Whether you are a mama who's about to start your breastfeeding journey, are currently in the thick of it, or have already breastfed a previous baby, it's always helpful to know some of the basic breastfeeding tips. We are sharing 15 that we think are the most important ones!
15 Must-Know Breastfeeding Tips
1. Breastfeed right away! Having your baby latch right after birth is one of the most important steps in a successful breastfeeding journey. Continued skin-to-skin is also very helpful.
2. Let your baby guide the way. While the pressure to breastfeed is heavy for many moms, your baby already instinctively knows what's best for them. Let them decide how often and for how long they nurse.
3. Try different positions. All babies (and mamas) are made differently. Trying a variety of nursing positions to see which ones are the best for you can be helpful. These include: cradle, cross-cradle, back-lying, side-laying and football.
4. Check for cues that show your baby is full. Hungry baby= closed tight fist, full baby= open, relaxed hand.
5. Drink LOTS of water. Breastfeeding mamas should be drinking enough water for them and the baby. A helpful habit to get into is drinking a full class of water during every nursing session.
6. Make sure you are consuming galactogogues every day! Galactogogues are nutrients that help mamas maintain a healthy milk supply. These include: oatmeal, dark leafy greens, almonds, sweet potatoes, ginger and garlic.
7. Keep your baby awake. It is important to make sure your baby isn't falling asleep while nursing. Keep them awake by tickling them, talking to them with a lively voice and wiping a wet cloth on their skin.
8. Take care of your nipples! Use a nipple cream specifically for breastfeeding (safe for babies) and wear breast shells to avoid rubbing on clothes.
9. Check your baby's latch. There are TONS of online guides to help with this. Just keep in mind the bottom of your areola should be in and your nipple should be towards the back of their mouth. Their lips should be puckered out to create a tight seal. If nursing is continuously painful, chances are baby isn't latching correctly.
10. Clogged ducts are highly likely. If you experience a clogged duct, make sure to give that particular boob extra nursing time. You can also take a hot shower and massage the clog (in the direction of your nipple). Many people find using an electric toothbrush can help as well!
11. If you drink alcohol, you don't have to pump and dump. "An adult's metabolism of alcohol is approximately 1 oz every 3 hrs, so mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal" (Le Leche League).
12. Leaking happens. If you are breastfeeding, you will leak. It's normal! And if you don't want to cry over leaked milk, invest in a silicone breast pump or breast shells to collect the excess milk.
13. Pumping mamas- Make sure you are using the correct flange size and are switching out your pump parts every 2-3 months. Both of these tips will lead to an increase in the oz pumped.
14. You don't have to clean pump parts after every use. Put them in a gallon zip-lock bag and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
15. Don't be afraid to seek help. There are countless resources available for breastfeeding mamas. These include lactation consultants, informational websites and breastfeeding support groups.