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When I first became pregnant with my son, I knew I was going to try to breastfeed if I could. It seemed like the thing to do. I mean, research did say that it was best for your child.
Now, I knew nothing about breastfeeding. Nothing. I read all the books. However, the books don’t quite tell you exactly you need to know. In my mind, everything about breastfeeding was peaceful and simple. Boy was I wrong!
Here are some of my quick breastfeeding tips to hopefully help your breastfeeding experience to be a little simpler. If you want to read about my complete breastfeeding journey, you can read it here.
My Top Breastfeeding Tips (Non-Obvious, In My Opinion!)
Breastfeed on demand
If you want a killer milk supply, I recommend feeding baby as often and as much as you can. Especially within the first few days of birth. Your milk hasn’t quite come in yet, so it is important to feed often so baby can get those nutrients! I didn’t feed my son on demand and quickly regretted it. My daughter, however, fed frequently and thrived after my milk came in.
You can use any bottle
This might seem like something that is obvious. However, I did not realize that your pumping bottle didn’t have to be the same as your feeding bottle. For some reason, I thought that what you pumped went straight to baby. These are the silly things books need to tell you.
Also, you can pump straight into bottles. No need to pump with your Medela pump into a Medela bottle. You can pump straight into a Dr. Brown’s bottle, for instance!
Not all babies will like all bottles, though, so this may take some trial and error. Also, several resources will recommend not feeding baby a bottle for the first several months until breastfeeding is established.
Well, both my kids had to be supplemented in the first week of life until my milk came in, so they got used to bottles pretty quickly.
You can pump and put it directly in the fridge
Who knew?! All you have to do is pump and then put the entire bottle and flange in the fridge. Then, when it is time to pump again, take out the flange and get a new bottle for pumping. Side note… it might be a little cold. And if you’re not using incredibly sterile conditions, you may want to consider cleaning after every use. The CDC always seems to be changing guidelines, so make sure you keep up with that!
Nurse and then pump
Another way to increase your milk supply is to nurse baby and then pump afterwards. At the beginning, I would do this just to see how much milk the babies were getting. The last thing I wanted to do was end up in the hospital with them because I was starving them and not knowing. (May be an irrational fear, but it does unfortunately happen). It works…by the time baby girl was 5 months, I had over 100 bags of milk in the freezer for emergencies.
Squeeze while you pump
Unless you want to sit and pump forever, without getting all the milk out…squeeze your breasts much as you can. I had gotten to a point where I could completely empty in about 7 minutes. This was best when I was at work and didn’t have a ton of time to devote to pumping.
Find a position and stick to it
When you first give birth, they are going to tell you to do so many different positions. I say find the one that works best for you and stick to it. I cradle my little one on the boppy and have done that for the last year. It works best for us, so why change it?
The first few weeks are the hardest (It does get better)
For the first few weeks, my nipples hurt so bad! A part of me hoped that my pediatrician would tell me that I had to stop breastfeeding. Luckily, he didn’t and I was able to continue. After a few weeks, I no longer needed the lanolin and it was so much better.
It’s OK not to breastfeed
If you can’t or won’t breastfeed, you aren’t a terrible mother. It isn’t for everyone and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not breastfeeding! Mary couldn’t breastfeed her first, and everything was perfectly fine!
What breastfeeding tips do you have?