Breastfeeding is supposed to be one of the most natural things in the world. So why does it seem so challenging? Cluster feeding, leaking milk, sore nipples, and low milk supply to name a few.
But for those who can handle all that, it can be an amazing experience. Make breastfeeding easier with these breastfeeding hacks you probably didn’t know about!
Game-Changing Breastfeeding Hacks
There are so many breastfeeding hacks I wish I knew before becoming a mom of a newborn for the first time.
Today I’m sharing a few genius DIY breastfeeding hacks and tips moms will truly love, from best ways to store breast milk and increase milk supply to relieving sore nipples and pumping like a pro.
These tips are a must-read for moms to make breastfeeding with your newborn easier and to keep your baby full.
How to Make Breastfeeding Easier and More Enjoyable
Nursing is not always an easy ride. Sure it’s what the experts say is best for babies, but sometimes we encounter many breastfeeding obstacles along the way that make it impossible to continue.
Anything that can make the process a little easier in the day to day is so much worth.
I breastfed both my babies and it ended up being one of my favorite memories as a new mom. There were a few things that made it a success for me that I highly recommend and want to share with you.
Skin to skin contact
Science has shown that getting skin to skin with your baby helps the whole breastfeeding experience. It helps baby latch and increases breast milk production by releasing more of the wellbeing hormone Oxytocin.
Prepare a breastfeeding area
Instead of stressing around and trying to pick everything you need as the baby is hungry and screaming, prepare an area beforehand. Choose an area you are going to do most of your feeding at and stock it up. So once the baby needs to be fed, you can sit down without the need to stress around, and everything you need is prepared.
Some things I highly recommend to have at your breastfeeding area:
- Nursing pillow
- Water bottle for YOU
- Baby wipes
- Burp cloths
- Breastfeeding tracker
- Nipple Care
- Breast Pump
- a Book, iPad or something for you to do a
Have a nursing basket
Breastfeeding in one specific area of the home isn’t always possible. This nursing basket you can bring with you from room to room was really helpful for me and I wish I had one sooner. Everything you need is ready to carry to any area of the house (or outside the house). If everything is in a breastfeeding basket, all your stuff can go with you from the living room to the bedroom, no extra thinking required.
Try something simple like this caddy that can fit a variety of objects, but it still small enough to not be obtrusive around the house.
Feeding on demand
Feeding my babies on demand meant anytime the babies would show hunger cues, like rooting or smacking their lips together I would let them breastfeed.
Many people choose to follow a time window as a feeding schedule, but I found that bringing the breast to my babies whenever they showed the hunger cues was the best to keep my milk supply up.
This meant feeding very frequently for 1-2 hours or so.
Take a Breastfeeding Course
Don’t make the same mistake as I did and try to learn everything on your own.
I highly recommend taking a breastfeeding online course like the one from Milkology. It’s low cost and can help you tremendously in your breastfeeding journey and help you solve any problems you might be having.
When you’re breastfeeding, it’s essential to stay hydrated. Your body is working extra hard to produce milk and drinking lots of water is key to keep the production up. I highly recommend getting a non-toxic water bottle. Getting a reusable water bottle is great because it makes refilling so easy throughout the day. Also, you can avoid any harmful BPA-related toxins that some plastic bottles contain and it gives you a time tracker and reminder of when you need to refill throughout the day.
Keep track of your feedings
Use a hair band on the wrist or nursing clip on the side you fed last on to keep track. You might not always remember when you’re an exhausted new mom. Never forget which breast needs to take the first turn at the next feeding.
Use a breastfeeding pillow
Holding a baby while breastfeeding looks so natural but in reality it is actually really tough. Your arm gets exhausted really fast.
These nursing pillows are specially developed to keep you comfortable while you are feeding your baby. The arm pillow even has handy little extra pockets to use for your water bottle or other essential items.
Find a nurse-friendly TOP
To make breastfeeding doable, when you may want a little more privacy you’ll need a nursing top. I depended on these nursing tops.
Multi use nursing cover
Another great alternative to a nursing top is an multi use nursing cover. These things are amazing — not only they work as a poncho and are they a fun way to dress up a boring outfit, they make it super easy to get a little privacy for nursing in public and can be used as a baby car seat cover, stroller cover, feeding chair cover, diaper changing cover and as a blanket.
Stock up on nursing pads
Every nursing mother will experience that moment when your milk comes out with or WITHOUT baby around. Whether you prefer the disposable or reusable alternative, nursing pads make your life so much easier and can help you avoid uncomfortable situations.
Get A Haakaa
Invest in a Haakaa to collecting milk. They’re really affordable and use natural suction to express milk, allowing you to easily express one breast while your baby is feeding on the other.
