Are you considering breastfeeding but you’re overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty? These confidence-boosting breastfeeding tips for new moms will give you the courage you need!
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There’s a lot to learn when it comes to breastfeeding, but don’t let that stop you!
As a new mom and the first person in my family to breastfeed, I didn’t have much support. Not because they didn’t want to help, they just didn’t know how.
And unfortunately, I received some pretty bad advice. (Which I why I created the Badass Breastfeeding Bundle
Luckily, you won’t have to repeat the same mistakes I’ve made.
You can start your journey equipped with all the great advice I wish I would’ve had.
1. Keep a nightstand stash
I’ll be the first to admit that during the night I want to get as much sleep as possible. And I’m sure you’re aware that babies don’t give a rat’s patootie if it’s nighttime.
To embrace my nighttime laziness, I cleaned out my nightstand and stockpiled it with everything I would need throughout the night.
This has been a game-changer!
Since I had a c-section we began co-sleeping using a DockATot early on because it was so painful to get in and out of the bed. Plus I enjoyed having her closer to me so I could easily check her breathing 3,479 times a night.
I put everything I could need in my nightstand. Since then I’ve added more and more supplies.
Now, I never get out of bed during the night and my daughter and I both wake up well-rested!
2. Stay hydrated
For your body to turn water into liquid gold you need water!
It’s recommended that you drink about 13 cups of water each day.
If you’re like me that sounds impossible!
This clever water bottle will help you track your water intake and keep you motivated.
3. Dream feed
Let’s begin with “what the heck is a dream feed?”
A dream feed is when you feed your baby while they’re still asleep.
For example, if your baby goes to sleep at 8 pm and you go to bed at 10 pm, you’ll feed your baby and burp them when you get ready to go to bed without waking them up.
That way they’ll be full and hopefully won’t wake up right after you lie down.
You want to be careful when doing this that you don’t completely wake up your baby. Keep the lights dim and the room quiet.
To find out how to dream feed properly, check out this ultimate dream feed guide I wrote as a guest post for Swaddles N’ Bottles.
4. Follow their cues
If your baby is hungry, feed them.
One minute we hear we’re overfeeding our baby and the next minute we’re not feeding them enough.
It’s so hard to be confident because if you’re not pumping you have no idea how much your baby is eating.
But keep calm mama! Your baby will let you know when they’re hungry.
Some babies are small and some are big so don’t get trapped in the comparison cycle.
This list of hunger cues will help you determine if your baby is crying because they’re hungry or for another reason.
5. Cluster feeding
When you feel like your baby is eating every 30 minutes in the evening it’s because they are!
This phenomenon is called cluster feeding.
My daughter would do this every day between 3 pm and 5 pm for a few weeks.
Although cluster feeding can make you feel discouraged like you’re not providing enough for your little one, that’s simply not the case.
Cluster feeding is normal and will continue to happen at various stages such as growth spurts.
Rest assured that YOU ARE producing enough milk and your baby is telling your body “Hey I’m growing I need more than 1 ounce now!”
Remember that nursing is all about supply and demand.
The only way to get your body to produce more for your baby is to keep nursing, nursing, nursing (or pumping, pumping, pumping)!
6. Always use your nipple cream
The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be brutal for your boobies. Nipple cream does wonders for helping the pain and discomfort.
Stay ahead of the pain by making sure you always apply your nipple cream after each nursing session to keep your skin from drying out.
Cracked, bleeding nipples are no fun so try to avoid them at all costs.
This is the nipple cream I love and recommend!
7. Haakaa nearby
You may start leaking once your milk supply comes in (between 2-5 days after birth). To catch every drop, keep your haakaa nearby.
Especially if your boobs start feeling like balloons filled with cement.
Follow these safe milk storage guidelines to make sure you don’t keep your milk out too long.
8. Comfortable nursing position
Whatever position you choose to nurse in make sure it’s a comfortable one.
You’ll be in that position for a while and the last thing you want is a stiff neck or sore back.
I know how easy it is to master one position and stick with that. But try out different nursing positions and you may find some that you enjoy more.
Some of my favorites are the cradle, side-lying, and the football hold when she was smaller and less active.
Keep your breastfeeding station stocked and within reach in case you get hungry or thirsty.
9. Accept help
It’s not uncommon for people to want to help you right after you have your baby. That’s because they know how difficult it is to be a new mom.
It’s a great idea to accept help while it’s being offered before people move on with their lives.
Something as simple as someone washing the dishes is enough to make you cry tears of joy!
After you’ve looked at those dishes for a few days and haven’t had the time to do them, it’s amazing when someone offers to help.
So take the help with whatever you can instead of trying to do it all yourself.
Breastfeeding is time-consuming. It feels like your baby is always attached to you.
Take breaks when you can and check out this daily cleaning schedule to help you stay ahead.
10. Nurse before activities
When my daughter was a couple of weeks old I had my husband watch her while I took a shower.
That was the most amazing shower I’ve ever taken!
It was nice and steamy, my music was playing, and when I turned around my husband was standing by the shower door holding our daughter.
After I calmed down and realized he wasn’t Norman Bates, he told me she was hungry and there wasn’t a bottle.
So my much needed shower was cut short because I forgot to nurse her or pump a bottle before I got in the shower.
Feed your baby before you want to do anything without your baby.
11. Practice public nursing at home
Nursing in public can be terrifying for a new mom. You’re trying to get a good latch while avoiding a nip slip and you can barely see what you’re doing.
Whether you use a nursing cover or the 2 shirt method, you’ll want to practice at home so you’re not as nervous when you do it in public for the first time.
Not all babies tolerate nursing covers. It’s better to find this out at home rather than in a restaurant while you’re flustered because you have a crying child and everyone is staring at you.
Practice makes perfect!
Get your method of public nursing mastered so you can feel more confident.
And if you need a few more tips to help you feel more comfortable, check out this post to help you conquer your fear.
12. Know when to seek professional help
This is super important!
If breastfeeding has been going well for you and suddenly it becomes painful, something is wrong.
Conditions like thrush and mastitis get worse quicker than a wildfire and can make you end your journey due to the pain.
Lactation consultants are amazing because they are specialized in issues that breastfeeding mothers face. They may be able to recognize a problem that a Pediatrician might dismiss as no big deal.
If you prefer to do some research yourself before scheduling an appointment, my favorite reliable online resources are Kellymom and La Leche League.
Either way, get help as soon as possible.
Famous last words…
Breastfeeding is a big task, but it’s amazing when you have access to the support you need that will give you the confidence to continue your journey.
And while you’re here grab your free Badass Breastfeeding Bundle
It’s great how much of a difference a few tips and tricks can make.