Even though breastfeeding is natural it may not be that easy. There are, however some tried and true tricks to help you deal with the challenge. From feeding and pumping, storing milk, to dealing with breast discomfort and the fussy feeder, here are 50 useful and innovative tips that will help save moms frustration and time.
The Hair Band Trick
At night as you nurse your baby from one breast to the other, you may forget which boob the baby last fed from. Using a hair band, you can wear it on the hand of the side that you are nursing baby from. This will make it easy for an exhausted mum knowing which side to feed on in the next session.
Mimic the breast to minimize nipple confusion
Try to get a slow flow bottle that's good for breastfeeding babies. A bottle that mimics your breast will encourage the natural sucking and swallow that is closest to nursing.
Try A Nursing App
Use an app that tells you which breast you need to start on depending on the boob you fed on last. Track your feeding times and wet diapers etc.
Large Boobs? Use Support
Stick a rolled up receiving blanket under your breast. This will lift the nipple to your baby's mouth. Once baby latches on, you can let go, leaving one of your hands-free.
- From Katie Madden at Balanced Breastfeeding
Fussy, Unsatisfied Baby?
Remove your baby from the breast, burp him or hold him to you for a while. Set the baby down in its bouncy seat or a boppy pillow. Then take a break of 10-15 minute. If the baby is not content, another feeding is appropriate. The break often allows for a milk let down and your baby will be satisfied.
- From Jaimi Erickson at The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide Started
Put A Footstool In Front Of The Nursing Chair
When you are having trouble keeping baby’s head elevated, or getting a comfortable position to feed, try propping the feet on a stool. This will raise the knees, making you more comfortable, and giving the baby a better angle to feed.
- From Katie Mythen at Her Family
Nursing A Baby In A Carrier
You will need to lower the carrier to be able to meet the baby. Do lift the edge of the carrier buckles to release and drop your baby down to a few inches. If your breast feels too low, put under your boob a rolled-up washcloth. You can try wearing a soft cup bra instead of a drop cup breastfeeding bra. This will give a few inches of breast boost.
- From Lindsey Shipley at Lactation Link
Nighttime feeds are hard, especially in the beginning. Turning on the light will wake up everyone up fully. Using a nightlight will keep the light at a minimum. It needs to be just bright enough to enable you to find essential items in a room. It will also make it possible for you position a baby to latch. The light doesn't need to be too bright or too dim. This way your partner won't be disturbed, plus you and the baby won't be exposed to excessive light. For experienced parents (and pretty soon this will be you!), you can even do a diaper change in dim light.
Breast Milk Popsicles For Teething Babies
They are perfect in size for baby’s little hands and are filled with breast milk. Therefore, there are no extra ingredients or added sugars. You can also use a formula to make them and they will keep your baby entertained. So have extra ones stashed in the freezer.
Use Milk Savers
Leaky breasts are fairly standard, especially in the first month. Save the liquid gold that comes out of the breast you are not nursing with. There are several milk savers on the market just for this.
DIY Breast Pads
For those mums who are allergic to commercial breast pads, you may consider DIYing your own breast pads. It will save you money and you get to choose a material with pretty patterns.
- From Alison Sedlak at A Little Dancer
Breast Pads Alternative
An easy and best choice is a panty liner or a pad! The pads are sanitary, super absorbent, and it’s likely you have one within the first few weeks after you’ve given birth. Or you have them once your menstrual cycle returns. Besides, they are a lot easier to find in convenience stores compared to breast pads.
- From Sierra at The Daily Impressions
Try One-Pad Method
Reusable Breast Pads
There are reusable breast pads that are made of cotton or bamboo and are washable.
Get 2 sets of bras – One for Sleep, One for Support
A bra that provides a lot of support during the day is recommended. Go for one that has a wide support for the back and wide straps that won’t dig into your flesh as your breasts increase in size. And for the night, you can use a sleep bra that won’t limit your movement so you’ll have a peaceful sleep.
DIY Nursing Cami
Your cami will hide the mommy tummy when you lift your shirt to nurse. Once you are ready to feed your baby, you will only need to unclip the cami loop you’ve created and your nursing bra. This way you can nurse comfortably in public without showing your tummy.
2 Shirt Method For Breastfeeding
Use your loose tops, pregnancy shirts, and cami tanks. Since they are stretchy enough, you can lift the outer shirt up and you are good to go. Sometimes this involves wearing a nursing tank under a shirt. This is a way to be quite discreet when you're feeding in public.
A Scarf for A Nursing Cover
A scarf will pass for a good alternative to the nursing cover. Besides it is a fun way for you to dress up your outfits. Additionally, they will offer you some privacy when breastfeeding in public.
DIY Pumping Bra
A breast pump is definitely required so that you're not holding on to your pumps for 20 minutes at a time. You can make your own with a sports bra or some elastic bands.
For a simple solution cut diamond shape holes into a sports bra to make your own pump bra. Using elastic bands looks like a bit more work but is doable.
- From Tamara at Galactablog
Try Increasing Your Supply By Power Pumping
When you stimulate a baby’s regular need to nurse, you will trick your body into increasing milk production. For 3 days add an extra pumping session to work as follows: pump for 20 minutes, take 10 minutes rest, pump for another 10 minutes, 10 minutes rest and finally pump for 10 minutes.
- From KellyMom
Freeze Breastmilk Into Ice Cubes
Freeze breastmilk into ice cube trays to maximize storage. These oxo trays hold between 3/4 oz per cube, which you can pop out easily for storage into bags. The trays themselves are BPA, PVC, and phthalate free.
