I recently reached out to YOU (aka my readers/ friends/ fellow moms) to hear the best breastfeeding advice you ever received… and now i have bundled this fantastic package of 67 estrogen-filled, supportive hugs into one big article! Bookmark it, share it, save it for later or for a friend.
I loved reading everyone’s response. The common theme throughout this list of advice is “unconditional support” and I cherish that about the motherhood community. We share our experiences, learn from each others successes and struggles, and we embrace through the journey.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who shared – your words will help other new moms find their way through breastfeeding – and beyond.
Melissa L.: Don’t listen to everyone’s opinion. Listen to your heart and what you know feels right…
Kim G.: Keep trying, you are both learning how to breastfeed. You will get it in time.
Lisa M.: If you’re in pain go to a breastfeeding consultant. There’s usually one at the hospital. They give the best advice.
Ashley A.: Join a breastfeeding support group!
Brittany B: Push past the pain. It’s worth it.
Bethany K.: Lay down to nurse. It saved me!
Kelly R.: To pump in the hospital closet when JB had open heart surgery. Kept me going.
Fatima L.: In the beginning: Be patient. Almost two years later: Let your child naturally wean himself.
Stephanie M-B: It’s ok! It’s all ok. You won’t be a failure or a hero. Whatever you do, however long you do or try. It’s all good and you are a good mom
Nicole A.: Never quit on a bad day. Watch the baby not the clock, it’s OK to make your priority nursing the baby. It’s normal for a newborn to nurse all. The. Time.
Georgia R: If you say you’re going to try to breastfeed then you’re not going to breastfeed. (In other words, it’s going to be harder than you expect at first and you have to be pretty determined instead of assuming it’s just easier for other people).
Tracie K.: Do it!
Melissa C.: You should no more schedule nursing your baby than you should schedule snuggling them. Do it as often as necessary.
Georgia R.: Oh and eat and drink enough! I see moms all the time with faltering milk but they are trying to lose all the baby weight in those first few months and skipping meals. It’s not the time to skimp!
Melissa C.: Also… get the baby fed. That’s what’s most important. I was a veteran nursing mom, had nursed my son well into toddlerhood, but when his little sister refused to latch on after losing almost a full pound, I completely fell apart. The idea that she wasn’t going to nurse was devastating. Supplementing was so hard, I was adamant that I was going to nurse her and made so much harder than it had to be. I supplemented for a week while pumping to get her weight back up and then was able to get her back to exclusively nursing. My point is that it’s important to stay focused on getting your baby fed, however it works.
Dorie B-N.: Eat and sleep while the baby eats and sleeps. Having a snack and a drink while nursing keeps you going as well as your milk flowing. Naps are allowed because feeding around the clock is exhausting.
Amy O.: Fenugreek
Olivia G.: After the birth of my first and difficulty breastfeeding: The baby has to learn to nurse as well as mom has to learn to nurse.
Jennifer A.: Both you and the baby are figuring out what to ….
Amy S.: Don’t give up! Just because breastfeeding is “natural” doesn’t make it easy! I had to work with a lactation consultant a lot and refused to be discharged from the hospital until I was satisfied with my technique. Also, PUMP! When Cabell went into heart failure around four months old, he was too weak to nurse, but I continued pumping through his first birthday. It was hard as hell but so worth it. Mind over matter!
Lucy M.: Just breathe
Susan S.: Relax, breathe, don’t watch the clock, watch your baby. You know your baby better than anyone (better than you think you do). You know when he’s hungry, when he’s tired, and when something’s wrong. Listen to yourself.
Karen C.: If you’ve done everything possible and it still isn’t working, forgive yourself.
Patty K.: “The womanly art of breastfeeding” — best book ever written!!!
Stephanie L.: It’s hard at first so don’t give up. But when they bite you and most certainly they will. It’s time to give it up!
Georgia R: Both of mine bit and I yelled or thumped and it only took a few times and we were able to nurse for many months after happily.
