Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I’ll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies.

I’ve breastfed for over 6 years combined now, and like many breastfeeding moms, I was worried about introducing bottles to my babies when they were infants. The fear of nipple confusion was real and I wanted to make sure I did all I could to protect our breastfeeding relationship, which is why I chose paced feeding.

Just and FYI mama, I may share affiliate links in this post if I recommend any products I love. Using an affiliate link means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. A great way to support this blog if you love this or other posts.

What is paced feeding?

Paced feeding is a method of bottle feeding a baby that slows down how quickly a baby feeds, and also gives the baby more control over the speed and amount they get from the bottle.

Paced feeding is done through the way in which you hold the bottle and the frequency you take breaks during feedings.

Why is paced feeding better?

When breastfeeding, the baby has to work to get milk out of the breast. The milk only comes out (usually) when baby is actively sucking. A bottle, on the other hand, tends to continuously drip even when the baby is not actively sucking.

This is a problem because it can cause a breastfed baby to become lazy when they get too used to a bottle. If they are too used to the ease milk flows from a bottle, they might get lazy with their latch at the breast or frustrated with the slower flow of the breast.

Breastfed babies might also overeat when given a bottle without paced feeding. Since they’re used to the slower pace and flow of a breast, they might gobble down a bottle without realizing how much they are getting. It takes time for their bellies to send their brain the message it’s full. If they eat too fast, the message doesn’t arrive until they are overly full.

Overfeeding a breastfed baby isn’t good because it can cause discomfort for the baby, spitting up, and wastes milk, which can be especially demoralizing for a mom who worked hard to pump that milk.

What kind of bottle is best for paced feeding?

You can choose whatever bottle you want, that isn’t what really matters. But was DOES matter is the type of nipple you are using on that bottle.

Be sure you are using the slowest flow nipple possible. Many moms will actually choose preemie nipples for their babies.

The slower flow nipples will ensure that the milk doesn’t flow too freely, preventing overeating and bottle preference.

A lot of moms like Dr. Brown’s slow flows, but I used Munchkin Latch with my kids.

What is the proper way of feeding a baby? How do you do paced feeding?

There are few keys to properly doing a paced bottle feed.

First, ensure the baby is sitting as upright as possible.

We want the baby to have as much control over how much and how long they are feeding. If they are laying back they don’t have as much control and the milk might flow too quickly.

So hold them up as much as is possible or comfortable for them based on their age and head control.

Next, hold the bottle parallel to the ground.

You usually see baby’s being fed with the bottle pointed downward, but you DON’T want to do that.

Instead, hold the bottle parallel to the ground. You’ll notice the entire nipple isn’t full of milk, just enough to cover where the opening of the nipple is. This is good.

Holding the bottle this way slows down the flow of milk. Instead of gravity pulling it all down at the baby, just what the baby wants will flow through.

Stop to burp and take a break every ounce or so.

This is where the “paced” part really comes in. Especially when you are first introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby, take your time. Stop to burp and take a break every ounce or so.

Interrupting the feed for a break ensures that the baby isn’t going to overeat because it gives them time to be able to tell when their bellies are full.

Does paced feeding cause gas?

No. If anything, it prevents gas.

Gas is caused by a bunch of things like air bubbles in the bottle (stir, don’t’ shake your milk), overeating or laying down after (or during) eating.

Paced feeding prevents a lot of the causes of gas in babies.

If your baby is really uncomfortable or colicky, then you might want to check with your pediatrician for the cause.

How long should paced feeding take?

As long as it needs to.

Use common sense here. If your baby gulps down 3 ounces in 3 minutes then you are not really pacing them or the flow is too fast on the bottle.

My babies usually took around 10-15 minutes to breastfeed, and it was about the same for bottle feeding. You want to mimic the breastfeeding experience the best that you can.

In fact, I went against my advice above and used heavier flow nipples for my babies because my actual breasts had a heavier flow than the slow flow nipples, causing them to get frustrated at the slower flow of a bottle.

This process is about watching and knowing your baby. Follow their lead, and focus on them having as much control over the process as possible.

You got this, Mama. Follow your baby and your instincts. If you’re introducing bottles because your nips are killing you, check out these amazing nipple-saving breastfeeding tips for pain to get some relief!

