How to Wean a Toddler from Breastfeeding

How to Wean a Toddler from Breastfeeding

You’ve been breastfeeding your toddler for what feels like foreeeever, and you’re ready to wean. But how? In this post, I’ll break down some tips for how to wean a toddler from breastfeeding.

I’ve put in a combined roughly 94 months of breastfeeding so far between my three kids. I’ve dealt with everyone from biting to latching issues. My first weaned at around 2.5 years, and I’m currently gently weaning my 2.5-year-old twins. If you’re wondering how to wean a toddler from breastfeeding then you’re in the right place. Starting your breastfeeding journey is a bit bumpy for many moms, and the weaning process can be bumpy as well. This isn’t an exhaustive list of tips, but are tips that helped me personally navigate this sensitive time

(FYI. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

Deciding When to Wean Your Toddler

The choice for when to wean your toddler is up to exactly one person. You. Moms feel a lot of pressure from friends, family, society, or social media. That is especially true when it comes to breastfeeding. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what you should do with your own breasts.

If you wean too early people will say you couldn’t stick it out, but nurse longer than some people are comfortable with they’ll call you weird. Just know that no matter what you choose, there will be naysayers. But let the parent who is 100% perfect throw the first stone, and spoiler alert, there are no perfect parents.

So when deciding whether it is time for you to wean is a personal choice that is no one’s to make except for the person doing the breastfeeding, and of course the child who is breastfeeding gets *some* say in this too. I say some because you can’t really force a child to breastfeed. If they don’t want to nurse, they simply won’t. Though you might be ready before your child is to stop, and thats ok! Even a little bit of breastmilk is helpful for babies, so if you’ve made it this far you are a rockstar.

What is the Best Age to Stop Breastfeeding?

The best age to stop breastfeeding will vary wildly based on the mom and baby’s needs. There are a myriad of reasons why a mom would choose to either continue to breastfeed or to wean. There are however some expert organizations and studies we can point to when thinking about what we want to set as our goals for breastfeeding.

WHO and UNICEF recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. 

Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night. No bottles, teats or pacifiers should be used. 

From the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.

-From the WHO website

What are the Side Effects of Stopping Breastfeeding?

The most common side effect you will probably have to contend with is engorgement or potentially mastitis. If you decrease the amount of nursing you are doing, then you will have a surplus of milk supply. Cutting off nursing and/or pumping too quickly then you might end up with some clogged ducts or mastitis. Instead, try to wean off slowly to prevent this.

Another common side effect of stopping breastfeeding is depression. Choosing to end your breastfeeding journey can bring up a lot of emotions, but there is also a physiological reason for feeling down after weaning. One of the perks of breastfeeding is the release of oxytocin, which can make you feel awesome. It’s called the “love” hormone for a reason. So when you quit nursing that production goes down. There’s not a ton of evidence or studies around this, but it is hypothesized that this may cause depression in some moms.

And don’t forget about the tantrums. Breastfed toddlers are used to getting their warm mama milk their entire life now. You can wean gently and over time, but once you start saying no, it could lead to a tantrum as many things tend to do with toddlers.

How Long Does it Take for Milk to Dry Up After Weaning a Toddler?

The majority of your milk will probably dry up within a week or two. But some moms report being able to express some milk for months or even years after weaning! Sounds far fetched, right? But it’s not. It’s common enough, and it makes sense that while your supply does adjust fairly quickly to increases or decreases in demand, the milk factory doesn’t necessarily just shut down right away after it’s used to chugging along every day for months or years.

How Do I Stop Breastfeeding? Weaning Slowly vs. Cold Turkey.

Unless you need to quit cold turkey for a non-negotiable reason, I would suggest weaning slowly if possible. Not only will this help ensure you don’t get clogged ducts and mastitis, but it will make the entire process easier with way fewer tears from both mom and baby.

While I have don’t countless hours of research into breastfeeding over the years, this next bit of advice is just my personal opinion from experience. The weaning process truly starts when the baby begins to eat solids. While babies under 1 year should continue to receive breastmilk or formula, adding in solid food to their diet naturally means they are going to have less and less breastmilk or formula over time. Without necessarily planning to, you’ve probably already started the process of weaning your toddler.

Thinking about it as a process, or a part of development similar to learning to walk and talk might help take a little pressure off of the situation and allow you to go with the flow. For me, I just started to know intuitively when it was time to bump up the process of weaning a little bit. There came a time with all of my kids when the nursing sessions started to dwindle or decrease in length, and when I tried redirecting them, they were easily moved onto something else instead of breastfeeding. It’s at that point that I focused more on the following:

Feed your weaning toddler more solids. By the time most babies become toddlers they are probably eating solids fairly well. But when I choose to start nudging the weaning process along I push as much solids as I can, especially ones that I think will fill their bellies and kind of mimic the comfort of having breastmilk.

So for example, lots of yogurt or glasses of whole milk, and I always keep plenty of their favorite snacks on hand, even things like chocolate. I give my kids a wide range of foods, including sweets and candy. For me, it’s about balance and moderation and teaching that from a young age. Also, having those tempting treats are good to have around when you need to give a little distraction from the almighty boob.

Redirect, redirect, redirect. As often as I can, instead of just saying “no” to my toddler having milk, I try to redirect their attention to something else. That might include a yummy snack, a hug, some tickles, a game, a toy, something interesting near us like a butterfly or airplane in the sky. You get the point. Find something to distract them with instead fo continuously saying no.

Know when to give it and when to hold your ground. This is a tough one that you just have to follow your gut on. The point of this is to try to reduce the amount of time you are breastfeeding and eventually wean them. But if you’re doing it gently and slowly it means you are still going to be breastfeeding for a while. So how do you find that balance between continuing to meet their emotional and physical needs while beginning to get a little space from your nursling?

The answer is truly up to you, and takes intuition and knowing your child. I know when my little ones really need a little boob time when they are truly upset and need comfort vs. when they have the more typical 2-year-old meltdown that is akin to saying no to getting a toy at Target. It’s still totally valid for them to be upset when hearing the answer is “no,” but as a mother, you can usually tell the different types of upset, why they are mad, and how best to support them. Sometimes supporting them means letting them go ahead and nurse, and sometimes it is holding that boundary while empathizing with their emotions, maybe offering a hug or a kiss instead.

How Can I Get My Toddler to Sleep Without Nursing?