Erin M.: The support of a spouse/partner is so beneficial. I’ve heard time and again that dad’s/partners feel left out of the feeding process while baby is young. My husband knew how much I NEEDED his support and giving that support to me kept him included.
Regina S.: I could write a book on this! Not really advice but it was such a relief to know that breastfed babies DO sleep through the night. My first is a terrible sleeper (so many people, including loved ones) said it was because I nursed. I refused to believe it. Baby #2, has been an awesome sleeper from the beginning and he nursed just as long as his sister. Massage with coconut oil, hottest showers possible, and BEER can help with clog ducts.
Emily S.: Soy lecithin when I kept getting mastitis
Melinda S.: Best advice: You’re still an amazing whether you choose not to BF, or nurse for one day, six weeks, or for years.
Bobbie W.: If you have a low milk supply, Fenugreek and Oatmeal are fantastic! They really work!
Jennifer M.: My life saver was getting involved with La Leche League. I couldn’t have gotten through it without them. They taught me everything. I had a support system like no other. Almost how I think a sponsor from AA would be. She said to call her no matter what. Even if it was 2am and I was in tears, (and I did have a couple nights like that.)
Sarah M.: Wide full mouth with lips out, no squeaky air sounds, and it’s okay to readjust if the latch isn’t right; nursing lying down is amazing; and if nothing seems to be working, sometimes a nipple shield can save the day.
Beth D.: If you pump multiple times a day, put the pump parts into a gallon zip-lock and store in fridge between pump sessions so you don’t have to keep cleaning them. Low milk supply: make lactation cookies with oatmeal, brewers yeast and flax seed meal
Michelle T.: Don’t beat yourself up if your body’s anatomy does not physically allow you to keep breast feeding even though you’ve done everything in your power to try.
Jackie A.: Coconut oil for soreness in the beginning. It’s best to not look at the time and go with your gut, some babies nurse more or less than others. To not care about nursing in public the child has to eat and shouldn’t have to do that in a bathroom or hot car (I learned this one once by second child came along).
Traci S.: It is okay to unlatch and fix baby’s latch and feeding lying down. When it was pointed out to me that baby is drinking and eating and that we moms don’t go more than 2-3 hours without a glass of water or a snack, I made peace with baby eating at regular 2hr intervals and I stopped trying to space her out for my convenience. Get partner engaged too, my Husband was a great source of encouragement and support during the first weeks when my exhausted self wanted to give up.
Amy J.: 1st doctor had me freaked out about my oldest getting enough… My breastfeeding group said if you’re nervous buy a scale. Weigh before and after. Best advice… Used it for 3 days and never needed it again. My 2nd doctor told me to chill out… It was all going to be ok… Also great advice.
Amy J.: And it’s ok to cry and hate everything and everyone at some point because being a new mom is soooo hard and breastfeeding is really hard at first. And there is nothing wrong with feeling totally resentful and just plain pissed… But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will get easier and all euphoric moments breastfeeding moms talk about – will happen.
Christine W.: Don’t give up after one day. If you can get through the first 3-4 days of nursing, which can be trying, you should be ok.
Kathryn P.: That despite the class I attended selling breastfeeding as a pain-free, glorious, cost-saving experience…it’s hard, it hurts, and it is NOT free. It’s a lot cheaper than formula in the long run, for sure, but unless you plan on spending the next year naked from the waist up with your baby permanently attached to your boob, you will spend money. And it hurts at first. Badly. Even if you are doing everything right. I breastfed for as long as I could and I don’t regret a second of it, but I do resent being misled about what it would be like.
Alison L.: It doesn’t last forever
Traci S.: Savoy cabbage leaves for engorgement when your milk comes in or when you’re stopping altogether. A donut to sit on can be your best friend in those early days.
