Are you planning on breastfeeding for the first time and don’t know how to begin? Here are 14 super helpful breastfeeding tips for new moms to help you have a successful breastfeeding experience.
Breastfeeding is a great bonding experience for you and your baby. There are many pros to breastfeeding vs. pumping. For example, breastmilk provides antibodies that can help reduce the risk of ear infections in newborns. Even though we know the benefits of breast milk, we could all use some extra tips on breastfeeding for the first time.
Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is hard. It takes some time to get used to both you and the baby the first time and can get a little overwhelming sometimes. These breastfeeding tips for new moms helped me as a first-time mom and can help you too.
1. Take a breastfeeding class.
Learn all you can about breastfeeding during your pregnancy. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology is amazing. It is an online class, so you can take it whenever you want. And then you have access to it whenever you need to reference it.
This class tells you everything you need to know about breastfeeding and milk production. For example, breast milk changes as the needs of your baby change. The class also has a lot of tips for getting a good breastfeeding latch.
For example, the baby’s mouth should cover almost all your areola, not just your nipple. This is important to know because a good latch is what prevents sore nipples. Be sure to check it out; it is well worth it!
2. Nurse during the golden hour.
Doing the first breastfeeding after birth during the golden hour would be best. The golden hour is the first and most crucial time to bond with your baby after delivery. Your baby is awake and alert following delivery. This is when skin-to-skin contact is very important.
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby during the first hour is great for both you and your baby. It will help their body with thermoregulation, and it also helps reduce stress for you. This is also the best time to initiate breastfeeding for the first time.
Your baby’s instinct is to try to nurse. They will try to root around until they contact your nipple. This first bonding hour also helps stimulate milk production.
3. Make sure the latch is right.
The latch is the most essential technique to get right. The latch is how your baby fastens onto your breast during feeding. A good latch ensures you minimize sore nipples and promotes good milk flow, so your baby gets enough milk.
You will initially experience some nipple discomfort until you get used to nursing, but you should not be feeling intense pain. Most of the pain will go away within the first few weeks as you become accustomed to nursing.
Breastfeeding Tips for a Good Latch
- Your baby’s mouth should be opened wide over both the nipple and your breast.
- Your baby’s lips should be turned out when latched.
- Compress your breast slightly as you bring the baby’s mouth to your breast.
- You shouldn’t feel pain when your baby latches correctly.
- Use a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you. (see below)
4. Try different positions until you find one you are comfortable with.
Five different positions are great for breastfeeding. Try them all out until you find one comfortable for you and the baby.
Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
Your baby’s head lies in the elbow’s bend on the side you are nursing from. The baby’s body should be facing you.
Crossover Cradle Hold Breastfeeding Position
The baby’s head is held in the hand opposite of the breast you are nursing from instead of the elbow. Your arm and wrist are under the baby.
Football Hold Breastfeeding Position
Baby is at your side with their body facing you. Baby’s legs are under your arm on the side you are nursing from.
Side-lying Breastfeeding Position
Usually used for ‘Dream feeding.’ Both of you are lying on your sides, tummy to tummy.
Laid-back Breastfeeding Position
Lean back in a semi-reclined position, making sure you are well supported. Put baby on you, so you’re tummy to tummy, and their head is near your breast.
When I first started nursing, I liked the football hold. But, once I got more comfortable with nursing, and my babies grew, the cradle hold was what I liked best. If you at first have trouble breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to switch positions to find the position best for you.
5. Nurse on-demand.
Breastfeeding on demand is when you respond to your baby’s hunger cues to ensure your baby is getting enough milk. You nurse when your baby is hungry or showing hunger cues and continue nursing until your baby is satisfied. A baby’s stomach is very small at first, so in the first few days, it doesn’t take much time for them to get as much milk as they need.
This allows you to keep up your breast milk supply with the demands of your baby’s needs. Your body adjusts your milk supply for more breast milk as your baby needs more. Nursing on-demand may mean that it may be in public sometimes. If you are looking for the perfect nursing cover on the go, check out the ultimate buying guide for nursing covers.
