Breastfeeding can be simple or difficult depending on how you approach it

You can make it hard on yourself if you have a negative view about it. However, if you approach it positively, breastfeeding can be the easiest way to feed your baby.

It can get exhausting and stressful, but they are also the most beautiful bonding moments that you can spend with your new baby. Learning a few breastfeeding hacks along the way can ease the transition for any new mom.

Of course, there is a learning curve in the beginning of breastfeeding. It’s not just mom that is learning a whole new approach to feeding, but your baby too. You both have to be on the same wavelength to really make it work, but it is definitely possible!

Here are some tips, tricks, and hacks that I’ve learned after breastfeeding two little ones. The key to being successful at breastfeeding is finding little ways to make it easier on yourself and your baby.

Also, check out my Tips to be Successful at Breastfeeding from Day One.

Breastfeeding Hacks at Home

Most of your time breastfeeding your newborn will be spent at home. It’s best to make your space as conducive to nursing as possible. You want things to be conveniently placed and close by at all times.

1. Make a portable breastfeeding basket

via Pregnant Chicken

Since you’ll be breastfeeding around the clock while you’re home, you want to set up a little station or basket that is easily accessible while you’re nursing. Since you may not always be nursing in the same spot, make it a portable station that you can carry around with you.

Your newborn may be attached to your breast for 45 minutes at a time (in the beginning) and you NEVER want to disrupt a feeding newborn! Therefore, make sure everything that you may need is easily accessible and within reach.

Be sure to include what is needed out of these items. Your personal essentials may vary:

A water bottle (one that keeps your water cold all day and with a straw is preferred!)

Nursing pads (like these organic, bamboo reusable nursing pads from Kindred Bravely– so soft!)
Lanolin cream

Ameda Gel Pads ( I swear by these!)

Haakah or milk cups

Teething necklace for mom (when baby is 3+ months)
Burp cloth
Television Remotes
Hair tie
Cell phone and charger
Snack packs
Cup to put Haakah or pump in
Breast pump, bottles or storage bags (if you’re pumping the other breast while nursing)

Nursing cover (if you have guests over)
Extra shirt for mom and extra onesie for baby
Anything else you need to occupy your attention while stuck in a chair for 45 minutes.

2. Keep a hair tie on the wrist of the last breast you fed on

When breastfeeding, you will need to switch back and forth between which breast your baby is feeding on. Always start your breastfeeding session on the breast that you ended on last.

Therefore, if you started on the right breast, then switched to the left before ending, you want to start on the left one the next time you feed your baby.

The easiest way to remember which side is to keep a hair tie on your wrist (and in your breastfeeding basket) so you can alternate it as you nurse. Make sure you switch the hair tie to the other side while you’re feeding. This will ensure that you start on the correct breast the next time.

3. The best nursing pillow: My Breast Friend

The My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow is by far the best nursing pillow out there! Everyone knows of the Boppy, however the My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow definitely blows it out of the water.

What I love about this nursing pillow is that it straps high around your waist to provide more support for you and the baby. There’s no need to hunch over while feeding so it really saves your back.

You can also walk around with your baby easily nursing on you and allows you to multi-task while breastfeeding as well.

4. Use a feeding tracker app

It can be tough to remember the length of feedings, which side you fed on, and how much the baby ate. So keeping it all in an app on your phone is the perfect solution.

Download an app like Baby Tracker or Glow, or jot down information by hand, such as: Start times of each feeding, which breast the baby was on (R or L), and how long the baby was feeding, for each nursing session.

5. Keep a large jug of water close by

Breastfeeding makes you soooo thirsty! Always have a large jug of water close by (especially before sitting down to breastfeed). You’ll need it! Water also naturally helps to increase breastmilk production.

I recommend getting a non-toxic, reusable water bottle (like Simple Modern’s straw bottle) because it makes refilling super easy throughout the day and you can avoid any BPA-related toxins that some plastic bottles may contain.

Related Post: How to Stockpile Breastmilk So You Never Run Out

6. Wear comfortable nursing bras

A comfortable nursing bra can seriously make all the difference in your comfort while nursing. When your breasts are achy, you want good support and ease from your bra.

Kindred Bravely French Terry Nursing Bra is so soft, comfortable, and perfect for all day wear and even sleeping.  It makes your breasts easily accessible and I literally spend 24 hours in them because they feel like air.

A comfortable nursing bra can seriously make all the difference in your comfort while nursing. When your breasts are achy, you want good support and ease from your bra.

Kindred Bravely French Terry Nursing Bra is so soft, comfortable, and perfect for all day wear and even sleeping.  It makes your breasts easily accessible and I literally spend 24 hours in them because they feel like air.

