Word of Mom: Breastfeeding Tips
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, National Breastfeeding Month and Black Breastfeeding Week, we reached out to our community to get breastfeeding tips. There are many amazing resources and support communities out there (both online and in person), and we invite you to get the support you need. In addition, we wanted to share some tips and advice from moms in our community.
Baby carriers help the modern-day parent attend to their child’s needs while still getting on with their day. That’s why babywearing and breastfeeding often go hand-in-hand. It’s the ultimate convenience–feeding on the go! Help us celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2014 #WBW2014), National Breastfeeding Month (August #NBM14 and #SixWords) and Black Breastfeeding Week (August 25-31, 2014 #BBW14) by showing your support. Please feel free to share any #ergobaby #breastfeeding photos, stories or advice on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. We acknowledge that some mama’s journeys may have ended or due to struggles, never began. We support all mothers.
So whether you are expecting, just starting your breastfeeding journey or a supportive partner or family member, we invite you to enjoy and share these tips. And remember, sometimes the best advice is listen to the advice, but trust your instincts. You know yourself and your baby best!
@coumarnel Before giving birth I worried and worried about breastfeeding. The best advice I got was from my Sister-in-law, she said, "don't over think it. Women have been doing this since the beginning. If a problem does arise you can get help and figure out how to fix it then. But in most cases, your body and your baby will know what to do.
@mmkhoury2 Don't let anyone take your baby let them go straight from inside you to on your chest. This is the best thing because they naturally root for the nipple and they know how to suck. Stay that way for 1 hour if possible.
@sarahclane Coconut oil on the cracked areas in the early days! And just keep telling yourself "this is only temporary" during those first few rough weeks.
@littlefriel Stick with it.
@azraelsmommie Take the courage to stick with it! It's an amazing and healthy thing for both you and your baby, and such a beautiful bonding experience; you won't want to miss it.@earthmamaangelbaby has the creamiest of all nipple butters, made with all natural ingredients - my savior during the first couple of weeks. Don't overthink it!
@sarahd_1204 When you are sitting for hours feeding and feeding and wondering if they're getting enough and when it's only been 45 minutes since the last nursing session remember...it won't be like this forever. Stick with it and let your baby lead the way. He will tell you what he needs and for that first month what he needs is you!
@rebekahcbarber When they're 16 months old and so sick that they won't even eat ice cream but will nurse for an hour you will be so glad you kept with it.
@iheartjax It's ok if it doesn't work out, even if it breaks your heart.
@evablack It just takes practice. You're both learning something new. Yeah, baby has the instinct, but you both need time to figure it out.
Stephanie I have successfully breastfed both my girls. Best advice I got before my first, don't give up the first 2-4 weeks are the hardest....so I didn't and I'm so glad. My newest personal advice: it is liquid gold and my 2nd daughter was diagnosed with a very rare infant leukemia at 12 weeks old. Newborn nursing has nothing on nursing a baby on steroids (24/7 for 5 weeks straight) this is not a joke. Anyways she had gone through chemo and had not one white blood cell to fight infection and her oncologists now almost a year later said it is unheard of that ANYONE who has had such intense chemo not to get an infection and they fully give credit to the anti viral and anti bacterial properties of breast milk. Needless to say I may be one of the biggest breast feeding advocates out there.
Becky Don't feel guilty if you bottle fed. My daughter wasn't able to nurse for the first few weeks, I got her to nurse but she wasn't getting enough, which I didn't know, and she would scream for 12 hours straight. We were both so much happier and healthier when we introduced formula.
Laura Find a lactation consultant and never listen to anything any other medical professional has to say about it!! The vast majority of pediatricians do NOT know what they are talking about in this domain. And nurse on demand! Scheduling nursing is often the first step to supply issues. My son had bad reflux. I had one pediatrician tell me to nurse more often and one tell me to nurse less often! I learned to just completely ignore them and check Kellymom and/or ask my lactation consultant.
Brandais I'm not against either I breast fed my son for 10 months but my supply was so low and I was in denial - he became severally malnourished and after we switched to formula he was gained weight wonderfully. With our 2nd, our daughter, I wasn't going to let the same thing happen. So I payed close attention and by 2 months my supply was so dead so we switched to full on formula. And FYI- I saw breast feeding consultants, took fenugreek, pumped, fed on demand, fed through the night - you name it! Sometimes women's bodies just don't know what they are supposed to do. NO SHAME in formula feeding!!!