6. Don’t let more than 3 hours go between feedings.
Ensure you feed your baby at least every 3 hours during the first few days. Your body produces colostrum for your baby, and then your mature milk comes in within a week or so. As your mature milk supply is still coming in, feeding on demand can ensure you continue making enough milk.
This means you may need to wake your baby those first few days so that they nurse every 3 hours. Please continue to do this until the baby’s weight increases to where it needs to be.
7. Make sure you eat.
While breastfeeding, you need, on average, 500 more calories than normal. Make sure you are getting the right nutrients for you and your baby. The superfoods important during pregnancy are perfect for including in your balanced diet during breastfeeding to get just what your body needs.
Your body needs calories and nutrients to make the milk your baby requires.
8. Stay hydrated.
Breastfeeding can make you very thirsty. After all, you are not only hydrating yourself but your baby too. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking the recommended 12 glasses of water.
A good water bottle is a first-time mom breastfeeding essential. I had a few different water cups to ensure I had one everywhere I went.
At the very least, make sure you never feel thirsty. Breastfeeding and staying hydrated are also great tips to help get rid of the postpartum pooch.
9. Learn the baby’s hunger cues.
The first sign your baby gives when hungry is licking their lips or smacking/sucking noises. They will then start to suck or try to suck on anything nearby.
A baby’s second hunger cue is to begin their rooting reflex, and you will see them turning their head and opening their mouth, ready to accept a breast. They then will start to bring their hands to their mouths.
If they are still not fed by now, they tend to get squirmy and fidgety.
If they start fussing and crying, this hunger indicates they are starving. You will need to calm them first before attempting to nurse them.
10. Get a breastfeeding tracker.
A breastfeeding tracker allows you to see how much breast milk your baby eats each day and whether there are any issues you need to talk to the doctor about. You can also keep track of wet diapers and bowel movements your baby has. At the end of the first week, your baby should have about three bowel movements daily and at least six wet diapers.
It also lets you know which side you nursed with last so you can start with the other breast for the next feeding, and you don’t make more milk in only one breast. There are a lot of great apps available, or a simple breastfeeding chart works too. Check out this App; it has everything you need.
11. Have a nursing station or nursing supplies handy.
A dedicated nursing station makes it more relaxing for you and your baby. It would be best if you had all your essentials nearby and available. That is why it is important to Pack the Perfect Hospital Bag so you can start off breastfeeding while still in the hospital like a pro.
Once you start to nurse, you don’t want to have to get up for anything. So, next to your comfy nursing chair, ensure you have a basket of the following items.
First Time Mom Breastfeeding Essentials
1. Nursing Pillow
- PRIORITIZING SUPPORT - My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow is...
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN - This baby nursing pillow for breastfeeding has a...
- SAFEST PILLOW - MBF technology removes the gap between you & baby &...
2. Nipple Cream or Coconut Oil
- CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Made with premium organic ingredients that are...
- SOOTHES ON CONTACT: Soothes and protects hardworking nipples on...
- BUTTERY SOFT: Our lightweight formula spreads on easily and doesn’t...
- ✔️ Naturally Nourishing Coconut Oil for Hair - With its unique...
- ✔️ Hydrate Naturally With Coconut Oil for Skin - Coconut oil...
- ✔️ Perfect Coconut Oil for Cooking and Baking - An unrefined...
- The award-winning and best-selling Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump,...
- The Haakaa Silicone Breastpump lets you express milk using the power...
- Our Haakaa Manual Breast Pump is lightweight, portable and the perfect...
- MILK-BOOSTING LACTATION BARS – Our Milk to the Max Bars are expertly...
- 6 POWERFUL SUPERFOODS – made with Moringa, Turmeric, Cinnamon,...
- BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS – Our lactation bars for breastfeeding...
- Double Wall Insulated: Tumbler keeps beverages at ideal temperature...
- BPA Free: Includes our splash proof flip lid and two reusable, plastic...
