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23 Great Nursing Tips from Moms

Got breastfeeding issues? Get advice from the experts -- moms who got it right. Paid pros, like lactation consultants, are great, but sometimes mom-to-mom tips ("this worked for me") are the ones that really click.

Avoid comparisons. I think the biggest mistake nursing mamas make (I did this too) is compare themselves to what other nursing mamas are doing. Each nursing relationship is unique. I expected my nursing experience to be like my sister's and we are worlds apart: she had too much milk, I had too little.

Trust yourself. Before you quit, give yourself time (6 to 8 weeks) to adjust to breastfeeding.

Keep well hydrated. Get a water bottle with a straw (my hospital gave me one), and keep it filled to the brim. You never know when you'll get thirsty, and it might not be a convenient time [like while you're nursing] to get more water.

Get a Boppy. I love my Boppy. I still use it for my 9-month-old. To me, it just makes it easier to have one hand free while you nurse.

Your pump can help with problems. If you have inverted nipples, I found that pumping a few minutes to draw them out helped.

Keep at it even if you have a cold. Your breast milk will [help] keep your child from catching your cold. I learned this from my midwife and after trying it during the winter months when I got sick. And even when my baby did get a cold, I found it was very short lasting.

If you need to, supplement. You can do both -- breast feed and formula feed. It doesn't have to be only breast milk, but every drop your child gets is beneficial.

Don't worry if your baby looks tiny. My doctor told me babies don't start looking chubby until they're into their 8th pound. It took us 6 weeks to get there.

Practice nursing in public. I feel uncomfortable about nursing in public, so my plan is to buy a nursing camisole to cover my tummy and practice in front of a mirror so that I know what people can and can't see. As for other people giving me unpleasant looks, I don't plan on looking up! I will just look lovingly at my daughter.

Diaper Check

The scoop on poop. My pediatrician said after one month, breastfed babies may go up to 10 days without a poop and that is normal. However, in the first month you should see dirty diapers more often. Obviously, they don't magically hit one month and start going longer stretches, but those are the general guidelines. My daughter is 3 months old and usually goes every day, but occasionally goes 36 hours and then has a massive blowout!

Seedy is good. If her poopy diaper [looks like it has] seeds in it, that's leftover hind milk that her body doesn't need. Be happy. Your baby is well fed.

Don't worry if the poop comes in different colors. When I called the pediatrician about my son's stool having different colors, I was told that anything in the yellow, brown, or green hues is not a problem.

How wet is wet? To tell if my daughter's diaper was wet enough, I used to pour 4 tablespoons of water into a clean diaper. That's how I was told I could tell what a wet diaper felt like.

Breast Milk

Give it a swirl. Milk that has been stored in the refrigerator tends to separate and that is normal. So before you give it to your baby, give it a swirl. You'll see that it will come back together.

Don't worry about the consistency. If your milk is watery, you're extracting the foremilk. If it is thicker and whiter, it is the hind milk. You may also find that after your baby drinks your breast milk, the bottle has a residue. Don't worry -- it's the fat of the hind milk left in there.

Milk Supply

Moist heat encourages let down. I was stressed and worried I wouldn't let down. The worst thing for me was hearing everyone tell me to just relax. What helped was moist heat. I put a wet towel in the microwave for a short time. A shower worked as well.

Reading may help you relax. I found that reading or doing a crossword puzzle while pumping would really help. I guess it took my mind off getting enough milk, or pumping for a certain time. It sort of distracted me. Find something you like to do and if possible do it while pumping.

Pump while you nurse to boost output. One way to quickly pump is to pump the boob baby's not nursing on while she nurses on the other. That way, your let-down happens faster. I always had trouble alone, but got a great stash by nursing and pumping together.

Check your latch. I knew I had the latch down when there was no white tip or line across the nipple and it didn't hurt after a few seconds to nurse. The initial pain went away after a few weeks.

Frozen peas aren't just food. A bag of frozen peas [is] awesome as a cold compress for engorgement.

Cabbage combats soreness. Use cabbage leaves for soreness -- they are cooling and feel great! Just place individual cabbage leaves inside your bra (break them apart, wash, separate with paper towels, place in a big plastic bag, and keep them cold in the fridge.)

No biting allowed. The advice I got was to watch while the baby is latched on. If you watch, you can see when the latch is dropped and a bite is coming, so you can pull out before it happens. If you do get bitten, I've been saying "No bite!" and then not letting him back on for a minute so he associates that with not nursing.

Got questions?

Check out our award-winning Community boards. (Please remember, advice from our boards cannot replace that of your healthcare provider.)

 

  • Breastfeeding board -- FAQ, videos, and a wealth of advice from other moms.
  • La Leche League International -- Breastfeeding help and support.
  • International Lactation Consultant Association -- Find a lactation consultant near you.

 
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