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Breastfeeding Tips

If you are a mom-to-be, here are some breastfeeding tips.

Me & Moo

When I was pregnant with our first child, I started debating whether I would breastfeed or formula feed our baby. I had heard plenty of stories of the pain associated with nursing, and being the wimp that I am, I honestly was a little anxious about the idea of being in more pain after birth. “When would the pain end?” I thought.

I also considered all of the benefits to breastfeeding. The immune system boost for baby, weight-loss for me, and the fact that it’s free, just to name a few. I came to the conclusion that I would try my best to breastfeed, and if it didn’t work out, formula would be my plan B.

I am so glad I made that decision and thankful that both of my babies had zero latch problems. Oh and let me tell you, I have an extremely LOW pain tolerance. I am talking a zero on a scale of one to ten. So when I started breastfeeding and noticed the stomach pains from my uterus contracting, it was totally reasonable. If I can handle it, anyone can! I am a weakling! (Also, the pain from the contractions only reminded me that my uterus was working hard to shrink back down to size after hosting my 8lb baby. Do what you gotta do uterus. Just pleeeease shrink!)

The lactation consultant at the hospital was a huge help and taught me so much about nursing that I had never considered before. I also took advice from several friends and family members and decided to compile everything I learned and put it in one place. **I am not a lactation consultant. These are simply breastfeeding tips that helped me when nursing my children.**

So if you have already nursed babies, you know the drill. But if you are an expecting mom, check out my tips below and feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

  • After birth, while waiting for milk to come in, hand express your colostrum and rub on your nipples to help relieve the initial soreness. The hospital will also give you a little bottle of lanolin for that.
  • Feeding baby should take about 10 minutes on each breast (that’s typically all baby should need or else you’re a human pacifier)
  • Nurse baby every 3 hours from time you start. Example: if you start nursing at 9am then start next session at noon, 3, etc.
  • Start on breast you left off. Example: Nurse 10 min on right breast then burp baby & nurse 10 min on left. 3 hrs later start on left side to avoid over production in one breast
  • Nurse baby when he wakes up (The Baby Wise book’s main idea is for baby to eat, play, then sleep so that the baby doesn’t learn to fall asleep while feeding)
  • When baby is in a nursing position, the ear, shoulder & hip should be aligned
  • If your nipple hurts during a breastfeeding session, then the baby’s latch is probably wrong
  • “let down” feels tingly in your breast and that means the milk is about to pour out of you – watch out! 😉
  • Relax- milk will not “let down” when you are tense, stressed or dehydrated
  • When getting ready to nurse, get a big glass of water within reach. Literally, as the milk is leaving your body it will leave you feeling very parched!
  • Milk will come in 3-5 days after delivery. You will need breast pads after your milk comes in to avoid leaking through your clothes. I made my own using this tutorial. (My photo below does not look nearly as good as the ones on the tutorial. Sorry mine look so raggedy!)My raggedy but awesome nursing padsYou can also purchase disposable ones in the baby section at Target & Walmart for about $5-$10, or buy in bulk on amazon here.
  • During the first few weeks after birth, at night you may wake up in a puddle of milk because it is very irregular in the beginning and tends to leak everywhere. In order to avoid that mess, I would use a hand towel or thick burp cloth and fold it over for extra thickness and place over my breasts, under my shirt for absorption.
  • Nurse for 10 min per breast. At first it is fore-milk and at the end comes the hind-milk which is the thicker, high calorie “dessert” for baby. If baby gets too much fore-milk and not enough hind, this can cause gassiness in baby.
  • To break the latch, gently stick your finger against your nipple in baby’s mouth
  • To burp baby, gently lift them straight up and down three times then place on your shoulder and pat back

Aside from the breastfeeding tips, I also wanted to suggest a few items I love that help me with my lactation dedication. 😉

  • When nursing in public, if you want to cover up your “goods”, might I suggest an UDDER COVER. I have two, I love them, and if you use our promo code LIVEFREI29 you can get a free one from their website and just pay the shipping fees (which are usually under $12)Nursing Moo at a friends house with my Udder Cover
  • Another item I love is nursing bras. I am a big fan of Target’s Gilligan & O’Malley nursing bras which are only $16.99. They have a great shape to them and hold up very well. The price is also wonderful compared to others you might find at actual maternity stores.
  • My Medela pump saved me when I was working part-time after baby number one, and also after baby number two when I needed some relief. There will be times when your breasts will feel so tight/on the verge of explosion, and you will wish you had a breast pump. That is just the honest truth.
  • Gotta love the boppy pillow. It fits around your mid-section to lay baby on top of to get him closer to your breast. I have two different pillow cases for mine which is helpful when Moo spits up on one. I can just put the clean case on while the dirty one is getting washed. Boppy PillowI really hope that these breastfeeding tips will be helpful to you and would love to hear any tips that you may have. Just leave a comment in the section below. I love to hear your thoughts!

