So it has been a minute or two since I breastfed our last child (okay, more like 17 years). I hesitated to even pen this post for fear of not having anything relevant to say. But then it hit me: I am a veteran breastfeeding mom, and I have plenty to share that can benefit younger moms who are just starting out!
My 5 Best Breastfeeding Tips
Drink lots of water.
My mother in law was my breastfeeding coach, and she told me something that I never forgot. She said to me, “drink water until you feel like you are going to pop, and then drink some more.” Truer words have never been spoken. I made a mistake of not paying attention to that word after the birth of our second child, and it was unpleasant, at best. I woke up dizzy and sweating and feeling awful. Yep, you guessed it: I was dehydrated. It was a miserable feeling, and I made sure that I had a water bottle or tall glass of water with me at all times in those first few weeks.
Expect some discomfort.
Yes, breastfeeding can hurt initially, I won’t even lie. Some women have a higher tolerance for pain, so it doesn’t bother them as much. I was not one of those women! The first few days of all that pulling on my already sensitive nipples was not a sensation that I embraced well. However, I can attest to the fact that the sensitivity doesn’t last always, and it gives way to enjoying one of the best bonding experiences that you will have with your baby. I found that nursing at regular intervals and pumping also helped to keep the pressure of engorgement at bay (the other reason why your breast can become sore). Also, using a lanolin based cream like Lansinoh can help to relieve soreness. It also doubles as a lip balm as well! This leads me to my next tip:
Wear a great nursing bra.
As a woman with a smaller chest, the extra weight of breast milk was a bit of a game changer for me. I needed a little extra support, and so a cadre of substantial nursing bras was a big help. Bras now are much more serviceable to the needs of the nursing mom. In fact, while mine were just plain and utilitarian, today’s nursing gear is much prettier and stylish! Third Love offers a beautiful new nursing collection that is both feminine and functional…a definite win.
My babies started off feeling as light as air, even at 8 pounds each…but they got heavy real quick. So, its important, in my opinion, to have support under your arm and under the baby each time that you nurse. Otherwise, you risk undue strain in your neck and shoulders. Who needs that extra discomfort? Try using a pillow that has beads or other filling that can be flexible so that you get good support.
Sitting in a chair with a comfortable back proved helpful to me as well. If you can, set up your nursing area in a comfortable and cozy part of your home. Again, it’s a bonding experience and its great to be in a place that gives you peace and quiet, especially as you and your baby learn one another.
You are making the main source of food for a brand new person – that is not a lightweight task. I remember being really surprised at how much it took out of me to care for my babies by way of nursing. My body was working hard! Resting is imperative, so try to nap when the baby is sleeping. And please….accept offers to help. Just having a trusted friend or family member there to help around the house, make food, or to entertain older kids is priceless. And it’s not a luxury: you need the help AND the rest. Believe me, you are already working hard and making many adjustments that are physically and mentally and emotionally taxing. Take a break, Wonder Woman..and take them often 🙂
You are doing something amazing by nursing your baby! I hope that these tips help set you up for a successful breastfeeding experience. Please let me know how its going for you, and any other tips that you have found to be useful, I’d love to hear from you!