Pamela G.: Breastfeeding is HARD. Those moms and celebrities that glorify it only make the rest of us feel inadequate. The beginning is so stressful and painful. It’s OK to dread feeding your baby in the beginning. But it gets better. So remind yourself that it gets better. And if it works out, great. And if breastfeeding isn’t for you, then that’s ok too! Oh, And buy sleeping nursing bras!
Amy J.: Oh and www.bravadodesigns.com. Just because you are nursing and just had a baby doesn’t mean you have to buy whatever 2 nursing bras they have at target!! Pretty, comfortable and all sizes!!
Mary B.: Love the Bravado Designs bras! I feel like nursing is a little like dating at first – you have to figure out what each other likes! And the hype about breastfed kids having much better immune systems isn’t 100% true – the kid I nursed the least (#2 out of 4) is by far my healthiest!
Andrea W.: Keep at it and take it one day at a time. The first 3 months are the hardest! After that it’s a joy! My best baby memories are nursing after 3 months
Laurie H.: Even though the night feedings can be hard, enjoy that quiet time breast feeding your baby. ….Some of my favorite times watching them. It goes by so fast.
Savannah B.: To keep at it, give it at least 5-6 weeks. It hurts at first because your skin isn’t used to the constant suckling, but after that, it’s SO Much easier than formula and bottles.
Sara O.: 1. Baby’s weight gain is not necessarily indicative of your supply. Some babies are just slow gainers. 2. If they are happy and content and meeting milestones then stop worrying and just keep on keeping on!
Becky N.: Ignore the people who agree ignorant and nurse as long as you and your baby want.
Jess R.: Don’t quit on your worst day.
Lisa M.: Have to add my dad (having 13 kids) told me a secret to breastfeeding is go with your baby. Your baby will tell you when he/she is hungry and how much he/she needs. And cabbage leaf on engorged breast (cold) actually helps.
Kate R.: FOR THOSE WHO IT COMES EASY FOR ONLY: don’t quit. My oldest who was BF the longest…13 mos…is by far the healthiest. Stick with it as long as feasibly possible. I pumped at work full time with her, wish I was as motivated with the last 3. Quit at 9 mos, 6 mos, 3 mos, respectively…they have allergies, asthma, eczema, tubes, immune deficiency, all things my oldest doesn’t have. If I could go back, I would nurse 12 mos minimum with all 4…hind sight is 20/20. If BF is a struggle, it’s not worth it. Formula is an excellent alternative. No matter what anyone says, it’s not always easy.
Roxanne D.: Relax and drink a glass I wine
Jessica H.: Talk to a lactation consultant
Frank H.: This is something your wife will be better at.
Brittany G.: Don’t give up on your hardest day
Emily S.: “Stick with it” and “follow your instincts.”
Rose McD.: As long as the baby is gaining fine, there is no need to force them to feed a minimum of 20 minutes per boob and on both sides at every feed. My milk came in early and fast and my daughter would feed for only 5 minutes and on only one side when she was a newborn then she was done. The nurse gave us the above rules and wouldn’t get the Lactation Consultant for me to talk to. She threw around the term “failure to thrive”. Luckily, at her 48 hours from release appointment the doctor relieved our fears. DD had been eating for only 5 minutes total from one side only at every feed, but was already 8oz over birth weight at 4 days old. So much relief! Newborn tummies are tiny! Don’t overfeed them!
Shannon W.: Yep, she’s getting enough milk.
Kathie C.: Sometimes no matter how many supplements, and tricks you do, you may not have enough milk to feed your baby. It’s doesn’t make you a failure when you start bottle feeding. You can still use your breast for comfort without the milk there.
Kerrie M.: If you can’t breastfeed because your child has latching issues (palate, etc) pump!
Dee W.: Best advice? Hmm…keep at it. I did this 4 times. After the first two, I stopped receiving advice.
Leah S.: It is difficult and a huge learning curve for you and baby seek help
Mary Jane O.: Try different ways holding baby so it doesn’t hurt.
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