Breastfeeding Tips for those First Few Weeks

Breastfeeding was NEVER easy for me (until Miles) and I struggled for weeks following the birth of both of my girls which is why I wanted to create this post on breastfeeding tips. It became a lonely and dark time because my nipples were bleeding, cracked and I even developed a fissure at one point. It was a nightmare and I couldn’t enjoy breastfeeding at all until I was a month into it. So many moms kept telling me that it gets better so I pushed through the pain and was finally able to get to a point where we were both comfortable. I wanted to share these experiences with you to tell you that YOU are not alone.

If you think that breastfeeding is the most difficult thing you’ve ever attempted, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

If you think baby latching on is the most painful experience (worse than childbirth), YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I hope that this post encourages you to keep going. Stick with it and battle against that pain because once you are a few weeks in, breastfeeding becomes this beautiful experience that connects you and your baby. YOU can do this mama!

Motherhood Blogger, Lynzy & Co. talks about breastfeeding tips to get you through the first few weeks!

When Miles’ latches on now, I have about 3-5 seconds of pain and it goes away. If it doesn’t go away, you need to talk your baby off and re-latch. I have also been asked about when milk typically comes in and every mama is different, but I had Miles on Monday evening and had milk coming out for sure on Wednesday (small amount) and fully engorged by Thursday. So don’t panic if it takes a few days to feel like your milk is coming in! πŸ™‚ 

Tip #1: If you already have damaged nipples (from a poor latch), here is how I healed mine in record time…

Once you are done nursing, express milk and rub it onto the nipple on both sides. Leave your nipples open to air as much as possible. This will help dry out the cracks and heal them faster than if they are underneath a bunch of clothing. If you are going out or have company, express milk and rub it on there and then rub on Earth mama, angel baby nipple balm and place a Soothie Gel on each breast! Within a few days, you will be feeling a lot better! 

A bunch of mamas from my community also mentioned that they swear by Dr. Newmans nipple cream (APNO all purpose nipple ointment). You can call your OB/midwife to ask for a prescription of it to try! 

Tip #2: Get a great WIDE OPEN latch from the very beginning

I get it, you’ve never been more tired in your life but it is SO important to get your baby latched on correctly from the first instant that they are born. If you are in the hospital, ask for the lactation consultant to come in and help you. There are several ways to hold your baby to nurse and they can show you those. I prefer to cross cradle him in front. I never use a nursing pillow because I was told that those actually hinder a good latch at times but ask your LC what they think/prefer. Every time Miles nursed at the hospital, I had the nurse come in (they also take lactation classes) and make sure he was on correctly. I also always pull down on his chin once he’s latched so that his bottom lip is turned outwards (creating a wider latch). Once you are home, it may also help to see if your pediatrician’s office has lactation consultants (ours does) and make an appointment with one to make sure you’ve nailed it all down!  πŸ™‚ 

You can also speak to a lactation consultant RIGHT ONLINE here and get the help you need in real time. 

Motherhood Blogger, Lynzy & Co. talks about breastfeeding tips to get you through the first few weeks!

Images by Victoria Gloria

Tip #3: Use Amorini 

One of my readers sent me an email about these and OH MY GOODNESS. How I wish I knew about these prior to my breastfeeding journey! You put these nipple shells over your nipple to heal them when you are not nursing. They have natural anti-bacterial properties and honestly, you just need to go read up on them over on the website. They sound like godsends. If and when you do use them, make sure you tell me how they worked for you! 

Tip #4: Don’t let baby use you as a pacifier. 

I am very pro nursing on demand, however, if you are nursing constantly for a few hours because baby is fussy, it’s likely that he/she is nursing to be soothed and not to eat. This can destroy your nipple tissue and should be avoided if you can! I nurse Miles on 20 minutes each side (sometimes he is full sooner because my let down is fast) and then I take at least a 40 minute break. Even when they cluster during growth spurts, they will eat and then break for a bit in between so try not to let them nurse for more than 20 minutes on each side πŸ™‚ 

Tip #5: Wait to pump until you are healed (if you can)

I typically start pumping to save milk after 4 weeks or so. I know that my nipples are healed and they are roughened up enough to handle breastfeeding AND pumping. I know that sometimes you are advised to pump and feed, so always follow whatever your doctor tells you is right for the baby. But, if you are able to wait to pump, I would! πŸ™‚ 

Tip #6: Get a towel to bite down on 

I know, seems crazy but when you are in THAT much pain when they first latch –> you’ll want something to bite down on! 

