Breastfeeding tips for newborns are everywhere, and when you’re a new Mum struggling to even get your baby to latch, you’ll wonder where to turn to next.
There is a lot of advice out there, and most of it is born from personal experience. What works for one person may not work for another, and sometimes, it’s just a case of trying it and seeing what happens.
Breastfeeding can be a hard thing to get right, but once you’ve got it, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
Here are my tips for breastfeeding a newborn, and beyond. Have fun on this amazing journey ♥
In principle, breastfeeding is the perfect scenario. It’s free, it’s quick, it’s great for bonding, and it can be done just about anywhere. But, as we all know, the reality can be a little bit different!
Wouldn’t it would be amazing if all new Mum’s could just whip a boob out, whenever and wherever, and feed our little ones until they’re fully weaned?
It would be great, but unfortunately, our bodies and our lifestyles just aren’t geared that way.
Breastfeeding can be a tricky thing to start and then maintain, especially with cluster feeding, teething and night
So how DO we start and maintain a life geared to breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding tips for newborns | Getting started
One of the first challenges we’ll come across as breastfeeding mothers is getting started.
Those first 24 hours with a new baby where you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus are tough, and as mothers, our first priority is to feed this tiny little human.
All the way through my pregnancy, I was adamant that I didn’t want to breastfeed – it just didn’t appeal to me, but when Cupar was born it just sort of happened!
Having been awake for 40 hours, and pretty much out of it for at least 12 of those, I don’t actually remember the midwife latching him on for the first feed, but now, I’m so glad that she did.
If you find that you struggle at first, don’t beat yourself up about it. Breastfeeding is hard, and it’s a totally new learning process for you and for your baby.
Persevere, look after yourself and remember that it DOES get easier.
Top tips for those early days
Those first few days and even weeks are the hardest when it comes to breastfeeding. You’ve had a total life change, you’re exhausted and your body feels like it belongs to someone else.
Here are some breastfeeding tips for newborns that may help you at the start of your journey:
Try to relax as much as you can
The more stressed out you get, the more stressed out your baby will get, and trying to get a screaming baby to latch on is no fun at all!!
If you’re struggling, try taking some deep breaths and closing your eyes for a few seconds. The hormones racing around your body can make you feel like things are worse than they are, and with a crying, hungry and probably frustrated baby, it can sometimes make you feel like giving up.
Take a few seconds to de-stress and try again. You’ll get there!
Keep lots of pillows close by
I found that surrounding myself with pillows and using them to help hold the baby made it a lot easier for me to get the positioning right.
Breastfeeding pillows are great, but if you can’t afford one, normal pillows from your bed will work just fine. Just be aware that they may get covered in milk!
Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors
Breastfeeding takes time to get used to, and the last thing you need is to be stressed out because everyone is looking but not looking at you while you’re trying desperately to hide your nipples.
If you really can’t say no, then you could always just try asking them to leave the room if you need to feed and don’t want an audience. Just say that you’re desperate for a cup of tea or a sandwich, and people should be more than happy to leave you alone for a few minutes.
Don’t forget to eat and drink
When you’re caught up in the newborn whirlwind, it can be difficult to remember to eat and drink properly. You’ve got so much other stuff going on, that looking after yourself can fall down your list of priorities!
Don’t forget to eat and drink properly. Breastfeeding can make you extra thirsty, so always try to keep a bottle or a jug of water beside you to sip on throughout the day (and night).
Breastfeeding can take it out of you, so make sure you’re eating enough, and also make sure that you’re eating the right kinds of foods. You can some information on a healthy breastfeeding diet here.
Get some help if you feel you need extra support
If you feel like you need some help with breastfeeding, then don’t be afraid to ask for it. You can find one to one support, groups and drop-ins out there full of friendly, knowledgeable people. Check out the NHS site for links and phone numbers here.
Breastfeeding tips for newborns | Coping with the night feeds
The night feeds are possibly one of the hardest parts of breastfeeding. Newborns wake up a lot, and when they’re hungry, they’re hungry!
The best thing to do is to look at the positive because, believe it or not, there are positives to being woken up every hour during the night!
Enjoy the extra cuddles
This is your time alone with your baby. Everyone else is asleep, there are no visitors walking in and out and there are no distractions.
Have a cuddle, sing a lullaby, or just enjoy the extra bonding time.
Catch up on life admin
Did you know that there is actually a lot you can do at 4 am with a baby in one hand and a phone in the other?
I usually write blog posts or have a scroll through social media or news apps. You can also catch up on Netflix (quietly!), do some online banking, browse Amazon or read a book. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
Enjoy seeing the sunrise and listening to the dawn chorus
I know it might not seem like something that you want to be doing when you’ve only had 3 hours of sleep, but it really is an amazing feeling to be able to experience it.
I’ll never forget my first 5 am feed on the sofa, seeing the sun come up through the gap in the curtains. It was truly breathtaking, and it’s an experience me and my little boy will always have (though he won’t remember it!).