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I'll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies. I've breastfed for over 6...

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

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The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work.

Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve, especially when they’re newborns and you’re just establishing the breastfeeding relationship. Even more so when tandem breastfeeding. When there’s more than one it’s even more important to be clear on the best way to breastfeeding twins.

(Just an FYI this post might contain some affiliate links to my favorite products.)

The Setup: The best way to breastfeed twins (even if you’re alone)

What you’ll need for the best way to breastfeed twins

Now that my twins are toddlers and still breastfeeding, I can just whip out a boob and they happily latch on.

But when babies are newborns and don’t have head control, it’s a lot trickier to get them to latch on properly and comfortably for all three of you.

Set yourself up for success by having just a few items around that will make it so much easier for you.

How to get in position by yourself

It isn’t always easy to get two babies into position to breastfeed easily, but I figured out some ways to make it work for myself. It’s hard to exactly describe, but hopefully, it makes sense for you.

Here are my steps:

  1. Put babies in the pack and play.
  2. Get my snacks/drink/remote/phone all ready and within reaching distance to where I’ll be sitting.
  3. Prop a pillow on the couch where my lower back will be and put on next to where I will sit so it’s reachable.
  4. Strap the Brest Friend to me. I love this pillow because it actually has a waist strap with velcro so you can strap it on and walk around with it on. It won’t support a baby’s weight, but it helps you keep it in place.
  5. Once the pillow is strapped to me I would scoop up one baby in each arm with football hold. This took some practice, but after a week or so I got it down. Before I was able to do this I would take the babies one at a time and place them on the couch next to wear I would be sitting. They weren’t able to roll yet, but I would put a pillow or something next to them so they couldn’t roll off the couch. This isn’t a safe place to leave a baby, but I was only leaving them there for a few seconds.
  6. Next, I would sit down and get the babies positioned on the pillow in a football hold. If I had one in each arm it was pretty simple to just set them down on top of the pillow, and if I had them laying on the couch next to me I would pick up one at a time and place them on the pillow, ensuring to keep them positioned in ways they wouldn’t fall off the couch or the pillow.
  7. Once I had them positioned on the pillow I would put another throw pillow underneath the Brest Friend pillow to bring it higher and close to the breast.
  8. Then I propped their heads a little with a receiving blanket if necessary.
  9. The Brest Friend pillow has a little pocket so I liked to stash my phone, the TV remote, and my drink or snack if it fit too.
  10. After all of that, I’d be ready to go! Whip ’em out and let the feast begin.

Why this is the best way to breastfeed twins (specifically newborns)

Once your babies get a little bigger, you won’t need a whole bunch of steps or special props in order to breastfeed them.

But when they are teeny tiny, they’re cluster feeding, and you know you’ll be stuck there for a while, you want to be as comfortable as possible.

I binge-watched the entire series of Breaking Bad in this position. Propped with two pillows plus the Brest Friend pillow, snacks and drink on hand. I didn’t find any positions that worked as well as this to both keep the babies happy and me happy.

How do you burp them?

I see a lot of moms asking how do you burp babies when you’re tandem breastfeeding twins, and it’s actually pretty easy.

I keep talking about the Brest Friend pillow, but it seriously is so helpful. It is pretty solid and sturdy and the way it’s formed makes the baby roll into you a little instead of off the edge. So between that and a receiving blanket you can prop one baby up, allowing them to continue nursing, while you carefully pull the other one up on your shoulder to burp.

Or, you can always leave them on the pillow and just turn them onto their belly a little to burp.

You’ll find what works for you, but it was really easy for me to either bring them one at a time up to my shoulder to burp or once I got more adept, I could just burp them both at one time. One on each shoulder.

You’ll find what works for you mama. But for me and a lot of other twinmoms, this is the best way to breastfeed twins. For more breastfeeding twins tips, check out this article all about I learned after breastfeeding twins for two years!

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I'll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies. I've breastfed for over 6...

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work. Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve,...

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Planning to breastfeed? It can be tough, mama. But you're tough too. These newborn breastfeeding tips are what I found helped me the most in my 6+ years of breastfeeding. When you're just starting to breastfeed with your newborn, whether this is your first or tenth...

