Breastfeeding tips for new moms
Breastfeeding in the first month can be brutal. You will be adjusting to life as a new mother and getting to know your baby all while trying to figure out how to breastfeed. Use these tips and tricks to help you survive the early weeks.
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Get a portable light for night feedings
Get ready for those middle of the night feedings. You’ll be tired and will want to get everyone back to sleep as soon as possible!
Avoid turning on bright lights, or trying to latch a newborn in the dark with a portable push light. You’ll want a soft yellow light, no blue lights or bright glaring lights that will make everyone more awake.
A little push light is perfect! It provides just enough light for changing a diaper, latching a baby, or pumping. I loved having one that shut off after a certain amount of time as it doubled as a timer too!
Change their diaper BEFORE you feed them
Changing a diaper has always made my newborns wide awake. Change the diaper before you feed them to help get them awake enough to eat. Newborns will often doze off while eating and you don’t want to rouse a sleepy baby at the end of a feeding session.
Hopefully they’ll be nice and sleepy after filling their bellies and will go back to bed once returned to their sleep space.
Have snacks nearby for that breastfeeding hunger
Breastfeeding is hungry work! Avoid a middle of the night trip to the kitchen for snacks. Keep your bedside table stocked with things like crackers, nuts, or lactation cookies to help fight the hunger and cravings.
Get a little help from your husband
If/when you start pumping, or if you have to supplement, have your husband help you with the night feeds.
Many newborns will nurse for a long time in the first month. Have your husband give a bottle for that middle of the night feed. A bottle generally goes down more quickly so you can pump while your husband feeds the baby and everyone can get back to sleep quickly!
Just make sure he’s doing paced bottle feeding.
Keep a mini fridge or cooler in your room
When you’re pumping during the night or providing a bottle you’ll need a way to keep that milk or formula cold. Keep a mini fridge in your room to avoid trips to the kitchen!
I live in a 2 story house. Trying to go downstairs to the kitchen in the middle of the night while sleep deprived is not only a bit dangerous but the journey wakes you up making it harder to get back to sleep quickly.
Keep a mini fridge in your room and you can retrieve a bottle from it or put freshly pumped milk in there until morning. When you’re on a 3 hour newborn feeding schedule every bit of extra sleep at night is precious!
Join an online breastfeeding group
To avoid murdering your husband while he’s peacefully sleeping as you nurse a baby yet again join an online breastfeeding group.
There will be other women awake to talk to in case you have a question, moment of panic, or just need some entertainment to help keep you awake.
Get comfy with a breastfeeding pillow or pillow stack
You will spend much of the first month breastfeeding. Grab a breastfeeding pillow and some extra pillows for stacking and supporting your back and arms. Finding the perfect position can save you a lot of aches and pains.
See a lactation consultant or visit a breastfeeding support group
A local breastfeeding support group is a great way to feel a little less crazy those first few weeks. Sometimes it helps just to know you aren’t the only one experiencing hormones or who’s baby is exhibiting a certain behavior.
It’s also a great opportunity to check on your baby’s milk intake and maybe even make a friend or two!
It will be a busy time those first few weeks but it’s important to remember to stay hydrated. It will help your body to recover and help to boost you milk supply as well.
Don’t waste the liquid gold
Some women leak long-term, and almost all women leak some early on. Don’t let that liquid gold go to waste. Use a device like a haaka to help catch that leaking milk and start building a stash for that first date night away from baby.
Try different latch positions
There are many different latch positions you can try. You may want to try a variety of options to find what works best for you and your baby. You may even find that a different position works best for each breast.
Check out the great video below modelling the different latch positions.
Things will get easier as your baby and their mouth gets bigger and they’ll be easier to position and feed!
Use nipple cream for tender nipples
Never fear, your nipples will eventually adjust to a baby sucking on them 6-12 times a day. Until then you’ll want to use something to help keep them happy!
Breastmilk works great, if there’s a little around when your baby is done feeding rub it on your nipples and allow it to dry a bit before covering them up.
If you are experiencing severe nipple pain, bleeding, blistering, or your nipples are flattened after your baby eats be sure to see a lactation consultant to help with proper latching and check for any tongue or lip ties.
Whether you have an easy time or a rough start to breastfeeding those first weeks will be busy, long, and hard. Try out these tips and hopefully it will ease the transition a bit.
Get more great tips on my Breastfeeding resource page