Let your partner know what you need
Just because you’re the one doing the breastfeeding, it doesn’t mean that your lovely significant other can’t help out too (though if he’s anything like mine he’ll just roll over and start snoring!)
Getting you a drink or a snack when you’re struggling and have a cluster feeding baby attached to you can help so much.
Even just having a chat together can help you to feel like you’re not alone.
Breastfeeding tips for newborns | Leaving your comfort zone
It’s lunchtime, it’s busy, you’re running some errands with the baby and suddenly they’re hungry RIGHT NOW!
Feeding in public, especially if you’ve never done it before can be a daunting prospect.
You feel like everyone is going to be watching and judging you.
You’ll have all sorts of thoughts popping into your head while you’re discreetly trying to maneuver your boobs, and baby in the right direction.
- Did everyone just see my nipples?
- Why is that old guy staring at me?
- Why did I choose to sit so close to the window?
In reality, no one really cares and you can be sure that most people will try their best to avoid looking at you for fear of seeing something that they don’t want to see.
You may get the odd person that doesn’t agree with you feeding in public, but just remember that they are few and far between.
A good trick to help prepare yourself for feeding in the big wide world is to feed in front of a mirror a few times before you go out. That way you can see where and if you need to cover up and also how to position your baby so that the least amount of boob is on show.
This was my first breastfeed in public. I remember being so scared and thinking that everyone was watching me over their newspapers, but actually, I’m pretty sure no one even noticed.
In all honesty, you can’t even really tell that I’m breastfeeding.
A few things that may help:
- Keep a muslin or a long scarf in your changing bag to use as a cover-up.
- Have a friend, partner or family member with you if you feel nervous at first to offer support and encouragement.
- Research breastfeeding friendly cafes or groups in your area.
Breastfeeding tips for newborns | The teething stage
Teething is a challenge all in itself when it comes to breastfeeding.
Your usually soft-mouthed, gummy baby now has some shiny new teeth that they can’t wait to use!
Babies usually get their bottom and top teeth from 6 and 8 months respectively, but it can vary widely. When they do appear, your baby will quickly get used to using them to bite on anything and everything (and yes, this includes your nipples).
Biting hurts and if your baby has particularly sharp teeth, they can even draw blood. This was something that I didn’t think was possible until I experienced it first hand!
Babies don’t have the ability to understand when they’re doing something wrong at this age, but there are a few things that may help if you have a biter:
- Move your baby away and stop feeding for a couple of minutes, before letting them latch on again. This one seemed to work the best with me, as Cupar soon started to realize that biting meant no feeding.
- Don’t make it into a game. Try not to say anything or give a reaction. Your baby should soon start to grasp that biting doesn’t yield attention.
- Stop feeding and offer a teether or a toy instead. Your baby could be biting because they’re gums or teeth are sore.
Biting while feeding is a stage that babies soon grow out of. Once they get used to having teeth in their mouth and start to recognise that biting means no feeding, they quickly stop.
Breastfeeding tips for newborns | Breastfeeding after one
Well, first of all, well done you if you’ve managed to breastfeed for a whole year!
Breastfeeding goes through so many stages in a relatively short time frame, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, something else will come along and throw a spanner in the works.
Teething, biting, cluster feeding and growth spurts all have an impact on breastfeeding, and it can be so easy to give up when the going gets tough. If you can persevere and get through it, the rewards for you and your baby will be well worth it.
Once babies get to one, they should be breastfeeding a lot less (though not always), and eating proper meals.
In my experience, I’ve found that although the day time feeds have lessened, the night time feeds have stayed pretty consistent, with Cupar feeding 2/3 times a night. A lot of this is down to comfort feeding, and while exhausting, it is pretty normal.
Babies at this age are obviously a lot bigger than a newborn, so feeding can be uncomfortable and finding the right position can be hard.
I’ve found it’s easier to work around the baby. Sometimes Cupar sits on my lap, sometimes he lays on a pillow in front of me and sometimes he launches himself at me, pulls my top down and latches on!
I tend to let him get into a position he’s comfortable with, hold him and see how he gets on. They will always let you know if they’re uncomfortable and need to move.
Enjoy the journey
The most important thing with breastfeeding is that you enjoy it. If you’re happy and relaxed, then your baby will more than likely be happy and relaxed too.
If you try breastfeeding and find it doesn’t work for you, for whatever reason, then that’s OK, and at the end of the day, that’s why formula was invented. Some of us will breastfeed for weeks, some for months and some for years. Everybody’s journey is different, and at the core of it all, we’re all just doing the best for our babies.
Top 5 tips for breastfeeding a newborn
- Don’t forget to relax – Take a deep breath, have a
5 minutebreak and try again
- Look after yourself – Make sure you eat and drink plenty and often
- Enjoy the one on one bonding time – Make the most of those night feeds
- Take a muslin or a scarf with you when you go out – They’re great for covering up
- Don’t be afraid to seek support – breastfeeding groups and cafes can be amazing for sharing your worries
How did you get on with breastfeeding? Do you have any extra tips to share?
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