- Travel Friendly: Designed to fit most cupholders
6. Nipple Shield
- DESIGNED FOR SPECIAL BREASTFEEDING: The Medela Contact Nipple Shields...
- INNOVATIVE DESIGN FOR MORE CONTACT: Made of 100% ultra-thin and soft...
- USE UNDER DIRECTION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL: Medela’s Contact Nipple...
7. Burp Cloths
- Soft and Gentle: Our Comfy Cubs muslin burp cloths are made from 100%...
- 6 Layers of Thickness and Large Size: Our burp cloths feature 6 layers...
- Premium Quality: Made from 100% breathable Muslin cotton, we pride...
8. Book or Magazine
9. Breastfeeding Log
- [ Touch Activated Night Light ] A simple short touch on the top of...
- [ Brightness Memory Setting ] You can adjust the brightness to suit...
- [ Must-Have Versatile Night Light Lamp ] A night lamp suits all. For...
12. Relax and don’t stress.
Stress can affect your breast milk supply. It could cause the flow to slow down. Make sure you enjoy the bonding time with your baby and relax as much as possible. A great way to encourage the let-down reflex is to take a warm bath or shower with your baby.
By having a dedicated nursing station, you are already allowing yourself to be more relaxed. Stressed from a fussy crying baby? Your baby could have uncomfortable gas; get your baby relief from gas with these easy tips.
13. Get plenty of rest.
Your body is hard at work producing more milk constantly. It can take a toll on you during the first few weeks. This can lead to more stress if you aren’t careful. Keep stress away by ensuring you get the rest your body needs.
14. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you are having trouble breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially during the first few weeks. At the same time, you are still in the hospital after birth; set up a time to talk to the lactation consultant if you have any concerns.
If you are feeling intense pain or have sore nipples during breastfeeding, make sure you immediately talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. You may have a clogged milk duct or mastitis if any breast tissue is sore or hot to the touch. Be sure to get any concerns checked out.
FAQs When Breastfeeding for the First Time
1. What should you not do while breastfeeding?
Things from your body get passed to your baby through your breast milk. Therefore, you should not be doing drugs, smoking, or drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. Any of these can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Don’t forget to eat enough. Make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet to produce a good breast milk supply for your newborn baby. Hydration is also essential. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
2. How long should a breastfeeding session last?
A typical nursing session lasts anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes for a newborn. Watch for your baby’s cues to ensure they get enough milk. A hungry newborn tends to have a closed fist; once full, their hand relaxes and opens. A newborn will usually nurse for 10-15 minutes on each breast.
Don’t forget to burp your baby when you pause to switch breasts. As your baby gets older, they will become more efficient, and the time per breast will decrease. In addition, you will get to know their cues and understand when they are satisfied.
3. What foods help produce breast milk?
Eating a balanced meal is key to producing breast milk. Some foods can increase your production of breast milk. Oats are perfect for helping produce more breast milk.
You should include other foods in your diet while breastfeeding: Barley, Whole Grains, Fennel, Fenugreek, Brewer’s Yeast, and Apricots.
Your breastfeeding journey will differ from other mothers, but one thing is universal, breastfeeding is hard work! Some of the best breastfeeding tips to remember are to ensure you get the baby’s latch right to avoid sore or cracked nipples. You also want to have a good position for yourself and your baby.
Additional best breastfeeding tips for new moms include getting enough rest, watching your baby’s hunger cues, and staying hydrated. Don’t forget to set yourself up for breastfeeding success by having all your breastfeeding essentials in a convenient place, ideally next to a comfortable nursing chair.
Get a few key pieces of a nursing wardrobe, like nursing tanks, so you can feel comfortable breastfeeding. If you have engorged breasts, take advantage of the oversupply of milk and use the Haakaa breast pump on the breast you aren’t nursing on to get any letdown that would normally leak into a nursing pad. The milk you collect can later be used for a bottle feeding on the go.
Most importantly, Don’t Stress. You and your newborn baby are learning together, and you will figure out the ways that best work for both of you. If something doesn’t work or doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to try something new or ask a lactation consultant for help.