I wish I had read this list of breastfeeding tips for new moms when I WAS a new mom! We’re on baby number 3, she’s 6 months old and the breastfeeding this time around has been a dream! When I had my first baby, not so much.
My first baby had:
- tongue tie
- trouble latching from the two mentioned above
As a mom, I had:
- cracked nipples
- dysphoric milk ejection reflex
- horribly sore back and neck from incorrect positioning
I wish someone had written me a letter explaining certain things about breastfeeding that I had no idea about!
Lucky for you, you get that letter. And I’m sending it to you with so much love ❤
Here’s the list of breastfeeding tips for new moms:
EXPECT THAT BREASTFEEDING WILL BE PAINFUL
(At first, but that will go away as you both learn)
Breastfeeding is a HUGE learning curve. You should be completely committed to breastfeeding so that you stay with it. I think it takes mothers by surprise how intense it is, how raw and real and painful it can be.
Especially in those first few weeks.
That being said, OF COURSE there are reasons to stop, I do not want to discount that and it is so important you do what’s best for YOU and YOUR BABY.
It’s important to stress here that most of us believe we’re just gonna sail into breastfeeding like we’re breastfeeding goddesses that won’t have a single issue…
and while YOU ARE a breastfeeding goddess, you are one that will need to learn this new skill. Just like diaper changes, swaddling and baby wearing, it takes-
Don’t give up!
I had almost forgotten the pain of breastfeeding until my 3rd was a couple days old and the milk really started to come in. Your nipples are not used to being suckled on and they will be sore and may crack (this is what I’ve used every baby), no matter how many babies you have had.
The good news?
It gets better.
Oh hell yeah!
Suddenly you realize that you just fed your baby and it didn’t hurt!
And honestly, it seems like an eternity when you are in the thick of it, but by roughly 6 weeks (usually sooner) your breasts will have evened out with production and the cracked and sore nipples will have cleared up.
Related: Breastfeeding Benefits
TRY A NURSING PILLOW
Being able to have your baby at the right height and easily access your breasts without killing your back is CRUCIAL during those first few months. Using a nursing pillow with my first two children really was extremely helpful.
I did not use it with my 3rd baby because I had a pretty good handle on things and didn’t feel it was necessary.
But if this is your first (or second!) baby, grab a nursing pillow. It’s soooo freaking helpful.
Also fun to use the nursing pillow to prop your baby up in bed before they can sit up by themselves!
This pillow has close to 3000 positive reviews. I was lucky enough to have a really good one given to me, but this is what I would have bought if needed.
BE AWARE OF TONGUE TIE
My first baby had a hell of a time latching. She just couldn’t quite do it and it was excruciatingly painful. After 24 hours in the hospital, they whisked her away and made a tiny cut to help with the tongue tie symptoms, which are:
- difficulty lifting the tongue to roof of mouth or side to side
- trouble sticking the tongue out past gums
- a tongue that appears notched or heart shaped when stuck out
- difficulty latching properly
If breastfeeding is unbearable, your baby might have tongue tie. It will be painful at first, but if it is so painful you are crying at the thought of a feed, look into tongue tie.
(Disclaimer: You may cry when they take your baby away to do this. I was absolutely heartbroken, but it IS worth it, for you and for your sweet baby.)
BE AWARE OF THRUSH
My first two babies had thrush, almost immediately following the birth. This is usually because you’ve had antibiotics during your pregnancy or labor. Or you’re prone to yeast infections. I was lucky enough to have antibiotics during both pregnancy and labor with both children. (This is what to take after antibiotics to build your immune system back up)
Thrush can cause difficulty feeding and irritability in your baby.
Symptoms are as follows:
- white patches on tongue, roof of mouth or inside of cheeks
- redness around the patches
- corners of the mouth may crack
- patches of white that look like milk but can’t be wiped away
Luckily, it is easily treated. Just make sure if you are treating your baby, you are also getting yourself examined because mom and baby can pass it back and forth between nipple and mouth. No big deal, just make sure you are both treated at the same time!
CHECK INTO D-MER
This is something I wish someone had told me about sooner.
When I breastfed my first daughter, right before my milk would let down, I would get some crazy feelings. Feelings like-
- unbearable homesickness
- deep, aching sadness
- being totally unworthy
- a feeling of just being sick to the stomach, almost like when you realize you’ve done something shameful and the pit of your stomach drops.
It took me a long time before I would openly talk about it with anyone. And when I did, I realized that MANY other mothers experience something like this.
Although there isn’t much in the way of treatment, just knowing that what you are experiencing is a chemical reaction and that there is nothing WRONG with you can help you get a serious handle on it.
CO-SLEEP WITH YOUR BABY
Imagine sleeping next to your baby and feeding them without getting up, sitting up, WAKING UP.
It’s a (sleeping mom’s) dream come true!
Co-sleeping and being able to breastfeed my babies through the night was truly the best thing for all of us.
Not to mention, we are biologically meant to sleep with our precious babies.
It’s easy to quickly assess how they are doing, check their temperature or breathing and make sure nothing is obstructing their face, whip out a boob to feed them if they wake up, all without having to wake up and run to the crib or another room.
BE PREPARED FOR PLUGGED DUCTS
Plugged ducts are seriously not fun. You’ll know when one of your breasts starts to feel hot to the touch, is red and has sore spot or lump.
It’s important to keep breastfeeding as often as possible to try to unplug the duct. Applying warm compresses and massaging during breastfeeding can help.
A hot shower and a gentle massage of the plugged duct has helped me more than a few times!
Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish a plugged duct from..
Mastitis is different from a plugged duct because it is an infection, usually accompanied by a fever.
Although you may need to take antibiotics, (don’t mess around, if you need to take them, please do and don’t feel guilty about it) usually mastitis will clear up in 48 hours and they may not be necessary.
The reason for waiting to take antibiotics right away is because our bodies are extremely adept at fighting things off, if given the chance. When you take antibiotics, they wipe EVERYTHING out of your system, good or bad and then you can have a weakened immune system. Which is why I highly recommend taking a probiotic if you end up needing antibiotics!
KNOW HOW TO GET A GOOD LATCH
RELATED: SNACKS FOR BREASTFEEDING MOMS
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Even if you have the most amazing labor and delivery, nothing could have gone smoother and you are home within 24 hours of giving birth-
You are gonna have some HUGE emotions that come up.
Your life has drastically changed. You are now in charge of a tiny human who is relying on your for their survival.
Yeah, it’s a big deal.
It’s also an empowering feeling to know that you DID IT.
And that you will do it, keep your precious newborn sustained and thriving.
So when you have these emotions and you need to cry, or scream or break down-
Honor the hell out of those feelings, and also, let them go.
It’s not you personally breaking down and entering a state of depression.
It might be if you let it get that far but if you try to remember that it is NORMAL to have these feelings and that they will pass, you will truly kick ass as a new mother.
It’s when we try to fight these feelings, control them and act like they are wrong that it’s not gonna go well.
They’re not wrong.
Birthing a baby is a HELL of thing, no matter if you had a 48 hour labor or a 4 hour one. C-section or a vaginal birth.
IT DOESN’T MATTER.
Surrender to the feelings, don’t fight them and when you are ready to move on, do it with self-love❤
Did these breastfeeding tips for new moms help YOU as a new mom? Let me know in the comments if they helped or what you would add for other new moms!