21 Awesome Breastfeeding Tips for First Time Moms

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Breastfeeding a newborn baby for the first time is no easy feat. If there is any possible way to make this tough job just a little bit easier, believe you me, you’re gonna want to do that.

 

So today, we’re coming at ya with 21 insanely helpful hacks and breastfeeding tips for first time moms.

 

If you prepare yourself by taking advantage of these breastfeeding tips, it’s going to make your nursing journey soooo much easier! I nursed my babies for over 30 months and donated thousands of ounces of breastmilk to babies in need – so I got you covered on alllll aspects of breastfeeding your baby.

 

21 Awesome Breastfeeding Tips for First Time Moms

 

Black woman lying on couch breastfeeding her baby, text overlay says ' 21 Breastfeeding tips for first time moms'

 

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Keep in mind that every baby and everyone’s experience is different. If you’re struggling to breastfeed your baby, be sure to reach out to a local Lactation Consultant (LC) for assistance.

 

First, let’s talk about breastfeeding hacks that will help you manage the potential pain of nursing as a new mom…

 

  1. USE A NIPPLE SHIELD

 

If you’re struggling with pain as you learn to nurse your newborn baby, don’t hesitate to grab a nipple shield like this one. These brilliant little contraptions were a life saver for me when I was breastfeeding my first baby.

 

It’s just a thin material with holes in it (like the nipple on a baby bottle.) It gently suctions to your skin and shields the nipple from direct touch. Makes the early days of nursing much more endurable.

 

  1. USE ICE PACKS DESIGNED FOR BREASTFEEDING

 

When you’re breastfeeding your baby, you might deal with painful swelling, clogged ducts, or mastitis.

 

Ice packs like these are extremely helpful for dealing with the discomfort of swelling. And you can use them as heat therapy for clogged ducts or mastitis as well.

 

If you’re in a bind, you can also use a small pack of frozen veggies or a heated rice pack for relief – but small boob-shaped therapy packs are much more convenient and comfortable.

 

  1. USE BREAST SHELLS

 

These Breast Shells protect cracked nipples from rubbing against your shirt and they collect any milk leakage that happens during nursing or pumping sessions.

 

Although nursing pads are great for leaks, outings, and nighttime, wasting all that precious liquid gold kinda sucks, and moms typically like to avoid that if we can.

 

Manage pain and save every last drop of precious milk for your sweet babe? No brainer!

 

  1. USE AN ORGANIC NIPPLE BUTTER

 

Although I rarely used nipple butter or cream myself, I know many breastfeeding mamas that swear by this stuff.

 

So, if you need moisturizing relief from cracked nipples or dry skin, this nursing-safe organic nipple butter is a must-have.

 

  1. TRY NEW NURSING POSITIONS

 

Sometimes, mama and baby just need to adjust their position to decrease nursing pain.

 

Many breastfeeding moms swear by the ‘football hold’ during the early days of nursing. The crossover hold was the most effective for me and my babes.

 

Learn about various nursing positions here and find what works for you.

 

 

Now, let’s talk about some helpful hacks for a generally stress-free and successful breastfeeding experience.

 

  1. MAKE A BREASTFEEDING BASKET

 

Every new breastfeeding mom should have a basket of breastfeeding essentials in every room.

 

As you become a seasoned pro, you’ll need less and less stuff (just a baby and a boob will do)! But when you’re breastfeeding a newborn, or when you’re a first-time mom, it’s helpful to have a basket full of your nursing essentials within reach.

 

This is everything that I keep in my breastfeeding basket.

 

Don’t hesitate – make yourself a breastfeeding basket and have it ready for when baby arrives.

 

  1. GET A MULTI-PURPOSE NURSING COVER

 

If you’re a new breastfeeding mom and you prefer to cover up during feeding sessions, then you should get a light-weight multi-purpose cover that makes life easier.

 

This nursing cover slips over your neck easily, covers baby during nursing, and also doubles as a car seat or stroller cover.

 

With my first baby, I used this nursing cover and loved it.

 

  1. KEEP BABY AWAKE DURING THE WHOLE FEEDING

 

Ideally, we want baby to get a full feeding that consists of both foremilk and hindmilk. You can learn more about foremilk and hindmilk here.

 

To do this, it’s important to let baby nurse as long as they want, but also, to keep them AWAKE for the entire nursing session.

 

  1. GET A MILLION NURSING TANKS

 

Wanna make your breastfeeding experience a million times easier?

 

Get used to the fact that all of your clothing (for the foreseeable future) should be nursing friendly. This means that all shirts should provide easy access, without fussing over layers of fabric.

 

Nursing tanks will be your friend – they have a clip that allows you to easily lower the top of the tank and feed baby!

 

You’ll need at least 2-3, but I’d personally recommend buying 7-10 so that you don’t need to do laundry every day… Yes, baby spit up and leaky boobs are a thing, so you might be changing your tee more than once a day.

