The most beautiful, most natural way to feed your little bundle of joy is breastfeeding. But the truth is, it doesn’t always come naturally — and it isn’t always pretty!
Breastfeeding can take a lot of time, a lot of trial and errors, a lot of sleepless nights and challenging moments. So we’ve got breastfeeding tips for new moms to help you as you go on your journey.
Check out our top breastfeeding tips for new moms! And just know this: You can do it! And you are amazing.
Breastfeeding tips for new moms
1. Breastfeeding won’t be easy
Okay, those photos of smiling moms gently cradling their sweet, calm babies as they breastfeed? Okay, now repeat after me: Those are just photos.
The reality is that breastfeeding, while incredibly wonderful, isn’t always going to be a walk in the park. More often than not, it will be challenging!
Newborns can be fussy, they will constantly be hungry, your body will be spent and sore, and you will find yourself not getting enough sleep, if any.
Not saying all this to be a downer, but sometimes when we’re about to take on something monumental, it helps to just know and accept the worst off the bat. Because nothing is sugar-coated, you face things with a healthy dose of reality, which actually helps in inviting positivity.
This way, you won’t get discouraged if things aren’t automatically how you pictured them to be, and you learn to find joy in small victories as you learn the hang of it, little by little each day.
2. Two words: Commitment and determination
Now that we’ve got that truth bomb out of the way, it’s time to embrace these two keywords: Commitment and determination. It’s not going to be easy, but always remember that you are doing this for one very important reason – your precious little one.
You love your baby more than anything else in this world, and you want to give them the very best. And your liquid gold, momma, is the best there is.
There will probably be moments when you’ll be this close to giving up. You may encounter hurdles that feel practically impossible to overcome: Your nipples are unbearably painful, your baby just can’t seem to latch, they may not seem to want to stop feeding OR not wake up to nurse, your milk ducts may be clogged… The list goes on.
Especially in the very beginning, breastfeeding can be very hard. Keep your chin up and soldier on. Commit in your heart that you can do it and you will do it. And before you know it, you and your baby will enjoy your feeding sessions!
3. Knowledge is power
In the months leading up to giving birth, you’ve probably been reading up on so many things, like how to swaddle properly, how to decipher your baby’s cries, how much sleep they will be needing, stuff like tummy time and so on. Don’t forget to include breastfeeding information in your preparation.
Knowing what to expect, how to get them to latch right, the pains and challenges, and the incredible rewards of breastfeeding will help you be more ready and willing to breastfeed. If you have the means to attend a good breastfeeding class, do it.
And these days, resources are endless online — just make sure to check the sources, and lean towards the experts.
Once you have given birth and are holding your little one in your arms, it would be good to seek advice and assistance from a lactation expert.
With their certifications, education, and extensive training, lactation experts will be well-equipped to give you support, evidence-based tips, and solutions to any struggles you may encounter. It’s an investment that you and your baby will both benefit from greatly!
Are you enjoying these breastfeeding tips for new moms? Check out our Breastfeeding Basics article!
4. You and your baby are in this together
The beautiful thing about the breastfeeding journey is that it’s not something you’re going on alone: You and your sweet little baby are in it together. So work with your baby right from the very beginning – latch early, and latch as many times as you can until it’s just right.
In those magical first few weeks, as you’re getting to know all about your little one, you and your baby will also learn – together – what positions will be most comfortable and effective for feeding time.
You’ll also get to learn all about feeding cues: When your baby is hungry, when they want more, and when they are full. And don’t force yourself into a rigid schedule!
While noting it all down and getting a general idea of feeding patterns and such are good, keep in mind that you and your baby are operating on your own, sweet, wonderful time.
As you get to know each other better, you’ll know what to do and when!
5. Repeat after me: Accept no substitutes
…Or at the very least, avoid them as much as you can. Especially in that first month, try your best to stick to pure breastfeeding and not introduce your little one to those rubber nipples in baby bottles just yet. But what if the bottle still contains breastmilk? Well, it’s not about what’s inside.
Bottle nipples have the tendency to give out milk easier than mom’s nipples, so babies might end up preferring that early on and refusing the breast. Avoid pacifiers too. Breastfeeding isn’t all about food, it’s also about your infant’s need to suckle and be close to you.
And since it’s said that it takes about six weeks for your milk supply to fully establish, then having your baby on your breast as much as possible is very important.
Lastly, formula. As you are starting to breastfeed, during those first few trying weeks when you feel like you’re just not expending enough milk or it’s 4am and you need sleep so bad, you may be tempted to just turn to formula.
So as much as possible, just stay far, far away from it. Again, as the experts say, early supplementation can actually lead to more difficulty and a low supply of milk.
6. Take care of yourself – and your breasts!
As a new mom, you’re probably so in awe and overwhelmed by emotions for the tiny little newborn who stole your heart, and your new role as a mother. It’s so easy to get lost in the joy and wonder of motherhood and just dote on your little one 24/7.