7. Continue your prenatal vitamin

The vitamins and minerals that were vital during pregnancy are still crucial to take while breastfeeding. You can continue your previous prenatal vitamin or start taking a Postnatal Vitamin, which provides similar nutrients for both you and your breastfed baby.

This way, you don’t have to worry if your baby is receiving adequate nutrients just from the foods you are eating.

8. Use a Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump

This is one of my favorite breastfeeding hacks! If you are a woman with an average milk supply or oversupply, this is for you. If you don’t want to pump a ton, but still want to save some extra breastmilk while you can, you have to use this!

This small manual breast pump attaches to the opposite breast that you are feeding on and provides mild suction to dispense any additional milk out.

You’re not taking any milk away from your baby, but the milk that would just drip out from your let-down is contained and saved for later use. Otherwise, it would just end up saturating a nursing pad and going to waste.

9. Enlist the help of your partner

Don’t think that you have to do everything on your own just because you’re the one feeding your baby! After breastfeeding is done, hand off the baby to your partner for the burping and diaper changes.

Related Post: How Dad Can Help During Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn Phase

10. Feel confident feeding your baby after drinking

If you’ve had a little too much alcohol to drink and are worried about whether or not you should feed your baby or pump-and-dump, you’re covered!

These little strips will test for the presence of alcohol in your breastmilk by determining the pH levels. It will let you know whether the breastmilk is safe enough to give to your baby.

If you’re pumping, just dip the strips in the pumped milk. If you don’t plan on pumping, express a little bit on the end of the strip and wait. They work great at helping me to feel confident that I’m safely feeding my baby after a couple drinks.

11. Take a Breastfeeding Course

There is seriously so much overwhelming information out there about everything from pregnancy to parenting and all that’s in between. Find a course that you trust that will give you plenty of informative and honest information.

This Breastfeeding Course from Milkology is seriously everything you will need to learn the basics and tricks of breastfeeding. Reading information can be so confusing, but watching videos is much easier for you to absorb all the info.

So if you’re stressed and overwhelmed about the ins and outs of breastfeeding, you’ll feel much more comfortable after taking this course.

The Milkology Course goes over everything from latch, to how much your baby should drink, to healing sore nipples. It’s definitely worth the small fee and your time to watch this informative video!

12. Use herbal supplements to increase supply

Once you notice your supply dropping (possibly around 3-4 months postpartum), don’t just be hard on yourself! Try an herbal supplement, such as Fenugreek, as an aid to increase milk production.

Fenugreek is the most common supplement that you can take orally to increase your supply. It has helped me tremendously with both of my babies. I noticed a dramatic increase in my breast milk production within 1 day for my first baby and about 5 days for my second. I was truly amazed at how one little pill could produce such amazing results!

What’s great about Fenugreek is that it’s so cheap! You don’t have to spend a fortune on these high end supplements that promise to increase your production given the off chance that they may not work. You can find Fenugreek over-the-counter at any pharmacy or large retail store (Target, Walmart, etc.)

There are several other herbal supplements out there, like PureMom Breastfeeding Supplement if pure Fenugreek doesn’t work for you. Most have Fenugreek as their base and just combine some other lactation stimulating ingredients, like Milk Thistle.

If you’d rather have a snack that can increase your supply, try Boobie Bars. These were actually delicious and really work, as well!

Making Baby Happy

The point of breastfeeding is to satisfy and nourish our baby right? Here are some breastfeeding hacks that not only provide the nourishment to your infant, but also make them comfortable and happy.

13. Switch the hold, not just the side

If your baby is starting to eat a little bit less on one breast, you are probably inclined to switch him to the other breast to finish his feeding. However, before you do that, you can keep him on the same breast, but switch his positioning.

Coming in at a different angle may help him latch a little better and get more milk that he wasn’t receiving before. It will seem like a whole new breast to him! This way you will ensure they are getting all the hind/fatty milk that’s left on the one side.

So transfer from the football hold to the cross cradle before you switch sides. Check out all of the various nursing positions here.

14. Make sure they get the fattiest milk

There are two different types of milk that your body produces: fore milk (like skim milk) and hind milk (like whole milk). The hind milk is the fatty stuff that will fill your baby up and keep them satisfied and gaining weight.

That extra thick, dark white stuff that’s always left in the storage bags after you pump it out: that’s the good stuff! Make sure that doesn’t get tossed out.

This milk always comes at the end of a feeding. To ensure that your baby is getting this milk, make sure they are staying on one breast until it’s empty.

Your baby will sleep better and gain weight if you ensure that they are getting enough of that.

Related Post: Essential Newborn Sleeping Tips that Every New Mom Should Know

15. Strip the baby down to keep them awake for feedings

On top of the fact that your newborn is always sleepy, nursing makes them even more tired. Before you start feeding them, strip them down to just their diaper to maintain arousal during feedings.

The little chill that they will get will help them to stay awake a little bit longer and maximize their milk intake.