First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #1: Shoot for a Natural Birth (or Few Interventions) Interventions during birth can have a negative impact on establishing a breastfeeding relationship, and increased interventions have been shown to lead to moms breastfeeding for shorter...

8 Nipple-Saving Breastfeeding Tips for Pain

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Ouch! All those serene photos of mothers and babies lovingly staring into each others' eyes didn't prepare you for this! But it's ok mama. These breastfeeding tips for pain will help your nips feel better soon, so you can enjoy your breastfeeding journey. I've been...

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Been counting down the days the end of pregnancy to finally pop a bottle of your fav rosé and celebrate? But you might be wondering, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, we have your answer. There's a lot of misinformation about consuming alcohol while...

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

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Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

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Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Planning to breastfeed? It can be tough, mama. But you’re tough too. These newborn breastfeeding tips are what I found helped me the most in my 6+ years of breastfeeding.

When you’re just starting to breastfeed with your newborn, whether this is your first or tenth baby, there might be some challenges. That’s why I put together these 10 essential breastfeeding newborn tips to help smooth your path a little.

(Just an FYI, there are affiliate links included in this post to products and services that I found to be essential to breastfeeding my newborn.)

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #1: Get Comfy

Sometimes it feels like your newborn wants to nurse ALL FREAKIN’ DAY.

That’s normal and actually a good thing!

Babies will nurse for long periods of time or very often not just to get the nutrition they need as they grow rapidly, but to increase your supply and establish that supply.

Your supply is based on the baby’s demands. So in order to build your supply, baby needs to nurse for longer periods and more often some times. This is called cluster feeding, and it normally happens during growth spurts, when they’re sick, or in a developmental leap.

So figure out a way to get really cozy and comfy and settle into a Netflix binge. I love this Brest Friend pillow. It’s made for twins and is huge, but it has a pocket for snacks, a remote and your phone. The ideal cluster feeding pillow.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #2: Skip Bottles

Don’t bottle-feed a breastfed newborn unless it’s really necessary.

When you’re establishing the breastfeeding relationship and your milk supply with a newborn, it’s important to only breastfeed if possible. You can eventually introduce bottles, but being diligent about sticking with the breast during the first few weeks or first month can make or break for some moms.

Why should you give a breastfed newborn baby a bottle?

When babies nurse they have to actively suck in order to get milk. But most bottles don’t require active sucking to get milk, there is a constant drip of milk that the baby doesn’t have to work too hard to get.

Using slow flow or preemie nipples are the best option if you need to or want to use bottles in addition to breastfeeding with a newborn as they release the least amount of milk.

But if a baby gets too used to the ease of a bottle they can get a little lazy when it comes to going back to the breast.

Also, since milk supply is dependent on supply and demand if you bottle feed you must continue to remove milk from the breast in order to maintain or build supply.

So even if you use a bottle to get a break and allow others to feed the baby, you’ll still need to pump.

Bottle alternatives for newborns

If you need to feed a baby in a way besides the breast, the best way to maintain supply and also not have the baby be confused with bottle vs. breast is to use pumped milk and try non-bottle ways to feed, like a finger or syringe feeding.

When my little ones needed some supplementation, I used pumped milk in a syringe and it worked perfectly to fill their bellies while we worked in establishing breastfeeding and keep my supply up.

Of course, all instances are unique, so consult with your pediatrician and lactation consultant to see what is best for you and your baby.

How to give a bottle to a breastfed baby?

If you do choose to give a bottle to your newborn and also want to breastfeed, here is what I would recommend based on my experience and research.

First, choose a bottle with slow flow or preemie nipple. This will give the baby the least amount of milk without them having to work for it.

Then, be sure to pump milk. Even if you choose to supplement with formula, it is important to empty the breast so you can keep up your supply.

Finally, be sure to do paced feeding! Paced feeding is the best way to mimic breastfeeding for babies who are used to nursing. It ensures they don’t get too much too fast.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #3: Work on that latch

A poor latch is the number one cause of pain when breastfeeding. (You can check out this article for help with breastfeeding tips for pain.)

It’s also important to ensure baby is latching well so that you know they are effectively nursing and getting all they need to fill up and get the proper nutrition.

