Motherhood is a wild and crazy journey and with each baby, we bring more love into this world. We are thrown into motherhood blind though, as we do NOT receive a manual to bring home with the baby. A commonly sought out journey in motherhood is breastfeeding. It is a magical and empowering journey for some and for others it is full of trials and tribulations. In the end, though, it is so rewarding knowing that you are providing nourishment for your baby and get to experience a moment unique to only moms! The Mommy Wrap’s goal is to help “Make Mom Life Easier”, so we decided to give you 8 foolproof breastfeeding tips to help you have a smooth breastfeeding journey.
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Disclaimer: The tips provided are from personal and community experience. For further support and medical advice, please consult your healthcare provider and/or lactation consultant.
Drink Plenty of Water
I took home the hospital cup and drank the entire 32 oz cup each time I breastfed. I would actually have at least a 24 oz cup in every room of the house that I planned to pump or breastfeed in, including the kitchen. I like to use either hospital cups or large Tervis cups with a lid and straw. The straw made it easy to drink while breastfeeding or pumping. Luckily, at the time, my mother in law would come over to help and she tasked herself with always filling up my cups around the house. If you don’t have someone that is helping out, make your husband do it. Drinking water is literally the most important thing you must do to help boost your supply.
Eat A Lot
I would eat a snack while I breastfed each time. I know you are scared that you are going to gain weight, but when you are breastfeeding, not only are you starving, but you breastfeeding is actually one of the best ways to lose those postpartum pounds. Your uterus literally contracts back down while nursing. I would eat a lot of fruit, sandwiches, protein, and if you are not on a dairy-free diet, cheese or nuts would be good. Because I was on a dairy-free diet because of the colic (which by the way, dairy takes about 4-6 weeks to leave your system), I would eat a lot of fruit, veggies, nuts, meat, and eggs. I would prep the fruit, veggies and other food so it was easily assessable to eat one-handed and grab quickly out of the refrigerator. I actually even had a stash of food in a container next to my breastfeeding chair in the first couple of weeks.
Get Your Sleep In
Try to get some rest. Seriously… when the baby sleeps, you should sleep! The laundry can come later. If you are able to get a couple of hours here and there, your body will thank you for it. Your milk will come in. But, that also leads me to my next advice.
Use Warm Compresses
Before I would pump or get ready to breastfeed, especially after waking up from a nap with engorged breasts, I would place warm compresses (typically those little beanie things you put in the microwave) on my breasts. This would help break up any possible clogs in the milk ducts and help avoid mastitis, which is literally the most annoying type of pain in the world (at the time.) PS – if you do end up starting to feel like mastitis is coming on, try breastfeeding your baby hovering over him/her almost upside down, while massaging your breasts. You can also place cabbage on your breast, but be careful because it is known to also dry you up. Just make sure you are pumping and breastfeeding as much as possible during this time.
Skin to Skin, All The Time
Skin-to-skin with the baby has so many benefits, especially in the first few weeks of the baby’s life. Skin-to-skin not only increases the bond between mom and baby, but will boost mom’s milk supply tremendously. I would place the baby with only a diaper on inside of the Mommy Wrap. I would wear a nursing bra or nursing tank top and place the baby across my chest, bundled up inside the Mommy Wrap®. I am not recommending that you ever fall asleep with your baby or plan to nap with him or her, but let’s face it…..it does happen. I would be sitting in the rocker with the baby bundled up and my feet kicked back after a feeding, and we would both snooze together. The Mommy Wrap® helped me feel more secure that my baby wouldn’t fall out of my hands.
Get A Comfortable and Supportive Chair or Pillow
Décor and design is not my thing. Comfort and support are. Make sure you pick a glider or rocker that comes with a foot stool so you can kick those feet up. Find a pillow or something for back support, and even if you need a breastfeeding stool to use as a base platform. Who cares what the room or your set up looks like. You need to be prepared to sit in that position the majority of the day! You will want to be comfortable. Breastfeeding pillows or any supportive pillow helps hold the baby into place.
Use Lanolin (or a Nipple Butter) Like Crazy
If this is your first time breastfeeding, your nipples are going to be sore. After a while, they will toughen up just like your gums do after flossing for the first time. They are going to hurt and they may even crack and bleed. I used lanolin very liberally and I did not mess around. In fact, I was lucky enough that my lactation consultant at the time came up with a compound that the local pharmacy would put together after each pregnancy that helped significantly. If you have a lactation consultant or medical professional you obtain advice from, it never hurts to ask what they can supply to you to make your nipples not hurt so bad.
Join A Breastfeeding Support Group
Grab a mom friend or group chat that you can text with, a local breastfeeding support group, or find a breastfeeding support group on Facebook. The Mommy Wrap also has its own Facebook group and Discussion board where a band of mothers come together to get and give advice. In fact, The Mommy Wrap even brings in professionals to give advice, so take advantage. Being able to bounce questions off someone else going through what you are going through makes life much easier. You can also look into hiring a lactation consultant to help coach you through the hard times. Find a local lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group to visit during the first two weeks of your baby’s life so you can get some pointers, find out how much milk your baby is taking in, and get some help. To find an online lactation consultant, The Mommy Wrap partners with Raiseology. Visit Raiseology here
Your Breastfeeding Journey
Every Mom’s journey is going to be unique and each journey can differ with each child. It is okay if breastfeeding doesn’t feel natural at first… or ever for some moms. With these tips provided, you should find a feeling of relief and even support on your breastfeeding journey. We would love to hear what your favorite breastfeeding tips are! And if breastfeeding just doesn’t work out for you, try again. And if it still doesn’t work out for you, then that’s okay too. I’ve got some formula tips too… especially for babies with colic or acid reflux.
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