FIFO Milk Bag Storage
For first in, first out access without having to fumble around your bags, cut a hole at the bottom of a gift bag or box and store your breastmilk bags this way. Then you can withdraw a breastmilk bag from the bottom!
Once you have finished pumping, use a detachable flange as a funnel. A kitchen funnel will work too. This will help when pouring breast milk into the storage bags. This way no drop of the breast milk is lost.
Have A Cheat Sheet Guideline For Breast Milk Storage At The Front Of The Fridge
When keeping milk in your fridge, make use of date stickers. This way you ensure no milk has to be thrown out. This way you will save time and know which milk to use based on the date.
- From Carly at Mommy On Purpose
Pump Directly Into Storage Bags
You can pump directly into some breastmilk storage bags, like the Lansinoh bag if you're using a Lansinoh or spectra pump. The only downside to this strategy is that the measurement marks on bags are typically quite unreliable.
Pump Tube Cleaning
Pump tubes getting misty or worse mildewy? Put rubbing alcohol through the tubes. Run your pump for a few minutes without pumping.
You Don’t Have To Wash Pump Parts Between Sessions
It may not always be possible to be close to a bathroom. Instead, put all the pump parts in Ziploc bags and keep it in a fridge between uses. When you are home in the evening, you can wash the parts. Be assured, it is enough to maintain them clean.
Prepare-Ahead Snacks For Nursing Moms
Every nursing mom needs snacks that easy to prepare in advance. These healthy recipes and will help keep the body energized and fueled as you nurse.
DIY Lactation Smoothie
In place of the lactation cookies, you can try a healthy and quick peanut butter banana smoothie recipe. This will help to increase breast milk supply.
Baby Who Won’t Take The Bottle
Dad Can Step-in to ‘Nurse’ Too!
When mum goes back to work, dad can take over the feeding duty. Dads can try cutting a hole in a tank top near the left breast area. Then stick the bottle through so that the nipple pops out like a breast.
When you have a breastfeeding spot, do not bottle feed at the same location. Instead, go to a location that baby won't associate with breastfeeding. The outcome may be better.
Use cabbage leaves to help lessen breast inflammation. This will also relieve the discomfort and pain that overabundant milk supply, breast engorgement and weaning the baby can cause to your breasts.
- From Neil at Very Well Family
Pineapple Juice To Help Alleviate The Engorgement Pain
This tropical fruit is rich in manganese and has plenty of copper, vitamins B-1, B-6, C, and fiber. Although the nutrients are good for your health, the bromelain found in pineapple juice is what give the fruit the anti-inflammatory properties.
- From Sarah at Life Should Cost Less
Breastmilk Sore Nipple Relief
Your breastmilk is magic right? It can help with sore nipples as well. Hand express a bit and rub on your nipples. Allow to air dry and repeat after every feeding.
Sore Nipple Relief
You can fill 2 breast milk storage bags with Aloe Vera gel and keep them in the freezer. These are great for sore nipples. When they are too cold, you can let them sit out for a few minutes or switch to keeping them in the fridge instead of the freezer.
Remedy For Sore Nipples
Looking for a natural remedy? This concoction uses a combination of coconut oil and probiotics.
Lessen Skin Irritation Between And Under The Breasts
Lactating breasts often generate lots of heat. Therefore avoid moisture from building in the skin-folds. Use baby or talcum or powder. Apply the powder using a cloth or a cotton ball. When a rash occurs, you can get creams and anti-fungal powder from your doctor.
Breast Milk Lotion
When in search of a homemade remedy for eczema, you can use breast milk to make lotion. For your condition.
Breastfeeding At Work
Temporary Pump Bottle
If you have forgotten your pump bottle, you can steam-sterilize your coffee mug to help catch the breast milk. Before breastfeeding, this is what you can do to sterilize: Wash and rinse it, and add 1 oz. of water. Then cover using a saucer or plate, thereafter microwave for 2 minutes to sterilize the coffee mug.
Take empty chapstick containers and clean, boil and sanitize them. Then fill breastmilk into them, freeze them, & get them out and rub on when needed.
Get A Nursing Basket
A nursing basket is a basket (bin, tote, crate or bag) that has the essentials for both mama and baby. Everything is kept in one place and it’s easy to move from one place to another.
Cow’s Milk Hack
Cow's milk should only be served after your baby turns one. But if your little one isn't enjoying the first sip of cow's milk, Mix breast milk with cow’s milk and slowly use less breast milk and additional cows’ milk. You can also offer cheese, yogurt or coconut instead of milk – first check with your doctor.
- From Holly Homer at Kids Activities
A great trick is to prepare milk with a dash of creamer. You need to warm it and create froth from the espresso maker. Then take a sip and then offer your baby a sip of the drink. Eventually, your child will ask for “bubble milk.” This is great for weaning. You can slowly keep adjusting the creamer content until your baby is comfortable drinking plain milk.
- From Holly Homer at Kids Activities
During A Flight
When flying and you have forgotten ice packs, ask the flight attendant to bring you some for your breast milk storage bags. Or you can use an airsick bag with ice to keep the milk cold.
Sit Next To Baby’s Car Seat And Remove The Car Seat And Not From The Base
Most vehicles have the car seat base in the middle seat. Sit in the adjacent seat then lean on the base as you feed your baby. This makes things easier.
- From Rachel at Wish Momma Told Me
Warm Milk for the Bottle
When bottle feeding while you travel, you can keep the milk warm by putting baby's bottle in a traveling mug and adding hot water into the mug surrounding the bottle. This way it stays warm.
Nursing Pillow Turns Into A Laptop Rest
You know that c-shaped nursing pillow you bought that you don't know what to do with(after weaning)? They actually make good laptop rests as well.
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