16. Cue your let down before starting to feed baby

Some babies may get frustrated that it could take 30 seconds to 1 minute before the let down occurs and they receive the milk. If your baby is one of them, try to initiate the let down yourself before they start suckling.

You can do this by taking a quick, hot shower, starting to pump for just a minute or two, or manually massaging your breast and nipple to stimulate the let down before baby has to do it on their own.

17. Try Chewlery

When your baby reaches the 3 or 4 month mark, he will start grabbing at everything while he is nursing, including your hair, mouth, and necklaces.

Give your baby something to play with and look at to distract him from clawing at your face or fancy jewelry. These chewlery necklaces are made of food-grade silicone so they’re completely safe for your little one.

18. Massage your breasts while nursing or pumping

Giving your breast a little massage can help to increase the milk flow. This will give your baby less work and hopefully make more milk come out faster for him.

Pumping and Storage Tips

While breastfeeding your baby can bring such beautiful moments of bonding with your baby, pumping is not nearly as joyous. There are certainly some breastfeeding hacks that can make pumping a lot less daunting.

Related Post: How to Stockpile Breastmilk for a Freezer Stash

19. Use flanges as a funnel

This is a simple way to ensure that all your milk goes straight in the bags or bottles when pouring. Use the flange from your breast pump to funnel the milk right in and decrease the risk of spillage.

20. Place used pump parts in the refrigerator instead of washing after each use

One of the most annoying parts of pumping is washing the parts after each use. Add the baby’s bottles on top of that and you could feel like you spend the entire day at the sink. To reduce the time you spend washing parts, try this amazing breastfeeding hack!

Non-contaminated (not drank) breastmilk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Therefore, if there is a little bit of breastmilk on the pump, it’s safe to keep that refrigerated until your next pumping session.

Just stick it in a ziplock and you’re good to go. You should still wash them more frequently than 6 days, however, just know that your refrigerated milk will not contaminate the new milk.

21. Put your Haakah or Pump in a Cup to Prevent Tipping

Ah the dreaded ‘spilled milk’ phrase has a whole new meaning when relating to breastmilk. After you’ve worked so hard at pumping that precious liquid gold, only to see it tip over and spill everywhere, really hurts.

Therefore, when you set down your haakah or open bottles/pumps, always secure them in a cup or glass! No matter how careful that you think you will be, there is always an accident waiting to happen.

22. Multi-task while pumping by using a hands-free pumping bra

Don’t be stuck holding your breast pump for 30 minutes so you can’t get anything done!

If you can’t swing the hefty price tag of a wearable pump, such as the Willow Pump, this bra is a lifesaver! This Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra does the trick to give you a hands-free experience while pumping.

It keeps the pump flanges super close to your breast giving you maximum suction, and you don’t have to hold them anymore! You can also find a simple DIY tutorial here on making your own hands-free pumping bra here.

23. Purchase extra pump parts

Don’t drive yourself crazy worrying about constantly washing your pump parts after every pump session. If you have a few extra sets, you will feel much more at ease when it comes to staying on top of dishes- which as a busy mom is very tough!

Related Post: How to Make Breastfeeding Work as a Busy Mom

24. Pump into bags

Pumping into bottles is a waste of time if you’re preparing to freeze the milk. If you’re pumping to use the milk right away, that will work for you, but otherwise, use the bags!

You will probably have to purchase an adapter to pump directly into bags, but it will save you so much time and room in your fridge! Depending on the pump that you have (for example, this adapter is for the Spectra), choose the adapter that will connect to it best.

This eliminates having to pump into a bottle and then pour into a bag for transport, storage, or freezing.

25. Store pumped milk laying flat in bags

This method of storage saves the most space because the milk will freeze flat instead of all leaning toward one side of the bag.

Read more tips here about storing breast milk in the freezer and refrigerator.

26. Try a wearable breast pump

A hands-free, wearable breast pump like the Willow Pump is the ultimate breastfeeding hack (especially if you have more than one child). The ability to use your hands while pumping is a huge game changer.

These wearable breast pumps just slip into your bra so you don’t need to be plugged in, hold anything, or have any pump parts dangling from your chest. You’re free to go out in public without anyone knowing you’re pumping!

The only downfall is that insurance does not typically cover them (however it’s worth a shot to try through Aeroflow Breastpumps). So they are paid for out-of-pocket and can carry a hefty price tag.

Related Post: My Honest Review of the Fremie Breast Pump

27. Use boob-like bottles

For the times when you do have to give bottles, you want them to imitate your breast as much as possible. This is so your baby doesn’t end up preferring the bottle over the breast (making your life a lot more difficult).

I love Phillips Avent Natural baby bottles for this purpose. These perfectly form to your baby’s mouth and are very closely-shaped to a breast.

