Top Ten New Mom Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding for beginners

Are you a new mom and looking for breastfeeding tips?

I was too, especially in the first two months after having my daughter I was experiencing latch issues. 

Having worked as a Nutritionist through the WIC program, I was able to become a Certified Lactation Educator. 

Even with my training in breastfeeding education, I too needed breastfeeding support from a Lactation Consultant.

I learned breastfeeding is a new skill that will require lots of practice and patience, but most importantly, trusting your body in producing the milk supply needed for your baby. 

There will be moments when it can feel like you are alone on this journey, but I am here to remind you that you are not alone, and there are other mamas, including myself, cheering for your breastfeeding success. 

Most new moms, including myself, go through breastfeeding challenges.

And as your amiga, if you can overcome those challenges with the right support, you too can breastfeed. 

Here are my top ten new mom breastfeeding tips

1. Take a breastfeeding class

Taking a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy is a great way to help you understand how breastfeeding works and where to get support. 

As a Certified Lactation Educator,  I enjoyed sharing the following facts with the WIC mamas I would see :

  • Studies have shown that women who breastfeed can lower the risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. 
  • Babies who are breastfed can lower the risk of developing ear infections, asthma, respiratory infections, type 2 diabetes, and childhood obesity. 

In a breastfeeding class, you will be shown different breastfeeding positions to feed your baby. 

I became comfortable with the cradle hold and side-lying position. 

To look at eleven different breastfeeding positions, click here.

If your prenatal care doctor’s office does not offer a breastfeeding class, ask for a referral to other locations that do offer classes.

As a former WIC Degreed Nutritionist, participating in the WIC program during your pregnancy is another way to get a breastfeeding class and breastfeeding support after your baby is born. 

The WIC program can be found in all fifty states and military bases, coordinated by different agencies. 

2. Get an electric pump through your health insurance 

Getting an electric pump will be helpful if you are returning to work or need to use it temporarily as you’re learning to breastfeed.  

Health insurance plans are required to support breastfeeding moms with a breast pump before or after having a baby.

My recommendation would be to get a pump during your last trimester. It would be best to have it and not stress at the last minute to find one in case of an emergency. 

But remember, your baby will always have a stronger strength at suckling than any pump on the market. Avoid comparing the milk you pump to the amount you give your baby when breastfeeding. 

When picking an electric pump, try to look for the following : 

  • The pump has the option of being cordless and rechargeable 
  • Hospital strength of 250 mmHg suction 
  • Accessories come with two different sizes of flanges 
  • Quiet, for when you need to pump at night or near your baby

3. Breastfeeding essentials to take to the hospital

The breastfeeding essentials I recommend to take to the hospital are:

  • Breastfeeding pillow 
  • Breastfeeding bras or breastfeeding tank tops

Taking your breastfeeding pillow to the hospital or birthing center will help you learn how to use it with your baby so you can apply it at home. 

I made the mistake of leaving my breastfeeding pillow at home, and it would get overwhelming when the nurses would stack pillows for me to support my baby. 

The pillow that was recommended by my lactation consultant and helped me so much is the brand My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow. The one I picked is the one with the cotton fabric cover.

I highly recommend getting the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow for its comfort. It wraps around you, has a silent release strap, and a backrest to help with posture.

My BrestFriend Nursing Pillow with image of a mom nursing her baby in a nursing pillow that wraps around moms waist, cotton fabric in color beige/light yellow

Taking breastfeeding bras or breastfeeding tank tops will help you be comfortable when breastfeeding so you don’t feel overexposed, and it can be easier to uncover and cover your breasts. 

Size up on bras and avoid bras with underwires to prevent milk-plugged ducts.

4. Follow up with a lactation consultant with the title IBCLC 

As much as I am thankful for the nurses who made me have a positive birthing experience, when I would ask them for breastfeeding support, I knew I needed an IBCLC. 

Please memorize the title IBCLC, which stands for Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

An IBCLC is a breastfeeding expert who went through extensive training to help you resolve breastfeeding challenges. 

You might hear other titles for breastfeeding support. Most often, they fall under breastfeeding educators. 

For instance, I am a CLE-certified lactation educator, so all I can do is offer breastfeeding education. 

Before you leave the hospital or birthing center, ask for an IBCLC to evaluate you on how you are breastfeeding your baby. 

When I was at the hospital, the first IBCLC that saw me recommended I use a nipple shield. 

If this happens to you, too, please schedule a follow-up appointment with an IBCLC to discuss discontinuing the use of a nipple shield and recheck how your baby is latching. 

5. Join a breastfeeding group

Joining a breastfeeding support group is helpful to connect with other new mamas or experienced mamas that you can relate to.

Find out if an IBCLC is coordinating the breastfeeding support group to schedule a one-on-one session as needed. 

Most breastfeeding support groups offer a weight scale to weigh your baby before and after a feeding to calculate how many ounces of milk your baby got in that feeding. 

Find out through your prenatal care if they offer a breastfeeding support group.