All of my kids share a bed with me and my husband. We have a queen mattress and king mattress pushed together on the floor of our master bedroom. We chose to start bedsharing when our first was a baby. After falling asleep with her in the rocking chair while nursing her as a newborn I did some research and found that was much less safe than choosing to bedshare while following safety guidelines like the safe sleep 7. At that point, I decided to take the precautions necessary and bring her to bed with me, and all of our kids have slept with us in various arrangements since.

Sleep training and crying it out just aren’t for me and my family. I like to go with the natural development of my children and support them as they learn to sleep on their own naturally. This means a lot of nighttime cuddles and breastfeeding over night. With my first, she started night weaning around 18 months with very little effort from me. All I needed to do was start giving her a little pat on that back with some shushing and she’d usually fall back asleep without needing any milk at that point.

My twins though? They were still nursing at night like babies when they were over 2 years old. I spent all night with both boobs out like a smorgasbord, and eventually I couldn’t do it anymore. So I decided to try night weaning them. After hearing from other moms who practice gentle parenting that the Jay Gordon method worked for them, I gave it a try. Within a couple weeks, my boys were night weaned. You can read the details here, but to put it simply, I decreased the amount of time they could nurse each night slowly over the course of days/weeks, until they were no longer night nursing. We had a couple tough nights, but I was with them and cuddling them through it.

Also try these book to help prepare there:

Sally Weans from Night Nursing

Nursies When the Sun Shines: A little book on nightweaning

Coping Emotionally When Weaning Your Toddler

Even if you are so over nursing you just want to be done, you might still get some feels. When thinking about never breastfeeding your toddler again, it’s normal to get sad.

Breastfeeding is an incredible bond. When you’ve breastfed for many months or years it’s normal to get emo. That’s a lot of skin-to-skin and cuddles. We know that our little ones will grow up and they will become more and more independent. Knowing that and seeing it happen are two different things.

Just feel those feels mama. Don’t deny them or push them away. Find another mom who nursed who you can share your emotions with. Someone who understands. Check out groups where you can get support at the links below. Lean on them for support.

Where to Find Support While Weaning

Legendairy Mamas

The Cleavage Club: Breastfeeding Support Group

LLLI Breastfeeding Support Group

La Leche League for Moms of Twins/Multiples

Breastfeeding Mama Talk Privately

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Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

Want more breastfeeding tips? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Got a stage 5 clinger who won’t let go of your boob? Like your nipple feels like it’s now permanently attached to your little squish? You’ve got a cluster feeder. These cluster feeding tips will help you survive when your newborn is feeding every hour.

If you’re a new mom just learning to breastfeed, it can be so confusing and frustrating when it feels like you *just* finished nursing your newborn, and those hungry cries start again before you even get a chance to grab a drink or some food, let alone go to the bathroom. These cluster feeding tips were essential for me to be able to survive those newborn phases of nonstop stop feeding my three kids and go on to breastfeed for a combined 6+ years now.

A lot of the most useful tips are actually not even tips at all, but just learning how cluster feeding works and why newborns (and older babies sometimes) do it. Being empowered through knowledge was what helped me stay steadfast in completing my breastfeeding goals.

So we will start by answering some of the frequently asked questions about breastfeeding newborns and cluster feedings.

While I’ve spent a lot of time researching and learning about breastfeeding, plus have years of experience doing it, I am not a lactation consultant or medical professional. So if you are really concerned about you or your baby’s health or nutritional needs, please find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for some help.

(FYI. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

Is it normal for a newborn to feed every hour?

Yes. During certain times, like growth spurts, babies will tend to eat for longer stretches more often. Most of the time when a baby is feeding every hour or even multiple times an hour it is due to a growth spurt, developmental leap, or in the evening “witching hour.”

Newborns should feed around 8-12 times a day, or usually every 2-4 hours. But babies aren’t machines and don’t know how to read clocks. So sometimes they will go longer stretches without eating or bunch all of their feedings together into a shorter period of time.

What is cluster feeding?

Cluster feeding is when babies bunch their feeds together into a short period of time. So instead of spreading 8-12 feedings throughout the course of the day, they might feed multiple times in an hour or a couple of hours, especially in the evening a few hours before bedtime.

How long does cluster feeding go on for?

Cluster feeding usually happens during growth spurts, developmental leaps, the witching hours, or also teething and illnesses.

So how long cluster feeding goes on depends on why your baby is cluster feeding. If you can connect your baby’s age to the typical time of a growth spurt or a developmental leap (like the 4-month sleep regression) then that is probably the reason. Usually, this will last a couple of days, but can be shorter or longer.

If your baby tends to cluster feed during the witching hour (the evenings), then it will probably last longer. The witching hour typically starts when they are a few weeks old and can last up to three months. It’s not easy, but it DOES end eventually.

When babies nurse while teething (which can begin months before teeth pop) or illness, many babies will cluster feed for just a few days at most.

Can a baby cluster feed all day?

It can definitely feel like it. Some babies will want to be latched on a lot of the time when they are going through a big growth spurt or developmental leap.

This is generally very normal and not an indication of a problem unless there other factors happening, like they aren’t gaining weight, as well.

It’s also important to note that there are different types of nursing. Babies can either be actively nursing or passively nursing. When they are actively nursing you will probably be able to feel them sucking more strongly and hear or notice them swallowing gulps of milk. When they are passively nursing, it will feel more like flutters instead of strong pulls when they suck. Passive nursing can be associated with cluster feeding and comfort feeding.

What age do babies cluster feed?

Babies can start cluster feeding and can continue to cluster feed from time to time until you end the breastfeeding relationship. This doesn’t mean they will always cluster feed, but rather there will be periods of time that a baby will cluster feed, basically until they are weaned because while cluster feeding is mostly associated with growth spurts, the witching hour, and developmental leaps when they are newborns, it can also be connected to teething, illness, and just for comfort during stressful times as they get older.

So for example, my babies might have stopped cluster feeding months ago, but then out of the blue want to be attached to the boob all day nursing because they are about to pop a tooth and the milk soothes their sore gums. Or maybe one of them has the flu and the milk is a perfect comfort, pain reliever, and immunity support, not to mention mommy cuddles are great too.

Can your nurse your baby too much?

Generally no. When babies breastfeed, they are actively working to get milk. So when they are full they will either stop or just start passively nursing.

The only reasons I have come across that might give you pause is if you have a very strong, fast, and heavy milk flow, like if you have an oversupply. Sometimes if your milk comes out too hard and fast, it can come to quickly for baby to be able to properly regulate how much they are getting, leading to them overfeeding. If you think this might be the case, then you can try paced feeding on the breast the same way you might pace feed from a bottle to try to slow it down a little bit. However, this is NOT the norm and usually isn’t connected to cluster feeding.

