Breastfeeding 101: Tips, Tricks and Grace

March 15, 2019

Let's talk breastfeeding. It's such a natural thing yet seemingly taboo to talk about. Before I had Quinn I was embarrassed to even think about breastfeeding. I have watched my friends and sisters-in-law do it, but it was very daunting for me. I assumed it would be hard, uncomfortable and I was so nervous about the entire thing. I just imagined sitting on my couch naked (why I thought I had to be naked to breastfeed is beyond, but I did!) trying to fed this sweet baby while she screamed and I cried. That was absolutely how I pictured breastfeeding. 

One thing I knew before Quinn, I was going to try my very best to breastfeed and do whatever it took. (Even if it meant breastfeeding naked). And if that didn't work, I'd feed her any way I could. 

There are a lot of thoughts and preconceived ideas that go into breastfeeding. It hurts. Would I produce enough milk? Would she be allergic to my milk? Would I get mastitis? Would I ever leave my house? Would I nurse her in public? I was so nervous about feeding her in public, in front of people. Remember, I thought I was going to be naked while breastfeeding, hence the fear in public nursing. 

But then Quinn was here and suddenly my anxiety about breastfeeding and the embarrassment that I thought would come with it, faded away. My priority -- getting this little babe to latch and getting her fed. And, in all honesty, when she did latch, it was the most amazing feeling of pride I’ve ever felt and all most of those nerves melted away. 

In the spirit of total transparency, nursing came easily for me. Yes, I had the growing pains (literally) in the first week and don’t get me wrong, the feeling of engorgement hurts so bad, but my baby latched. 

The feeling that was surprising to me was the feeling of having a baby depend on you whenever for her only source of nourishment. It was a lot more pressure than I assumed. But I also worked hard at this process. And, I had a lot of help. 

I am super lucky because I have a lot of mamas in my life who helped me through the transition. I'm the first to admit that I didn't know much going into motherhood, but I ask a lot of questions. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here. 

I figured I couldn't be the only one who had a ton of questions about breastfeeding. I've gathered a lot of amazing tips (& come up with some on my own) and hopefully it'll ease ya in to breastfeeding. 

Remember mamas, we don't have to do this alone. That is my first tip - don't do this alone. Ask for help. Ask mamas who nurse, ask mamas who bottle feed, ask any mama. We're all in this together. 

  • Breastfeed asap. As soon as you can, try and get that baby on your boob. 
  • It shouldn't hurt. Yes, it's going to feel weird and different, but if your baby has a great latch, it shouldn't be painful. If it does, ask for help.
  • Ask for help. Let your nurses help. Meet with the breastfeeding consultant. Don't leave the hospital until you've been taught 10 ways to nurse. Have the consultant teach your husband. You will forget and he will be there to remind you of the football hold in 3 days. 
  • Latching is hard. I'm not even going to try to give latching tips because thats hard, but my consultant said you should see the babys jaw moving by her ear (think when you chew) and then you know her mouth was open enough to nurse well. 
  • You will get engorged. When I was super engorged on day 5, my sister in law told me to get cabbage leaves and to pump. A lot of people tell you not to pump for a while, I started at day 5. 
  • Keep your nipples moisturized. There is no pain like that first week of breastfeeding. Think chapped lips but worst. I LOVE this nipple cream. But if all else fails, use Aquaphor. Take a hot shower or use a hot towel. 
  • Your boobs will leak. Use breast pads
  • Try every position possible. For us, the football position worked on the right side and the normal hold worked for the left. These changed daily! 
  • Tons of water! When you think you drank enough, drink more.
UPPING MILK SUPPLY TIPS: Milk supply was one of my biggest fears, so I did what any rational mom would do, google everything. Honestly, I have no idea if any of these things actually help, but hey, I have milk and I did these things, so why not. 
  • I pumped after all my feedings (for the first few weeks).
  • I made lactation cookies and balls. They are delicious. 
  • I eat oatmeal every AM for breakfast. Oatmeal has iron in it which also is a must for breastfeeding mothers and helps promote milk supply. 
  • I took these capsules
  • I drank this tea.
  • I chug a ton of water, way more water than you think is necessary. My advice, get a Yeti and drink one per-feeding and then more in between. 
  • I love these cookies too. 
  • Pumps are free through insurance! Get yours here
  • If you're feeling engorged, pump a little. When my boobs hurt so bad, pumping for a minute helped so much. And it helps bring your milk in. 
  • Test out different sizes of pumping shields. I had no idea this was a thing until my best friend told me to use a larger size. Boom -  1oz to 4 oz
Freaking out about work trips because she only drinks breast milk is daunting for sure. And the feeling of your boobs leaking at the sound of a crying baby is embarrassing and crazy all at the same time. But there is something so amazing about nursing your little babe. 

My time spent nursing Quinn are some of my most favorite and most intimate moments with her. I used to look at moms who had to leave a dinner to nurse or feed their baby with pity. And then I became that mom and now I crave hose moments where it was just Quinn and me. 

I know she won’t need me forever. I know sooner than later these sweet slow moments of nursing her will be a distant memory and this blog will be my only reminder. So for now I’m embracing my time to slow down with Quinn, soak up these sweet snuggles and extra time and remind myself that this all goes so quick. 

So whether you breastfeed your baby, formula feed or chew up food and spit in her their mouth like a bird, good for you mamas. We're feeding our babies and that is the most important. #fedisbetter

And mamas, give yourself some grace if this process is taking a little bit to get used too. We're all just trying to be the best mamas we can. 

Do you have any breastfeeding tips that you loved? Share them in the comments! 

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