- More on Modern Mix Vancouver: My Change of Plans C-Section Birth Story
Learn breastfeeding tips from the hospital nurses
If you’re having a hospital birth, learn everything you can from the nurses and don’t be afraid to ask questions about breastfeeding information for new mothers. We stayed at BC Women’s Hospital for three nights and got a hands-on, crash course in newborn care and breastfeeding. The super helpful nurses shared with us so many breastfeeding tips for first time moms. They showed us different positions, checked our latch, pointed out what it looks like when the baby is swallowing, and offered overall support and encouragement. Note that we did take a breastfeeding course prior to birth, but we found that the best way to learn, is to learn on the job.
It’s all about the breastfeeding latch
Lesson number one for breastfeeding is getting the latch right. Your baby’s mouth should not just be around the nipple but puckered up around the areola. The deeper the latch, the more milk is released, and the more efficient and comfortable the feed. I also learned not to lean forward to bring my breast to the baby (as it could cause backaches over time from hunching over), but instead, bring his mouth to the breast.
Get a nursing bra for breastfeeding
Wearing a nursing bra offers additional comfort and support for sore and milk-heavy boobs. Nursing bras typically have front flaps that can easily clip on and off, or a flexible cup that can easily be pulled down for breastfeeding. My favourite brand is Bravado Designs, a Toronto-based company that has specialized in nursing and pregnancy bras since 1992. I’ve tried multiple styles from them; their Ballet Bra and Body Silk Seamless Bra are my favourites — soft and supportive with multiple color options, and I find that they dry fairly quickly after washing. I wore Bravado bras pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy, but never have I depended on these bras as much until I began breastfeeding. My advice is to have at least 2 to 3 nursing bras; breastfeeding can get messy and I’ve pretty much had to put my bras in the wash every day.
- More on Modern Mix Vancouver: Not pregnant? Bravado also has a comfortable bra line for the everyday woman
Get a nursing pillow
A nursing pillow helps prop your baby up on your lap while breastfeeding, both for your comfort and his. We have the Boppy original nursing pillow, which is a C-Shaped pillow that hooks around your waist for breastfeeding, but can also be used for ‘tummy time’ for your growing baby. As another option, My Breast Friend was also recommended. Here’s a great review I read on Boppy vs. My Breast Friend.
Practice different breastfeeding positions
Cross cradle? Football? Lying down in bed? Sitting cross-legged on the ground? Learn different breastfeeding positions so you’re not always straining the same muscles while feeding.
Invest in a glider or recliner
As we were decorating our nursery, we hemmed and hawed over investing in a recliner but are so glad we did as I spend so much time sitting in it while breastfeeding. It’s much more comfortable than sitting in bed or the couch, and the rocking motion helps soothe the baby.
- More on Modern Mix Vancouver: Nursery Reveal: Our Soft Grey, White, And Natural Wood Nursery
Use the ‘Huckleberry’ app to time your breastfeeds (and more!)
At the hospital, we were manually tracking our feeding times with a form that was provided to us. When we got home, we started using the Huckleberry app, which has been very helpful in tracking our feeding sessions. With the same app, you can also track sleep, diapers, pumping, and medication too.
Take care of leaks with nursing pads
When your breasts get full of milk, it’s normal to start leaking. Absorb leaks with nursing pads; some are washable and reusable (more sustainable) and others are disposable (more convenient).
Use a milk collector to save extra breastmilk
Do something practical with your breastmilk leaks. Get a milk collector to collect ‘let down’ from one breast, as you’re feeding from the other. I use the Haakaa Ladybug Silicone Milk Collector. This shell-shaped sillicone cup has been a lifesaver for leaks. Note, you’ll also need storage bags for the extra milk. I use the Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags which have measurements on the outside, and a double zip for extra protection.
Stay hydrated while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 extra calories each day, and breastfeeding women are recommended to drink 14 cups of water daily. I keep a bottle of water beside my recliner and make a habit of finishing the entire bottle each session while feeding.