Does cluster feeding increase milk supply?

Usually, cluster feeding will increase your supply. Milk supply is based on supply and demand. So the more baby demands, the greater your supply.

This is NOT usually an indication of low supply unless there are other signs, like low weight gain. Babies will many times cluster feed to increase milk production because they are growing and will need more milk as they get bigger.

How do you deal with cluster feeding?

Get comfy and cozy.

Breastfeeding a newborn or cluster feeding baby usually means many hours snuggled up with your squishy newborn binging on Netflix and snacking. If you CAN just relax, get comfortable, and enjoy the process, then do it. One of the best cluster feeding tips is to just accept it and enjoy it. It is normal and you’re doing ok, mama.

Get the best breastfeeding pillow

This is a matter of personal choice. When I had just one baby I loved the Boppy for a breastfeeding pillow, but when I had twins and was tandem nursing I couldn’t have lived without the Brest Friend Twin pillow.

Now, I always recommend the Brest Friend Twin pillow. It is huge! It might feel cumbersome at first, but when you’re kind of stuck cluster feeding for hours, it is nice. Plus it has a pocket to stash your remote, snacks, phone, and a drink.

Learn to breastfeed in a baby carrier.

Sometimes you just need to get up and move around but a cluster feeding infant declares they are NOT having that. Make you BOTH happy by popping them into a carrier, whipping out a nip, and going out for a walk or even just a small stroll around the house.

I love ring slings, stretchy wraps, and the Tula for nursing babies.

For more cluster feeding tips and how to breastfeed your newborn, check out this post!

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What Kind of Pregnancy Test Should I Buy?

What Kind of Pregnancy Test Should I Buy?

Think you’re pregnant or trying to conceive? You’re probably wondering what kind of pregnancy test should I buy?

These 5 questions will help you choose which is best for you, and we’ll give you our pick for the best one. So you can answer the question for yourself on what kind of pregnancy test should I buy, AND get our opinion on the best and most reliable.

Just a heads up, some of the links below might be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase via one of these links I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. A great way to support this page if you like this post.

When should I take a pregnancy test?

Ideally, you want to wait until your missed period to get the most accurate results, but I know that isn’t easy.

I know when I was trying to get pregnant I started taking tests just a few days after ovulation squinting until I was cross-eyed trying to see a second line.

I guess that gave me something to do during the dreaded two-week wait between ovulation and your missed period, but it also sometimes adds extra stress and definitely wastes money.

But if you absolutely can’t wait, some tests can start to sense increases in pregnancy hormones around 8 days after ovulation.

What is the best early pregnancy test?

I’ve been in quite a few trying to conceive (TTC) groups when I was trying to get pregnant, and the general consensus is that most moms love First Response, and specifically the First Response Early Response (FRER).

This test claims to be able to tell if you are pregnant up to 6 days before your missed period!

From personal experience, I can confirm that I did get accurate positives at least a few days before my missed period with the First Response Early Response.

Which brand of pregnancy test is most accurate?

According to a consumer study, moms also love the First Response Early Response for its accuracy as well as the sensitivity.

However, other studies have shown that pretty much all the tests on the market are in and of themselves very accurate.

The thing that isn’t accurate is the user.

So be sure you follow the instructions to the letter and any test you choose should give you an accurate result.

For some moms who want it to be as simple as possible, you can try a digital test like the Clear Blue Digital Pregnancy Test which says either “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”

Are the cheap pregnancy tests accurate?

If you use them properly, yes.

Over the counter pregnancy tests are 99% accurate once you hit that first day of your missed period, no matter which test you choose.

This article points out that even the more expensive tests that claim to give you earlier results don’t guarantee 99% accuracy until you’ve missed your period.

So it’s up to you really whether you want to save some cash on cheaper tests or go with the more expensive. Neither has been proven to be more or less effective. Though sometimes the more expensive tests may have a nicer or more convenient design.

How soon will a pregnancy test read positive?

If you are pregnant, then you should get a positive test by the time you’ve missed your period.

But what about earlier?

Here’s the deal. Once an egg is fertilized it takes time for it to travel down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it will implant. It is only after implantation that your body starts to create HCG, the hormone that pregnancy tests look for.

So it’s going to be days until you even start producing the hormone needed to get a positive test. After that, your hormone levels will rise rapidly, but it could still take until around the time of your missed period for the hormone levels to be high enough to get an accurate test.

The earliest some women get an accurate test would be around 8 days past ovulation, or around 6 days before your period. Before that, a positive test is very unlikely, and even at that point, it’s very easy to get a false negative.

What is our favorite test?

I love the First Response Early Response. It’s one of the more expensive ones, but I love the design and the feel of it. It has also always given me accurate results once I hit the testing window.

When you’re testing for pregnancy you want results fast and accurate, and be able to know what kind of pregnancy test should I buy so you can save money and peace of mind.

So let us know in the comments, which pregnancy test is your favorite? Then read this post about what to do the first few weeks of pregnancy.

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Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Paced Feeding Your Breastfed Baby

Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I’ll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies.

I’ve breastfed for over 6 years combined now, and like many breastfeeding moms, I was worried about introducing bottles to my babies when they were infants. The fear of nipple confusion was real and I wanted to make sure I did all I could to protect our breastfeeding relationship, which is why I chose paced feeding.

Just and FYI mama, I may share affiliate links in this post if I recommend any products I love. Using an affiliate link means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. A great way to support this blog if you love this or other posts.

What is paced feeding?

Paced feeding is a method of bottle feeding a baby that slows down how quickly a baby feeds, and also gives the baby more control over the speed and amount they get from the bottle.

Paced feeding is done through the way in which you hold the bottle and the frequency you take breaks during feedings.

Why is paced feeding better?

When breastfeeding, the baby has to work to get milk out of the breast. The milk only comes out (usually) when baby is actively sucking. A bottle, on the other hand, tends to continuously drip even when the baby is not actively sucking.

This is a problem because it can cause a breastfed baby to become lazy when they get too used to a bottle. If they are too used to the ease milk flows from a bottle, they might get lazy with their latch at the breast or frustrated with the slower flow of the breast.

Breastfed babies might also overeat when given a bottle without paced feeding. Since they’re used to the slower pace and flow of a breast, they might gobble down a bottle without realizing how much they are getting. It takes time for their bellies to send their brain the message it’s full. If they eat too fast, the message doesn’t arrive until they are overly full.

