Confession time: I still breastfeed my almost 3-year-old daughter.
It’s down to only once a night before bedtime, but some of you may be thinking, “Whoa! You STILL breastfeed?!” I say, no shame! Every kid is different.
I only breastfed my son until he was 19 months old, but this is what works for my daughter… And me. Because she’s my last baby and I want to milk it (pun intended) for as long as I can, ok?!
Although I’m now a humble breastfeeding pro, it was no walk in the park at first; more like a walk up Mt. Everest. I did some things (especially with baby numero uno) that made breastfeeding much more difficult than it had to be.
Want some tips to make breastfeeding more relaxing, laid back, and simple? Well, I’ve got you covered like a good nursing bra. [This post may contain affiliate links]
1. Don’t obsess over how often your baby nurses.
When I had my first babe, I literally fed him every 2 hours. I had a timer that I would restart every new feeding. As soon as I would hear the alarm go off after the 2 hours had passed, I’d pounce like a puma and wake that boy up, whether he wanted to eat or not.
I was only averaging an hour of sleep at a time because he would breastfeed for almost an hour every nursing session.
In other words, I was exhausting!
I don’t even think he wanted the milk most of the time. It was more of a comfort thing and he would just fall asleep; using my chapped, sore, mastitis bound boob as a pacifier.
Obviously if your newborn wants to breastfeed often, don’t deny ’em the goods. However, if your baby likes to sleep, try not to freak out if he or she isn’t hungry every 5 minutes. Of course newborns need food, but they also need a lot of sleep. Most newborns are actually fine going anywhere from 4-6 hours without nursing. Some pediatricians even advise that if your newborn is growing well within the first week of life, let ’em sleep at night!
Note: If your baby doesn’t like to eat much and is not gaining weight, you should definitely try to nurse more frequently.
2. If your baby is having real trouble latching on, try (temporarily) using a nipple shield.
Some women feel like giving up when their baby won’t latch properly, but be sure to exhaust all resources before throwing in the towel.
Using a nipple shield can assist the breastfeeding process SO MUCH! I never used one, but a friend of mine did with her first child and it worked wonderfully for her. She only used it temporarily, as her problem (inverted nipples) resolved itself over time.
Inverted or small nipples are the main reasons women use these miracle devices, but they’re also useful for babies who have a little trouble latching. Go ahead and use a nipple shield if you have any of the issues mentioned, but try not to use it for too long.
Your baby may get accustomed to breastfeeding only with a shield, which isn’t necessarily ideal. Howevs, if you do end up needing to use the shield for the whole duration of breastfeeding, it’s not the end of the world. At least baby is still getting that milk of breast!
3. Pump so someone other than you can feed your baby, too.
Being the only source of food for a growing baby takes a big toll on mama. That’s why pumping is a great option. It’s pretty easy and it can also increase your milk supply since it’s more sucking action for those ta-tas.
My mantra: Pump, store, repeat.
For a bottle feeding, my husband would take a bag of expelled breast milk from the freezer, place the bag under warm water to thaw it out, and then dump it into a bottle.
Note: Wait until your baby is 4 to 6 weeks old to start bottle feeding so there’s no nipple confusion. Furthermore, if dad is feeding baby with a bottle, be sure to pump at this time (especially if you have low supply) to keep that milk production up!
Wanna know the easiest way to sterilize breast pump parts, bottles, nipples, and pacifiers?
I used the Medela brand (pictured above) and had good results. Just pop some breast pump parts and bottles into one of the bags with a little water, and set the microwave. After a few minutes, you’ll have squeaky clean baby supplies fit for a king… er, I mean, baby.
5. While your child nurses on one boob, pump the other one.
Ah, multitasking at its finest.
6. Nurse laying down.
This one may take some getting used to, but try laying on your side to nurse. Then place baby on his side, with his face to your boob. It’s a much more comfortable (because all you’ve gotta do is lay down!) and less strenuous position than holding an ever growing infant.
7. If you have multiple kids, nurse one while you entertain the other(s).
As the old (and cruel) saying goes: Kill two birds with one stone.
If you need to breastfeed one child, you can easily entertain the others, too. Choose activities that are easy to do sitting down, like reading books, playing board games, watching a movie, or having a tea party.
8. Invest in a nursing cover so you can breastfeed anywhere.
Some women are comfortable nursing in public, bare all. If this is you, more power to you! I have no problem with that whatsoever, but I personally like to cover up.
When I was new to breastfeeding and I needed to nurse my son while others were around, I would go into a different room, hide in the car, or go to a bathroom. I never felt comfortable breastfeeding in public. But! After having my daughter, I bought a nursing cover and it changed everything! I felt much more relaxed breastfeeding wherevs because I wasn’t completely exposed.
Then again, my cooter was wide open during the birth of my kids, so you wouldn’t think modesty even matters to me at this point, but I guess it still does. It’s a strange phenomenon…
9. Use a Boppy pillow.
If breastfeeding laying down isn’t your thing or it’s just not possible at the given moment, use a Boppy nursing pillow. It’s made to give your arms and baby extra support during nursing time.
A seven pound baby may not initially feel heavy, but continue holding one for several hours and you start to sweat like you’re cradling a 50 pound dumbbell. A crying, poopy 50 pound dumbbell.
10. Wear shirts specifically designed for nursing.
No need to stretch out the necks of your nice shirts anymo’! Nursing tops are great for easy boob access, and they also make it so much easier to breastfeed in public; not to mention all of your non-maternity clothes can steer clear of milk spray and baby vomit. Woot woot!
Breastfeeding is difficult enough, so I hope these tips make nursing a more relaxing experience for you and your baby.
If you have any questions related to breastfeeding, I would be happy to try and answer them for you! Comment down below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep calm and breastfeed on!
Until next time,