Tip #7: If you have pain throughout the feeding, take your baby off and re-latch

Unless you already have cracked nipples, you should not have pain the entire time your nursing. You will have pain with the initial latch but this should go away within a few seconds or so. If it does not and if the latch feels “funny”, then it probably is. Take your baby off and re-latch πŸ™‚ 

If you have any tips or tricks that really helped you, please leave them in the comment section here for others to read! πŸ™‚ 

Other breastfeeding posts that you may enjoy:

Increase your milk supply & Lactation cookie recipe // best foods to eat while breastfeeding // introducing your breastfed baby to a bottle // How I weaned from breastfeeding

 

22 Comments

  1. August 25, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    Hi! Mama to 2 little ladies. My oldest I went 14 months (she weaned), shooting for the same with my 6 week old!

    Where latch pain is concerned: sometimes it isn’t an issue for both breasts. If that is the case, it is much easier to feed your baby on the breast they don’t have issues latching with, and then try the other. When a little one is full and probably sleepy, it makes it much easier (less frustrating for both of you) to try and train for a better latch.

    Also, warm compress before a feeding will help bring your milk faster for the sore mamas out there. Regardless, you’ve got this and it will getter easier/better.

  2. Jamie
    August 25, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    Love this advice! I agree that a nursing pillow was sometimes more trouble than it was worth but it did shield my c-section scar. For c-section mom’s – tell them BF’ing is a priority- we were able to latch while I was being sewn up. Don’t give up! It does hurt in the beginning (but I agree that it shouldn’t hurt for the entire nursing session) and there were times my baby fought me/didn’t latch for over 20 min but he is now 8 weeks and breastfeeds like a champ! Also, paced bottle feeding (I had to supplement with my own milk to get him back to birth weight). whew so many things but SO WORTH IT!

  3. Amanda
    August 25, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    I nursed both of my boys for a full year but it was hard in the beginning. My advice, keep going, it will get better. Things that helped me were using a foot stool to help get in a good position to nurse while sitting in a comfy chair, dr Newmans nipple cream was liquid gold for cracking and pain in the first few weeks, Lansinoh Therapearl Breastbpads are amazing ( you can warm them in the microwave for a few seconds and place them around your breast to help with pain and it also helps milk let down, gel soothies were great too. I work, so I started pumping right away, helped my milk come in faster and increased my supply so I had plenty frozen when I went back to work. Best tip I had is pump 15 mins after the first feeding each day with a pump bra, it is your fullest time of the day and will trick your body into producing more milk.

    • Ilona
      August 25, 2017 / 3:01 pm

      Yes pump bra for those pumping a lot! I thought it was too expensive (silly me) and only got it like 8 months in… and thought “WHY have I not gotten it earlier”!

    • Cortni
      August 25, 2017 / 6:07 pm

      Pumping bra suggestions

      • Mindy
        August 27, 2017 / 1:29 am

        I loved the medela ones. I just got if from Amazon.

  4. Ilona
    August 25, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    I think nursing on demand is so important that it should’ve gotten a separate point! And also that would mean no pacifiers to calm them down when they’re hungry. I did that mistake too many times, they start fussing but I’m in the middle of something and just don’t want to drop everything and go, so I would pop a pacifier in their mouth to get 5 extra minutes… nope! Go feed them right away! They get too frustrated and impatient and it’s just not good for the supply. At least I think that was my biggest mistake!

  5. Jen
    August 25, 2017 / 4:33 pm

    My son will be 11 months and we are in the “home stretch.” Lately my good supply has been dwindling (I only pump for daycare. He refuses bottles in our home and when I’m around so I nurse on demand on the weekend). Any tips at this point in the game? Bfing has been a great experience and I don’t necessarily want to cut him off at one.

