After 4 babies I feel very seasoned in the world of breast feeding. But as I prepare to have my 5th baby, I really wanted to try to remember all the little tricks that I learned the first 4 times around. Breast feeding can be a real challenge, both mentally and physically, but it is so worth it! I’m excited to write this post and share all of my breastfeeding tips and hacks that every new mom needs to know!
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Nursing Hack #1- Use a good nipple cream regularly!
I don’t see this as a hack so much as a necessity. I will be buying a couple of jars of this before the baby is born to make sure it’s here when I need it.
The brand I love is Lansinoh’s Organic Nipple Balm. I used this religiously every single time the baby got done eating for the first 2-3 months. It, will literally save your nipples. You can read more about that here.
Nursing Hack #2- Nursing bras are great, but nursing shelf tanks are way better!
I quickly found that absolutely no nursing bra (unless it cost a zillion bucks) was as comfy to wear as a nursing shelf tank. This is a tank top that has a fold down flap so you can nurse your baby. There are different styles of nursing tanks as well. And using a nursing tank has an added bonus- no more exposing your whole tummy or back in public! Also, for the price, you can grab a couple in different colors!
If you’re the crafty sort (this not really my mojo) then according to this article, you can make your own nursing tank at home (seems fairly easy)!
Nursing Hack #3 Having a designated breastfeeding spot with supplies is good, but having a diaper caddy is way better!
Im not sure about you, but I didn’t always want to sit in the same chair and feed my babies. With my first baby, I wanted to change her diaper before feeding her, but in my sleep deprived state I would often forget to grab all the supplies I needed from her room. Or, I would grab a diaper and wipes, but then need a change of clothes for her and have to go back, or i needed some diaper rash cream that was in the bathroom! I would have to call for my hubby who would run to get all the things. It literally never occurred to me until my second baby to use a basket, or a tote to keep all of the necessary items in. Once I figured this out, life got a tiny bit less hectic, and I could just grab the Baby tote with everything I needed inside, and go and nurse my baby.
Things I put in my tote were:
- Clean onsie
- Diaper rash cream- I love this one
- Burp cloth
- Baby lotion and hand lotion
- Hand sanitizer
- Baby blanket or lovie
- Nipple cream- again, so important
- Clean nursing pads, either disposable or reusable, (and now, I will also include a milk collecting breast cup– more on this later)
- A snack bar for me to munch on
Hack #4- Drink a gallon of flavored water every day!
This was a major must for me. If I was even slightly dehydrated my baby would struggle to get enough milk to fill him up. I got so sick and tired of drinking water all the time though until I started thinking outside the box a little. I bought things like lemons and limes and other yummy fruits and herbs to put in my water and it became way less boring! Check out my post on how to break out of your boring water rut here!
Another thing that really helped me to drink enough was to keep a huge (think at least 32 ounces) water bottle with me at all times. If it was there, I’d drink it, but if there was no water bottle, I would not get up and go to the sink constantly to get water. Since I’m a sucker for Nalgene, this is the bottle I have!
Hack #5- when your baby is eating, keep him unwrapped
One of my most favorite things was to bundle my babies up like a little tightly packed burrito and gawk at how cute they were while they were sleeping. But I learned quickly that during the middle of the night feedings, that wasn’t a good idea. I found that if I kept my baby wrapped up and cozy he wouldn’t stay awake at the boob! In order to get him to eat enough to keep him full for a few hours, he needed to be unwrapped and not so warm and snuggly, otherwise, he’d fall back asleep before he was done eating and then be awake again 5 minutes after I put him back to bed!
Hack #6 Use milk collectors instead of nursing pads at high leakage times!
These were not around when I had my last baby, but I am ordering mine today! They simply fit in your bra and collect all that otherwise wasted milk! I can’t tell you how many bottles of milk has been wasted as it dripped out of my breasts when I heard a baby cry, or during feeding from the opposite breast! Breast milk is like gold that moms work really hard for, and I want to save every single drop of it that I can!
Check out these nifty milk collectors here!
Hack #7- Alternate the side you start feeding on first.
This is especially important during the early stages when your little feeder doesn’t always drink as much as you are producing, and generally drinks more from the first breast. If you start with the same side each time, the other breast will gradually start producing less and less and that is milk you could be saving for a future date night with the hubs!
Hack #8- Use a scrunchy to help you remember which side you fed the baby on last!
This is so helpful because relying on your memory when you are a sleep deprived mama is usually a bad idea!
You can also get some cute little bra clips from Etsy, but honestly, you probably already have a hair tie and it works just as well.
Hack #9- If you know you are pumping for use later, pump directly into the freezer bag!
Most breast pumps come with an attachment for a bottle at the bottom of the boob funnel (that’s what it looks like- I have no idea what it’s actually called). But certain freezer bag brands will allow you to attach the bag to the end of the funnel so you never have to dirty a bottle! Genius!
Hack #10- Carry a simple handheld pump with you when you go out.
You never know when you’ll have to pump one breast because your baby doesn’t finish both sides! I didn’t get to use this with my last baby, but I will definitely get one this time! The simple design literally just sucks the excess breastmilk from your boob hands free! Carrying this super easy, one piece system with you in your diaper bag is so easy that it doesn’t make sense not to!
Hack #11- An infinity scarf works just as well as a nursing cover- sometimes better!
I have bought at least 5 different nursing covers in my lifetime and probably spent over $200 combined. With my last baby though, my mom made me a super cute nursing cover that was basically the same as an infinity scarf! I loved it because it was made of super light and airy material, and it covered my whole tummy and side when I didn’t have on my nursing tank! The best part is, you can also use this as a car seat cover, and a shopping cart cover (You can get one free here)! Or, if you’re the crafty type, follow the instructions in the awesome video below to make one yourself!
Hack #12- instead of writing down all of the baby’s feedings and diapers- use this app!
There are plenty of free and paid apps out there to track breastfeeding, but I like this on the best because it tracks not only breastfeeding but also diapers and sleep, baby growth and has a cool photo-a-day option also.
Hatch Baby is compatible with iPhone and Android devices.
Hack #13- Eat when you are hungry!
Don’t limit your food or TRY to lose weight when you are nursing.
I spent countless hours trying to figure out why I couldn’t lose all of my baby weight when I was nursing. Some women do, but honestly, I was as hungry as a small horse during my breastfeeding days and I felt awful when I tried to eat less to force my body to lose weight. If I had known better, I would have bought the MUTU Postpartum Weight Loss and Exercise System (I will definitely be signing up with this baby. You can check out a couple free sample exercise videos here– Don’t worry- you’re NOT too late). Be happy with your beautiful body and the amazing thing it has just made! The weight will come off when it wants to, and worrying and causing yourself stress over it will only make you enjoy this beautiful stage less!
If you have other breastfeeding/nursing tips that you would add, please comment below!