Chelsea I wish someone would have told me to get a doula. I felt like the nurses at the hospital weren't very helpful in breastfeeding and didn't proactively tell me to try to nurse as often as I should have. My best advice is this: the first three months you will feel like all you do is sit on the couch and nurse...cuz you do! Baby will want you 24/7, and that's ok and normal. Relish it because it won't be forever and take advantage of napping when baby naps, catching up on tv shows, social media, a new hobby or beginning a blog, even scrapbooking. Don't be afraid to immerse yourself in tons of support. La Leche League meetings (they're free!) and online support groups can be a savior in those first months where everything is new and questionable.
Ima Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's easy. Stick with it, it becomes easier. And get your significant other on board to help support you thru the frustrations and successes.
Nicole If they start latching and unlatching repeatedly, they've usually either got wind or want the other side. No-One ever told me this! If they're constantly switching sides, don't worry that they're not getting enough hindmilk, just go with it - they know what they're doing (and are likely either thirsty (for the more watery foremilk) or increasing your supply)!
Brigitte Breastfeeding is hard. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it will be easy, but the hard work will pay off, so trust your body. And while "Breast is best", never feel shame or guilt for giving your baby formula. Health baby and happy momma come first.
Marisa Never be ashamed. In public, if it's hard, if your supply is low, if your nipples are flat, if some ahole makes a comment, if your baby has a bad latch, if you crack and bleed, if you stop...
No matter what, never be ashamed.
No one knows what best for your babe like you do.
Deidre The best advice I got was stick it out for 8 weeks. I had twins who were slightly prem so we faced a lot of challenges with latching issues, mastitis, blocked ducts and learning to tandem feed. It was hard work but it got so much easier! My twins are 18 months old now and breastfeeding is still going strong!
Tara If you can make it to two weeks, you can make it!!
Angela Nurse on demand-no schedules, find a fabulous lactation consultant and support groupBEFORE you have the baby, and don't give a flying expletive about what other people think of.
Emily It was much easier when I stopped listening to what others were telling me and listened to my baby. Breastfeeding was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've ever done! And nurse wherever you feel comfortable. It's your right and your baby deserves to not be hidden in a public restroom.
Amanda 1) In the beginning, take it day by day, feeding by feeding. There were times I told myself 'one more feeding and if it still hurts I'm quitting' I just kept saying it until about the 4 week mark and then I realized I wasn't saying it as much any more. I was so glad. I did 1 year with my first two and I am on 4 months with the third.
2) find a support group and/or other breastfeeding moms! BEFORE baby comes.
3) make sure your nursing clothing provides easy access! This time around I bought bras and tanks that allow me to just take down the "sleeve" I am using at the time. That way the rest of me is still covered.
4) if you feel uncomfortable nursing in public get creative about where to nurse with privacy. I also do it so baby isn't distracted.... My favorites are fitting rooms and my car.
5) having a 'my Brest friend' nursing pillow in the bedroom and the living area. Supporting the weight of the baby helps with positioning until you both get the hang of things. At 4 months I no longer use it but used it every feeding for at least 2 1/2 months.
5) remember, you are both learning in the beginning. Talk to your baby and tell them they are doing the right thing or that it's ok to break the latch so "we can try it again". They may not understand the words but they will hear the comfort in your voice.
6) I love love love the mini co sleeper. I didn't have it with the first two.
Stephanie Master breast feeding laying down, co-sleep, rest! It's so much easier this time around.
Alexandrea Not every mommy's body is MADE to breastfeed. It's OK to use formula. And if you supplement with formula you are NOT a bad mom! It's ok and many mommies are in the same boat as you...they just might be ashamed to share their struggle!
Asia Don't ever feel shame about breast feeding in public, as long as you and your baby are happy that's all that matters. Besides, you can tell anyone who disagrees to simply not look.
Anita Stick with it... It does get easier!! Going in almost a year now!!!
Monique Your baby can sense/feel your mood; so try your best to stay calm and relaxed even when you are stressed and just want to cry! I can't count how many times I needed to remind myself of this and take a nice deep, calming breath and try again. This is especially for the early days and weeks until you get the hang of things!
