So I’ve been asked a few times about breastfeeding and if I had any tips or advice for new moms. It was a learning experience for me with my second child, so there wasn’t much advice I could offer or say, other than “I’m always feeding my child!” With my first, I only breast fed for about three weeks, then had to switch to pumping (I’ll get another blog post up about that later). It’s been a little over a year now, so I think I finally have some valuable advice/tips to offer. Stick around because this is a long one.
***Full Disclaimer – I am not a medical professional and am only offering information from my own personal experience. Always seek advice from a medical professional. These are not affiliated links. I will always let you know when they are.***
- Nipple Balm and Soft-Shell Cups – In the beginning, breastfeeding hurts. Your nipples crack, chafe, bleed; you name it. Nipple Balm and Soft-Shell Cups were the two items that really helped me Get through it. The nipple balm soothes the chapped, cracked nipples (kind of like chapstick would to your lips), and the cups allows your nipples to heal and air out without rubbing against your clothes. The pain lasted about 3 weeks or so. I used Boobease 100% Organic Healing Nipples Balm & Medela SoftShells for Sore Nipple.
- Tongue Tied – Yup. That’s a thing. If your baby is having trouble latching or feeding for what seems to be an eternity, they could be tongue tied. That’s where the frenulum is attached, not allowing their tongue to move freely. Luckily we have an awesome nurse and she caught it early on. I didn’t even know my daughter was tongue tied or that I was having a latching issue until we went in for her 1st check-up. They snipped her frenulum, put her on my boob, and it was like a miracle! Helped with the pain too. Click here for an article by Mayo Clinic.
- Nursing Pillow – I used this one. It has extra compartments so you can store snacks, a water bottle, phone, whatever. A nursing pillow is very handy because holding a baby while they’re nursing can start to weigh on your arms. It lays them at the perfect level, and you can maneuver them in different positions (i.e. Football Hold, Cradle, etc.), while keeping your arms free.
- Water – Nursing makes you thirsty as a mother effer so keep that water bottle handy and drink up. After all, your breastmilk is made mostly of water. I was told to drink at least half my body weight in ounces, if not more.
- Latching – If you’re having issues with latching, reach out to your lactation consultant. Other than that, the article and infographic I found on themilkmemoirs.com, while browsing on Pinterest, really helped me.
- Engourgement and Block Feeding – If your boobs are super full and you don’t express your milk enough, you can end up with mastitis. When my boobs became engourged, I tried block feeding, and that did the trick. Block feeding is when you nurse from one side only for a certain amount of time (3 hrs or so) before nursing on the other. It tricks the other side into slowing down milk production, so you’re not overproducing. Using a breast cool/heat therapy pad also really helped in the process. Here’s an article from Kelly Mom.
- Night Feedings – I learned this one from my MIL. If you’re not freaked out by it, then nurse your baby in your bed, laying down. I’ve always been paranoid about falling asleep while nursing sitting up with my baby in the middle of the night, so this has helped a lot. You just have to be careful not to roll over them! My biggest issue was putting the baby back in their own bed. Long story short, I now have to sleep train my baby girl to sleep in her own bed. Use caution on this one because it can be very dangerous and lead to death. Co-sleeping is not for everyone. USE A CO-SLEEPER BED.
- Nursing Cover & Loose Tops – Nursing covers are so handy in the early stages. The one I used can be used as a car seat cover, nursing cover, and… a top when your baby barfs all over you. Yup….happened to me. Once the babe starts to get bigger, loose tops really help because you can just tuck the baby under the top.
- Breast Pads – No one likes leaky boobs…. especially when it leaks through your top. I tested out so many brands – name & store brands. My top 2 are Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads and Bamboobies Washable Nursing Bra Pads.
- Alcohol and Nursing – So much has changed from when I had my son to when I had my daughter. Apparently now, if you have one drink or if you feel normal, you’re okay to nurse. I don’t trust that nonsense. I found these alcohol test strips for breastmilk from Milkscreen, and they are pretty legit.
- Family Nursing/Lactation Rooms – This is something that is so different from when I had my son as well. These family nursing rooms are so awesome because there’s a private room for you to nurse, a playroom for your other littles, and a restroom all in one big room. When you’re dealing with more than one child, it’s a whole new adventure trying to wrangle one kid while nursing the other. This makes it so much more convenient! Check or call where you’re going to see if they have one. They’re starting to pop up at malls and airports all over.
These are the main things that I can think of. Now if I can only figure out how to ween the kid, lol. I hope you found this informative, and please let me know if you have any tips or advice you can offer on breastfeeding, weening, or anything else parenting.