Other great options for finding a breastfeeding support group are the following : 

  • For San Diego County, click here.
  • To find a location across the United States through La Leche League, click here.

6. First month- track wet and dirty diapers 

The first month can be challenging because everything is a new experience; our hormones fluctuate, and we are tired from waking up several times at night. 

But if you know what to expect in the first month, it can take some of that stress away. 

Starting with the first three days, the first milk you produce is called Colostrum. It's thick and yellowish and comes in small amounts. 

By day 4-5, your milk matures and increases in volume. This is when your milk turns white.

It’s also expected that babies lose weight in the first week of life, but it should be no more than 10% of their birth weight. 

When you are exclusively breastfeeding and want to know if your baby is doing well with your milk supply, check for the following. 

Month one:

  • Your baby is having wet and dirty diapers daily
  • Your baby is gaining weight 
  • Your baby is feeding often, on average every 2-3 hours 

7. Identify hunger and fullness cues 

If you learn to identify your baby's hunger and fullness cues, it will help you breastfeed when your baby is calm. 

If you wait until your baby starts to cry as the last hunger cue, it can become stressful because your baby can get irritable and unwilling to latch. 

So look for the following hunger and fullness cues as your baby will guide you on when to breastfeed and when to stop. 

When babies are hungry, they show you by:

  • Sucking on their hands 
  • Searching for the breast 
  • Lip smacking 

When babies are full they show you by: 

  • Pushing away from the breast 
  • Falling asleep at the breast 
  • Are relaxed and open their fists

8. Essentials for your baby registry

The following essentials are a few suggestions for breastfeeding and would be great additions to your baby registry. 

Staying hydrated is important to help with your milk production. 

Stocking up on coconut water is a great way to stay hydrated and get natural electrolytes that help you replenish minerals you naturally lose. 

When I didn’t have coconut water, I would alternate with UpSpring Milkflow Electrolyte Supplement Drink Mix which comes in different flavors that you dilute with water. 

Just like staying hydrated can help your milk production, so can eating whole grains. 

Oatmeal was my go-to whole grain that can be eaten in different ways such as:

  • Overnight oats 
  • Oats in smoothies 
  • Oatmeal cookies/bars  

Other essentials that can be added to your baby registry. 

  • A breastfeeding cover 
  • Cotton washable breastfeeding pads 
  • Hands-free pumping bras  

9. Public places that support breastfeeding mamas

In all fifty states, you have the right to breastfeed in public. But I understand it can be intimidating initially as it was for me. 

So, I am thankful that many public places now offer a nursing room for privacy when breastfeeding. 

I like how each nursing room I’ve been to is individualized for the comfort of the mom and baby. Some even have self-sterilizing changing tables while others offer complimentary diapers. 

These are some public places I want to highlight that support breastfeeding mamas and that I was able to use with my travels: 

  • Target
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Memphis International Airport
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Irvine Spectrum Center
  • San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Petco Park
  • Snapdragon Stadium

10. Continue to see an IBCLC

It’s very important to speak up if you are having any discomfort. 

I recommend seeing an IBCLC as many times as needed until you feel confident breastfeeding.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed before getting pregnant. So, when I had my daughter, it saddened me when I was not getting it. 

There was one moment when I thought that exclusively pumping to bottle-feed my breast milk was going to be my only option.  

Until I got a second opinion from another IBCLC, who took the time to check my daughter and found my daughter had oral ties. 

After I followed up with a specialist and agreed for my daughter to have laser surgery to resolve her oral ties, breastfeeding got easier. 

For this reason, following up is so important. If things are not going well with the first IBCLC, find another IBCLC for a second opinion. 

Final Thoughts

It took me two months, after trial and error, to be able to exclusively breastfeed after going through the use of nipple shields, temporarily supplementing with formula, pumping and bottle feeding breastmilk, and resolving my daughter’s oral ties.

Take it from me, if you have any breastfeeding challenges, please seek an IBCLC.

I know this won't be easy, but I also know you've got what it takes to get through it.

Title ten new mom breastfeeding tips with image of a baby with curly hair breastfeeding and mom covering her breast with an oversize shirt.

Top Ten New Mom Breastfeeding Tips

What are the best tips for breastfeeding a newborn?

  • Learn the signs of when a baby is hungry to feed on demand.
  • A baby's hunger cues can consist of sucking their hands or fist, searching for the breast, making sucking noises, and crying. 
  • Newborns tend to feed about every 2-3 hours and more often when going through growth spurts.

How do first-time moms breastfeed?

  • Lactation consultants recommend using a nursing pillow to help support a baby’s weight and for moms to be relaxed when breastfeeding. 
  • By using a nursing pillow the following breastfeeding positions can be comfortable to try; cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, and football hold.

How can a new mom produce more breast milk?

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water and liquids with electrolytes. Coconut water contains natural electrolytes. 
  • Consuming whole grains is a great option, consider oats in your smoothies, cookies, and overnight oats. 
  • Breastfeed each time your baby shows hunger cues, your body will naturally produce more milk after you breastfeed.

Let me know in the comment section.

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