All About Breastfeeding

9 Great Tips for the New Breastfeeding Mommy

I’ve written quite a lot of posts about breastfeeding and they have all been very popular. I’ve had some requests from moms to sort of sum up what I have learned about breast feeding. I am not an expert on breastfeeding, so I don’t know all about breastfeeding… but I have successfully breast fed two babies.

With my first baby I struggled a lot and I found the whole experience quite unpleasant and traumatic. I managed to breastfeed her until she was 6 months old. My son I breastfed very successfully, too successfully for my liking… I struggled to wean him! I am sure that if he had his way he would be on the boob until college!

At the end of this post I will link to all the articles I have written on breast feeding and my experiences so far. This post will just summarize the most important tips that I have to share with any new moms.




If you don’t want to read the whole post, you can check out my video:

1. Breastfeeding does not come naturally, arm yourself with information! Have support ready.

I believed I would not be able to breast feed. My mom couldn’t breast feed and neither could my sister, so deep down I believed I would not be successful either. I read lots of books but nothing sunk in which I found strange because I love reading and I read a lot before I gave birth. With everything breast feeding I could remember nothing. Maybe deep down I decided I would not be able to and nothing stuck?

Who knows but when the time came I may as well have read nothing! I think the best is to be in contact with La Leche League or a breast feeding consultant before birth. Chances are you will need some help. Rather have the help right on hand and not need it than need the help and find yourself floundering.

The fact is that you will be exhausted and overwhelmed after birth. Have someone on hand to help you specifically with breast feeding.

Naomi is a La Leche Leader and she wrote an awesome article for my website which shares breast feeding basics, so start with this article.

2. Prepare your nipples!

This is a biggie, I had no idea how important until I had cracked and bleeding nipples. I can promise you that this is incredibly painful and there is a good chance if you get to the state I was in you might not be able to continue breast feeding your baby, it is just too sore!

I was advised while pregnant to suntan topless. I did this a few times until I was 6 months pregnant and then I moved to a new complex and I had no garden so I didn’t bother.

After I gave birth (a long and tiring labour and birth) a nurse asked me if I wanted laser treatment on my nipples and I said no. She told me I would regret it and I did, intensely so! After  a week of breast feeding my baby I had cracked and bleeding nipples. I went to the hospital begging for laser treatment and they healed within 24 hours.

With my second baby I asked the nurses to book my laser treatment even before I gave birth. It was the first thing I did when I arrived at the hospital for my c-section. I had no problems with my nipples that time.

So yes I recommend laser treatment! Find out about this before you have your baby. You can even have a session before you give birth and then another one afterwards.

3. Stay Hydrated

This is really important. You need to make milk, you need energy and your baby and your body are going to sap you of energy.

So drink lots of water and also try out Jungle Juice when you have a really low day, like if your baby is going through a growth spurt.




4. Relax, Rest and Trust Yourself

Having a baby is really terrifying, at least it was for me. I was so scared I was doing things wrong and I was almost in a state of panic all the time.

The thought of my boobs keeping my baby alive was just too much for me. I didn’t trust my body to be able to nurture my baby.

Your body needs rest and you need to relax to make milk. Trust yourself in your capabilities as a mother. You might feel like you know nothing but you were made for this.

The difference in everything with my second baby was huge and I think the main reason for this is that I trusted myself as a mom, I trusted my body and I trusted my boobs.

Yes it may sound strange but that’s how it is.

5. Get The Latch Right

This is another biggie. Your whole nipple must go into your baby’s mouth, not just the tip. If you don’t get the latch right you run the risk of getting cracked and sore nipple and baby won’t get milk.

If you struggle with this (and it is HARD to achieve) then get help from a professional until you get this right.

6. Breastfeeding Position

Play around with different breastfeeding positions. There is one main thing to remember and that is tummy to tummy. This means your tummy and  babies tummy are facing each other.

Getting a really nice comfy position for you and baby can mean the difference between failure and success. My favorite position is the one shown in the featured image of this article. Both of us lie on our sides, facing each other. It is a lovely position to relax in, we can both rest and be comfortable. I can even sleep while feeding and when baby has had enough to drink he/ she can just fall asleep. This is a lovely position for night time feeds. It is also lovely for bonding and cuddling.