What advice would you offer an expectant mother?

~Janna

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Sara January 4, 2013, 2:28 am

    This is great, Janna! My sister is a few months pregnant and really nervous and scared, so I think this will really help out a lot when she finally has the baby!

    Miss your face! 🙂

    • Janna January 4, 2013, 9:50 am

      Thanks Sara, I would love it if you passed this info on to her. I wish I had known then what I know now before having our first baby.

  • Erin January 4, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Great tips Janna! I think it’s important for new moms to realize that breastfeeding can have its difficulties, but they are manageable with the right information. I used the Target nursing bras too, and thought they were a good, affordable option. Half of the time, I just wore a nursing tank top from Target, they are more comfortable than bras to me! I also had a nursing “sports bra” for night time – like a really loose sports bra that you can just pull up to nurse. I am jealous that your kids only took 10 min each side though – Landon was more like 20 on each side for the first month or so. Just a slow eater, but that’s how long it took to empty it/get the hind milk.

    • Janna January 4, 2013, 3:46 pm

      Erin, I’m glad you brought up the point of your baby taking 20 minutes to eat because that is very normal in the beginning and I failed to mention that. Breastfeeding is a learning experience for mom and baby, so I hope that people will take their time with it and that I don’t scare anyone off with my blog. 🙂

      also, I love the target tanks too! And they are even cheaper than the bras!

  • sheryl depree January 8, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Great article, Janna!
    The most helpful things I heard when I was expecting and planning to breastfeed were 1) in the beginning, treat breastfeeding like a full time job, and 2) remember that most women in the world don’t talk about ‘trying’ to breastfeed–they assume they will breastfeed. When I looked at it like that, I found that my expectations changed and I relaxed a little. I still had a lot of help from the La Leche League and lactation consultants and wonderful women–like you–who cared enough to share their knowledge with others. You are doing such wonderful work!

    • Janna January 8, 2013, 8:27 pm

      Sheryl,
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment and insight. I really like the full-time job point of view because I think a lot of women are surprised by how time consuming it can be in the beginning. And while it is totally worth it, some might give up from the get-go because they were taken by such surprise. Thanks again!

  • Janna January 8, 2013, 9:34 pm

    I had a few questions from a friend which I answered in detail and have posted below, in case you are looking for more information. 🙂
    Q: If milk comes in 3-5 days after delivery, what will sustain baby for the couple days before?
    A: After birth your body will produce colostrum which will be all the baby will need during those first few days before your milk comes in.
    Q: Can you go in detail on the right , left- 3 hours then left again scenario? The over production? (Seems like you’d want to rotate each breast evenly. Right, Left, Right, Left, etc.)
    A: Overproduction. If you start off on the same breast every time, that breast will produce more milk. In order to avoid the uncomfortable/lopsided overproduction, you need to change off who gets to start. Here’s a fake schedule for breastfeeding:
    6am. Good morning mommy! nurse baby on right breast then left breast
    9am breakfast, anyone? nurse baby on left breast then right breast
    12pm. It’s lunch time! Nurse baby on right breast then left breast.
    3pm. Time for a little snackeral. Nurse baby on left breast then right breast.
    6pm dinner is served. Nurse baby on right breast then left breast.
    You may forget which side you left off on. My friend used a paper clip attached to the bra strap she wanted to start on. I would use my washable breast pad, (only one) and put it in the side of my bra that would be leaking next. (As baby nurses on one breast, the other breast acts like a faucet that has been turned on. So you will need something to absorb that milk.)
    Q: Nursing 10 mins per breast- Does the foremilk come in for like the first few minutes then hind? How will I know if my baby is getting enough hind to avoid gas?
    A: Yes, foremilk is what baby is drinking the majority of the time. The hind milk lasts maybe 1-2 min??? Basically, when baby breaks the latch at your breast, offer it again to him. If he latches back on, great. If he refuses, then that is fine. Burp him, try again, then move on to next breast.
    Q: Also- I am nervous to use any pacifiers/ bottles. I don’t want baby to get use to anything but my nipple and have that jeopardize breastfeeding. Did you introduce either of these to your babies? If so, when?
    A: Tell your postpartum nurses that your baby is exclusively breast fed, and they will write it on your baby’s chart and bassinet. They may offer the baby a pacifier, but I didn’t offer one to my babies until about two weeks later if I remember correctly. With my first baby, I offered a bottle of breastmilk at 6 weeks, and with second baby I offered the bottle at 4 weeks.
    Q: If I use lanolin or any other breast cream, will the baby taste it or be deterred from breast feeding? Will it be toxic to him?
    A: Lanolin is safe for baby. Although if you prefer, gently hand express (by using your thumb and index finger) some of your colostrum out of your breast and rub on nipple.

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