  6. Lynsey
    August 25, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    One thing that helped me above ALL things, with both my babes, in the first few weeks, and with my son, almost the entire duration of our nursing journey, was a nipple shield!
    πŸ™ŒπŸΌLactation consultants aren’t big fans, they claim nipple confusion and other things, but let me tell you, there’s nothing worse in the world than struggling to feed your baby, while you’re both frustrated and both crying! 😳
    My son was hungry and wanted to eat, but didn’t love working so hard for it due to my anatomy (“flatter nipples”, who knew πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ” ). My daughter was an amazing feeder from birth to day 4, then started having trouble. I intermittently used a shield with her for like 3 weeks, and then once she was bigger, she hasn’t needed it at all. She was a little peanut, and I have a large chest so I think she struggled a bit once my milk came in and when I was engorged she had troubles latching successfully. The shield helped her for the first few minutes, then I’d take it off and she’d be able to latch on no problem!
    And wanna talk about healing nipples…helps a TON!

  7. Jessica
    August 25, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    First, great tips! So I have nursed two littles a (pregnant with my third) and it was super hard with the first. I had cracked, bleeding nipples and then got yeast infection in them and had pain for about 6 months plus with my first one, but I was determined. What I learned is that you can have over supply issues. You don’t hear about that much because it seems more people struggle with under, but it caused all of my issues. I had a lot of milk and nursed on both sides and on demand so my body just kept making more. My breast were so full my baby couldn’t latch well, and YES, the wide open latch is huge! My neighbor happened to be a licensed lactation consultant and was literally a God send. She told me we only need two boobs for nursing if you have twins. Now yes, it is possible you may need to nurse on both sides, but it is super important to nurse and drain one side before switching to make sure baby gets fatty hind milk. Also, whether you are full from over supply, engorged from milk coming in or even dealing with some edema from fluids in the hospital, this trick was my life saver – reverse pressure. You place fingers around your nipples and push for about 30 seconds to move milk up into breast to soften nipple for better latching – amazing!!! Also, 100% the APNO is amazing, and my LC neighbor taught me how to make my own, and it worked like a dream: mix equal parts of lotramin, Neosporin cream and hydrocortisone cream together and apply on nipple after each feed until healed. I mixed mine in a mini Tupperware and kept it with me always. Definitely check out Dr. Newman’s website and KellyMom’s website for breastfeeding anything. The KellyMom Facebook support group is also amazing. If anyone thinks you have over supply issues and wants more help, reach out to me because it was harder to find that info at first. I am a huge BF advocate, but definitely a feed your baby however you need to person as well. I just think a lot of women stop because they lack support and help because it wasn’t natural to me at all the first time. Thankfully, my second was easy because I learned so much with the first. Like I thought breastfeeding was worse than naturally birthing a 9 lbs 11 oz baby that first time so the pain is real. If I could quit my day job and become an LC I would in a heartbeat, but for now I love to support other moms any way I can ❀️

    • Kate
      August 26, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Omg I’m about to have baby No 2 and forgot all about KellyMom! Thanks for the reminder !!

    • Leia
      October 22, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Thanks for the recipe! Gonna make my own ointment too. ❀️

  8. Maggie
    August 26, 2017 / 1:12 am

    All great tips! I’m still nursing my 2nd baby (15 months) and nursed my first until his 2nd birthday. I just wanted to give a quick mention to my biggest struggle, which has been mastitis with both kids when my milk came in, and recurrent clogged ducts. For me, my milk came in BIG TIME, and resulted in huge, painfully engorged breasts that my babies couldn’t even latch onto because they were so rock solid. The 2nd time around I learned to not be afraid of pumping when you’re so engorged– the tricks that saved me from a round of antibiotics were a hot bath toget the milk flowing, and massage, followed by pumping to soften my breasts enough to get my baby latched. My milk supply evened out after a few days, but those first couple were brutal. Hang in there moms! Breastfeeding is a beautiful bond ❀️

