Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing for you and your baby. It’s so easy and natural, you’ve always kept the milk at a good temperature, and yet it’s often not so intuitive, especially at the beginning or with the first child. But often you need some breastfeeding advice and good breastfeeding tips are gold worth. Many mothers have experienced that breastfeeding is not always so easy and that breastfeeding problems can occur which can make it difficult or impossible for you and your baby to breastfeed.
Although babies are born with a natural sucking and drinking reflex, breastfeeding does not always work without problems, so I want to show you some breastfeeding tips to help you. It is not an innate instinct or process that just works so smoothly. Rather, it is actually an experiential and learning process. But with the right knowledge, practice and support, your chances of having a successful, fulfilling and harmonious breastfeeding relationship are great. It is incredibly helpful to know what to expect and how to make breastfeeding as comfortable as possible for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to build a close and deep relationship with your baby and strengthen the bonding between you after birth. It has many health benefits for both of you and can make feeding time a lot easier than bottle feeding – and it is also cheaper. Once you have the basics of breastfeeding, you can relax and enjoy breastfeeding your baby.
In this article I would like to share my experience and my breastfeeding advice with you. I have breastfed three children myself, so I was able to learn and experience a lot. In the following I will show you 9 simple breastfeeding tips that have helped me a lot so nothing stands in the way of your happy breastfeeding relationship with your baby.
1 Proper Breastfeeding Positions – Make yourself comfortable
Starting out, it’s important that you try different positions to find out what’s most comfortable for you and your baby. It can be very annoying and obstructive to get the milk flow going or to put on your restless baby when you can barely sit with tense necks or tense arms. Later, when you and your baby are a well-rehearsed team, you will be able to breastfeed in the most uncomfortable places and in uncomfortable positions, e.g. in the car or in the changing room of a department store.
First try to find out how breastfeeding is most comfortable for you and your baby. Breastfeeding while lying down can really be very relaxing and restful, as you can take a nap yourself while you are breastfeeding your baby. Especially at the beginning it is not unusual for both of you to fall asleep while breastfeeding.
Many mothers are initially unsure about getting their baby into bed at night and breastfeeding while lying down at night. If you practice this during the day, you will be safer and you will see that nothing can happen, so that you now also want to put your baby in your family bed at night and you can breastfeed easily at night as needed.
In addition to breastfeeding while lying down, breastfeeding while sitting, e.g. with a nursing pillow or in an armchair, is also very pleasant. I can highly recommend a breastfeeding pillow for this. In another article about the different breastfeeding positions you can read more about this topic.
2 – How to prevent sore nipples and pain – How to breastfeed your baby correctly
The most important thing is to make sure that you breastfeed correctly. This is especially important in the first few days and during the first breastfeeding attempts, because once you have sore nipples, every further breastfeeding is more difficult. That is why prevention is essential here.
Make sure that your baby not only sucks the nipple, but the entire areola. Your baby’s sucking reflex and jaws are very strong and it inevitably leads to sore nipples and pain when breastfeeding if it sucks only the nipple. In order to avoid pain, your baby should really have a mouth full of breastfeeding.
3. Do breastfeed frequently – but how often should I breastfeed?
You should simply breastfeed as needed and do it frequently. Especially in the days after giving birth, it is important that you dock your baby frequently. In this way, you can promote the milk intake and the whole milk production starts and your baby can drink the valuable and healthy colostrum.
In addition, you can prevent milk jams by frequently putting on your baby. In the beginning, leakage is often unavoidable. You can therefore use nursing pads, preferably made of cotton.
4 – The don’t worry breastfeeding tips – your milk is enough
The point of frequent putting on is still responsible for another very important aspect: Maybe you are worried if you have enough milk and if your baby is getting full. Maybe you’ve heard of other mothers who had to feed because they didn’t have enough breast milk and didn’t get enough.
This is unfortunately a widespread misunderstanding. Because normally every mother produces enough breast milk for baby, the secret behind it is quite simple frequent and regular putting on.
5. Breastfeeding and infant formula – better do not start to use infant formula
The demand determines the supply, once you start feeding with infant formula, your baby no longer needs your breast milk for it. This results in your body gradually producing less and less milk. Because then your body assumes that your baby will need less food if you invest less frequently and your baby drinks only small amounts.
This creates a regular cycle. Your baby won’t get full (for example, because it has a growth spurt and is therefore more hungry). You think you don’t have enough breast milk for your baby because he won’t get full. So you feed infant formula too. Your baby satisfies his hunger and thirst with bottle milk. Next time he will drink less breast milk and the distance to the next breastfeeding will be longer due to the bottle meal. Your body notices, aha, less milk is needed, so it actually only produces less milk.