A pumping bra is one of the best pumping hacks and a thing I regret I didn’t have. It definitely was frustrating to have to just sit down listening to the sound of a pump when I wanted to do other things more than just sit there with my hands occupied.
You can also make a DIY pumping bra. Get an old sports bra and cut two holes in the breast area. You can then insert your pump flanges and pump hands-free.
EAT Lactation Stimulating Snacks
Healthy food consumption can be a great way to boost your milk production. I love these snacks perfect for both pregnancy and the nursing mother.
TAKE A LECITHIN SUPPLEMENT
Take a lecithin supplement. Lecithin helps resolve currently plugged milk ducts and helps prevent future ones.
Another key factor that helped make breastfeeding easier and less stressful was the support I had. My husband was amazing and my sister-in-law and mom provided priceless nursing advice from what food to eat to what creams and pump to buy to help the milk production coming.
If you need professional breastfeeding advice you always have the option to contact a laction consultant.
The secret to keeping a breastfed baby full
One of the most important breastfeeding hacks ever. The milk that comes out later in the feeding has a higher amount of fat, and the fat keeps your baby fuller longer. This is key to having a baby that doesn’t need to nurse 24/7.
CONTROL PAIN FROM BREASTFEEDING
I was in constant pain the first two months when breastfeeding my first baby. But it eventually did go away – you just gotta be patient and try to get to understand what’s causing pain.
These tips really helped me ease the pain:
Booby ice packs or heating pads
These booby ice packs/heating pads are super easy to use and I love that these can be used both as ice packs and heating pads.
Try different breastfeeding positions
Try several different breastfeeding positions to see which works best for you.
When things get terribly painful in the traditional cradle hold (baby across the front of your body), ease the pain by trying different positions.
If you have larger breast you need to be extra careful with the ergonomics. One of the most important breastfeeding hacks for large breasts is learning more about feeding ergonomics to save your back.
Lanolin nipple cream
Lanolin nipple cream is on of the best breastfeeding hacks for sore nipples
This sore nipple remedy is way better for your baby to ingest than commercial creams.
A nipple shield might be the relief you need, if baby sucking is just unbearable. My second baby was teething very early and these made a HUGE difference.
Don’t assume that pain means a poor latch
I know a lot of people say that if breastfeeding hurts, the latch is wrong. But there is definitely a learning curve in the beginning and it can hurt no matter what.
BREAST MILK STORAGE TIPS
You can store breast milk at room temperature (up to 77°) for up to four hours. If you need to store it for longer, refrigerate it or use a cooler with an ice pack.
Freeze Breast milk in ice cube trays
Freeze Breast milk in ice cube trays. Each cube is around an ounce, so you can use just how much you need.
Breast milk storage bags
These breast milk storage bags are the best. No leaking, inexpensive and high-quality.
Breastfeeding hacks to increase your milk supply
When you’re caring for a breastfed baby, nothing can be more stressful than worrying if you’re producing enough breast milk. You might be wondering, how can I increase my milk supply instantly?
If you suspect or worry that you have a low milk supply, there are ways to increase breast milk production quickly.
These are some great hacks to increase your milk supply fast:
Feed on Demand
As mentioned above the more your baby nurses, the more milk you’ll produce. Your milk supply is based on supply and demand.
This means for 2-3 days in a row, you pump after every breastfeeding session for 10-20 minutes. This totally empties your breasts and sends signals to your body to produce more milk.
Make Lactation Cookies
There are a variety of lactation cookie recipes, but the key to boost milk production is to include galactagogues, or milk-stimulating foods, like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flax seed meal and whole oats.
Breast Massage While Breastfeeding or Pumping
Gently massage and compress your breast in order to push more milk out with each breastfeeding session. This also works well when pumping to help you fully empty.
Eat and Drink More
I’ve learned that to increase milk supply a breastfeeding mom has to prioritize eating and drinking more than usual throughout the day. Nothing can decrease your milk supply faster than being hungry or dehydrated. I was carrying a snack and water bottle with me everywhere so I wasn’t forgetting to keep eating and drinking.
Get More Rest
Making sure you get as much rest as possible can help to maximize your body function and can help boost milk production.
A good night’s sleep or a great nap can do magic for your milk supply.
Offer Both Sides When Nursing
Try offering both breasts when breastfeeding, even if your baby seems uninterested. This will stimulate more milk production. If your baby is too sleepy, try taking his/her clothes off and tickling her gently. Another option is to pump on the side your baby isn’t nursing on.
Breastfeeding your baby is a great way to start their newborn life. Follow the breastfeeding hacks above to begin producing more breast milk and of course, seek expert advice if necessary. There are many great lactation consultants that can provide general advice and encouragement.
Good luck on your breastfeeding journey!