Nursing your first newborn can seem very daunting at first. To make things as seamless and stress-free as possible, follow these 7 helpful tips that real moms swear by.
1. Buy nursing-friendly clothing
Nursing is going to feel weird at first. For your entire life, your boobs have remained covered tucked away in public. Then, you have a baby and suddenly they transform into milk machines that respond to another human’s schedule. This can be a huge adjustment, so make it easy on yourself by choosing clothes that can help you breastfeed easily.
2. Remember, you’ve got the law on your side
In all 50 states, nursing in public is protected by law. Even though everyone and their ancient auntie will share their opinions on covering or not covering while breastfeeding, remember that in the end, it is 100% up to you as the mother. If you feel comfortable nursing without a cover, then, mama, don’t cover up! Seriously. Feel empowered that you can feed your baby anywhere, and don’t allow anyone to tell you that you’re obligated to cover up.
3. Being discreet while breastfeeding in public is easier than you think
Once you get the hang of nursing, it becomes second nature. Before you know it you’ll be multitasking while your baby nurses. A popular mommy favorite is to use a newborn baby carrier. These amazing carriers keep nursing hands-free while your baby is snug and secure as she feeds. Once your baby has stronger neck support, she’ll be able to sit comfortably while feeding, allowing you to go about freely.
4. Engorged breasts? Check your refrigerator for cabbage
No, this is not one of those kooky wives tales. Cabbage really works! If you struggle with engorgement at any point, use freshly washed cabbage leaves to treat swollen breasts and handle oversupply of milk. Simply wash chilled cabbage leaves from the refrigerator and place one clean leaf in your bra, just as you would a nursing pad.
5. Expect to leak at first. And often!
Our mommy brains are wired to respond to our hungry babies. This might cause some surprise leakage—especially in the beginning. Even the sound of someone else’s child’s cry can activate your letdown and cause your nipples to leak breast milk. This is totally normal, and won’t last forever. Just prepare by always carrying reusable nursing pads in your purse when you go out.
6. Treat sore nipples with lanolin
Many new moms experience cracked or sore nipples during those first few weeks of breastfeeding. Prepare by having a tube of high-grade lanolin next to your bedside, and apply a small amount on nipples after every feeding. Don’t worry about wiping it off before your baby latches—it is totally safe, even for newborns!
7. Ease your way into breastfeeding with nipple shields
If you have very sensitive nipples, or breastfeeding becomes too painful at first, use a high-quality nipple shield. These shields help guide your newborn to properly latch while allowing your nipples more time to heal in between feedings.
For most mothers, breastfeeding can be overwhelming at first, but in no time at all, you and your baby will settle into a routine that is comfortable and natural.