Rachael Feed on demand. Doing let anyone bug you about that being "too much". Do what feels right to you.
Cindy It was hard for me to build my milk supply with my first baby. I really worked hard on it- trying many different things that I read on forums. What really helped was pumping after nursing every three hours and then doing 10 minute quick pump sessions each night to build the supply. I also got Metoclopramide from my doc to help. It was the hardest thing I had to do as a new mom. But the good news is that I had plenty of milk with my second child. On a side note. Here's a tip for working moms: refrigerate your pump kit after pumping and wash when you get home.
Megan Breastfeeding is hard. I was so close to giving up so many times during the first few months. I read somewhere to never give up after your hardest day, and that's my advice to all new moms.
Danielle It's not all perfection the first time around. Sometimes babies and moms have to work at it. It takes a lot of time, patience and practice - but in the end soooooo incredibly worth it. Once you get into that groove you never want it to end.
Angela I wish I knew it took time and learning - that it doesn't just happen naturally - would have saved me some tears and frustration in the early days!
Heidi It's not as easy as it looks and don't be ashamed to ask for help.
Benita It is painful for a little while and then it stops. Best advice I was given. That and just listen to yr body. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's painless or easy at the start.
Janelle For the days when engorgement is a problem, use cabbage leaves. I know it sounds crazy, but put leaves of cabbage inside your bra and it will help! When it is wilted, put in fresh again. Don't use too long as this is also an effective way to dry you up. This has saved me from getting mastitis more than once! If I had only known about it with my first one! I am now 3+ months into nursing my 7th and it has worked every time!
Kristen Seek out a lactation consultant, attend a bf support group for social support and follow your instincts esp early on. If your newborn wants to nurse, then nurse. He/she is increasing your supply in those early weeks.
Jennifer Learn to nurse lying down!
Alicia Give it a go, get support, if it isn't going well- don't beat yourself up about it. Bonding comes from many positive, nurturing, consistent experiences between mom and baby. Breast or bottle fed are two different routes to feed and bond.
Erin I struggled a lot in the beginning (my daughter was in nicu for a week with severe jaundice). A good friend told me to breastfeed at least one week. After that if it still wasn't going well stop and don't beat yourself up over it and don't look back. We made it to 6 months and then I had to heed the latter part of her advice. Stopped without beating myself up for it and we didn't look back. And my daughter is insanely tall and skinny. Breastfeeding, although great does not create great babies. PARENTING creates great babies/kids.
Hannah You gain weight on your bum and thighs in the last trimester. This fat is stored there to make milk. Its a myth that breastfeeding woman need extra calories.
Raylin My first pregnancy I was pretty thin and had plenty of milk when I nursed. My second pregnancy I was huge, gained a ton of weight, especially in my bum and thighs, but my milk dried up when my son was only 2 months old. It takes between 500-1000 calories each day to produce milk, your own body needs 1300-1800 calories to function properly. It very much so does matter what you eat and how much you eat. Here is an article by a specialized nurse. It does acknowledge that women can produce milk while restricting their calories but it is often times at a detriment to their own health.
Courtney Not every woman loses weight while breastfeeding. I have only lost half of my 50 pregnancy pounds, but eating a well balanced diet ensure my child gets all of the calories and nutrients she needs. I do go to the gym 2-3 times a week as a way to be healthy while enjoying a little bit of "me" time.
Alexsys The first month is the hardest don't give up promise it gets better! In that first month you learn a lot about your self and baby he/she eventually gets on a schedule that you can work around and feel alil freedom I've breast fed all three of my kids it's the best thing for them and I'm so grateful that I could give that to each of my kids.
Brianne Just keep at it! It's hard...SO HARD. Find a friend who has succeeded or a support group or lactation consultant. It took me 6 weeks to feel completely comfortable nursing. I battled low supply, mastitis, and painful cracking and just kept pushing, but I was determined. You can do it! And it's so worth it in the end. Breast milk has so many health benefits, requires no preparation, and it's free (all pluses in my mommy book!).
