Before I had my son, Nolan, I knew a little bit about breastfeeding from my sisters. One of my sisters is a labor and delivery nurse, so after watching her feed three babies and give me endless tips, I felt confident I would breastfeed my children. Breastfeeding is difficult for any new mom; I can only imagine what women go through who do not have as much background knowledge or support as I did.
“There are three reasons for breastfeeding: the milk is always the right temperature, it comes in attractive containers, and the cat can’t get it.”-Irene Chalmers
After two babies and almost three years of successfully breastfeeding, I have been asked by numerous friends about tips and tricks that helped me stick with it. To help make your breastfeeding journey successful, these are my tips:
1. Prepare for the beginning. If you are about to have a baby and want to breastfeed, please do not let it scare you. Before you give birth, read about breastfeeding or talk to a lactation consultant so you do not walk into it blindly. As soon as you have your baby, try to get him or her to latch on. Babies’ senses are heightened in the first hour after birth. They are neurologically wired to find the breast. By letting them nurse right after birth, it helps them get a better latch. If you need help, do not be fearful to call a nurse; they are there to help you. Also, if at any point you have questions, call the lactation consultant, call the national hotline at 1.877.4.LALECHE (1.877.452.5324), or you can even email me and I will answer your questions the best way I can. Ask for help if you feel like you are not getting a good latch or if you just have concerns. It is very normal to have questions.
2. Drink water. Drink so much water that you feel like you can’t drink water anymore. Breastmilk is 90% water, so it is really important to stay hydrated. This is a common mishap that can be fixed easily. Any time I feel like my let-down is taking longer to happen than normal, I will go drink two glasses of water, and I can almost immediately see a difference in how full my breasts get. When or if you get sick, know that it is common for your milk supply to drop due to dehydration, so be especially mindful about staying hydrated during illness. You can drink lactation tea (I buy from Mrs. Patel’s) to boost your supply during that time.
3. Take cues from your baby. When you see your baby rooting, view that as your cue to get the boob juice ready. Once your baby goes from moving around chewing on his or her hands, crying will soon follow. it is way easier to nurse without a baby screaming at you to do it faster. The easiest way to see that babies are full and ready to unlatch is to check their hands. When your baby’s hands change from clenched tight to relaxed and open, your baby is telling you he or she is full.
4. Prep for Pumping. If you want to pump and start your milk bank, do research before you start.
-Pump in the mornings right when you wake up. Your milk is most plentiful then, and you will pump more.
-Pump before you nurse. The female body KNOWS that your baby wants more milk, so you will produce more milk if your baby nurses 15 minutes after pumping. If you try and do this the other way around, your body knows the pumping is not your baby, and you will not produce as much milk.
-count the number of times your baby nurses, that’s your magic number. when you go back to work, the number of times you pump at work and the times you feed your baby at home should equal your magic number.
5. Take lactation supplements to produce more milk.
I use Mrs. Patel’s lactation products because I hate taking capsules of fenugreek and smelling like maple syrup. I’ve found eating a peanut butter fenugreek lactation bar from Mrs. Patel’s in the morning boosts my milk supply and gives me a sweet treat to snack on that is HEALTHY! I love how the sweet peanut butter mixes with the spiciness of the fenugreek when I eat it. HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH. They have two other flavors, chocolate and original, and you can get them in a combo box with 12 bars.
Another one of my favorites from Mrs. Patel’s is the Munch Crunch. I sprinkle it in my smoothie bowls, yogurt, cereal or oatmeal (good for milk boost) in the mornings and go about my day. Not only does it help with lactation, but it aids in digestion as well. You can also eat this in salads, whisk it into your dressings, or eat a teaspoon by itself. || Want to try it yourself? Get 20% off of your first order by using code: FIRSTORDER at checkout. ||
I encourage all moms to try breastfeeding. It is such a magical experience to be able to make your baby grow from what is created in your body. GOD created mamas to feed our children our breastmilk and the benefits both mother and baby get from it are enough reason to try it. Some of my most favorite moments are moments I have breastfed Nolan or Harper to sleep. I want every mama to experience that sweetness at least once in her life.