  1. TRY THE TWO-TANK TRICK

 

I learned this trick when my baby started refusing to nurse under a cover.

 

I was super shy about bare skin and wanted to be ‘covered up’, but obviously my baby still needed to eat regardless of where we were or who was around.

 

So, I started wearing a thin spaghetti strap tank under my shirt.

 

When it was nursing time, I could discreetly lower the tank top that was underneath and lift my shirt that was on top. Enough so baby could eat, but my body was still mostly covered.

 

For the record, I don’t find this essential after years of nursing, but in the beginning, this helped me endure breastfeeding in awkward social settings.

 

  1. GET YOURSELF A COMFY PILLOW

 

Mamas do a lot of breastfeeding in bed.

 

Make sure you have a comfortable, supportive pillow in your bed. One that supports your back while you nurse your baby.

 

I love my Sweet Night bamboo pillows because they’re firm, yet pliable and adjustable for your comfort.

 

  1. MORE SKIN TO SKIN

 

As first-time moms, we typically just have to learn the ropes as we go. And sometimes, all the prep work in the world doesn’t quite prepare you for the breastfeeding experience.

 

When all else fails, take a few deep breaths, strip that baby down to their diaper, and place them against your chest for skin-to-skin time.

 

Skin-to-skin helps regulate baby’s temperature, increases milk production, helps with baby’s latch, and so much more. It’s soooo good for you and baby, so don’t take it for granted.

 

More skin to skin time will make your breastfeeding journey easier.

 

 

 

 

  1. KEEP TRACK OF WHICH SIDE FED LAST

 

After a while, you might not need a reminder of which breast was emptied last. But I sure needed a reminder in the beginning.

 

A couple options for keeping track:

 

– Put a pin on your tank top strap when you finish nursing on one side and move it to the other side for the next feeding.

 

– Keep a hair tie on the wrist of the side that fed baby last.

 

– Keep track on a notepad or through a note on your phone.

 

Now, let’s talk about breastfeeding tips for first time moms that need to, or want to, pump milk for their babes.

 

  1. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

 

If you’re going to use a pump during your breastfeeding journey, make sure you do a little bit of research to find one that works for you.

 

Most insurance companies will provide one, so make sure you ask.

 

I used this Medela breast pump for years and it was worth it’s weight in liquid gold.

 

  1. USE STERILIZING BAGS

 

Sterilizing bags make cleaning all of your pump parts super easy.

 

You just need the bags, some water, and a microwave to sterilize.

 

Another option: filling the sink with hot soapy water and letting all of your pump parts soak for awhile before scrubbing and rinsing them. But these sterilizing bags can be used 20+ times and they sterilize your pump parts in just three minutes.

 

  1. USE A PUMPING BRA

 

A pumping bra will keep your pump bottles in place so that you can have your hands free during your pumping sesh.

 

You can also create your own pumping bra by cutting two little holes in the front of a sports bra. Works just as well.

 

  1. TAKE A HOT SHOWER

 

Do whatever you have to do to encourage milk flow.

 

Massage the breast, take a shot shower, use a warm compress, or scroll through pictures of your baby on your phone.

 

Your body knows what to do, but it’s okay to help it out a little!

 

Hot showers are a huge help.

 

  1. LABEL STORAGE BAGS

 

Most milk storage baggies have a little area on the tab for marking the date and time.

 

Keep a sharpie next to the fridge so that you can easily label each storage bag with the right date and time. When you use milk from the freezer, use the oldest milk first (as long as it isn’t expired).

 

  1. STORE MILK BAGS FLAT IN FREEZER

 

When you lay your milk storage bags flat in the freezer, they’ll take up a lot less storage space once they’re frozen.

 

Once the milk is frozen, you can store it standing up in an empty soda box or a little plastic caddy that you pick up from the dollar store.

 

 

  1. FOLLOW MILK STORAGE GUIDELINES

 

Always follow milk storage guidelines when it comes to reusing stored milk.

 

To be safe, you can print out the storage guidelines and stick them on your freezer so that you don’t forget.

 

Generally speaking, fresh breast milk can stay at room temperature for about 4 hours, in the fridge for about 4 days, and if frozen, it’s best to use within 6 months.

 

  1. PUMP DIRECTLY INTO STORAGE BAGS

 

One last little pumping hack.

 

If you want to save yourself the trouble of washing bottles, just buy milk storage bags that attach to your pump with a little adapter.

 

They are the best because you can pump directly into the bag, seal it up, stick it in the freezer, and you’re done.

 

GIVE THESE BREASTFEEDING TIPS A TRY!

 

Breastfeeding your baby will be a blessing despite any challenges you face. And taking advantage of these breastfeeding tips for first time moms will make your life soooo much easier along the journey!

 

What’s the best breastfeeding tip you’ve ever tried?

 

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