When I became pregnant with River I knew I wanted to breastfeed. However, as a new mom, I didn’t know the first thing about breastfeeding. I ended up giving up due to the pain and both of us being frustrated. This time I was determined to succeed! I spent months researching how to do everything properly and make it easy as possible. We’re 8 weeks in and see no end in sight! Here are the tips I used to succeed at breastfeeding.
The hospital stay
The first couple of days are the hardest! Your nipples are super sensitive and you and baby are figuring out what works best for you. There’s no way to really make the first days easy, but do remember. Do not supplement with formula, your supply will take a huge hit if you do.
If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to ask for the lactation consultant. They will help you guys get the correct latch, the best position to feed in, if your baby is getting enough food, etc. You will also be able to call them once you leave the hospital, so don’t worry if you forget to ask about something or you have a whole new problem.
Try to do a lot of skin to skin. It will help bring in your milk and is great for bonding. Newborns love skin to skin, so it will help keep them calm and you less stressed.
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There are a few items that can really help make breastfeeding easier. The first is a nursing pillow, be it a boppy, breast friend or just a plain old pillow. It helps bring your baby up into a comfortable position, so your arm doesn’t get super tired and makes it easier to get a good latch. A rocking chair is also great to have in your baby’s nursery for night feedings.
Next nipple balm is a must! It helps keep them hydrated and eases the pain. Even with a good latch, your nipples can crack and it’s not a pleasant feeling. The balm helps sooth it until they toughen up some.
A nursing bra and pads make everything easier. Trying to use your regular bra just stretches it out and causes clogged ducts (not fun).The pad will keep you from getting soaked when you have let down. Every time you feed on one side the other will have let down as well. It’s not pleasant to be covered in milk.
If you’re having a supply issue, which is actually not that common, there are many products to help. There’s a tea called mothers tea you can get at most stores. Rolled oats (oatmeal) helps a lot and is the easiest for me to add to my diet. I also recommend drinking as much water as you can think a gallon a day. Do this regardless of your supply since water is extremely important while breastfeeding.
The first couple of weeks if possible stay in bed or a comfortable area with your newborn as much as possible. Your goal is for you two to get as comfortable with breastfeeding as possible. I spent most of the first weeks in bed with the T.V. going and snack at the ready. This made it easier to focus on breastfeeding and not worry about anything else. Cody grabbed me most everything I needed and River hung out with us as well.
Also in that first couple of weeks cluster feedings are at an all-time high. Cluster feedings are how baby builds up your supply, so don’t worry they’re not getting enough. As long as there are enough wet/dirty diapers your baby is getting enough. Remember that the cluster feedings will be hard, but they will come to an end.
Set up nursing stations everywhere you nurse in the house. This helped me so much! I put diapers, wipes, nipple balm, snacks, burp cloths and a set of clothes in every one. This way I wasn’t running around with a baby attached to me or crying for me.
This one is still super hard for me. I always thought I’d be that mom who would feed without a cover and wouldn’t care what people thought. However, that is not how I turned out to be. I grab large swaddle blankets since I don’t have a nursing cover. They work perfectly for covering us and being light enough.
Having on your nursing bra also helps a lot, this way you’re not fighting to keep your bra out of the way. I also keep clothes (for both of us) and burp cloths at the ready. I’m constantly having to change both of us. Keeping a small pillow handy can help put the baby in a good position.