Breastfeeding is SO hard. That is why I came up with 8 breastfeeding tips for new moms that I hope you will find helpful.
I had a very difficult breastfeeding journey, that was compounded by my physical recovery and postpartum baby blues.
“When done correctly, breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt.” Hearing this over and over again wasn’t particularly helpful for me since there wasn’t a lot that I could do about it. I talked to multiple lactation consultants, and while she didn’t have tongue-tie, there were other problems.
My baby had a very tiny mouth, and she wasn’t opening it wide enough to wrap around more than just my nipple. The lactation consultants suggested detaching her and relatching while opening her jaw a little wider so she could also get some of the areola in her mouth.
This just wasn’t feasible for us. I only tried to detach her once, and it was so freaking painful it felt like she tore my nipple off.
Plus she got so stressed out when I detached her, I almost couldn’t get her to latch again. And, of course, this stressed me out because I was trying to get her to gain weight.
Time is what helped us. As she grew, her mouth got bigger, and she was able to get more and more areola with her latch. Then one day latching didn’t hurt anymore.
I hope all of you mamas out there have a better breastfeeding journey than I did, and I’m sending positive vibes your way along with these 8 breastfeeding tips for new moms.
Disclaimer: This is meant as general information, and is not medical or any other type of professional advice. If you have any medical questions or concerns, you should contact your health provider. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.
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- 1 1. Nurse your baby within the first hour of birth.
- 2 2. Ask to see a lactation consultant at the hospital, if available.
- 3 3. Nurse on demand.
- 4 4. Experiment with different breastfeeding positions.
- 5 5. You can try to mitigate pain if need be.
- 6 6. Have lots of snacks and water within arms reach.
- 7 7. There are ways to relieve breast engorgement.
- 8 8. Breastfeeding can be really boring.
1. Nurse your baby within the first hour of birth.
Babies are usually alert for the first hour or so after delivery. You should nurse your baby within the first hour of delivery, or as soon as you are able to.
Colostrum, the first milk that you will produce, is rich in nutrients and antibodies. It can help your baby to fight infection and make it easier for your baby to pass meconium, her first stool.
2. Ask to see a lactation consultant at the hospital, if available.
Breastfeeding is not an intuitive thing. If your hospital has lactation consultants, even if breastfeeding seems to be going well, it never hurts to meet with one. The lactation consultant can assess your baby’s latch, and you can also ask for other breastfeeding tips.
3. Nurse on demand.
When I was pregnant, I had always heard that you should nurse your newborn once every two hours. While that is true, it’s more like make sure you are nursing at least once every two hours and nurse more if your baby demands it.
Some common hunger cues include when she puts her fingers or hand in her mouth, if she turns toward your breast, moving her head from side to side, sucking on her tongue or lips, and crying, which is a late hunger cue.
4. Experiment with different breastfeeding positions.
Optimal breastfeeding positions will vary for every mom, so it is a good idea to try out different breastfeeding positions. I preferred the football and cradle positions. Those positions were much easier to manage with my Boppy nursing pillow.
Although when I was healing from my perineal tear, the side-lying position was ideal so I didn’t have to sit down. La Leche League has a great article about different breastfeeding positions.
RELATED: How to Recover from a Perineal Tear
5. You can try to mitigate pain if need be.
I ALWAYS put on nipple cream after she nursed because it helped to soothe and heal my nipples. There were also some instances when my nipples were cracked and bleeding, and nipple shields made it far easier for me to nurse.
They helped provide pain relief and gave my nipples time to heal. In general, there are pros and cons to using nipple shields. If you have concerns or questions about using them, you should contact your health care provider.
6. Have lots of snacks and water within arms reach.
Breastfeeding can make you VERY hungry and thirsty. For me, I was more thirsty than hungry. Literally, the very second my baby latched on to my breast, I felt like I could drink enough water to fill a swimming pool.
My husband got a 40 oz tumbler for me, which was also for him so he didn’t have to get up to get me 20 glasses of water every hour.
I love this tumbler because it holds a lot of water and keeps it cold. It is also great for running errands because it is narrow at the bottom so it fits into the cupholder in your car.
Related: Postpartum Recovery Essentials
7. There are ways to relieve breast engorgement.
Breast engorgement can be painful and stressful. The first time my breasts got engorged, it happened to me three times in one week.
The third time was the worst. My right breast was red, tender, and warm, and I was up all night shaking with the chills. It gave me quite a scare because I was terrified of getting mastitis.
If you experience breast engorgement, here are some things that you can try.
- Nursing can be a very effective way to help relieve breast engorgement.
- Take a hot shower, letting the hot water hit your breasts to help with let down. Then you can try to nurse, pump, or express.
- Apply a vibrating toothbrush to the engorged areas of the breast.
- Hand expression or pumping can help to drain the breast.
- Wash cold cabbage leaves, and apply everywhere on the breast except for the nipple. (I only did this when the breast engorgement lasted for days, and I was worried that I was going to get mastitis. I would recommend being cautious with how often and long you do this for, as this can potentially decrease milk supply)
- You can also use a Breast Therapy Pack to help relieve engorgement or help with let down. I mostly used them to try to help with let down while I was pumping.
8. Breastfeeding can be really boring.
It’s just the truth! Don’t get me wrong, breastfeeding can be a really beautiful thing. However, when you’re breastfeeding for hours and hours every day, it can definitely get boring.
There are things you can do whether it’s listening to music or watching TV.
When my baby was a newborn, I pretty much always watched TV while nursing. I would breastfeed her on the couch in the side-lying position because of my tear.
She would nurse for hours, and there was no way I could just lie there day after day staring into space.
As your baby gets older and gets more easily distracted, TV may not be an option for you.
RELATED: How to Survive the Fourth Trimester
I hope these 8 breastfeeding tips for new moms were informative. What are some of your breastfeeding tips for new moms? Please share in the comments below!