Breastfeeding for Beginners: 12 Tips to Breastfeed Successfully

As a new mom, there are many things that you need to learn in order to care for your newborn. Breastfeeding is one of the most important decisions you will make in the early days postpartum. It can be an easy and rewarding experience or it can be difficult and overwhelming. What if I told you that breastfeeding was actually quite simple? In this blog post, we will discuss 12 tips on how to successfully breastfeed for beginners!

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12 Tips to breastfeeding for beginners

1. Educate yourself about breastfeeding before your baby is born

Breastfed babies have a lower chance of sudden infant death syndrome rather than formula-fed babies.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby.

Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it can be difficult if you do not have the right information.

Make sure to educate yourself about breastfeeding before your baby is born. This will help set you up for success!

Some great resources include:

-The La Leche League International

-Your local LLL leader or breastfeeding clinic can also give you some additional information about how to breastfeed your baby.

-Local breastfeeding groups

-Meet with a lactation consultant

-Read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

A great resource is the La Leche League website, which provides a lot of good up-to-date information on everything related to breastfeeding new moms need!

The best first step for any mom is to attend a local breastfeeding support group led by an experienced La Leche League Leader.

Leaders are mothers who have breastfed their babies and have been trained by La Leche League International on how to help other mothers with their breastfeeding challenges.

Breastfeeding also has many health benefits for moms.

Breastfeeding helps lower your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It has also been shown to help with weight loss for those who choose to do prolonged breastfeeding into toddlerhood.

2. Make sure you have a comfortable place to nurse your baby

Have a comfortable space to breastfeed in.

Try and find a quiet, comfortable space for you and your baby to bond.breastfeeding for beginners

A good way of making sure this happens is by creating a designated feeding area where it’s all set up and ready for you and your baby.

This could be a corner in your bedroom or even a special chair that you nursing pillow for extra comfort.

Some moms find it helpful to have a picture of their baby nearby so they can focus on their little one while pumping.

Other moms like to have a light snack or drink nearby to help keep them hydrated and energized.

If you have other children, make sure that they can be quiet to allow you time to bond with the baby while breastfeeding.

This may mean finding a different place in your house or having help from other family members.

3. Nurse your baby on demand 

Those first few months it’s important to nurse your baby on demand.

Many babies have feeding patterns that last anywhere from 2 – 3 hours in between each feeding session.

It’s important to listen and respond to your baby’s needs, especially in the beginning when breastfeeding is all new!

Your body will get into a feed schedule naturally as you go along and this means less stress for you! 🙂

It is important to nurse on demand during the first few months postpartum, as this will help establish a good milk supply.

4. Drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy foods while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers need to drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods to make breast milk.

This is important for mom’s overall health, but also helps to stimulate the production of breast milk!

Every time you sit down to nurse or pump, have a glass of water with you to stay hydrated.

It’s also important to eat plenty of healthy foods while breastfeeding, as this will help your body produce more milk.

Make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet with all the right nutrients for mom and baby – fruits, veggies, and proteins.

breastfeeding for beginners

5. Relax and enjoy this special time with your new baby

Stress can impact your breast milk supply so it’s important to relax and enjoy this time with your baby.

Take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just five or ten minutes to relax and rejuvenate.

This can be anything from reading a book, listening to music, taking a bath or yoga.

The most important thing is that you make time for you so you can take care of your little one! 🙂

When you latch your baby’s mouth and you are feeling stressed, try to take a deep breath and exhale to bring your stress levels down.

6. Get in a good position – use a pillow if needed

Breastfeeding pillows are great for helping new mothers get into positions for breastfeeding.

These pillows are designed to help you be more comfortable while you are breastfeeding and also prevent soreness on your back, neck, arms, or shoulders from holding your baby up while nursing!

A good way of finding a good pillow is by asking a friend or reading more about them online. I love the My Brest Friend Delux Breastfeeding Pillow.

7. Make sure your baby is latched on correctly

It is crucial that you have a correct latch when breastfeeding. This will prevent you from cracked sore nipples, clogged ducts, or having a low supply.

If your baby’s mouth is on just your nipple and your baby’s lips are not flared out, they can have a shallow latch which can cause a lot of problems.

Point your nipple towards your baby’s nose before you have them latch for them to get a deeper latch.

Check to see if your baby’s chin is pressed against you and your baby’s tongue is protruding forward while the baby sucks.

Hold your baby’s head with your thumb and forefinger behind their ears to get enough support.

8. Nurse frequently to keep your milk supply up

Nurse your baby as often as possible during the first few months postpartum.

This will help to stimulate your milk production and ensure that you have a good supply for your baby!