The next time you breastfeed, your baby won’t get enough. So you feed infant formula again. It goes on like this until you have to stop breast-feeding at some point, because you really don’t have any milk anymore.
Basically this is the reason for the widespread misconception that a mother has too little milk for her baby and that she would not get enough. You would have to do exactly the opposite, as I would like to show in the following point.
6 – Help my baby can’t get enough! Cluster Feeding is the solution
Yes, these phases actually exist! You have already recognized that quite correctly. The phases in which your baby doesn’t get full and therefore is querulous and cries. And you are insecure and wonder whether your mother’s milk is enough or whether you should feed her after all.
It can be aggravating, if the so-called dearly meant advice of the grannies or acquaintances, also push to it. These phases are quite natural and appear at regular intervals: your baby has a growth spurt and simply needs more food and nutrients for its mental, physical and motor development.
What can you do now? Very simple: Put on, put on, put on. That’s the whole secret. Put your baby on very often and let him drink a lot, even if the breast is already empty. Firstly, your baby is still sucking out the last remnants of the thick, filling hind milk and secondly, this is the important signal for your body: „Hey, you’re getting supplies here! Boost production! Baby doesn’t get full! And that’s exactly what happens. Your body produces more milk, your baby gets full again.
This can take a few days, usually two to three days. And you may despair and it is really exhausting to breastfeed during this time. But it is worth it. This way your body produces enough breast milk and you can breastfeed for many months without having to feed too much. By the way, this permanent breastfeeding is called cluster feeding. As you can see, it is exactly the opposite cycle as in point 6.
In the following points I would like to give you a few tips on how to get through such phases.
7. Give yourself rest and a nap
Many breastfeeding tips do not mention how exhausting the initial time with a newborn baby can be. Wheter during the initial period, during normal breastfeeding or during your baby’s growth spurts (see point 8): Try to experience the breastfeeding moments consciously and attentively. Enjoy these moments of togetherness, make yourself comfortable, lie down with your baby to breastfeed and consciously allow yourself these precious moments of rest.
Because breastfeeding allows you exactly such restful breaks in an exhausting baby everyday life.
During breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin is released, which among other things makes you tired. This is the reason why you could fall asleep while breastfeeding. And this is exactly what you should do, take a nap.
You will probably get less sleep at night due to the interrupted nights than before, so these naps are the best opportunity to replenish your sleep and strength in order to be able to take on the stresses of everyday life in a fit and strengthened state.
If you have other children who you care for and who don’t make it possible for you to fall asleep without worrying, it will of course be more difficult. But even this is not impossible, tips on how to find moments of rest with more than one child will soon be available in another article.
8. Eating and drinking enough
This is one of my most important breastfeeding tip and the advice you really should not ignore: Breastfeeding makes you thirsty. So always have a bottle of water ready to quench your thirst without getting up. Breastfeeding is also the wrong time for a diet to get rid of your pregnancy pounds. Right now it is important that you eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Maybe you’re one of those lucky mommies where breastfeeding makes your pounds tumble down. And if not, just remember that your body needed 40 weeks for pregnancy, at least that’s the time it needs to get back to its old form.
So don’t stress yourself and give your body enough (balanced) food and plenty of water during the breastfeeding period.
9. Get support
Start in the beginning it is important and reassuring to know that you are not alone. Even with breastfeeding problems, help from experienced people can help a lot. You can ask your midwife for advice and support, maybe she is really experienced in breastfeeding and can help you competently.
However, normal midwives are not automatically trained breastfeeding consultants and not all tips are up to date or helpful. You may also want to visit a breastfeeding group where you can interact with other breastfeeding mothers and receive answers to your questions and more breastfeeding tips and advice if necessary. Most of the time, the leaders of these groups are trained breastfeeding counsellors. There is also the LaLecheLiga in Europe. Here you can find among other things exactly such breastfeeding groups in your proximity, in addition, competent assistance and a breastfeeding consultation of lactation consultants. Especially when problems arise, you can turn to them so that you do not have to solve your problems alone and get through them.
Besides such style consultations or groups, your partner can also be very helpful if you are not a single parent. He can, for example, look after older siblings while you are breastfeeding or giving you something to drink. So you can integrate him well and he doesn’t feel excluded.
I hope this article was helpful for you and my breastfeeding tips and advice are useful to you and can help you to breastfeed your baby without struggle. Maybe you have some more breastfeeding tips? I would love to hear them, so feel free to post your breastfeeding tips as comment!