Breastfeeding can be a rewarding experience and another great opportunity to bond with your baby throughout the day. That doesn’t mean it’s simple by any means, though. The breastfeeding process can pose challenges to even the most confident mom that can make you ask, “What am I doing?!” You might not produce enough milk, you might have trouble with latching or you might be overwhelmed by the idea of breastfeeding in public.
Whatever the case may be, we’ve got your back. Here are some easy hacks you can use during your breastfeeding process to help manage the stressors of breastfeeding your babe.
6 Breastfeeding Tips and Hacks to Try
Use a Nursing Cover or Muslin Cloth
When out and about, it can sometimes feel uncomfortable to nurse without having something handy to cover you up. (If you don’t feel that way and breastfeed without any covering, all the more power to you!) Luckily, it’s easy to find something that can cover you up and can easily be stored in a diaper bag so it’s always handy. We recommend using a muslin cloth like those from Aden and Anais or a nursing cover, readily available through places like Amazon or Target.
Layer, Layer, Layer
Whether you’re breastfeeding at home, while you’re out or pumping at the office, it’s helpful to wear an extra layer to help catch spills or to cover up. We recommend wearing a nursing tank underneath your shirt to make breastfeeding as easy as possible. Many retailers also sell nursing shirts designed with this idea in mind, with two layers to make it easy to feed your baby on demand no matter where you are.
Use Apps to Track Your Progress
In those hazy early days of caring for a newborn, it can be easy to forget which side of the breast you last fed on, when the baby last fed and for how long. Luckily, there are a number of great free apps like Baby Tracker or Sprout Baby that are readily available to download. The data is especially helpful during those first few doctor’s visits so you can confidently answer questions about how often your baby feeding and for how long.
Best Options for Milk Storage
Once you get into a pumping schedule and start packing those little plastic bags of milk into the freezer, things can quickly get messy. The milk bags are great for storage, not so great for standing up in the freezer. An easy way to get things in order is to use a cardboard soda or seltzer box for storage or a rectangular plastic container. Just stick one in the freezer, line up the bags and you’re good to go.
Use a Sling to Breastfeed on the Move
Breastfeeding can thankfully be done pretty much anywhere, but something that makes it even easier to do while you’re on the move are slings. The sling helps you be able to put the baby in just the right position while breastfeeding so you can both be comfortable without even having to take the baby out of the sling.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Breastfeeding can be stressful so be sure to take time to yourself – especially if you’re on hour six+ of breastfeeding. Go ahead and take a moment to dive into your favorite books, catch up on favorite shows or scroll through your favorite pictures and videos of your little one (this is an especially good idea when you’re pumping at work).
Overall, breastfeeding is a very rewarding experience for both mama and baby, but it’s also completely normal to hit roadblocks and need some help navigating through them. Luckily, you’re not alone and there are many resources available so you can master breastfeeding in no time. You’ve got this!
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.