If you find a good position you can really relax more and it will help your body to produce more milk. It also means you can feed for a long time. Baby will want to suck just for comfort too and this also increases your breast milk because your boobs are stimulated which tells your body to make more milk for your baby!

7. Milk Supply

This is really such a simple example of supply and demand. The more milk your baby needs, the more milk you body will make. Your body knows your baby needs more milk when your baby drinks all the milk and still sucks more. Here is a great article I wrote on making more milk.

So don’t top up feeds if your baby is still hungry. Let your baby suck even (especially) when there is no milk. You can also get a breast pump and after your baby has fed you can then express for a while and this will help a lot.

It is also nice to express to keep a stash of breast milk stored in case you need it in case of emergency, for example if you need to take medication for a few days that you can’t take while breast feeding.




8. Ask The Right People for Support

This is really important in my eyes. Everyone and their auntie has an opinion on everything. It seems even more so when you have a baby and you are breast feeding. Suddenly everyone wants to tell you what to do and how to do it.

Find the right people to listen to. I listened to the wrong people and ended up with no milk and my baby choosing formula by 6 months old because I was advised to top up feeds with formula.

9. Weaning

Well good luck on this one. If it goes anything like with my son well it is not very easy to do at all.When searching for how to wean my son all I seemed to come across were articles on women that didn’t know how to get their children (yes not babies, 3 year old children) to wean.

I mean it is all very well if you are one of those women that want to breast feed your child until he/ she is 8 years old… but if you have a 1 year old that you want to get off the boob it is not that easy to do.

I decided to wean my son and it felt like ages before I got it right.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and learned something from my mistakes! Here are all the posts I have published related to breast feeding. If you have anything you can add to this information please pop it in a comment for my readers.

So here is everything I have published on breast feeding:

Are you a Breast Feeding Mommy? What advice can you share with the other moms? Or what are you struggling with?

 

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21 comments

  1. Interesting post. I breastfed 3 babies and am in the process of weaning my almost 2 year old. I have had a pretty easy time weaning my kids between 18 and 24 months. I understand you have your reasons for weaning earlier but I imagine it is pretty hard. I have never heard of the laser treatment you described in #2, but can totally relate to all of the other items on your list. As long as I got the latch right every time (which sometimes meant manually flipping out baby’s lips), I didn’t have issues with sore nipples. Anyway, nice summary of information.

    • Profile gravatar of Lynne Huysamen

      Hi Amanda
      Yes it was terribly hard, especially the feeling of guilt. He loved breastfeeding and I felt like a really bad mom for doing it. The facts remain that my health was terrible. I was getting ill all the time, I was very much under weight and it was stressful.
      I do think that the circumstances of each mom come into it a lot too. I took 2 weeks off to have my son via c-section and went back to work full time immediately after those 2 weeks…. with my son with me. It was hard to keep working, look after my son and breastfeed him. He wanted to feed all the time, literally. I could not get much done and that was incredibly stressful.
      Perhaps if I was a stay at home mom and didn’t work it would have been easier and I might have breastfed for longer? Then I could have concentrated on my children more!
      You are so lucky you never got sore nipples, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!

      Well done on breastfeeding 3 babies for so long, what an awesome achievement.

  2. I am loving your website!! I also breastfed both of my babies and it would have been nice to have come across such an informative, and easy to navigate website back then. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge and research!

  3. Oh, I’d wish I saw a post like this before I was breastfeeding. It’s been a few years, but I went into it without any research, or information. You did such a wonderful job with providing a ton of information. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Hi, Lynne. Great useful tips for new breastfeeding moms.
    It took me only 6 months to breastfeed my children. It was an amazing experience! The emotional and health benefits that go with it is totally incomparable. Breastfed babies’ immunity is much better than bottle fed ones for they have a certain natural immunity that they got from their moms. They don’t easily catch infections nor allergies. Besides drinking jungle juice and staying hydrated during lactation, breastfeeding mothers can benefit from eating green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, and certain seeds, fennel water, fennel tea and chicken broth. Thank you and all the best!