Overfeeding a breastfed baby isn’t good because it can cause discomfort for the baby, spitting up, and wastes milk, which can be especially demoralizing for a mom who worked hard to pump that milk.

What kind of bottle is best for paced feeding?

You can choose whatever bottle you want, that isn’t what really matters. But was DOES matter is the type of nipple you are using on that bottle.

Be sure you are using the slowest flow nipple possible. Many moms will actually choose preemie nipples for their babies.

The slower flow nipples will ensure that the milk doesn’t flow too freely, preventing overeating and bottle preference.

A lot of moms like Dr. Brown’s slow flows, but I used Munchkin Latch with my kids.

What is the proper way of feeding a baby? How do you do paced feeding?

There are few keys to properly doing a paced bottle feed.

First, ensure the baby is sitting as upright as possible.

We want the baby to have as much control over how much and how long they are feeding. If they are laying back they don’t have as much control and the milk might flow too quickly.

So hold them up as much as is possible or comfortable for them based on their age and head control.

Next, hold the bottle parallel to the ground.

You usually see baby’s being fed with the bottle pointed downward, but you DON’T want to do that.

Instead, hold the bottle parallel to the ground. You’ll notice the entire nipple isn’t full of milk, just enough to cover where the opening of the nipple is. This is good.

Holding the bottle this way slows down the flow of milk. Instead of gravity pulling it all down at the baby, just what the baby wants will flow through.

Stop to burp and take a break every ounce or so.

This is where the “paced” part really comes in. Especially when you are first introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby, take your time. Stop to burp and take a break every ounce or so.

Interrupting the feed for a break ensures that the baby isn’t going to overeat because it gives them time to be able to tell when their bellies are full.

Does paced feeding cause gas?

No. If anything, it prevents gas.

Gas is caused by a bunch of things like air bubbles in the bottle (stir, don’t’ shake your milk), overeating or laying down after (or during) eating.

Paced feeding prevents a lot of the causes of gas in babies.

If your baby is really uncomfortable or colicky, then you might want to check with your pediatrician for the cause.

How long should paced feeding take?

As long as it needs to.

Use common sense here. If your baby gulps down 3 ounces in 3 minutes then you are not really pacing them or the flow is too fast on the bottle.

My babies usually took around 10-15 minutes to breastfeed, and it was about the same for bottle feeding. You want to mimic the breastfeeding experience the best that you can.

In fact, I went against my advice above and used heavier flow nipples for my babies because my actual breasts had a heavier flow than the slow flow nipples, causing them to get frustrated at the slower flow of a bottle.

This process is about watching and knowing your baby. Follow their lead, and focus on them having as much control over the process as possible.

You got this, Mama. Follow your baby and your instincts. If you’re introducing bottles because your nips are killing you, check out these amazing nipple-saving breastfeeding tips for pain to get some relief!

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3 First Month Pregnancy Tips to Start Off on a Good Foot

Just found out your pregnant, or maybe wondering if you are? These first month pregnancy tips will help you get started.

The first few weeks of pregnancy can be stressful and also blissful. These are three tips to help you get started at the very beginning, and I’ve also included some affiliate links to products I recommend and love. Rock the early days with these first month pregnancy tips

(FYI. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

Finding out you’re pregnant the first month. When should you test for pregnancy?

Did you know the first month of pregnancy includes two weeks when you weren’t even actually pregnant? Weird, huh?

That’s because your first month of pregnancy and the first trimester begins on the first day of your new menstrual cycle. Then it isn’t generally 10 days to a couple of weeks until you actually ovulate and become pregnant. (For lots of awesome menstrual cycle info, check out this article)

So during your first month of pregnancy, you are probably just finding out that you are in fact pregnant.

In fact, you might not even know that you are pregnant at all during that first month.

Ovulation for most women happens around day 14 of their menstrual cycle, give or a take a couple of days. Once an egg is fertilized it takes a few days for it to get to the uterus and then it will implant.

It is only after implantation that HCG (the pregnancy hormone) starts to rise. It is the HCG that you are testing for when taking a pregnancy test.

So for most women, it will take until around when your period is supposed to start for the HCG to reach a level detectable by a pregnancy test, though for some women it’s soon using more sensitive tests.

This means that even if you are trying to conceive and know you could be pregnant, you still might not be able to tell until after that first month has passed.

Some women also experience implantation bleeding when the egg implants in the uterus, mistaking it for their period. They then don’t find out they are pregnant until the next month’s period is missed.

Best practices for testing

Take it from someone who has peed on dozens of sticks and squinted at every one… just wait.

I could tell in my body that I was pregnant before I could actually get a positive test, but I just couldn’t stop myself from peeing on all the sticks I could get my hands on anyways. It was a huge waste of money and time, to be honest.

It would have been less stressful if I could have just chilled out and waited until around 10 days past ovulation to start testing.

So get yourself a few of the First Response Early Response test, which are my personal favorite along with a bunch of other moms, and just hold off on testing until you are close to your period date. Then try to test with your first pee of the day, as soon as you wake up. This is because the HCG will be most concentrated first thing in the morning.

Be sure to check your results within the testing window in the instructions. Waiting too long can cause you to get a false positive due to evap lines.

 

Find us on Instagram for more first trimester and first month pregnancy and birth tips and stories!

Choose your doctor or midwife and set up your first appointment.

Once you find out you’re pregnant you can go ahead and set up your first prenatal appointment.

Most of the time, this will be around 8 weeks.

Take this time to really think about what kind of healthcare provider and birth you want. It’s honestly never too early to start thinking about your birth plan.

For example, if you know you want a natural birth then you will want to find a healthcare provider who is experienced in natural births and will be supportive. Likewise, if you know you want all the drugs, then you’ll want to find someone who delivers babies in a hospital setting and not something like a birth center.

So many women don’t achieve their birth goals because they choose the wrong people to support them.

Choosing someone who aligns with your goals and who you trust is of the utmost importance in your pregnancy journey. Do some research and consider even interviewing a few different doctors and midwives to see who is a best fit for you.

Most hospitals and birth centers will let you take a tour to get a feel for the vibes.

Start taking prenatals and focus on your health

I’m going to be honest. Not too long after that first month (possibly during) is when you might start getting some of the not so awesome pregnancy symptoms.

Take advantage of this time. You might be feeling pretty good still, which might not be the case once the HCG keeps rising in your body.

