In honor of Viv beating her fight weight (she was born 7 lbs 5 oz, Left hospital at 6 lbs 8 oz, and 2 weeks later she’s 8 lbs 4 oz) I thought I’d give you alllll the breastfeeding tips I give my new mom friends when they ask me. I am no nursing pro but I nursed LB 14 months and plan to nurse V as long as she needs. My kids have never had formula.
I warn you though, it’s hard and time consuming at first. And there’s no shame on deciding “this is tew much”. These tips are just to help if you’re pushing through like I did. And im no doctor or lactation consultant so yeah – consult them too 😂
1. They say “if it hurts your doing it wrong” but that’s not always true. The first 2ish weeks my nipples were sore with B and Viv. Their mouths are so small and they’re still learning, plus our nipples aren’t used to so much attention! So just keep them moisturized, keep the latch good, and hang in there. Also check for other issues (thrush, tongue or lip tie, flat nipples etc). For a visual – here is Vivs latch
And here was LBs (he was older so his is wider and takes less effort)
To get a good latch they need to open their mouth WIDE. To get them to do it, putting your nipple under their nose helps.
2. Lanolin. Use it. It keeps nipples from getting dry and cracking, and helps with soreness. It’s pretty thick but if you apply right after a feeding it goes on easier.
3. Feed on demand. Anytime my kids make a noise they get a ninny. Idc it that means sometimes I nurse 2-3x in 1 hour. Cluster feeding – it’s normal.
4. There are 2 big influences on supply – calories/fluid intake and the amount of milk you’re using. If you need more milk, make sure you’re eating and drinking enough and NURSE MORE. It’s supply and demand. The more milk is removed and your nipples are stimulated, the more milk you’ll make.
5. Side lying nursing. Perfect it so you can sleep at night. Thank me later.
6. No bottles until after 4-6 weeks. Bottles are effortless for baby – nursing is not. Babies sometimes get bottle preference since it’s easier to get milk (just falls into mouth, no waiting for a letdown or working). So let them get the hang of nursing first. If you need to supplement for medical reasons you can use a syringe or cup. And once you do introduce bottles, use a slow flow nipple and google pace feeding.
7. The first 1-5 days you won’t have “milk” like you expect. You’ll have drops of yellow colostrum. Your baby has a tiny stomach and is getting enough, but you’ll need to nurse often. Anytime they fuss, feed them. It may be 15-20x a day. Do it. It helps your milk come in anyway. And don’t forget – all babies lose weight after birth. Keep nursing – they’ll gain it back in the first 2 weeks of life.
8. You’ll want a night off. Doing all the feedings is tough. Don’t give in and have hubby give a bottle while you sleep. You not nursing during that time tells your body “baby doesn’t need this milk” and it’ll lower your supply. If you miss a feeding you have to pump it to maintain supply.
9. Don’t pump too early. You make too much milk at first – your body will adjust down over time (that’s why most people are engorged when milk “comes in”). If you pump to relieve the engorgement it tells your body that you need that milk, and you’ll always overproduce which can be uncomfortable and cause issues with nursing (look into foremilk/hindmilk balance, plugged ducts and mastitis)
10. Let your baby tell you when to switch breasts. I alternate which breast i start each feeding with and let Viv eat until she starts dozing off or stops eating and is just pacifying. Then I switch her to the other side, which she may or may not take. Yes that makes me look lopsided sometimes, but it makes sure she gets the “good milk”. When you first start nursing they get the watery “foremilk” which helps quench thirst. After your letdown, they’ll get the “hindmilk” which is fattier milk for weight gain. They need allll that hindmilk and it you switch breasts too soon they won’t get it.
11. When in doubt, see a lactation consultant.