  5. Hi Lynne, I know a lot of people run into challenges with breastfeeding. It’s nice that you’ve shared your personal experience as a way to help those who may be struggling. Even though it is a natural process, it’s true that it doesn’t always come naturally for everyone. Thanks for sharing your insight!

    • Profile gravatar of Lynne Huysamen

      Hi Sarah
      Yes for sure, so many other women I spoke to said they took to it so easily and had no problems. Yes I managed to breast feed but it was a huge struggle, especially with my first baby. I am sure that I am not alone.

  6. Hi Lynne, great post! It’s been few years back for me when I breastfed my 2 babies but I still remember the challenges. I didn’t have trouble to wean them as they both decided to wean themselves at 6 months but other points you mentioned sounds familiar 😉 I never heard about the laser treatment for nipples though. Need to look it up.

  7. Hi Lynne,Really great tips Lynne most of the tips in your post I’ve never had of them. because I only use hot Tea with sugar especially Rooibos tea it gives a lot of energy and you stay dehydrated too. Another thing u just have to have enough food.

  8. Breastfeeding my first was so easy once we figured out the latch. I never thought it would an issue with the second but it has been challenging. She kept losing her latch, was always fussy and hungry and my poor nipples were in a state. She also wasn’t gaining weight. I started pumping and giving her bottles which helped, especially with the weight gain. It turns out she had a lip tie and a partial tongue tie. I had no idea what to look out for so I had no idea. My advice for mommies struggling to breastfeed, see a lactation consultant and ask them to check for lip and/or tongue ties. Expectant mommies, read up on it so you don’t miss the signs like I did.

    • Profile gravatar of Lynne Huysamen

      Yes I’ve heard that a lip tie and a tongue tie can cause difficulties with breastfeeding. I totally agree with you there Anneli, if any mommy has difficulty breastfeeding her baby the best thing is to find a lactation consultant. If I had done that with my first baby I probably would not have struggled so much and I would have been able to breastfeed for longer than 6 months. Instead I listened to bad advice that landed up in my baby eventually turning to the bottle.

  9. The biggest problem I had was baby was just not latching properly. She would go for it but do more of a licking suck then suction. I had tried all the positions I could think of. At first with each feed I tried breast and after 10 minutes of failure give up and give her formula. After a few days my milk started coming in so I would pump n give. It was a full week later that she started latching. It wasn’t perfect but she got stronger n stronger each day. Now she’s 10 weeks old n hates the bottle. Another thing that I didn’t expect was a feeling of loneliness. In the beginning when we were still struggling it was just her n me n we weren’t getting anywhere. I broke down in tears a few times. It was only after I had a good conversation about my feelings with hubby that it started getting better. I feel so proud n grateful that we were able to get through it.

    • Profile gravatar of Lynne Huysamen

      Taryn it is insane how hard it can be to breastfeed. I struggled so much with my first baby and I also went through a really tough time, with post natal depression. I also felt incredibly lonely. I think we really underestimate how hectic the journey into motherhood is. Even though we are told it is really tough there is just no way to prepare yourself for the reality of motherhood.

  10. Profile gravatar of Lisa💕

    These are really helpful as i havent know nothing of it wasnt for my doula helping me with position and to latch and all those tips and advice i would have struggled those first few days of breast feedingn

  11. Profile gravatar of Jazmin

    So nice to read about other mommies point of view regarding breast feeding. My eldest was breastfed a month shy of his second birthday and I still remember crying so much because he also weaned himself. As I was working at the stage it felt like this was another way to bond with my son. My work place was very supportive about me expressing at work, they made it possible for me to give the best to my son. My second baby is now 13 weeks old, must say this time I am way more relaxed than the first time round.
    I think it will also be easier this time around as I am now a stay at home mommy. 🙂

    • Profile gravatar of Lynne Huysamen

      Congrats on the birth of your baby @jazzt 🙂 Yes I am sure it will be loads easier, it was for me. You learn with the first baby and then do better with the second. How awesome that you are now at home with your kids, that will certainly make it so much easier to breastfeed.

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