Do any last-minute tasks you might not feel up to if you’re puking every day. You might be able to get through your whole first trimester and pregnancy with no bad symptoms, but most women will experience at least some nausea and/or discomfort. So I would plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Also, take a look at the pregnancy do’s and don’ts like what foods to avoid. Then choose some prenatals and start taking them. These are my personal favorites.

Good luck, mama! The first month is exciting and sometimes stressful, but pregnancy is such a fun ride. For some remedies for first trimester morning sickness, check this post out!

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The Best Way to Breastfeed Twins

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Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work.

Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve, especially when they’re newborns and you’re just establishing the breastfeeding relationship. Even more so when tandem breastfeeding. When there’s more than one it’s even more important to be clear on the best way to breastfeeding twins.

(FYI. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

The Setup: The best way to breastfeed twins (even if you’re alone)

What you’ll need for the best way to breastfeed twins

Now that my twins are toddlers and still breastfeeding, I can just whip out a boob and they happily latch on.

But when babies are newborns and don’t have head control, it’s a lot trickier to get them to latch on properly and comfortably for all three of you.

Set yourself up for success by having just a few items around that will make it so much easier for you.

How to get in position by yourself

It isn’t always easy to get two babies into position to breastfeed easily, but I figured out some ways to make it work for myself. It’s hard to exactly describe, but hopefully, it makes sense for you.

Here are my steps:

  1. Put babies in the pack and play.
  2. Get my snacks/drink/remote/phone all ready and within reaching distance to where I’ll be sitting.
  3. Prop a pillow on the couch where my lower back will be and put on next to where I will sit so it’s reachable.
  4. Strap the Brest Friend to me. I love this pillow because it actually has a waist strap with velcro so you can strap it on and walk around with it on. It won’t support a baby’s weight, but it helps you keep it in place.
  5. Once the pillow is strapped to me I would scoop up one baby in each arm with football hold. This took some practice, but after a week or so I got it down. Before I was able to do this I would take the babies one at a time and place them on the couch next to wear I would be sitting. They weren’t able to roll yet, but I would put a pillow or something next to them so they couldn’t roll off the couch. This isn’t a safe place to leave a baby, but I was only leaving them there for a few seconds.
  6. Next, I would sit down and get the babies positioned on the pillow in a football hold. If I had one in each arm it was pretty simple to just set them down on top of the pillow, and if I had them laying on the couch next to me I would pick up one at a time and place them on the pillow, ensuring to keep them positioned in ways they wouldn’t fall off the couch or the pillow.
  7. Once I had them positioned on the pillow I would put another throw pillow underneath the Brest Friend pillow to bring it higher and close to the breast.
  8. Then I propped their heads a little with a receiving blanket if necessary.
  9. The Brest Friend pillow has a little pocket so I liked to stash my phone, the TV remote, and my drink or snack if it fit too.
  10. After all of that, I’d be ready to go! Whip ’em out and let the feast begin.

Why this is the best way to breastfeed twins (specifically newborns)

Once your babies get a little bigger, you won’t need a whole bunch of steps or special props in order to breastfeed them.

But when they are teeny tiny, they’re cluster feeding, and you know you’ll be stuck there for a while, you want to be as comfortable as possible.

I binge-watched the entire series of Breaking Bad in this position. Propped with two pillows plus the Brest Friend pillow, snacks and drink on hand. I didn’t find any positions that worked as well as this to both keep the babies happy and me happy.

How do you burp them?

I see a lot of moms asking how do you burp babies when you’re tandem breastfeeding twins, and it’s actually pretty easy.

I keep talking about the Brest Friend pillow, but it seriously is so helpful. It is pretty solid and sturdy and the way it’s formed makes the baby roll into you a little instead of off the edge. So between that and a receiving blanket you can prop one baby up, allowing them to continue nursing, while you carefully pull the other one up on your shoulder to burp.

Or, you can always leave them on the pillow and just turn them onto their belly a little to burp.

You’ll find what works for you, but it was really easy for me to either bring them one at a time up to my shoulder to burp or once I got more adept, I could just burp them both at one time. One on each shoulder.

You’ll find what works for you mama. But for me and a lot of other twinmoms, this is the best way to breastfeed twins. For more breastfeeding twins tips, check out this article all about I learned after breastfeeding twins for two years!

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First Trimester Tips for Husbands and Partners: 3 Thing You Need to Know

First Trimester Tips for Husbands and Partners: 3 Thing You Need to Know

Wife or partner pregnant? Have no idea what to do now? Start with these 3 must-know first trimester tips for husbands and partners.

The first trimester has so many new challenges to tackle. It is easily the least favorite trimester of most moms between the hormones and morning (all day) sickness, but with these first trimester tips for husbands and partners, you’ll be able to start supporting her in the best ways possible.

(FYI. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

First Trimester Tips for Husbands and Partners Tip #1: GET READY FOR MOOD SWINGS

Even if this pregnancy was long-awaited and planned, there are a lot of emotions that come up during the first trimester.

There’s the obvious culprit… hormones.

Mood swings are super common in the first trimester due to surges in estrogen and progesterone, which happens to be the same thing that causes morning sickness. Lovely, right?

Think of it like PMS on steroids. There are so many feels that are purely due to the chemicals coursing through a pregnant woman’s body.

Speaking from experience, she’ll be able to deal with it for the most part once accustomed to it, but be on the lookout. If you notice more mood swings than normal, know it’s probably just the hormones talking.

Plus, adjusting to the idea of motherhood.

It’s one thing to want to be a mom, and another to actually be becoming a mom.

Women have a bajillion different reactions to the fact that they are truly pregnant and have a human growing inside of them. Sometimes it’s blissful, and sometimes it’s not. Usually, it’s all and everything in between.

I’ve heard people say a woman becomes a mom when she finds out she’s pregnant, but a dad doesn’t become a dad until the baby is born. To some extent, I think that is true as a generality.

While the pregnancy will have some impact on the pregnant person’s partner, it just isn’t the same as the person actually going through all the physical and emotional changes. It takes a minute to adapt.

And then there’s the fear.

The biggest fear for most pregnant moms? Losing the baby.

During the first trimester is when miscarriage is most likely, which is why a lot of people wait to announce pregnancies. (Though telling some close friends/family might be a good idea in case support is needed.)

That first trimester is such a hard wait. Although miscarriages and stillbirths do happen after the first trimester, there’s this feeling of being “safe” once you get past that 12-week mark.

So just now that she is probably spending a lot of time worrying, even if it’s just a small thought in the back of her mind.

