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Breastfeeding Hacks Every New Mom Needs
Let’s be real, breastfeeding can be hard. These breastfeeding tips will make it so much easier for all of you new mamas.
I have been a lactation consultant for 25 years. I breastfed my own babies for a total of four years. These are the best of the best breastfeeding hacks.
- Breastfeeding Basket – I can’t even count the number of times I would sit down, start breastfeeding and think, “I wish I had…”
This tip is probably one of my very best. It keeps the things you need most all in one convenient place.
Have a basket of essentials that you need or are nice to have in all of the places where you breastfeed most of the time. Stock it with the things you need every time you breastfeed, like a bottle of water, breast pads and other essentials.
2. Water bottles everywhere – Within a few minutes of latching a baby on, moms often feel like they’ve been dropped in the Sahara.
Always, always, always have a water bottle nearby. Get several water bottles, fill them up at the beginning of the day and put them around the house. Put one in your diaper bag too.
Every time you see one, take a sip. This will help you stay hydrated. You won’t have to carry a water bottle around when your arms are full of baby.
I live in a dry climate, so I keep a water bottle with me at all times, even though my breastfeeding days are long over. Mine keeps water cold for over 24 hours. I’m not exaggerating. It’s a Bubba Envy.
This is perfect for a breastfeeding mama because you don’t have to unscrew the top.
3. Keep a breastfeeding log – this is a breastfeeding tip for the early days when you want to make sure that your baby is eating frequently enough and having enough diapers.
4. Buy nursing tanks. I like these so much better instead of nursing bras for the first few days.
Or make one. Your breast size changes quite a bit in the first few days. Wait until your milk has come in and any engorgement has resolved.
What I like about this tank top is it is also good for hands-free pumping. You can even breastfeed on one side and pump on the other! How cool is that?
If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can make your own nursing tanks. This tutorial is so easy. You don’t have to be a seamstress extraordinaire to make these.
Breastfeeding Hacks for Engorged Breasts
While we are talking about engorgement, here are are couple of breastfeeding hacks specifically for engorged breasts.
5. Use frozen peas for engorgement.
6. Or use cabbage for engorgement. This will sound crazy if you’ve never heard of it, but chilled cabbage leaves can reduce engorgment. It’s recommended that they not be left on for longer than one hour at a time. They might decrease milk supply if left on longer than that. The application of the cabbage leaves can be repeated every 2-3 hours.
7. For a pain-free latch remember tummy to tummy and nose to nipple. Wait until your baby opens wide and then pull him in deeply so he get a deep latch.
9.Most moms switch which breast they start a feeding on. In your sleep deprived state it can be hard to remember which side that is. If your breasts usually feel equally full use a pretty piece of jewelry to be your reminder.
Make sure it is easy to remove from one wrist to the other. I have heard of the breastfeeding tip to use a hairband, but if you don’t have long hair then you won’t have hair bands. Plus, jewelry is nicer to look at. Fashionista that I am, I think of things like that.
10. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Even if you can’t sleep, try and go in a quiet room and close your eyes. This hack for breastfeeding really does help you from feeling like you’re going to fall asleep in your dinner plate!
11. If you have large breasts roll up a washcloth or hand towel for under your breast.
12. Know what foods help you produce more milk – oatmeal, brewer’s yeast and barley are three that are easy to incorporate into your diet. You can also buy pre-made lactation treats.
13. Know what foods can decrease your milk supply. Peppermint and sage are two things you should definitely avoid.
14. Know where to go for reliable information about breastfeeding and drugs. The Infant Risk Center is the best place. They have created an app, MommyMeds that you can reference.
15. Know the rules about breastfeeding and alcohol. Alcohol does pass into breast milk. This happens quickly, about 30-60 minutes after the alcohol is consumed. It then passes out pretty quickly, within 2-3 hours, depending on the mom’s body weight.
Pumping and dumping is not going to speed this process up. Alcohol also inhibits let-down and milk production, so you don’t want to over-indulge.
16. Learn to breastfeed in different positions.
17. Get a nursing stool. As a lactation consultant I feel like the use of a stool is the most underrated breastfeeding hack there is. Lifting your feet up just that little bit completely changes your posture. You go from being hunched over to leaning back. If you are not sure about getting a stool, try putting your feet on a stack of books.
18. Get more than one nursing pillow. You can get a free pillow (you pay shipping).
Hacks for Breastfeeding in Public
20. Learn to breastfeed in public. Practice in front of a mirror.
21. Two shirt method for privacy – this is one of my favorite breastfeeding hacks. Wear a stretchy tank under your shirt. When it is time to breastfeed, pull up your shirt and pull down your tank. This will keep your tummy covered.
25. Know your legal rights about breastfeeding in public. In the United States, every breastfeeding mom has the legal right to breastfeed wherever she has a legal right to be. State laws may vary. Whichever laws give you the most right wins out.
Breast Pumping Hacks
26.Get or make a hands-free pumping bra. This is a popular breastfeeding hack.
Pumping hands-free is multitasking at its best. You can pump without having to hold your pump.
This hack for breastfeeding is an easy diy project if you are trying to save money (and who isn’t?). Just get a sports bra that was ready to be retired. Cut small holes in it and, voilá, hands-free pumping bra.
If you’re not into a diy pumping bra then Simple Wishes is a mom favorite. You can use it with or without the straps.
27. Get a Haaka pump. This is a manual pump that uses suction to take advantage of your let-down on the other side. This breastfeeding hack will enable you to build your milk stash effortlessly. You just attach it when you latch your baby on. How simple is that?
I love breastfeeding tips that are simple!
28. Use your pump flanges as a funnel when transferring milk from bottle into bag.
29.Better yet, freeze milk in tubes. You can freeze 1 oz per tube. This allows for flexibility when thawing. You can decide how much you want to thaw each time. You can keep the tubes in plastic or glass containers, or in bags. Whichever you find the most convenient.
30. Organize your milk stash. You’ll want to use your milk in the order that you pumped it. The easiest way to do this is put your milk in a storage bin that will hold them neatly. For the most efficient use of space you can lay bags down to freeze them so they will freeze flat.
I have also heard of moms using soda can box. I don’t want to encourage you to drink soda, so I would say a sparkling water can box.
Do you have a breastfeeding hack that I didn’t think of? Please share it with me and all my readers in the comments section!
30 Ultimate Breastfeeding Hacks for New Moms
Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.