Nursing Tips for Dummies

**UPDATED with more tips after having my second baby!!**

When I first started nursing I felt like such a dummy! I had a lactation specialist give me some tips but even after that it was still challenging. It was even more frustrating when I turned to google for help and all I could find was “make sure you have a good latch” and “get help if you don’t have a good latch”. Well Google, I hate to break it to you, but you can’t really see your latch while your baby is latched so how the heck am I supposed to know? As far as I could tell it would hurt randomly even when I was doing exactly what I did before. Eventually I gathered a lot of great tips from some of my friends that have really helped so I thought I’d add them to the Google universe! If you have any other great tips please share!

GETTING STARTED


Patience: It takes so much patience!! Mentally prepare for the first two weeks being all about learning to nurse. It’ll be a much quicker learning process if you can relax and figure things out early on.


LATCHING

Line up: Line up your baby’s ears, shoulders, hips, and toes before bringing them in to eat. This ensures that your baby is in the most comfortable position to swallow. If their head is turned, they will have a hard time swallowing and most likely not latch well.

Underwire, flip, chin: Using one hand, hold your breast as if your fingers were an underwire bra (out of the way of baby’s face but under lifting your breast up a bit), use your thumb on top of your breast to pull your skin a bit so the nipple flips upwards. (This is so you latch with the nipple pointing to the roof of baby’s mouth triggering the sucking reflex!) when baby’s mouth is open wide, shove him onto your positioned breast by pushing his chin into you first. (When I say shove I mean shove. At first I always just gently tried to get him on there but that just makes him suck the end of your nipple. You want as much skin shoved in his mouth as possible so the nipple is back far in his mouth.)



KEEPING BABY AWAKE

Arm Lever: To keep a drowsy newborn awake long enough to finish eating, lift their arm like it’s a lever. For some magical reason it makes them suck. It can also help you know if they are done or not. If they’re arm is really tense, they still want more. If it is limp and flops around, they are finishing up!

Chin Press: Gently press the soft spot under your baby’s chin with an outstretched finger to keep them eating if they’re getting sleepy. It triggers their swallowing reflex. You can even try it on yourself to see how it works.



BACK PAIN

Pillow Under Knees: During the day I usually nurse on my rocking chair, but at night I nurse in bed. After a while it started to hurt my back because I’m not very flexible. I discovered that putting a pillow under my knees takes away all the pain!!


LEAKING

Disposable vs. Washable Breast Pads: I quickly discovered that breast pads were necessary, and using disposable breast pads were well worth the money. They actually soak up the milk and stay dry whereas washable ones stay wet and can cause mastitis. (Yep, I got it and it was a nightmare!)

If you have any questions at all GO see a lactation consultant!! They can help so much!

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23 thoughts on “Nursing Tips for Dummies”

  1. It's been many years since I've had my babies. With my first one … he would NOT nurse! We tried and tried, but I ended up bottle feeding him (breastmilk) for several weeks. I kept trying, and one time he (and I) finally got it. I never dared go back to a bottle. I think there is some "experience" factor … none of my other four boys were hard. I did have extreme pain with #4, so again, I ended up pumping and bottle feeding for a while. My only tip is do NOT feel bad if you have trouble, it can be very difficult! Try a variety of positions (my favorite was laying down on the bed with the baby laying next to me).

  2. these are really good tips,I am with a 4 mths old baby.I try to touch and massage his ear when he is drowsy.It works for me and he starts sucking again 🙂
    Anyway,I am with the back pain,its really painful.i will use a pillow under my knee as mentioned.
    Found from Pin it Thursday!

  3. Great tips for nursing mothers!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  4. These are good tips! I successfully breastfeed my 2 boys, and I know the frustration when both baby and mama are getting into their groove. It is helpful when moms talk about it and their experiences. Every tip helps, and I agree, the usual good latch, it shouldn't hurt after a week stuff is not helpful when you are sleep deprived and newly hormone deprived. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Practical tips for the nursing mom…all of which I would highly recommend. Even when you do all the tips, I still think breastfeeding can be hard in the beginning. I really struggled for the first several weeks, but with a lot of determination, we got it down!

  6. Love the way you come at this topic because when I decided to breastfeed it was like I had come right out of left field with some crazy idea. My family was not really used to it and I often felt alone because I didn't feel experienced in breastfeeding.

  7. These are good tips for nursing mamas! Very helpful!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  8. Fantastic tips! My daughter no longer nurses, but I imagine I shall be revisiting that phase before too long 🙂 I totally agree about the disposable breast pads, the others just don't do the job! I hadn't heard the tips about lifting the arm or pressing under the chin, I'll have to keep those in mind the next time around!

  9. I found the disposable pads didn't soak up enough for me, so they'd be wet, full & I'd leak without knowing until I looked down and my shirt was soaked. I hear you about the pillow. putting a pillow on top of my knee and the baby on top changed my life!!

  10. I have a tip for weaning your baby. Two of my four sons nursed until they were 1 1/2 yrs. old. It was a comfort measure of course at that age. By then, they also knew what a sore was and what a band aid was for.I covered each of my nipples with a band aid and told them "Mommy has a sore right now." They got it right away. That was the end of their nursing.

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