But remember that you are important, too. Be mindful about looking after yourself: Make healthy choices that will benefit your body and ultimately your baby too — what your baby needs is a healthy, happy mom.
So eat the right food (and the right amount – you are still eating for two because your body needs all those nutrients and energy to produce milk for your baby), drink a lot of water, don’t smoke, be careful about any medication you take (consult your doctor!), and rest as much as you can.
Also, take care of your breasts. That’s where your liquid gold comes from, and they may become battered and so, so sore. Your nipples particularly need a little extra attention as they may become raw, cracked, or chaffed. Soothe them with oils or creams or even breastmilk.
Find the right bra that will fully support and at the same time keep your breast comfortable. Just give your breasts and your nipples a little TLC – they deserve it. You deserve it!
7. It’s a matter of supply and demand
So there are moms-to-be who start lactating even before they give birth. But for most, milk flow doesn’t really start up until after giving birth — and truth is, it may not even be instantaneous!
In the latter part of pregnancy, breasts start producing colostrum. Colostrum is full of nutrients and is very important to feed your baby with in their first few days.
Your body will start making milk within around 2-5 days, sometimes even a week! Knowing this will help you to not get too anxious and stressed in the beginning.
Here’s the thing, though: Your supply of breastmilk is a supply and demand deal! The more they suckle, the more breastmilk is produced. So it’s crucial for your baby to be on your breast the first few days — colostrum has enough nutrients to feed their tiny tummies, and their constant suckling will help your body produce more milk!
Oh, and hand in hand with supply and demand is this: What goes in must come out. Worried that you are not feeding your baby enough?
There’s a very, very simple indicator — poop! If a baby is pooping enough, then they are being fed enough. As long as the pooping is good and they are gaining weight, then your breastmilk supply is A-OK!
8. Make sure you have what you need
It’s breastfeeding – won’t I just need me, my breasts, and my baby? Well, no. It’s not that simple. It’s important to stock up on necessities that will help make it a more comfortable, relaxing experience.
So while you’re building your arsenal of new motherhood essentials, like blankies, a car seat, mittens, diapers, and so on, shop for yourself and get some breastfeeding essentials too!
A good breastfeeding pillow can make the experience a whole lot more comfy for mom and baby. The right nursing bras and sleepwear can, too; same with clothes that are optimal for nursing.
Other things that you may want to get are nursing pads, lactating teas, nipple creams, and so on. It’s also good to set up a “nursing area” in your room or in your house — a corner for you and your baby to retreat to and spend cozy times together during those moments of feeding. A calm, soothing atmosphere is good for both you and your little one.
Lastly, if you can, invest in a breast pump!
Yes, it is advised to stick purely to breast for the first few weeks, but as the months go by, a breast pump will greatly help you have some much-needed rest or quality time or go back to work. And it’s always a good thing to have a stored supply of your breast milk!
9. Ask for help
These three words sound super simple, but the reality is that it can be one of the hardest things to do.
A lot of moms can feel a certain pressure to try to take it all on by themselves, be a supermom to their little ones, cover all the bases, and not rely on anyone else.
But honestly, the best that you can do for your baby is to ask for help when you need it — and accept help when it is offered to you.
Breastfeeding can sometimes make a new mom feel so isolated and alone, because it’s something only she can do and keep doing for her little one.
But though that is true, if you have a good support system around you ready to surround you with their love and support and extend help, that makes a whole world of difference.
From people who will constantly lift your spirits to those who will give you a glass of water or prepare your food to those who will help out with chores and to those who will lend an ear to your thoughts and give advise when needed, just feeling and knowing that you are not alone in this is super important to your well-being.
It will also help you be able to handle the whole breastfeeding thing a whole lot better!
10. Be kind to yourself
Breastfeeding is an incredible journey. And as we know, it won’t always be easy.
You’re informed, prepared, determined, and committed to breastfeeding your baby.But sometimes, things won’t seem like they’re going according to plan. Sometimes no matter how much you tryed to prepare and how committed you are, the lows will come.
Here’s the most important piece of advise we can give you: Be kind to yourself. Be patient. It takes time, so remember to go easy on yourself.
Breastfeeding is a big adjustment, a monumental task, and getting the hang of it physically, mentally and emotionally can take time. That’s okay.
Forgive yourself for days you feel a little discouraged.
Let go of disappointments. Focus on the good. It may be tough, but it will get better! It’s an amazing journey the whole way.
Bonus tip: Savor the moments
Dear beautiful momma, breastfeeding is something only you and your baby will share, and experience only the two of you will go through together.
It’s a special time between the two of you, and it can create the most incredible bond.
So enjoy while you’re there. Savor the moments. Cherish each time you get to spend bonding with your little one in a way only you two can!
The amazing thing about breastfeeding is that after all the challenges and after all the figuring-it-outs, one day it’ll all fall into place somehow.
Keep these best breastfeeding tips for new moms in mind, and keep this in mind too:
- You’re doing something unbelievably beautiful.
- You’re creating an irreplaceable bond with your baby.
- You know in your heart of hearts that it is all worth it.
Good job, momma!