10 Helpful Breastfeeding Hacks
By now I think we can all come to the same conclusion when it comes to breastfeeding: it isn’t for the faint of heart!
It is a learned skill, and although some will find it comes more “naturally” than others, it’s an adjustment regardless.
With that in mind, I have a handful of breastfeeding hacks to share with you today, in hopes these will make the workload and stress of nursing ease up just a bit! I think that’s something every breastfeeding mama would welcome!
- A Breastfeeding Log App on your phone
These apps are used for tracking your breastfeeding times, which side you nursed on, and how long the feeding lasts. I’m listing this tip first because it’s something you’ll find extremely useful right from the start, plus there are tons of free apps to choose from.
I personally use and been happy with the Baby Tracker Newborn Log.
Okay, so why do you need to log this information? Mainly because it’s helpful at remembering what your new mom fog brain cannot, and helps predict patterns/routines so you’ll know when your baby is ready to eat again. Another bonus is that many of these also track diaper changes which is how you’ll know your newborn is getting enough milk. Visits to the pediatrician and/or lactation consultant will be full of lots of questions like how many feeds/how long do they last/how many wet and dirty diapers daily….all of these questions can be answered easily by referring to your app.
- Shirt clip
This genius invention might seem too simple to be significant, but I can assure you it will come in really handy! Instead of having to tuck your shirt out of the way or hold it while nursing (uncomfortable and can cause neck/back strain) just use this “bracelet” to secure your top up and out of the way. When not in use, wear it on your wrist so it’s easily accessible and can help you remember which side you most recently nursed from.
- Hot/Cold Gel Packs
These are little life-savers, for a variety of reasons. Before pumping, you can use a heated gel pack for easier let down of your milk. And for engorgement, a cold gel pack can provide some relief.
If you experience a clogged milk duct or mastitis (infection in the breast tissue), a warm gel compress will encourage the milk to flow and move, which is what you want to happen. Once you’ve nursed, cold packs can provide some pain relief and help with the inflammation from the infection.
Definitely keep some of these on hand!
- Side lying position for breastfeeding
The side-lying nursing position is where it’s at, mamas! If you aren’t familiar, with this method, you lie on one side with the arm on the underside up supporting your head while the other arm and hand supports your baby and keeps him/her close to the breast. This method might be a little tricky for very small babies, but keep trying until it works! I find it so helpful during night time feeds and the first morning feed of the day because it allows me to still feel restful and relaxed even when I’m not sleeping.
- Milk collector for non-nursing side
This nifty invention just might be my favorite on the list. It’s a silicone “pump” that suctions directly to the breast. The simplest use for this is attaching it to the non-nursing side to collect any milk that would normally be absorbed into a breast pad. No girl - save that precious milk! When you finish your nursing session, just empty the contents into a milk storage bag and then pat yourself on the back for boosting your stored milk supply without exerting any extra energy or time! WIN WIN WIN.
- For babies who fall asleep easily at the breast, try this trick:
Sit them up on your lap in an upright burping position (with one of your hands on their back and the other hand on their chest but also supporting their chin/head with your fingers.) Lean baby forward and then lean her backward, and then repeat - slow gentle movements back and forth - this should trigger a startle reflex so she’ll wake!
- Nursing night light
Middle of the night feeds always prove tricky with lighting. It’s hard to find something bright enough to see the baby while he/she nurses, but not too bright so you can both remain in as sleepy a stupor as possible. This clip on night light gives off just enough light to keep watch over your nursing baby, plus it has an optional vibrating alarm you can set in case you doze off during a feed. SMART!
- Invest in a couple of large, insulated straw tumblers
Fill them full with ice water each morning, Place them in your typical nursing spots around the house so they’ll be easily accessible and ready to sip on while you nurse. It should keep your drink ice cold all day long! (I am always super thirsty during breastfeeding sessions! Plus staying hydrated is important for maintaining a healthy supply).
- Have a lactation supplement ready in your medicine cabinet for sudden supply issues so you don’t have to make a special trip to the store or wait on an online order to arrive! Pink Stork True Milk is a popular one, but check with your lactation consultant to see what she recommends!
- Before beginning a feeding, tuck an absorbent bib or burp cloth on the inner side of your bra on the side the baby is feeding from so that leaks and/or spit up won’t mean you need to change clothes! (Learned this one the hard way!)
If you’re an expectant mom, it’s possible that this list just overwhelmed you with the realization of how much goes into breastfeeding! Instead of feeling overwhelmed though, I want you feel prepared. File this article away for reference when the time comes!
And if you’re currently a breastfeeding mom, I hope at least a few of these hacks thrill you at the prospect of introducing a tiny shortcut to your nursing life!
Shortcuts make me happy. You too?
But really - when you’re able to establish a rhythm to your breastfeeding journey and experience true joy through it, I believe that carries over into every aspect of your motherhood.
Here’s to living an abundant mom life!