The decision to breastfeed or not can seem like a big one when you’re having a baby. Don’t get caught up in the opinions of anyone else, though– if you want to try breastfeeding, then try it. If you don’t want to, then don’t!
You may recall I previously wrote a post about the Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding. I have also written several times about my experience with D-MER (depression upon milk letting down) while breastfeeding.
Now I’d like to offer ten helpful tips for breastfeeding. These tips for breastfeeding have all come in handy while I nursed (and formula-fed) my three kids…
10 Tips for Breastfeeding
1. Attend a breastfeeding class before you have the baby. This two hour class offered by our hospital was informative and helpful for both my husband and me. He learned how to position the baby for me, which was good when I was feeling frustrated and needed some assistance during the first few weeks.
2. Try, try, and try again. It can take awhile to get the hang of it. I think it took 2-3 weeks for my nipples to stop hurting with my first baby. But it gets easier!
3. Enlist a friend who has breastfed recently or a lactation consultant as your go-to for support and questions. It’s always helpful to have someone to talk to and get advice from. If you don’t have any friends who are nursing, get the phone number of the lactation consultant at the hospital or call La Leche League. KellyMom is another great website with tons of information.
4. Get a good breast pump so you can have the option to leave your baby with a bottle and get out of the house for a few hours. Thanks to Obamacare, breast pumps are now covered by health insurance! Also make sure you get a hands-free bra for pumping…it’s a game-changer!
5. Keep snacks handy in the nursery (or wherever you feed the baby during the night). Leave your water in a cup with a straw. Stash some granola bars or other easy-access snacks you can eat with one hand that aren’t messy. Breastfeeding makes you extra hungry!
6. Keep a nursing cover in purse and car. You won’t always have a private area to nurse the baby, so bring a nursing cover along to make yourself more comfortable.
7. If you find yourself leaking a lot (more likely when you are frequently feeding a newborn), get breast pads to put in your bra. That way if you’re out at a store and you hear another baby cry and your milk lets down, you won’t get a wet spot on your shirt! (I buy them in bulk on Amazon.)
8. Hold/support baby’s feet and cover with something soft when nursing. Okay so this tip may seem random, but I came across it when I was researching how to get my third baby to nurse longer. Since I usually use either the cradle or football hold, my son’s little feet were usually just flailing. I read that babies like when their feet are supported and snug and cozy in a blanket or socks when they are eating. Basically, they shouldn’t feel like their feet are just dangling. Hold those little tootsies in your hand with a blanket and see if that helps!
9. Stay hydrated. It’s important to drink lots of water when you’re breastfeeding. Consult your doctor for the exact amount that’s right for you, but I aim for one gallon of water per day.
10. Go easy on yourself. Breastfeeding is hard. Really hard for some. It can be draining (literally!) to be the only one that your baby relies on for nourishment. If you have to stop nursing or supplement with formula, it’s no big deal. Seriously. Just love your baby, take care of yourself, and do the best you can.