First Trimester Tips for Husbands and Partners Tip #2: DON’T COMMENT ON HER BODY

Most women won’t start “showing” before around 12-16 weeks, or the second trimester.

The uterus and baby bump hasn’t risen above the pelvis yet during the first trimester. So if your baby mama is starting to look a little bigger in the belly, it’s probably not actually a baby bump yet.

It can be a bit awkward as a mom to have people comment on how you’re showing if you know it isn’t really even a baby bump.

What could make her appear to be showing?

The not-so-sexy answer is probably bloating. Though there are other reasons someone might “show” a little earlier than 12 weeks, in my experience it’s really just bloating.

Besides bloating it is possible that she’s showing early because her due date is wrong, or maybe there are even multiple babies in there! (I had twins in my second pregnancy, and I looked really pregnant just two months in)

 

First Trimester Tips for Husbands and Partners Tip #3: HAVE MORNING SICKNESS REMEDIES ON HAND

Around 85% of women will get nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. Though really it can be ALL DAY sickness.

The first trimester is SO FREAKING HARD for a lot of people. It’s just exhausting and emotionally draining to feel sick for 3 months straight.

For me, I end up having a delightful mix of nausea, acid reflux, exhaustion, and smell sensitivity. I kind of wanna puke just reminiscing about it.

So be proactive!

Have some remedies on hand, or at least in the back of your mind, and ready to go for when she needs something ASAP.

Check out this post where I lay out my top first trimester essentials, including the absolute BEST MORNING SICKNESS REMEDIES. Then let me which of these first trimester morning tips for husbands (and partners) was helpful in the comments.

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(Just an FYI, there are affiliate links included in this post to products and services that I found to be essential to breastfeeding my newborn.)

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #1: Get Comfy

Sometimes it feels like your newborn wants to nurse ALL FREAKIN’ DAY.

That’s normal and actually a good thing!

Babies will nurse for long periods of time or very often not just to get the nutrition they need as they grow rapidly, but to increase your supply and establish that supply.

Your supply is based on the baby’s demands. So in order to build your supply, baby needs to nurse for longer periods and more often some times. This is called cluster feeding, and it normally happens during growth spurts, when they’re sick, or in a developmental leap.

So figure out a way to get really cozy and comfy and settle into a Netflix binge. I love this Brest Friend pillow. It’s made for twins and is huge, but it has a pocket for snacks, a remote and your phone. The ideal cluster feeding pillow.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #2: Skip Bottles

Don’t bottle-feed a breastfed newborn unless it’s really necessary.

When you’re establishing the breastfeeding relationship and your milk supply with a newborn, it’s important to only breastfeed if possible. You can eventually introduce bottles, but being diligent about sticking with the breast during the first few weeks or first month can make or break for some moms.

Why should you give a breastfed newborn baby a bottle?

When babies nurse they have to actively suck in order to get milk. But most bottles don’t require active sucking to get milk, there is a constant drip of milk that the baby doesn’t have to work too hard to get.

Using slow flow or preemie nipples are the best option if you need to or want to use bottles in addition to breastfeeding with a newborn as they release the least amount of milk.

But if a baby gets too used to the ease of a bottle they can get a little lazy when it comes to going back to the breast.

Also, since milk supply is dependent on supply and demand if you bottle feed you must continue to remove milk from the breast in order to maintain or build supply.

So even if you use a bottle to get a break and allow others to feed the baby, you’ll still need to pump.

Bottle alternatives for newborns

If you need to feed a baby in a way besides the breast, the best way to maintain supply and also not have the baby be confused with bottle vs. breast is to use pumped milk and try non-bottle ways to feed, like a finger or syringe feeding.

When my little ones needed some supplementation, I used pumped milk in a syringe and it worked perfectly to fill their bellies while we worked in establishing breastfeeding and keep my supply up.

Of course, all instances are unique, so consult with your pediatrician and lactation consultant to see what is best for you and your baby.

How to give a bottle to a breastfed baby?

If you do choose to give a bottle to your newborn and also want to breastfeed, here is what I would recommend based on my experience and research.

First, choose a bottle with slow flow or preemie nipple. This will give the baby the least amount of milk without them having to work for it.

Then, be sure to pump milk. Even if you choose to supplement with formula, it is important to empty the breast so you can keep up your supply.

Finally, be sure to do paced feeding! Paced feeding is the best way to mimic breastfeeding for babies who are used to nursing. It ensures they don’t get too much too fast.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #3: Work on that latch

A poor latch is the number one cause of pain when breastfeeding. (You can check out this article for help with breastfeeding tips for pain.)

It’s also important to ensure baby is latching well so that you know they are effectively nursing and getting all they need to fill up and get the proper nutrition.

I shared my best tips for getting the perfect latch here, but to boil it down to the most important thing to get a good latch?

Get the deepest latch you can. Make sure the baby opens very wide and gets the whole nipple plus some areola in their mouth.

Baby’s mouth should be open wide with lips flared out, and they shouldn’t be making any weird noises like slurping or clicking.

You can always get a lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC) to have a look and give you pointers.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #4: Nourish yourself too

Having a newborn is so physically taxing. You thought pregnancy was hard? Having a little baby to breastfeed for what feels like a bazillion hours a day is exhausting AF.

It’s easy to put your needs last during this time, but more than ever you need to nourish yourself and be gentle with yourself.

You’ll see all kinds of products directed at new moms to help with milk supply, or tips to supposedly increase your supply.

While there may be some herbs or other tips that work for some moms, the most important thing is to just take good care of yourself. Nurture yourself.

How to take care of yourself while breastfeeding:

  • Eat a healthy diet. You don’t have to live off of kale or anything, but fill up in things that will give you more energy and feel nourished. That will be different for everyone so do what is making you feel good. Pay attention to your body.
  • Drink water. You don’t need to go bananas with the amount of water. There’s no evidence that drinking tons of water will help supply unless you’re already really dehydrated. Just drinking enough so you don’t feel thirsty is enough.
  • Sleep. This is so hard because newborns have a mind of their own when it comes to sleep. But do your best to get some rest, and consider hiring a postpartum doula to give you sleep breaks when you’re at your wit’s end.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #5: Hire a postpartum doula

This was the best thing I did for myself when I had my twins.

A few times a week during the first month I had a doula come stay with my twins overnight. She would wake me to nurse them once in the night so I could get two four-hour stretches of sleep in.

I wasn’t just the sleep that helped but also being able to unplug my brain. I knew I had someone I could trust with my babies for a few hours so my entire family could get rest. I knew if they needed me, she would wake me up to tend to them.