Some mothers find it helpful to keep a log of when they nurse their baby so they can see how often their baby is eating. This may help you decide if you need to pump or not.

Pumping is a great way to keep your milk supply up if you can’t nurse as often as you like.

breastfeeding for beginners

9.Learn your baby’s feeding cues

Noticing your baby’s hunger cues early will help your baby latch easier before they become too hungry.

A calm baby is much easier to latch on than a cranky baby.

Hunger cues can be different for every baby, but some common ones are rooting (turning their head towards you when they are hungry), sucking on their fist, putting their hands in their mouth, and making soft noises.

If your baby is fussy or crying, it’s usually a sign that they’re already too upset and you should try to calm them down before trying again.

Breastfeeding while laying on your side is very popular among breastfeeding mothers these days and it’s a great way of helping you avoid soreness in your arms, back, or shoulders!

It can be more comfortable for some women than lying flat on their backs. This position is called the football hold.

It is important to keep your back as straight as possible when doing this so you don’t strain yourself while breastfeeding. Use a pillow or wedge under your head, and use one arm to support the side of the baby’s face near their ear with pillows underneath them also if needed for more comfort!

10. Take care of yourself – get enough rest and relax when possible

Getting enough rest is important to heal yourself after having a baby. It can also help you produce more breast milk if you are well rested.

It can be hard to rest when the baby is napping but it is so crucial to take care of yourself. The dishes can always wait.

11. Keep a nursing journal to track your baby’s feeding patterns and milestones

A nursing journal is great for tracking how often you are feeding your baby.

If you are pumping, it’s great for tracking how much breast milk you pump as well as where it is stored so none is forgotten and gone to waste.

This is also a great place to keep track of your baby’s milestones!

It can be helpful for you and other family members or friends who are caring for the baby.

They will know how long they have been awake for, when their last feedings were, and what time they usually go to sleep. This may help them see if the baby needs help falling asleep or is hungry.

If you are a working mom, this can be helpful for the babysitter so they know what to do in case of an emergency!

12. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or lactation consultants

If you are concerned about making enough milk, it is always best to seek help as soon as possible.

Meet with lactation consultants and join a community group for breastfeeding.

Find the support that you need to have a successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby.

If you are having issues with breastfeeding, don’t give up.

There is always a solution to problems if you keep trying!

How do I breastfeed for the first time?

If you are breastfeeding for the first time, it is great to have a specialist to walk you through getting a correct latch.

Having a good latch will set you up for success when it comes to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding can be as simple as doing lots of skin on skin with your baby, nurse often, and having a good latch.

If you focus on those three things, you will avoid most of the struggles some mothers have when trying to breastfeed.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

If you are giving your baby only breast milk and you are worried if they are getting enough milk, always talk to a specialist.

A good way to ensure that they are getting enough when you are exclusive breastfeeding is to see if they are going through enough diapers and your baby is gaining weight.

How long should a nursing session last?

A nursing session can vary greatly from baby to baby.

You will want to give them enough time to finish a full feeding to ensure you don’t have a hind milk imbalance that can upset your baby.

At the beginning of your nursing or pumping session, you can feel the letdown. This is when your milk flow has started. This milk is called fore milk and it has higher water content.

Towards the end of the nursing session, you will have fattier, thicker milk, called hind milk.

This milk helps keep your baby full longer and gain weight. So be sure to allow your baby all the time they need to breastfeed.

Growth Spurts

Growth spurts happen often in the first year of your baby’s life. You will notice your baby is having a growth spurt when they are cluster feeding, or wanting to feed often.

As long as you are nursing on demand or pumping to reflect this growth spurt, your body will catch up quickly and produce more milk.

Expectations for the first few days

A newborn baby will want to nurse all the time in the early weeks.

Even in the beginning before your milk comes in, it is important to put your baby to the breast to give your body the signal that the baby is here and it’s now time to make milk!

Your baby will have a need to suck. This helps move the meconium through the body and will transition to a mustard seed color once your milk has come in.

Make sure to have lots of breast pads that are washable or disposable handy. You will be leaking quite a bit in the beginning.

The disposable pads are great for attaching to your nursing bras.

How do I prepare my breast for breastfeeding?

For breastfeeding success, take a breastfeeding class. Have a light weight nursing bra, and nurse often.

There is no need to toughen up your nipples before you start breastfeeding.

When the baby comes, just ensure that you have a good latch and use nipple cream or a cold compress if needed.

Final thoughts

Here are my 10 tips on breastfeeding for beginners. Those first few weeks are important for establishing your milk supply. Always meet with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Be sure to read Why Will Your Baby Fall Asleep While Breastfeeding – 8 Tips to Help and 15 Tips for What Helps Milk Come in Faster

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.