Breastfeeding is a lot of work. After breastfeeding both my children, I sure did pick up some breastfeeding tips and tricks. I’m sure that these breastfeeding hacks will make your nursing journey a bit easier.
1.Breast milk as Nipple Cream? Oh,Yes!
Did you know that breast milk can act as a nipple cream?
If you are suffering from cracked or dry nipples, squeeze some breast milk from your boobs, apply it all over your nipple, including the aereola area. Let it air dry; you do not have to wipe it out. Breast milk absorbs into your skin and heals your nipples. You can do this every time you nurse or how many ever times you need.
Breast milk is bursting with anti-bacterial, and so that will heal cracked nipples. Just don’t apply breast milk if you or your little one has thrush. Fungi cause thrush and breast milk have sugar that the fungus will thrive on.
2.Track Nursing Sessions Like A Pro!
Some women can tell which breasts to feed the next session by the feel of their breasts. Breasts that feel firm and fuller is the one that you will feed your baby. But, for a lot of women, this is not the case. We need to rely on our memory to remember which breasts to feed, and trust me, postpartum brain is very fuzzy.
You can use a hair tie and loop it to your wrists to remember which side to feed. When you have finished feeding, just change the hair tie to the other side where you will start feeding the next time again.
Not just hair ties, you can pin a safety pin to your bra or use a finger ring to remember which side to feed. You can also use breastfeeding apps if that works for you. Honestly, I had success using the app because I had the phone on arms reach when I am nursing anyway. Breastfeeding Apps also let you track the amount of time the baby nursed, the number of wet/soiled diapers you changed and clock in feeding sessions.
3. Be a Super Mom :Nurse In a Baby Carrier.
Learning to breastfeed in a carrier is a skill to learn and practice, but it is so worthwhile. It makes nursing very easy, especially when you are on the go. The carrier acts as a nursing cover, so you can discretely breastfeed while shopping the Target aisle.
Breast engorgement is common in the beginning when your milk comes in. Your breasts can be engorged for many other reasons like when you miss a feeding or when you are trying to wean your baby. Your breasts feel like a rock, and it hurts like hell. It is essential to treat engorgement as it can result in a clogged duct which can quickly flare up into mastitis a breast infection, which is not fun.
While there are many natural ways to treat clogged ducts, using cabbage leaves help control milk production. For better results, use cold leaves to relieve pain and reduce engorgement. Please note that cabbage leaves can decrease milk supply, so don’t use them continuously (unless you are trying to wean your baby)
5. Use A Nipple Shield:
I didn’t know these were a thing. My nurse suggested that I use a nipple shield while breastfeeding when my nipples had blisters. My nipples started to bleed every time my baby nursed and the pain was so severe that I wanted to quit breastfeeding.
Generally, it is advised not to use a nipple shield with newborn babies as it can cause nipple confusion. Nipple confusion is when your baby gets accustomed to artificial nipples will can result in baby refusing to feed from the breasts.
But in certain situations, like mine, a nipple shield can be a life saver, otherwise I would have substituted with formula until my nipples healed. Nipple shields are also suggested for women with flat or inverted nipples. Do talk to your lactation consultant before using a nipple shield.
A nipple shield is not to be used constantly, but it is good to know about them and use them when needed.
I love my breastfeeding station where I can sit down and nurse my baby peacefully. At times when I can’t use my nursing station, like when my toddler wants to play in the back yard, I love to grab by breastfeeding caddy that has all the nursing essentials.
I used this diaper caddy as my breastfeeding basket. It comes with a handle for easy grab and go. It has a lot of storage space and pocket to hold my pump, wash clothes, nipple cream, nursing pads, water bottle and a few snacks.
7. Catch the Let Down’s!
‘Let Down’ happens when you feel a strong tingling sensation in your breasts when they are stimulated. Many women leak on the non-nursing breast when there are nursing their baby on the other breasts. Your breasts leak when they are full, when you hear your baby crying or even when you think of your baby.
I leaked a lot during the early days and ended up staining a lot of my shirts.If you are annoyed about frequently changing outfits and wasting breast milk, then these Milk Savers might end your frustration.
You slip these Milk savers into your bra on the on nursing side before you sit down to feed your baby. Milkies collect all your let down milk and they can hold upto 2 ounce of milk. Once you are done you can transfer the breast milk to any storage container that you have and keep them in the fridge or freezer.
Another trick that I wanted to share with you is using these breast milk trays to store milk. Each tray can hold upto 8 ounce of milk and each ‘milk stick’ measures one ounce. These milk sticks can be popped and put inside any bottle to thaw just the right amount of milk you need for a single serving.
One of my friend only uses these trays. Once the milk is frozen, she transfers all the sticks into a ziploc bag and throw them into the freezer.These milk trays can save you freezer space and cost cheaper than buying storage bags.
8.First In, First Out:
If you are seasoned pumping mom, you must be a pro at breast milk rotation. The most important thing to keep in mind while using your freezer stash is to use up the oldest breast milk first. Otherwise, you run a risk of breast milk expiring and end up being dumped down the sink.
One of the system that I like using which ensures that you use the oldest milk first is Milkies storage container.These work with almost any milk bags, they come with a opening at the top that says ‘IN’, which is where freshly pumped milk goes. There is another opening at the bottom, labelled ‘OUT’ where you can easily take out the oldest milk bag.
Alternatively, you can make a similar dispensing system using any vertical card board box. You can cut open two sections, one at the top (label it “in”) and one at the bottom( and label it “out”).
9. Pump while Breastfeeding:
Did you know that you can manage to get some extra milk by pumping on the other breasts while breastfeeding your baby?
If you are not trying to build a massive stash, then using a silicone pump like this one might be the best bet for you. These pumps are effortless and work great by suctioning to your breasts,catching letdowns.
If you are serious about building a breast milk stash, then you can even use an electric pump to get more milk from the other side.
10. Don’t Dump Breast Milk!
There is a common breastfeeding myth that states that you should pump and discard breast milk if you are taking certain medications or due to alcohol consumption. Even when breast milk is not suitable for consumption, there are still a lot of other ways to use pumped milk. Use it to draw a milk bath, make teething popsicles or try anything on this list.
11. Master The Double-Shirt Trick:
The double shirt method is simple and works incredibly well. The trick is to wear a tank inside your t-shirt. And Viola, when you need to breastfeed just lift your t-shirt, pull your tank down without having to expose your lower abdomen.
The two-shirt hack comes handy, especially when you are getting ready to feed in public. If you have a baby who hates throwing a nursing cover over them (like mine did), then this nursing hack will help your nurse discretely while not wrestling with your baby.
12.DIY Pumping Bra:
If you are exclusively pumping, I highly recommend figuring out a hands-free pump system that works for you. Hands-free pumps make it easier; you can multi-task and don’t have to be constrained to a chair or desk.
While functional, hands free pumping bra’s can be expensive. Try this DIY pumping bra trick and convert a sport bra (or any nursing bra) to a hands free bra.
All you need is a nursing bra (like this one), a sharp scissor and a marker. Check out the video below and follow the steps to make a pumping bra at home.
13. Roll Up A Blanket:
Here is a breastfeeding hack for moms with larger breasts.Use a rolled receiving blanket to lift up breasts up instead of constantly holding them with your hands. Your arms will start to feel heavy and ache over a period of time. Give them a break using this tip!