I shared my best tips for getting the perfect latch here, but to boil it down to the most important thing to get a good latch?

Get the deepest latch you can. Make sure the baby opens very wide and gets the whole nipple plus some areola in their mouth.

Baby’s mouth should be open wide with lips flared out, and they shouldn’t be making any weird noises like slurping or clicking.

You can always get a lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC) to have a look and give you pointers.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #4: Nourish yourself too

Having a newborn is so physically taxing. You thought pregnancy was hard? Having a little baby to breastfeed for what feels like a bazillion hours a day is exhausting AF.

It’s easy to put your needs last during this time, but more than ever you need to nourish yourself and be gentle with yourself.

You’ll see all kinds of products directed at new moms to help with milk supply, or tips to supposedly increase your supply.

While there may be some herbs or other tips that work for some moms, the most important thing is to just take good care of yourself. Nurture yourself.

How to take care of yourself while breastfeeding:

  • Eat a healthy diet. You don’t have to live off of kale or anything, but fill up in things that will give you more energy and feel nourished. That will be different for everyone so do what is making you feel good. Pay attention to your body.
  • Drink water. You don’t need to go bananas with the amount of water. There’s no evidence that drinking tons of water will help supply unless you’re already really dehydrated. Just drinking enough so you don’t feel thirsty is enough.
  • Sleep. This is so hard because newborns have a mind of their own when it comes to sleep. But do your best to get some rest, and consider hiring a postpartum doula to give you sleep breaks when you’re at your wit’s end.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #5: Hire a postpartum doula

This was the best thing I did for myself when I had my twins.

A few times a week during the first month I had a doula come stay with my twins overnight. She would wake me to nurse them once in the night so I could get two four-hour stretches of sleep in.

I wasn’t just the sleep that helped but also being able to unplug my brain. I knew I had someone I could trust with my babies for a few hours so my entire family could get rest. I knew if they needed me, she would wake me up to tend to them.

If it is in your budget, definitely consider this! Even if it’s not in your budget, shop around. Some doulas work on a sliding scale to accommodate different income levels.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #6: To pump or not to pump

What I’m going to tell you may or may not be the best thing for you, but is just my own personal experience.

You can consult an IBCLC for more help with deciding what is best for you.

I chose to pump in addition to breastfeeding with my kids. Here is why:

  • I wanted to encourage supply ASAP. With my first, I was worried about supply, and with my second it was twins and I wanted to bring in my supply quickly and decided to go with over vs. undersupply.
  • With my first, I was planning to go back to work and wanted a supply stash for then.
  • It’s nice to be able to have others feed the babies from time to time. I still breastfed the first 90+% of the feeds, but once they got to be around a month old, my husband would give them a bottle of pumped milk once a day so I could have a break.

For some moms, pumping might not make sense. Maybe you know you’ll be home with the baby, and you struggle with oversupply (which is a serious thing!) Maybe you just don’t respond well to a pump anyways, or you don’t plan to be away from baby at all.

It’s totally up to you.

Though I always recommend having a pump on hand just in case. I love the Medela Harmony for a manual pump and the Spectra S2 for an automatic pump.

Most insurances will cover the cost of your pump, and Aeroflow can help you figure that out just by filling out a quick questionnaire.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #7: Cosleeping is awesome

Baby sleep is a controversial issue and each family will have to decide what works best for them.

I’m a huge fan of co-sleeping, more specifically bed-sharing.

Co-sleeping means baby sleeps in the same room as parents, whether that’s in a crib or bassinets, or in bed with parents.

Bed-sharing means baby sleeps in bed with parents.

The AAP recommends:

  • “Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
  • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.”

Personally I have chosen to bed-share with my kids.

I was so against it as a new mom, but what kept happening is I would end up falling asleep with my first baby in a rocking chair during the night, which is a lot less safe statistically than bed-sharing.

In fact, most infant deaths from sharing sleep with a parent happen on a couch or chair, not a bed.

Once I realized this, I decided to just bring her (and then her brothers later on) to bed with me.

After a lot of research, I felt it was safe if I followed the safe sleep 7, which breastfeeding organizations like La Leche League recommend.