Melissa Don't feel bad if you can't figure out how to nurse in an Ergo. I never could, but I really really wanted to! We nursed past her 4th bday and honestly beyond the food aspect in infancy, I seriously miss the calming tool it was after. Now that we're not nursing, I've got nothing! And that might explain why she screamed for an hour tonight and wouldn't calm down.
Emily You have to have a good support system. Those first two weeks were the hardest most frustrating thing I've ever done. It made me understand why women give up. I had my husband, family, doula and friends all backing me 100%. As I return to work in a couple weeks I know they also have my back providing a comfortable space to pump and full support.
Hannah Weightloss, bonding, its free, its effotless, its natural.
Sumiko Don't give u the nursing relationship. Properly trained IBCLCs are so much more specialized and know what to look for when nursing isn't "working." All humans are born to nurse.
Victoria That exclusively pumping & bottle feeding your milk is just as fine as breastfeeding. Now that we've switched to this, our 3 month old is eating & sleeping so much better because he couldn't latch on correctly when we were breastfeeding.
Milena Here in Brazil we have lots of "superstitions" which passes through generations. One of these, says that if you eat a typical food made with a white corn called "canjica" and milk, your production increases. It really works! But for me and my babies, when I drink too much water and let the babies eat whenever they want, with no rigid time control, my milk production gets higher and enough to feed them.
Deya I had an excruciating start to breast feeding my daughter, who had a mild tongue tie, but after the first 6 weeks it was totally fine. She had it cut which helped loads but what I wish is that midwives and the advice given was honest. Yes it is lovely and beautiful and natural but it bloody hurts! If I had known that it wouldn't have come as such a shock and I wouldn't have contemplated giving up! Luckily we persevered and I am SO glad I did. 10 months in and still going strong.
Jessica The amount of times I wanted to quit feeding when I had my daughter omg that was hard! But it was only 3 weeks of hard I'm glad I kept going cause in the end it was a lot easier to breast feed you don't have to sterilise or heat up or cool down or mix up breast milk and it's FREE. What kept me going was determination & perseverance & one lovely lady at the breast feeding cafe! Just remember both you and your baby are learning to feed together it takes time & patience.
Becky Get a teething necklace. Even for babies that aren't teething. It's a must-have, especially as your baby gets more mobile, to keep them occupied during feedings.
Jackie Don't give up...it is hard at first and it can take a while for your milk supply to come in and for baby to get the hang of it. If you're struggling seek help from a lactation consultant they are wonderful! If you stick with it babies will figure it out. Stay relaxed it will hero your milk supply and baby!
Joanna When you go back to work and have to pump (yuck), just pump ten minutes at a time every three hours or so. You get what you get, and you don't have to stress out about when the flow stops or how much you "need" to get on every session. And it's way easier to plan your day when you know how long it will take you to pump each time. Before you go back to work, try to build a freezer supply so you won't freak out. Also, if you're not pumping enough, be sure to have your pump checked. Could easily be the motor (if it's old or cheap) or the tubes (if they're old).
Karin don't give up!
Fabiana Follow your instincts. People will tell you all kinds of crazy things but you know your baby better than anyone else.
Ramona Ask the on call hospital doula to visit you and teach you the football hold - for a newborn to latch that was the easiest position. Go in to it knowing it will not be simple, you will want to quit when you have a hungry newborn, no milk and bleeding nipples. Don't be afraid or feel bad about supplementing formula in those first few weeks. I gave my baby formula on day 3. She had at least 1 formula meal daily the first two weeks. The rest of the time I switched her right then left every feeding - she was requesting future milk and it did eventually come in and we no longer needed formula. I also pumped daily the first two weeks to request milk because not much would come out when I pumped.
Claire Try not to over-think or over-read. It takes time to get easier. Speak to friends that are going through it at the same time. Get checked for tongue-tie as early as possible and if you suspect TT get professional opinion - they will diagnose quicker than doc or hospital nurses. Don't be afraid to try other positions, techniques.
Beth Don't get stressed about it. My little boy was tongue tied for the first 7 weeks and we didn't know. I continued to BF as I thought the pain was normal. Get a good group if mums around you and talk things through. Enjoy feeding your little one and the bond that no one else has.
Meaghan 1-2 tablespoons of molasses a day always help my milk supply and it think it helps the taste!