  9. Kate
    August 26, 2017 / 6:51 am

    One tip to add specifically when it comes to pumping is make sure you have the right size pumping shield. The ones that come with the pumps are often wayyyyyy too small. If your nipples are rubbing against the shield while pumping, then you need to size up. Or size up several sizes (make sure it’s not too big either). I think having the wrong size is a common mistake which leads to painful pumping and supply issues. I don’t have abnormally large nipples (I don’t think – ha!) but I had to size up 2-3 sizes until I found the right fit. Now pumping is not painful at all (I’d still rather nurse, but have to work so I do what I have to do!)

  10. Elle
    August 26, 2017 / 8:10 am

    Wonderful tips! What helped me termidiously was taking it one latch at a time. My LC would ask me when I didn’t think I could continue “can you do one more latch?” which the answer always ended up being yes. Taking it latch by latch helped me get through those emotional and painful first weeks (well two months for us due to extreme nipple trauma) and we ended up successfully nursing for 22 months.

  11. Evelyn Mooney
    August 26, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Ibhave a 10 day old and was given this nipple cream by a friend – “Himalaya for Moms nipple care butter”. It smells like vanilla and literally saved my nipples. I love the whole Himalaya for Moms range.

  12. Danielle
    August 26, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Engorgement was awful for me the first time and has been again this time as well. Cool compresses have been the biggest help just after nursing sessions. Also, when I nurse, the side that’s not being nursed on almost always lets down a fair amount of milk while baby nurses on the opposite side. I hated losing all of that milk, and I also hated having a soaked shirt/bra. My cousin told me about the “milk saver” on mymilkies.com. In the last two days, I have collected almost 10oz of “run off” milk. I love that I can store some milk without having to pump in the very beginning πŸ™‚ The nursing pillow is actually a godsend for c-section recovery, especially when my toddler wants to snuggle in as I nurse her baby sister. Oh, and if you need breast pads, I suggest cloth/reusable ones instead of disposable ones because they breathe better and are thus less likely to lead to plugged ducts/ mastitis.

  13. Anne-Laure
    August 27, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    Hey ! Just wanted to ask something. I am following a mum of seven on Instagram (@thisgatherednest) who just had twin girls a month ago. She currently has a problem of very very (very!) dry face skin and she is concerned about it because no cream seems to work, so she is asking about tips on how to heal that skin. Do you think (ok it IS really weird ^^) that breastmilk could work and that I should recommend it to her ? Thank you for your answer !

  14. kristin lewis
    August 30, 2017 / 8:58 am

    I used Mother’s Milk tea every night (while night nursing!) and it really helped with my supply. Also it gave me some downtown in the evening with warmth of tea!! In the morning I would have oatmeal or Irish oats with almond milk. My supply really stayed steady and if it did start to lack – PUMP and tea!!! Pump and Pump and Pump, I even got up in the middle of night sometimes for a tea and pump break!!

  15. kristin lewis
    August 30, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Oh and if you need help drying your milk supply – Sage tea. I wasn’t able to nurse my first and needed to try the milk up fast b/c I was overloaded. The local natural store told my husband about this and it worked within days, taste horrible so mix with honey or sugar….helps also slow down milk production so try if you are over producing just NOT TOO Much. I was drinking about 3 cups a day to dry my milk.

  16. September 10, 2017 / 11:53 pm

    For cracked or bleeding nipples, thrush or any other nipple pain- SILVERETTE cups!! I wish I could climb to the top of a mountain and yell the good news to all nursing mamas. They’re $60 on Amazon and they’re like magical little healers. No creams necessary, rapid healing and no rubbing pain on your sore nipples. I heard about them with my third baby and I just can’t express how amazing they are- changed my life.

  17. Lindsey
    November 13, 2017 / 9:09 am

    This is by far one of my favorite as I am Lactation Consultant in training! I plan to share this post with new Moms as you provide such concrete examples and solutions to things that happen to most Moms in the first month of breastfeeding!

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