important. It will help you feel better and can help keep your milk supply up.
Use a water bottle like this to help you keep you motivated and help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking.
9. Try different nursing positions
If you find that you or your baby are uncomfortable while nursing, try to change your holding position to see if it helps. Changing positions can also help if you’re having trouble getting a good latch.
10. Nurse to get rid of clogs
Getting even the slightest clog can be extremely painful. As soon as you feel that you have a clog, take the proper precautions to get rid of it fast.
The absolute best way to get rid of any clog is to let your baby nurse as much as possible until it releases.
Just to warn you, it will be very painful to nurse when you have a clog, but try to power through the pain and nurse, nurse, nurse. You will feel so much better when it’s gone!
Here are some other great ways to get rid of a clog!
11. Pump after feedings
When you begin to pump within the first few weeks, pump right after a feeding. This will help provide some extra relief from your full breasts and will allow you to begin stocking up for future bottles. It can also help boost your supply.
Pumping just after nursing will give you enough time for more milk to come in for the next feeding. You want to avoid pumping right before nursing to make sure your baby has enough to eat.
12. Nursing isn’t just for feeding your baby
Your baby won’t always want to nurse just because she’s hungry. Sometimes she simply wants comfort.
Whether she’s upset, uncomfortable, or tired, sometimes your baby just needs you to feel safe and secure.
13. Don’t give up
Breastfeeding is tough. It’s something you have to fight for. The first few months are hard, but if you can get through that, it only gets easier!
Find a mom or a group of moms you can lean on for support, moms who have successfully breastfed. Find someone you can call or text when you have a question or concern.
If you don’t have a mom friend you can lean on, you can totally reach out to me @mostaveragemama on Instagram or message me from my contact page right here on my website!
Just remember that the sore boobs, the long nights, and the tears won’t last forever. After you and your baby get comfortable breastfeeding, it gets so much better and easier! I promise!
Stick with it, mama. You can do it, and you’ll be so proud that you did!
I hope these breastfeeding tips help you through your breastfeeding journey!