Valarie The internet has come such a long way too! Find breastfeeding support forums, join, bookmark, download the aps. Those are the people who are available at 2 in the morning when your baby has a bad latch, you are both crying, and you need someone to tell you they have been there, and it does get easier and happier. Consult the professionals, it was because of my lack of support and pressure from my first daughter's pediatrician that ended our breast feeding relationship. If I had known about lactation consultants back then, we definitely would have made it.
Elaine Have plenty of quick and healthy snacks in the house before you deliver.
Jenn Follow your instincts....follow baby's cues. Don't give up.
Kate Find anyone to support you with knowledge! I didn't breast feed my oldest because we were having a hard time and all we got from nurses and doctors was "your doing great!" That didn't help. Now I know to keep looking till someone well to help, with knowledge comes along!
Vivianna No pressure on yourself...just do what works best for YOU and YOUR baby and follow both of your natural instincts.
Mary Find a breast feeding support group. Other mommas to walk the journey with you are a priceless gift!!!
Holly That sometimes it sucks. And hurts like hell, even if you're doing it right. And you'll be tied to your nursing spot every couple of hours for weeks and weeks, and some days its the one and only thing you'll do. It is rewarding in so many ways, but i feel like its so built up new moms are shocked at how frustrating and tine consuming it is.
Emily I realize I am lucky I have not had an issue with supply- it was hard at first because two nurses tried to assist me and couldn't really talk me through it. None of us were very patient! I was getting frustrated because it was painful at first, with a shallow latch. I won't lie- my heart sank when the lactation consultant came to visit. It was a man! I thought, "How can he possibly help when i've had so much trouble? " he was very helpful- I was inclined to trust the nurses knew what rhey were doing, but they were not as expertly trained and able to assist and communicate as well as the lactation consultant. If it is hard keep trying and get as many people to help you as you need.
Andrea Don't pressure yourself! If you are like the majority of women, there will be moments when it feels like too much. Breastfeeding a newborn is crazy hard!! You might consider giving up...And it's okay if you do. As long as you are feeding your baby, you're doing it right. If you do decide to keep breastfeeding, though, give yourself a high five! After the first few weeks, things settle into place, you get a routine going and in the end, you sort of feel like Wonder Woman. The special moments I've had nursing my son have been some of my very favorite moments with him and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
Karen Pump since day one and start stocking milk. Take advantage of those days of good supply.
Amanda If you make it the first two weeks you can conquer the world!
Anne My doctor, who's also a mother of 4 kids, told me that breast feeding was like wearing a new pair of fancy shoes. It takes a little while to be completely comfortable but it will be!
Eileen Use breast milk and lanolin to help with sore nipples- it helps a lot! Lanolin does not have to be taken off before baby latches!
Candice Don't expect it to be perfect. 3 babies, 1 successfully breastfed (feeding actually). Things have worked out this time, but it wasn't an easy road. Lactose intolerance and supply shortage, and then stress and supply shortage plagued my first 2 attempts, but this time I felt much more confident, and don't beat myself up when she has 2 ounces of formula (I make enough to feed her but not really to pump extra). It's still not as easy and enjoyable as other people might experience, but I'm proud of myself for continuing to try and the nice moments between the two of us. Also, never forget to bring your water bottle to wherever you're sitting!
Casandra If you have pain when baby latches that lasts more than a week, have him checked for lip/tongue tie!! I had never even heard of it until a year ago, but am positive that is why my 13yo was so impossibly hard to BF.
Ashley Make sure YOUR primary care dr is supportive of you breastfeeding. If you get sick make sure to find out if that medication will lower your supply! Also stop everything and enjoy every bonding moment while feeding. It will be over before you know it.
Monique I wish I knew how hard it would be! It's painful and hard in the beginning but it gets easier (I promise!). There is nothing wrong with supplementing, pumping, or feeding your baby however works for you!
Jessica After being bombarded with tips, tricks and advice; after being physically handled while my baby was positioned with someone else's hands to get the "right" angle; after pain and blood and tears and wondering if I would have to forever suffer to feed my baby the way I was made to feed her; what I realized was we just needed quality time together to practise and figure it out as a twosome. I needed to learn to relax: my shoulders and tight chest, my breath, my mind and my ego. That's what did it for me. Relax and time with my baby. Now I love breastfeeding. It is a joyous time, a playful time.