If it is in your budget, definitely consider this! Even if it’s not in your budget, shop around. Some doulas work on a sliding scale to accommodate different income levels.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #6: To pump or not to pump

What I’m going to tell you may or may not be the best thing for you, but is just my own personal experience.

You can consult an IBCLC for more help with deciding what is best for you.

I chose to pump in addition to breastfeeding with my kids. Here is why:

  • I wanted to encourage supply ASAP. With my first, I was worried about supply, and with my second it was twins and I wanted to bring in my supply quickly and decided to go with over vs. undersupply.
  • With my first, I was planning to go back to work and wanted a supply stash for then.
  • It’s nice to be able to have others feed the babies from time to time. I still breastfed the first 90+% of the feeds, but once they got to be around a month old, my husband would give them a bottle of pumped milk once a day so I could have a break.

For some moms, pumping might not make sense. Maybe you know you’ll be home with the baby, and you struggle with oversupply (which is a serious thing!) Maybe you just don’t respond well to a pump anyways, or you don’t plan to be away from baby at all.

It’s totally up to you.

Though I always recommend having a pump on hand just in case. I love the Medela Harmony for a manual pump and the Spectra S2 for an automatic pump.

Most insurances will cover the cost of your pump, and Aeroflow can help you figure that out just by filling out a quick questionnaire.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #7: Cosleeping is awesome

Baby sleep is a controversial issue and each family will have to decide what works best for them.

I’m a huge fan of co-sleeping, more specifically bed-sharing.

Co-sleeping means baby sleeps in the same room as parents, whether that’s in a crib or bassinets, or in bed with parents.

Bed-sharing means baby sleeps in bed with parents.

The AAP recommends:

  • “Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
  • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.”

Personally I have chosen to bed-share with my kids.

I was so against it as a new mom, but what kept happening is I would end up falling asleep with my first baby in a rocking chair during the night, which is a lot less safe statistically than bed-sharing.

In fact, most infant deaths from sharing sleep with a parent happen on a couch or chair, not a bed.

Once I realized this, I decided to just bring her (and then her brothers later on) to bed with me.

After a lot of research, I felt it was safe if I followed the safe sleep 7, which breastfeeding organizations like La Leche League recommend.

But whether you choose to bedshare or not, keeping baby close-by is best according to research for their safety, but also for breastfeeding.

When baby is near you, it is so much easier to just grab them and latch on for a night feed instead of having to drag yourself into another room to nurse.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #8: Try a baby carrier

I don’t know about other moms, but I really wanted to get out and about when I had a newborn. Being stuck at home for so long made me a little stir-crazy.

But of course, baby still needs to feed when you’re away from home.

You can of course always give them bottles of pumped milk when out, but personally I hated dealing with bringing bottles places.

So to be able to simply and effectively feed my babies when we were away from home, I used a mix of the two-shirt method and kept them in a baby carrier.

The two-shirt method is just a way of keeping as much breast as possible covered while nursing without having to deal with blankets or nursing covers.

I tended to stick with ring slings or stretchy wraps to carry my newborns.

Not only is figuring out how to nurse the baby in a carrier helpful for when you’re away from home but sometimes a baby will want to nurse for what feels like forever. Being able to babywear gives you more mobility around your home to fix yourself something to eat, go for a walk, clean up a little, or chase other little ones you might have.

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #9: Learn to nurse on your side

When you learn to nurse your baby while laying on your side, it will completely change your momlife. Seriously.

I’m just going to link to a few articles to help you master it, and once you feel pretty confident in your baby’s latch, defintely give this a try:

Undercover Mama, Common Breastfeeding Positions: Side-Lying

Today’s Parent: Breastfeeding lying down is nursing goals

Breastfeeding Newborn Tips #10: Ask for help

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. It took nearly 10 days for me to really get my firstborn to latch consistently. Those first couple of weeks were so freaking hard. I can’t even.

But we figured it out after getting support from everyone I could.

I had help from nurses at my midwifery, other moms, Facebook groups, my husband, family, and Google.

We lots of other stumbling blocks along the way, but I was able to nurse her for 2.5 years and my twins are now 2+ years old and still nursing.

The point is that this is a journey, and it might be hard sometimes. That’s ok. Most moms are able to nurse effectively with the right support. So get the support you need. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. We all need a little help at some point.

Breastfeeding newborns can be challenging, but you got this mama! Hopefully, these breastfeeding newborn tips help ease your path a little. For more breastfeeding tips, check this article out!

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5 Tips for Surviving the First Trimester of Pregnancy

5 Tips for Surviving the First Trimester of Pregnancy

Just find out you’re pregnant? Congrats mama! Did those pregnancy symptoms start already, and you’re trying to learn about surviving the first trimester? We’ve got you covered with these 5 essential tips.

The first trimester is notoriously difficult between the hormone shifts, the exhaustion, nausea. Ugh. Surviving the first trimester isn’t easy, but it IS doable.

As a mom who’s gone through two pregnancies (including a twin pregnancy), these are my best suggestions for you to keep in mind when trying to survive the first trimester. These helped me and they’ll help you too. You got this.

(Just a heads up, this post might contain affiliate links to products I absolutely love and recommend.)

Surviving the First Trimester Tip #1: Know that it WILL end

The first trimester is the worst. It really is. BUT, it does end.

Even if you are cursed with morning sickness your entire pregnancy, or even hyperemesis gravidarum, it will end when you give birth.

I know months seems like such a long time to feel like utter crap, but once your little bundle of joy is here, it will go away and you’ll feel like a new woman.

But most likely you will start to feel better right around the end of the first trimester, or maybe into the beginning of the second trimester.

In my personal experience, I started feeling better around week 14 and by week 20 (halfway there) I was feeling awesome.

The second trimester is the best. For most women, there is a surge in energy, and you finally get to enjoy being pregnant with a cute bump before you get so big it hurts to walk.

So one of your keys to surviving the first trimester is an eye on the future.

Surviving the First Trimester Tip #2: Sleep is your bff

You have not known exhausted until you’ve been pregnant. Seriously. No amount of all-nighters in college cramming for exams, or double shifts at work can prepare you for just how tired you can be while pregnant.

And with good reason. You’re growing another human being. It’s hard work for your body.

So get some rest.

Not only will you really need it, but if you’re having any morning sickness, then being asleep at least gives you a break from the nausea.

Enjoy the zzz’s because once baby arrives, you’ll miss the long naps and sleeping through the night.

