Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding time between you and your baby…unless you hate it.
Can I be brutally honest? At first, I hated breastfeeding. Hated it. It hurt, it was boring, and it kept me from the actual activity I desperately wanted to participate in: sleep.
Breastfeeding is hard. You have so much to learn in such a little time. Your mind and your body struggles to keep up. Sometimes you’ll feel overwhelmed by it and sometimes you’ll flat out want to quit.
Let me tell you that it DOES get better. Breastfeeding in the first 6 weeks was torture for me, but I went on to breastfeed for 13 months and loved it. If I can, I know you can too!
This post discusses the key tips for successful breastfeeding. I wrote it for the new moms that are anxious about, struggling with, and maybe even hating breastfeeding.
In the end, I hope these breastfeeding tips help you so you can enjoy this experience to its fullest.
How to Love Breastfeeding When You Kind of Hate It…
6 Tips You Need to Know for Successful Breastfeeding
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
1 Address Pain Immediately
Discomfort is pretty inevitable as your baby adjusts to latching and your breasts adjust to being latched onto. However, if breastfeeding hurts, you need to address it immediately.
It’s the kind of pain that makes you dread every session and avoid wearing any type of clothing that might brush against your breasts. I truly believe that it is the one thing that can truly sabotage successful breastfeeding.
If you’re experiencing breast pain, there are steps you can take TODAY to help:
- Fix the latch -This is my favorite free video for latch correction. The Milkology course (see below) is also a great resource.
- Buy some GOOD nipple cream
- Have your baby checked for tongue tie
- Visit a lactation consultant
- Use a nipple shield – Great temporary solution!
(Note: If you’re new to breastfeeding and you’re looking for some resources to help you out, my two favorites are the Breastfeeding Handbook and the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology. The Breastfeeding Handbook contains charts, diagrams, and printable tutorials. It’s really quite thorough. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class is, (in my opinion), a must for all new breastfeeding moms. It teaches you how how to latch, position your baby, produce more milk, pump…basically everything!)
Related Post: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class Review
2 Master Breastfeeding in Public or Avoid It
Your choice to breastfeed in public is a deeply personal one. If you do choose to, the law is 100% on your side. If you don’t feel comfortable baring yourself in public (even behind a cover), please don’t feel pressured to. There are alternate solutions.
But, understand this: If you don’t figure out a way to cope with breastfeeding in public, nursing your baby will become an increasingly unbearable inconvenience. Either master it or find a way to avoid it.
I chose the latter. No matter what tips I found on the internet, I could not feel comfortable enough to breastfeed where I knew people might be looking. So, I got around it. If this route interests you, this is how I got around breastfeeding in public:
- Create a nursing station in your car and breastfeed before going to your event
- Many public arenas (stadiums, airports, and even office buildings) have designated mother’s lounges or at least quiet rooms.
- Go to a secluded place and use your stroller as a nursing station/privacy shield.
If you’d rather master the art of breastfeeding in public, Mallaury from Life of a Babe gathered a ton of tips from experienced moms on how to do so. The post is a great free resource you need to see!
3 Successful Breastfeeding Depends on Ergonomics
Breastfeeding for long periods of time can be downright uncomfortable. Your hands will grow tired from carefully positioning and holding your breast and baby, and your back might ache from leaning forward. To give yourself the endurance you need, create an ergonomic nursing station.
As a naive breastfeeding mom, I tried to save money by using traditional pillows to breastfeed. This was a big mistake. Eventually I wizened up and brought my rocking chair from the nursery (which provided adequate back support and neck support) and bought a Boppy Nursing Pillow.
If you’ve been hem hawing around about creating a nursing station, I encourage you to just bite the bullet and do it today.
In case you’re curious, my exact nursing station consisted of this:
- Glider and Ottoman Combo
- Boppy – At first I cheaped out and bought the off-brand from Walmart. The real Boppy is worth it, I promise.
- Breast pads- Philips was my favorite but Lansinoh was a good budget option
- Motherlove Nipple Cream
- Phone – To record breastfeeding times and duration and for entertainment
- Washcloth or towel – In the beginning, I rolled a towel to prop up a breast, but a towel is also a handy tool to catch your overactive letdown.
- Water – Used for nausea or just hydration
- Burp cloth
(If you can’t buy a brand new nursing chair, check a child resale shop in your area. Facebook Marketplace is also a great venue.)
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4 Make Nursing Your Relaxation Time
Everyone talks about how breastfeeding is such an emotional experience…a wonderful time for bonding. Honestly, though, sometimes it can be downright boring. In the beginning, your nursing sessions will be around 30-45 minutes. That’s a long time to stare adoringly into your newborns eyes…
In order to experience successful breastfeeding, you’ve got to enjoy it.
Don’t feel bad if you’re on your phone, catching up on Facebook or watching Netflix. There will be a time when the breastfeeding sessions only last for about 10 minutes. Then you can stare adoringly into his eyes and savor the moment.
(And you will, because by that time you’re a pro and you feel like your time as a breastfeeding mama is almost gone.)
For now, use nursing time as a relaxation time. You’ll be glad you did!
5 Implement a Feeding Schedule
Not every mom is into feeding schedules, but bare with me.
My blog focuses on creating a structured, organized life for you and baby. I believe one of the key components is getting baby on a flexible routine. This routine takes all of your baby’s physical and emotional needs into account, but provides some much-needed structure to your day.
Breastfeeding on a flexible schedule was one of the best successful breastfeeding strategies I implemented. Our feeding routine cycled every 2.5-3 hours, which allowed me to easily plan my day and “schedule” in some free time for myself. It was amazing!
Plus it was my secret to getting my breastfed baby to sleep through the night.
I’m not saying that you have to go on a routine. I know that’s not what every mom wants to do.
Even if you’re anti-schedule, following these simple guidelines can ensure that you won’t be feeding around the clock:
- Shoot for full feedings by not nursing to sleep –minimum 20 minutes
- Follow the pattern, EAT-WAKE-SLEEP
Related Post: How to Get a Breastfed Baby to Sleep Through the Night
6 Breastfeed and Pump
Sometimes you and your breasts just need a break.
After you’ve reached the one month mark, consider implementing a bottle into your routine.
For me, it was much easier to pump for a few minutes (catching up on my Netflix shows while I did so) and then bottle-feed once my baby woke up. I did this once a day, as a little treat to myself.
If you’re bored, in pain, or just in need of something new…try it! This could be the very thing you need to do to boost your successful breastfeeding.
(Once again, I’ll refer you to Milkology for the best pumping resources. The Back to Work Pumping Class had some great tips that makes pumping easier and more efficient).
You Can Love Breastfeeding…I Promise!
If you take anything away from this post, I hope its that you have every right to dislike breastfeeding right now. As “natural” as breastfeeding is, it’s definitely not easy. It takes time and practice to master it!
Give it 6-8 weeks before quitting. That’s when most women finally get the hang of it and it truly becomes a pleasurable experience.
Keep your head up, Mama. I hope these tips give you the encouragement you need to find your successful breastfeeding story.
In the meantime, if you liked this post, I bet you’ll like post below too. We love helping new and expecting moms take control of that baby chaos and live motherhood to its fullest extent.
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Resources I mentioned in this post:
Youtube- Correcting a Painful Latch