5 tips for breastfeeding success

Friday, August 7, 2015

I've had some requests for tips on breastfeeding so I've compiled some of my favorites that I think could help any new mom! (Plus, it's World Breastfeeding Week!)

1. Attend a breastfeeding class
Since a blog post will never be enough to truly prepare you for a successful breastfeeding relationship, please attend a breastfeeding class. Most are 1-2 hours in length. Check your local hospital, WIC office, or google IBCLCs in your area. Doulas in your area should also have a good list of classes they like to recommend. If you are in Utah Valley, definitely come to the WIC breastfeeding class (every Wednesday at 5:30pm at the Health Dept in Provo). My friend Jess has created an awesome curriculum and is a great teacher! Also Lindsey Shipley in Highland, Utah is amazing as well!

2. Build your breastfeeding-friendly support system 
Childrearing--and that includes breastfeeding--really does take a village. The first couple of weeks after your baby's birth is all about you and your baby learning to breastfeed together. Having a partner who encourages you, does the cooking, cleaning and errands is invaluable. Get your husband on board with your breastfeeding goals and you'll be in a good place. I also recommend having another person, usually another woman who has successfully breastfed her child(ren) that you can call for support. Maybe your mom, your sister or a friend. If you know you might need extra support (twins, history of lactation issues etc), get to know an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) before baby is born so you feel comfortable calling her and asking questions if problems arise. Attending a breastfeeding class is a good way to start a relationship with an IBCLC!

3. Do not supplement
Unless there is a true underlying health issue, do not supplement your newborn with formula. The first few days are about the two of you learning to breastfeed together and safeguarding your supply. Every time you give a bottle to your baby, you are removing a chance your baby could be at the breast. Milk is made by demand and supply. Demand milk (baby suckling at the breast) and you will have supply. Formula is a great tool when it is needed, but too often I have seen doctors pushing it without real need. Many doctors unfortunately do not know much about lactation and instruct moms to supplement unnecessarily. If you doctor suggests formula, get immediate lactation support so that you can get a balanced view of how to care for your newborn. Many times, when doctors suggest supplementation they assume there is a quality problem with your milk, when really it is probably a quantity issue. Increase breastfeeding sessions and talk to a lactation professional!

4. Breastfeed early & often
Again, the first few days are about the two of you learning to breastfeed together and safeguarding your supply. Breastfeed within an hour of birth. Limit hospital visitors so you feel comfortable breastfeeding and without spectators. (When hospitals limit visitors to the mother-baby floor, breastfeeding rates sky rocket!) Allow for continuous skin to skin as much as possible so that you can baby can learn together. Skin to skin allows baby to feel safe and have easy access to the breast and allows baby to be close enough for you to learn his/her hunger cues. One of my smart lactation colleagues at WIC has said this, "don't be a clock-watcher; be a baby-watcher." Learn your baby's cues and feed on demand. It's safe to assume that a newborn will want to eat every half hour or hour. And these don't have to be forty minute sessions. When a baby is eating that often, they usually breastfeed for a few minutes at a time.

5. Laid-back breastfeeding
Long before we came up with special breastfeeding positions (cross-cradle, cradle, football etc), mamas did what came natural to them. And now we call it laid-back breastfeeding. Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, has some great resources on this. In my experience, laying back and feeding in a relaxed position solves many breastfeeding issues. So I now like to suggest that you start off breastfeeding this way. Really, it's so much more comfortable and easier to get baby latched on.

Well I hope that gives you some good ways to get breastfeeding off to a good start! What are some of your favorite tips that helped you have a great breastfeeding experience? 

Here are some more of my favorite resources: 
Lindsey Shipley's 5 Breastfeeding Tips Your Baby Wants You to Know.
If you plan on getting an epidural, read this to learn how to manage the affects it will have on your breasts.
5 Things You Need to Know About Lactation Consultants
This is a good visual representation of latch.
As always, lots more on Pinterest.


  1. These are great. One thing I kept telling myself, was that I was made to do this. Millions of women have been doing this for thousands of years in far less accommodating circumstances! Knowing this motivated me even more.


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