Surviving the First Trimester Tip #3: Vitamin B6 and Unisom for morning sickness is a life-saver

If there is one single remedy for morning sickness I could recommend to moms, it’s this one. Unisom and B6. (Of course, check with your midwives/doctor to see if it’s safe for you.)

Once I learned about this one, my life got so much better while I was pregnant and surviving the first trimester actually seemed possible.

It’s so simple and over-the-counter.

I just took a Unisom at bedtime and a B6 vitamin in the morning. The combo is totally freaking magic. A good night’s rest, and less nausea the next day.

Surviving the First Trimester Tip #4: Try unique natural remedies

When I’m pregnant I have this weird combo of nausea, heartburn, and acid reflux. It’s so hard because the things that help my nausea, like chips and grilled cheese, are terrible for heartburn and acid reflux.

So I tried to find foods and natural remedies that magically helped check all the boxes. The weird winner for me? Cantaloupe!

For the first couple of months, I had cantaloupe for breakfast. I found out that it was as a natural remedy for acid reflux, and luckily it didn’t make me feel more nauseous. It actually helped me MORE than TUMS or even the papaya enzymes I had been throwing back like Skittles.

While medications can be helpful when needed, just finding the right diet or other simple and natural remedies can be a game-changer.

Surviving the First Trimester Tip #5: Go minimal

Unless you’re a magical unicorn woman, which you might be, who knows… you will at some point (or all the time) feel like crap during the first trimester.

People really do talk about “surviving” the first trimester because that’s really all you’re trying to do. Get through the roughest part of pregnancy.

So take any and everything off your plate that is non-essential.

Ask for help.

If you have other kids, find neighbors, other moms/dads, family, or maybe activities that can help occupy your kids while you take care of yourself.

You might not have much control over your work situation, but if you can, find ways to cut back a little if possible or work smarter instead of harder so you can get things done more easily.

Focus on being minimal and scaling back for a few months. Once you get that second trimester glow going, then you can scale up again.

Surviving the first trimester comes down to really knowing yourself, accepting that it might be hard, and knowing that it will end. You’ll make it, mama.

And if you need more help, click here to check out my FAVORITE all-time must-haves for the first trimester.

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First Time Breastfeeding Tips to Establish Nursing ASAP

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First Time Breastfeeding Tips #1: Shoot for a Natural Birth (or Few Interventions)

Interventions during birth can have a negative impact on establishing a breastfeeding relationship, and increased interventions have been shown to lead to moms breastfeeding for shorter periods of time.

What is an intervention? It’s basically anything your medical team does to intervene in the birth, like induction, c-section, forceps, etc.

Modern medicine in an awesome tool for moms who desire or need it for their happiness and safety during birth, but each mom also has to weigh those choices with other goals, like breastfeeding. Many interventions can make it harder to breastfeed.

Tons of moms have interventions during birth and go on to breastfeed successfully (including me!), but studies to show it might make it more difficult. So if you want to set yourself up for breastfeeding success, choosing the most natural birth you feel comfortable with might be your best bet.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #2: Enjoy the Golden Hour

The golden hour is that hour right after birth when you really want to spend time bonding with, being skin-to-skin, and starting to nurse your baby.

Your baby literally just came earthside, they need time to adjust, to get to know you, and to regulate a lot of their bodily functions.

Beyond breastfeeding, according to this article, “Mothers and babies have a physiologic need to be together during the moments, hours, and days following birth, and this time together significantly improves maternal and newborn outcomes.”

So unless there is a dire reason, baby and mama should be spending that first hour close together.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #3: Follow Baby’s Lead

Baby’s are good at just a few things… eating, sleeping, pooping, and being cute.

So when it comes to feeding them, follow their lead. They are good at know when and how much they need to eat. Babies don’t follow schedules like we do. They might want to be attached to your breast for an hour or more at a time.

It can be exhausting, but it is totally normal. Babies will cluster feed (feeding often and for long periods) a lot in those early hours, days, weeks, and even months. They do this because breastmilk works on supply and demand. They are demanding more to increase and establish your milk supply.

Unless there are other red flags or issues arising, baby feeding often is not a sign of low supply or any other issue, if anything it’s a good sign that they’re doing exactly what they should.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #4: Keep Visitors to a Minimum

Of course, your loved ones want to come to see the newest addition to the family! I mean… who doesn’t want to cuddle a teeny baby?

But your best bet is to keep visitors to a minimum when you’re establishing your breastfeeding relationship.

If this is your first time breastfeeding, chances are you’re going to feel kind of awkward and are still getting the hang of it for a little while. Having people you might not feel 100% comfortable whipping a boob out in front of hanging around will add a ton of stress you don’t need.

Best bet is to ask people to give you some time before visiting.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #5: Work on the Latch

You’ve probably heard from lots of moms that breastfeeding hurts, or maybe their supply didn’t come in. There are a lot of issues that can arise your first time breastfeeding, and many happen due to poor latch.

Start off on the best foot by learning how to get a good and deep latch.

Learn my best tips here so you can be a latching pro.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #6: Don’t Panic

Maybe things don’t get off on the best foot. Maybe you had an emergency c-section and then the baby didn’t latch well and you’re still healing.

It’s ok mama.

Don’t panic.

It took me like 10 days to really get latching down with my daughter. I had no idea what was going on, and she was a little lazy in trying to latch (I believe from the epidural and fluids I got). But I stuck with it and kept trying.

Eventually, we clicked, and I ended up nursing her for 2.5 years!

If it’s hard, that is ok. It’s hard for ALL moms at some point. I have never met a mom who didn’t have a hard time breastfeeding at some point. If you decide breastfeeding isn’t your for, that’s ok too, but I also would encourage you to try to relax and give it another day if you can. Things can change quickly.

First Time Breastfeeding Tips #7: Get Help if Necessary

There is so much awesome support out there for breastfeeding moms nowadays! There are Facebook groups, local La Leche League groups, lactation consultants, books, and more.

But if you are really struggling and don’t know what to do, seek out an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). While other medical professions and other certifications of lactation consultants might be helpful, IBCLC’s are basically the gold standard of training when it comes to breastfeeding.

IBCLC’s are the best equipped to help mamas and babies.

Breastfeeding is a journey. Some journeys are smooth sailing and some have rocky starts. These first time breastfeeding tips are what helped me establish breastfeeding with my newborns, but your journey may look different, and that’s ok mama.

For more, check out these additional first time breastfeeding tips from REAL breastfeeding moms.

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