Whole Parenting Family

3 Beginner Breastfeeding Tips

Emily Rumsey Photography

Nursing is a challenge, and there are lots of little tips along the way that help ease that challenge. Personally, I’ve found that meeting with a lactation consultant somewhere along the way, preferably in the beginning of your first attempt, gives you a great tool set to continue. I wrote about my amazing lactation consultant and midwife friend, Aszani, here {3 Postpartum Health Tips}.

Three tips I’ve picked up along the way:

1) Try different positions.

Every baby is different. SuperBoy liked to nurse in a different position initially than SweetPea does. Shake it up. Change it up. Don’t be afraid to flaunt the conventional cradle hold. Right now, SweetPea only loves it when she’s nursing along the maternal contour, meaning her body curled from my breast to my belly button. That’s not conventional, but it works for her and me. Check out my post on nursing positions here {What Are the Good Nursing Positions}.

2) Compress your non-nursing breast to stop the flow of milk.

When your milk has come in, and you feel the tingle of it letting down after your child has latched and sucked for a short while, remember that our milk floweth from both breasts, as though we all have twins. (Massive kuddos to mamas who nurse twins. Wowzer.) When you don’t want to either wash a million nursing pads, or throw away the bleached cotton disposable ones, simple compress the non-nursing breast with your free arm.

Like when you are in public and experiencing the unwelcome showing of your nipple through a thin t-shirt. If you hold your arm there for a few moments, it will temporarily stop the let down. Never fear, your milk will let down again on that side once your baby latches!

3) Take care of your nipples from the get-go.

Use the gel pads, use the cream, use your own breastmilk, whatever it takes. I like to put the gel pads in the freezer to give them a little extra healing power, but room temp is fine too. Do be careful not to use the gel pads in conjunction with nipple cream as I’ve heard they cancel one another out. But whatever it takes, tend to your nipples because getting in front of a cracked or bleeding nipple is far easier than living with one.

This reinforces my lactation consultant plug: a good latch will save your nipples! And you often need more than google to help you figure out your latch.

Nursing gets easier, I promise! Keep going, seek help if you have serious impediments, and try to meet your nursing goal!


  1. Jenni on May 25, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Great info about breastfeeding! It’s hard to dig way back in my mommy brain to remember the first months of nursing as it’s all such a blur but the one thing I will never forget is the pain of cracked, infected nipples. OUCH! Gel pads and the all purpose nipple cream were my two saviors (rotated, never used at the same time)! When I think about having #2, I cringe about the lonely sleepless nights and never ending days that all blurred together and feeling like a milking goat all the time! But then I just have to tell myself about how far I’ve come since then and smile. Are you nursing both or just Sweet Pea?

    • Natural Mama Nell on May 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      It is such a blur–and then it all comes back to you!! SuperBoy self-weaned at 14 months (in large part due to my sister’s baby’s emergency health issues that brought me to NYC for two weeks and left him with milk in bottoles) so it’s just SweetPea. Surprisingly, SuperBoy hasn’t been interested in trying it again, though he did tell me he drinks cow’s milk while she drinks mama’s milk. So cute!

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