Another trick is to continue using the lowest flow nipple for as long as possible. Breastfeeding is typically harder for them and the flow of milk is slower.

Therefore, you don’t want to move them up to an easier nipple because that will confuse them of the difference between the breast and the bottle.

Related Post: 19 Tips to Try When Your Baby is Refusing to Breastfeed

Pain and Soreness Tips

The nipple and breast pain that comes with the first few weeks of breastfeeding can be torture. Here are some breastfeeding hacks that can really reduce the discomfort you’re experiencing.

28. Take a hot shower for breast engorgement

Taking a hot shower is the ultimate pain relief when your milk comes in and your breasts feel rock hard. It even feels great anytime you need to manually release some milk.

Just be careful not to express too much in the shower because your body may overproduce thinking that it’s for your baby.

29. Ameda Nipple Gel Pads are nipple savers!

This was by far my favorite breastfeeding hack for nipple pain! My nipples were soooo sore after the first couple nursing sessions that I could barely tolerate my baby’s feeding.

You can put these gel pads in the refrigerator so they are cool and keep them on your breasts in between nursing sessions.  They basically just numb the pain and provide a cooling and soothing feeling for your nipples. Honestly, I may have given up nursing if it wasn’t for these.

For more tips on managing pain from the first few weeks of breastfeeding, read my post on Saving your Nipples While Nursing your Newborn

Nursing On-The-Go Tips

Breastfeeding can be simple the you’re in the comfort of your own home, but as soon as you’re out in public, it can present many challenges. Check out these breastfeeding hacks when you’re on-the-go during travel, work, or just the day-to-day routine.

30. Use an efficient breast pump bag

Make your pumping on-the-go needs even more convenient by using a breast pump bag. This bag is gorgeous and has back pack straps, insulation pouches for milk storage, and plenty of space for your pump and parts.

If you’re going to be carrying a bulky breast pump around, you might as well have something stylish and easy to carry it in.

Related Post: Tips for Breastfeeding as a Working Mom

31. Get nursing-friendly shirts

You can purchase special nursing tops where you can easily slip out a breast to nurse, however I typically find these styles unattractive and expensive! You don’t need special nursing shirts to breastfeed your baby.

You’ve already spent enough money on maternity clothes, so it’s time to feel fashionable again! It’s much better to buy clothing that you can wear when you’re not breastfeeding or pregnant again.

Embrace all the button down and zipper down shirts that you possibly can. These are the easiest tops to nurse in and you can find them almost anywhere. I particularly love this waffle knit button down shirt for casual nursing wear.

32. Use an infinity scarf or muslin blanket as a nursing cover

via Breastfeeding World

If you’re on a budget and don’t want to purchase a nursing cover, one breastfeeding hack is to use a scarf or muslin blanket to cover you up.

You can lay or position the scarf or blanket over the baby just so they’re covered enough, but not too covered. The lightweight material in muslin scarves make for a great, breathable fabric to lay over your baby.

Most babies get hot when they’re laying under a nursing cover, so this allows them more freedom to breathe and move. Samantha at Breastfeeding World gave some great outfit options for this style.

33. Nursing tank under a flowy shirt

via Breastfeeding World

This is a great tip when you’re out in public or have company. If you’re wearing a shirt that you can’t pull down from the top, you’ll leave your belly exposed when your baby is nursing.

If you wear a nursing tank underneath a larger shirt, you can just unhook the top while leaving the bottom covering your belly. Then, place the baby under the larger shirt and you won’t have any skin exposed!

34. Breastfeed while baby wearing

This breastfeeding hack can help several moms with a fussy baby or a baby who doesn’t otherwise latch. It can also just be a convenient way for you to be hands-free while feeding.

The Solly Baby Wrap is the perfect wrap for this as it can position your baby to latch directly on your breast. It may take a few times to get the hang of the positioning, but once you try it, you won’t go back to not using one!

35. Get a breast pump car adapter or battery pack for pumping in the car

If you’re going on a family trip or even if you have a long commute to work, pumping in the car can be a huge time saver. If you have a battery powered or wearable breast pump, like the Willow pump, this can be easy. However, most pumps don’t have this advantage.

You can purchase a car adapter or battery pack that can make your own breast pump portable! Just make sure that you get one that is compatible with you pump.

36. Keep a portable bottle warmer on hand

When I breastfed my first two kids, I had to ask the restaurant for a cup of hot water to warm my breastmilk! Now, The Baby’s Brew makes warming a bottle on-the-go much easier!

Simply attach the Baby’s brew portable bottle warmer to the bottle and you have warm milk just when your baby needs it!

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I hope that you found these breastfeeding hacks helpful for your nursing journey. Did you benefit from any of these tips or do you have any further hacks to share?

The post 35 Genius Breastfeeding Hacks Every New Mom Needs to Know appeared first on Just Simply Mom.