But whether you choose to bedshare or not, keeping baby close-by is best according to research for their safety, but also for breastfeeding.

When baby is near you, it is so much easier to just grab them and latch on for a night feed instead of having to drag yourself into another room to nurse.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #8: Try a baby carrier

I don’t know about other moms, but I really wanted to get out and about when I had a newborn. Being stuck at home for so long made me a little stir-crazy.

But of course, baby still needs to feed when you’re away from home.

You can of course always give them bottles of pumped milk when out, but personally I hated dealing with bringing bottles places.

So to be able to simply and effectively feed my babies when we were away from home, I used a mix of the two-shirt method and kept them in a baby carrier.

The two-shirt method is just a way of keeping as much breast as possible covered while nursing without having to deal with blankets or nursing covers.

I tended to stick with ring slings or stretchy wraps to carry my newborns.

Not only is figuring out how to nurse the baby in a carrier helpful for when you’re away from home but sometimes a baby will want to nurse for what feels like forever. Being able to babywear gives you more mobility around your home to fix yourself something to eat, go for a walk, clean up a little, or chase other little ones you might have.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #9: Learn to nurse on your side

When you learn to nurse your baby while laying on your side, it will completely change your momlife. Seriously.

I’m just going to link to a few articles to help you master it, and once you feel pretty confident in your baby’s latch, defintely give this a try:

Undercover Mama, Common Breastfeeding Positions: Side-Lying

Today’s Parent: Breastfeeding lying down is nursing goals

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #10: Ask for help

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. It took nearly 10 days for me to really get my firstborn to latch consistently. Those first couple of weeks were so freaking hard. I can’t even.

But we figured it out after getting support from everyone I could.

I had help from nurses at my midwifery, other moms, Facebook groups, my husband, family, and Google.

We lots of other stumbling blocks along the way, but I was able to nurse her for 2.5 years and my twins are now 2+ years old and still nursing.

The point is that this is a journey, and it might be hard sometimes. That’s ok. Most moms are able to nurse effectively with the right support. So get the support you need. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. We all need a little help at some point.

Breastfeeding newborns can be challenging, but you got this mama! Hopefully, these breastfeeding newborn tips help ease your path a little. For more breastfeeding tips, check this article out!

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I'll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies. I've breastfed for over 6...

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work. Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve,...

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Planning to breastfeed? It can be tough, mama. But you're tough too. These newborn breastfeeding tips are what I found helped me the most in my 6+ years of breastfeeding. When you're just starting to breastfeed with your newborn, whether this is your first or tenth...

First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #1: Shoot for a Natural Birth (or Few Interventions) Interventions during birth can have a negative impact on establishing a breastfeeding relationship, and increased interventions have been shown to lead to moms breastfeeding for shorter...

8 Nipple-Saving Breastfeeding Tips for Pain

8 Nipple-Saving Breastfeeding Tips for Pain

Ouch! All those serene photos of mothers and babies lovingly staring into each others' eyes didn't prepare you for this! But it's ok mama. These breastfeeding tips for pain will help your nips feel better soon, so you can enjoy your breastfeeding journey. I've been...

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Been counting down the days the end of pregnancy to finally pop a bottle of your fav rosé and celebrate? But you might be wondering, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, we have your answer. There's a lot of misinformation about consuming alcohol while...

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

Breastfeeding twins has been major accomplishment. I have reached my goal of nursing twins for two full years. This is what helped me get there. The odds are stacked against many moms when they start their journey of breastfeeding twins, but after recently reaching...

Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

Going back to work after maternity leave can be so hard, but having the right supplies for pumping at work can help smooth out the process a little. Prepping with the best supplies for pumping at work before getting back into the swing of things in the working work...

11 Latching Tips for Breastfeeding if Baby Won’t Latch

11 Latching Tips for Breastfeeding if Baby Won’t Latch

Baby won't latch, or won't latch comfortably? These latching tips for breastfeeding are a great place to start troubleshooting your latch. After breastfeeding my kids for a combined 6+ years, I'm sharing my best latching tips for breastfeeding so you can get a good...

Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

Why Breastfeeding is Important Beyond Health

We could talk about the health benefits for mom and baby which most people point to, but there are other reasons to consider why breastfeeding is important. Breastfeeding is a complicated topic in mom culture today. While we are in a sort of renaissance when it comes...

First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #1: Shoot for a Natural Birth (or Few Interventions)

Interventions during birth can have a negative impact on establishing a breastfeeding relationship, and increased interventions have been shown to lead to moms breastfeeding for shorter periods of time.

What is an intervention? It’s basically anything your medical team does to intervene in the birth, like induction, c-section, forceps, etc.

Modern medicine in an awesome tool for moms who desire or need it for their happiness and safety during birth, but each mom also has to weigh those choices with other goals, like breastfeeding. Many interventions can make it harder to breastfeed.

Tons of moms have interventions during birth and go on to breastfeed successfully (including me!), but studies to show it might make it more difficult. So if you want to set yourself up for breastfeeding success, choosing the most natural birth you feel comfortable with might be your best bet.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #2: Enjoy the Golden Hour

The golden hour is that hour right after birth when you really want to spend time bonding with, being skin-to-skin, and starting to nurse your baby.

Your baby literally just came earthside, they need time to adjust, to get to know you, and to regulate a lot of their bodily functions.

Beyond breastfeeding, according to this article, “Mothers and babies have a physiologic need to be together during the moments, hours, and days following birth, and this time together significantly improves maternal and newborn outcomes.”

So unless there is a dire reason, baby and mama should be spending that first hour close together.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #3: Follow Baby’s Lead

Baby’s are good at just a few things… eating, sleeping, pooping, and being cute.

So when it comes to feeding them, follow their lead. They are good at know when and how much they need to eat. Babies don’t follow schedules like we do. They might want to be attached to your breast for an hour or more at a time.

It can be exhausting, but it is totally normal. Babies will cluster feed (feeding often and for long periods) a lot in those early hours, days, weeks, and even months. They do this because breastmilk works on supply and demand. They are demanding more to increase and establish your milk supply.

Unless there are other red flags or issues arising, baby feeding often is not a sign of low supply or any other issue, if anything it’s a good sign that they’re doing exactly what they should.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #4: Keep Visitors to a Minimum

Of course, your loved ones want to come to see the newest addition to the family! I mean… who doesn’t want to cuddle a teeny baby?

But your best bet is to keep visitors to a minimum when you’re establishing your breastfeeding relationship.

If this is your first time breastfeeding, chances are you’re going to feel kind of awkward and are still getting the hang of it for a little while. Having people you might not feel 100% comfortable whipping a boob out in front of hanging around will add a ton of stress you don’t need.

Best bet is to ask people to give you some time before visiting.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #5: Work on the Latch

You’ve probably heard from lots of moms that breastfeeding hurts, or maybe their supply didn’t come in. There are a lot of issues that can arise your first time breastfeeding, and many happen due to poor latch.

Start off on the best foot by learning how to get a good and deep latch.

Learn my best tips here so you can be a latching pro.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #6: Don’t Panic

Maybe things don’t get off on the best foot. Maybe you had an emergency c-section and then the baby didn’t latch well and you’re still healing.

It’s ok mama.

Don’t panic.

It took me like 10 days to really get latching down with my daughter. I had no idea what was going on, and she was a little lazy in trying to latch (I believe from the epidural and fluids I got). But I stuck with it and kept trying.

Eventually, we clicked, and I ended up nursing her for 2.5 years!

If it’s hard, that is ok. It’s hard for ALL moms at some point. I have never met a mom who didn’t have a hard time breastfeeding at some point. If you decide breastfeeding isn’t your for, that’s ok too, but I also would encourage you to try to relax and give it another day if you can. Things can change quickly.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #7: Get Help if Necessary

There is so much awesome support out there for breastfeeding moms nowadays! There are Facebook groups, local La Leche League groups, lactation consultants, books, and more.

But if you are really struggling and don’t know what to do, seek out an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). While other medical professions and other certifications of lactation consultants might be helpful, IBCLC’s are basically the gold standard of training when it comes to breastfeeding.

IBCLC’s are the best equipped to help mamas and babies.

