Breastfeeding Advice for New Moms
Collective wisdom is powerful. We asked veteran breastfeeding mothers, "What's one piece of breastfeeding advice you'd give to a new mom?"
Here's what they said...
"Expect the unexpected. It’s going to be a bumpy ride but all worth it at the end."
"The answer to all crying is nurse that baby. When in doubt nurse that baby!"
"It is really hard at times but I promise it gets easier! Don’t give up and join a breastfeeding group! It helped me SO much."
"Get a supportive and breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician."
"Babies nurse for a million reasons, not just because they’re hungry. Not producing enough is a very common misconception."
"Take a breastfeeding class before the baby is born. I regret not doing so. I thought I could figure it out after my son was born, but I didn't realize what a beast breastfeeding is!"
"Latch right after your baby is put on your chest."
"Use a nipple shield if you have to. Talk to a lactation consultant if you can. Your baby will be okay if you have to give them formula."
"Don’t give up on your worst day. There is no pill or magic food that will help your supply. The key is to nurse or pump frequently."
"Remember that breastfeeding is more than nourishment. Your baby needs you to be close, and nursing comforts them. You may feel like you’re stuck, and have so many things to do but those things can wait. This is just a season and before you know it it’ll be over."
"La Leche League meetings!!!"
"Don’t watch the clock! Follow the baby’s lead. Stop using your app tracking the times and just feed the baby when you think they’re hungry."
"Unless baby doesn’t have enough wet/dirty diapers or isn’t gaining enough weight, you do not have a supply issue. Baby still being hungry after “finishing” does NOT mean you don’t have enough."
"Lasinoh nipple cream. I don’t think I could have done it without it."
"It's okay if you find it's not for you or your journey. Give yourself grace."
"It’s a learning process for you and the baby, and each baby will be different".
"You do what works best for you and your family! Nurse for as short or as long as you like! Nurse covered or open - whatever you’re comfortable with! Be proud of nursing and don’t let other opinions change the beautiful thing that you are able to do!"
"Remind yourself daily that you are new to this and baby is new to this. So have patience. And you can do it!"
"Exclusive pumping can be a choice! Most people use it when nursing fails.... I never knew it could actually be a CHOICE and I wouldn't have had it any other way! I plan to pump for my next baby as well. It was such a blessing to my family!"
"Don't feel ashamed if you have to supplement. The most important thing is that baby gets fed. Your supply will inevitably ebb and flow throughout your journey due to hormonal changes, hydration status etc, and having a comfortable relationship with some form of supplement can be such a relief."
"Don’t worry about a feeding “schedule.” If baby is hungry then feed them! Maybe it’s only an hour later but that’s ok! It’s what helps your supply get established. Newborn tummies are tiny and they can only handle a small amount at a time and cluster feeding is normal! And can be exhausting."
"Do some reliable research about the science of how milk supply works. Everyone’s different so once I understood more about what was actually happening in my body, problems were easier to tackle. Also, find a local breastfeeding support group — so helpful in those early, full-of-doubt weeks."
"Use the lanolin religiously in the beginning, even if you feel you don't need it. I did this, and can't remember being sore or dry ever."
"It’s hard as hell and exhausting but sooo worth it."
"Your breasts are a factory not a warehouse. Frequent milk removal makes more milk."
"Even though it’s the most natural thing it is HARD. But it does get easier."
"Nursing on demand can literally mean every 45 minutes sometimes (cluster feeding). It doesn’t mean your milk is “too thin” or “baby is not getting enough.” Arm yourself with legit facts about breastfeeding babies. I highly recommend the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.”
"It's the most unnatural natural thing! It takes work and determination. Mom and baby are learning together."
"Have a strong support system. The people closest to you will set the tone for your success. Having support from husband, mother, MIL, doctors, and friends is so important."
"It’s ok if you can’t. Do what’s best for you and baby. You are stronger than you know and even if there is a struggle at first you are not failing. You’re amazing."
"Don’t listen to others who pass judgement if you go longer than what’s “acceptable.”
"Don’t base your supply by what you pump. Judge if baby gets enough by their diapers and weight gain. And if it doesn’t work out, don’t be hard on yourself. The most important this is baby is fed and mommy isn’t stressed."
"The second night is the absolute hardest. The cluster feeding coupled with loss of sleep will make you want to hand your baby to the nurses and tell them to supplement. Just stay the course. It’s only temporary."
"It really CAN get better! Those first 3 weeks are HARD! Then by 4 months things are a breeze! Best advice: take time to latch and if it isn't right or hurts, pop a finger in to break the seal. Re-latch as many times as needed! When it's RIGHT, it doesn't hurt."
"Forget everything else, and focus on enjoying being still while you nourish your child. Once you’re able, use a Boba Wrap, then you can feed on the go anywhere, anytime."
"One day at a time. So many times I was ready to throw in the towel. The mentality of "I'll make it through this day and we will see tomorrow" has gotten me to 7 months so far!"
"If you don't like water like me, then drink electrolytes to stay hydrated."
"Your baby will want to feed 100 times more than you realize....and that is NORMAL. Stock up on snacks, invest in a flask for herbal tea beside you and know that sitting to feed your baby all day is more important than any household chores!"