Breastfeeding is a journey. Some journeys are smooth sailing and some have rocky starts. These first time breastfeeding tips are what helped me establish breastfeeding with my newborns, but your journey may look different, and that’s ok mama.

For more, check out these additional first time breastfeeding tips from REAL breastfeeding moms.

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8 Nipple-Saving Breastfeeding Tips for Pain

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Ouch! All those serene photos of mothers and babies lovingly staring into each others’ eyes didn’t prepare you for this! But it’s ok mama. These breastfeeding tips for pain will help your nips feel better soon, so you can enjoy your breastfeeding journey.

I’ve been there. You want to enjoy those first few weeks of having a squishy newborn, but nursing just isn’t going how you planned. It hurts! So bad. You’re desperate for some breastfeeding tips for pain so you can get some relief.

It’s ok to feel a little defeated like you want to quit… like maybe breastfeeding just isn’t for you.

But for most moms, the sore (or maybe bleeding, blistered, and raw) nipples can be solved so you can become a pro breastfeeder in no time.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #1: Check Your Latch

Usually when you have pain when breastfeeding it can be traced back to the latch. Ensuring that your baby is latching properly will not just reduce your pain, but also help ensure your baby is nursing effectively, emptying the breast of milk, and getting all they need.

To get all the details on a perfect latch, you can check out this post with step-by-step instructions for getting a good and comfy latch.

But to boil it down to basics, you’re going to want to make sure the baby is getting as much nipple into their mouth as possible when latching, including a good bit of the areola. If the only part in the baby’s mouth is just the tip of the nipple, they are definitely not getting a deep enough latch.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #2: Try a Nipple Balm

Most of the time, sore or painful nipples can be chalked up to a bad latch, but even once that latch is corrected you might still have painful nipples while they are healing.

A good nipple balm can be a life-saver when it comes to continuing to nurse while your nipples are healing from any type of blisters, cuts, or just general discomfort.

I personally love lanolin, but some moms swear by coconut oil and I’ve even tried balms made with my own placenta. (Yeah I know it sounds weird.)

There’s a ton of choices on Amazon, so go with whichever sounds like it will work best for you with ingredients you are comfortable with.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #3: Get Some Cooling Gel Pads

These are not one of the products I’ve personally used, though tons of moms swear by them.

If you can purchase some like these they can be used both for cold and hot relief, meaning they can be used to treat a lot of different causes of pain while breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #4: Give Your Nips Some Air

When your nipples are healing from scratches, cuts, blisters, bites, and the like, sometimes it’s best to just rub a little of your own breastmilk on your nipples and let them air dry.

So many times you just shove your breasts back into the bra, but letting them air dry after nursing or pumping can help the healing process.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #5: Try Salt Water for Healing

This is in my opinion, THE BEST breastfeeding tip for pain if you are hurting from huts or other wounds.

My firstborn was a biter.

When she was getting her top and bottom teeth she got me so many times with those sharp little guys that I literally spent a week almost crying every time she nursed. It was brutal…

Until I learned about saltwater dips.

Just dissolve salt in some warm water and dip your nips in it for a few minutes. It is absolutely amazing how quickly this can speed up healing.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #6: Take a Break and Pump

If you are ok with giving your baby a bottle or perhaps finger/syringe feeding, then consider taking a break from nursing and pump.

During times when my boobs were just done (and I was done mentally) I would switch to pumping and bottle feeding for part of the day.

There are risks of nipple confusions and supply drops if your baby or you are not used to pumping. But pumping can also totally save your breastfeeding relationship and journey if you’re about to throw in the towel.

You can have a lot more control over pumping than your baby’s movements and whatnot when they are nursing. This means you can take it easier on yourself and heal.

It’s not the right choice for everyone, but something to consider and maybe talk to a lactation consultant about.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #7: Check for Tongue and Lip Ties

Tongue and lip ties are being found more and more in babies who have latching and breastfeeding issues. One of the top signs of a tongue or lip tie is soreness or pain when breastfeeding.

There are a lot of dentists, pediatricians, and even lactation consultants who aren’t really well trained in identifying them.

I suggest finding a support group used to helping identify them and seeking out a local provider they recommend. I know the Cleavage Club group on Facebook has been helpful to a lot of moms.

Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #8: See an IBCLC or In-Person Support Group

Sometimes you just can quite troubleshoot a problem on your own.

You might want to specifically find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The difference between an IBCLC and other lactation professionals is the level of training.

IBCLC training is quite in-depth and there are rigorous standards. Other lactation certifications are not necessarily as thorough, which is why I suggest seeing an IBCLC specifically if you are not finding solutions.

Another option is to find a group of nursing moms with experience, like the La Leche League, where you can find local chapters. Sometimes someone who has been where you are is the best ally.

These breastfeeding tips for pain will get you on the right path on your breastfeeding journey. You’ve got this mama! Breastfeeding can be hard, but you can do it! (Read about how I’ve breastfed my twins for over two years now for some inspiration)

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8 Reasons to Love Your Body Postpartum

8 Reasons to Love Your Body Postpartum

It might be hard to even feel comfortable in your body, let alone love your body, when you’ve had kids.

I remember being afraid to even touch my vagina for a while after my births because I was worried about what I would find, let alone how I cringed at my stretch marks and extra skin. But over time, I did learn to love my body.

Here are eight reasons to embrace and love your body postpartum, even if you don’t have that lovin’ feeling right now

It created, grew, and birthed your babies

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first, ok?

We know our bodies created our babies, was there home for around nine months, and then gave birth to them… but how often do you really think about how much of a miracle that is?

So often we are caught up in getting our pre-baby bodies back, as if we somehow misplaced it, that we don’t properly honor the magic created.

The next time you feel a little down on yourself and the way your body looks or feels now, take a minute to just let it sink in how amazing you and your body really are for what you went through.

Your postpartum body is the perfect comfort for your babies (or older children too!)

Squishy postpartum bodies are the best places to nap and cuddle according to every baby I’ve ever surveyed.

And even if you’re skinny, your baby knows your smell. The feel of your skin. The way you move.

Your body didn’t stop being home to them the second they popped out of the womb. It is still home to them.

It’s sexy AF

The results are in, and even though WE might be super self-conscious about our postpartum bodies, our partners LOVE them.

As a bit of anecdotal evidence, I asked my husband what he thinks about my body since having kids and he simply replied: “It’s fucking hot.”

It’s not just him either, though I do think he’s *quite* special in his own way, he is absolutely not on this one. Pretty much all dudes surveyed said the still find their wives super hot, and many even more than before!

Your body is a walking history of your growth as a person

I can still look at my knee and see the scar from a bike accident I had in middle school.

I don’t judge myself for that mark of perfect imperfection that carries with it memories of times otherwise forgotten. So why would I judge myself for some extra squishiness and stretch marks from having babies? Certainly having kids is a much more rewarding piece of my history than a silly bike mishap.

Our body carries our history. The transformation that has taken place in our body is just a physical manifestation of the deeper transformations that happened to our souls when we became moms.

It’s the only one you get

Just go ahead and love your body because the truth is, it’s the only one you get.

No matter how you feel about the way your body functions or looks now, there isn’t some standby waiting in the wings. You can trade this body in. Even with plastic surgery, there are limits to how much you can change your body.

This isn’t to say you can’t make changes to it, or that it’s wrong to desire to look differently. We all wish we could change something about ourselves. We aren’t perfect. No one is.

But I’d suggest figuring out how to make peace and love your body because it’s what you have. The other option is to live the rest of your life hating yourself.

Sex is better after having kids

Yeah it’s true you might not feel like having sex for a while after having a baby, and most couples have less sex after kids… but the sex you DO have is awesome.

Hard to believe, but most people surveyed said sex was just as good or even better after having kids.

I was surprised to find that this is true in my life too! Maybe it’s because having less sex makes you appreciate what you DO have, but it definitely improves.

Superhuman mom strength

Mom muscles are legit.

Lifting those babies and kids around all day means that you start to get really strong.

I don’t work out on a regular basis, but I’m in better shape than I was in my 20’s! Mostly it’s just from chasing after these wildlings and carrying them around from dawn to dusk and sometimes all damn night too.

It’s so normal to feel uncomfortable with your new postpartum body whether it’s been hours or years since you gave birth. But it is possible to love your body after having babies, and I hope these are great reminders on why.

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