Mom Hacks for Breastfeeding and Pumping!
Okay, ladies here are some great mom hacks for breastfeeding and pumping. I don’t know too many new moms that were 100% confident and didn’t have some kind of struggle somewhere along the line. Do you?? Here are some helpful tips I wish I knew when I first started breastfeeding!! Hopefully, you will these informative and useful. Hey, anything to make things easier right?
Have An Extra Set of Pump Parts:
Having an extra set of pump parts ready to go at all times in your pump bag in case one part breaks or there is an unexpected tear. If you are a working mom, have an extra set at your office! This was a true life saver for me. I once forgot a part and had to drive all the way home to retrieve it. Never did that again. Read more helpful tips on returning to work and pumping here!
Get Your Bedside Organized:
Keep some diapers, wipes, flashlight, water, burp cloth, basically a small stash of essentials, so that you don’t have to leave your room at night to get what you need. In your freezer, invest in a simple breastmilk storage container or use a cardboard box of an empty case of coke. This is a no-brainer, a timesaver, and easy to see date and ounces clearly.
Easy Access Clothing:
Invest in some breastfeeding tank tops and great nursing bra. In the early months, I practically lived in the breastfeeding tank-tops. I would even wear them to bed.
Nighttime Feeding Hacks:
- Keep the lights off
When your baby wakes to nurse or they are still sleeping but need to feed. Keep the room as dark and quiet as possible. This helps them go right back to sleep. This is called dream feeding. Night lights are useful and having a little flashlight nearby is handy.
In the early months use the crib for daytime naps. Try keeping your baby close to you at night. Having a bassinet or something similar in your room is super beneficial. Not only does it make night-feedings easier location wise, but research claims that it reduces the risk of SIDS significantly to have your baby share your room. Note-I am referring to sharing your room, not co-sleeping with your infant.
- Nursing pads
P.S. those night-time feedings are good for you!! So 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m nighttime feedings are actually super helpful. When you breastfeed at night, your body produces more prolactin (the hormone that promotes milk production). In basic terms, night-feeding will keep up your milk supply. Women vary in their milk production and how much their breasts can hold (leakage). Typically nighttime feedings are essential to meeting your babies’ feeding needs, especially in those early months. When my baby got a little older and started to go for longer feeding stretches; she would start to merge her feeding times. During those merging periods, I would wear breast pads to bed for leaks. Nothing like waking up to the confusion of why am I wet?? Ugh.
Hair Band Trick:
Next feeding, switch wrists! Never forget which breast needs to take the first turn at the next feeding. I could never remember (because of mommy brain) if I actually switched my hair tie. Also, I constantly put my hair up and down, so this mom hack did not work for me. So, I just did 10 minutes on each breast and that kept it simple and worked.
Face Exercises to Stimulate Sucking
So there may be times where your baby becomes a “lazy” eater. For me, this happened when she would wake up hungry. I start to feed her and then a few minutes later she would fall asleep. At first, you may think oh false alarm she is not really hungry, but then two things happen. One, I am still full of milk and do not want to get engorged or feel like pumping, and two, she would then wake up about twenty minutes later and still want to eat. If your baby does this lazy eating, you can do some simple exercises to get them sucking again. These are two easy “face exercises” I would do to stimulate sucking.
- Cheek stroking from ear to mouth
- Stroke and stretch above and below the lips
Feed on Demand in the first month:
After four weeks you can start trying to get a schedule together, especially if you are going to be returning back to work and need to pump during the day. However, in the beginning, to avoid engorgement try just nursing your baby on demand. Keep in mind their stomachs are very small and can only take in so much milk. So they are constantly hungry and maybe need to feed one day almost every hour and a half to two hours.
Breastfeeding Time Chart:
Breastfeeding Time Chart. Keep track of when your baby is nursing. New Moms, this time chart is also featured in my FREE Resource Library. This was to help me and my husband have an idea of when the next feeding was. Especially in the beginning, when you are feeding literally around the clock and can’t remember what day it is.
My time chart has the day and time you would start to nurse and then a 2 hour projected and 3 hour projected column. I would write down the time I started to breastfeed and then calculate the two next projected breastfeeding times. Then when I actually started breastfeeding again I would write that time in. This really helped start planning our day and have an idea how much or when she might be hungry next.
Warm Shower, Massage, and Pump for Engorgement:
Taking a warm shower before nursing, massaging your breast before nursing and also using a breast pump for about 5 minutes prior to nursing will aid in engorgement. Using the pump prior to nursing is really only for those times when you are engorged. Engorgement typically happens on the 3rd to 5th day after birth and subsides within 12-48 hours. The first time I was engorged, I actually did not even know it.
Why not you might ask? Well, it was my second day home from the hospital. Probably sounds hard to believe, but my body clock was out of wack from delivering near 1:00 a.m. Plus the first day home with your newborn is exciting, emotional, and exhausting. My baby was a total dream at the hospital. Then we got home and the next day I couldn’t get her to stop crying and she was barely nursing. All my knowledge from breastfeeding class went out the window. My husband and I lost all our confidence that we had 24 hours prior. After a few more hours and a call to our pediatrician, we took her to the hospital for fear of dehydration and failure to thrive.
Long story short, the nurses pointed out that I was engorged and sent me home with formula, and supportive information. As silly as it sounds, because I knew I had to wait for my milk to come in, I just thought I was supposed to feel the way I was feeling. Also being emotional and sleep deprived doesn’t help matters. Here is a picture of me prior to finding out I was engorged and also not having the good fitting nursing bra or nursing tank top. Seriously I went shopping (online of course) shortly after and got a bigger better fitting bra!
Bibs For Spit Up:
So, I didn’t really think I would use bibs until it was time to start introducing cereal and food. As a new mom, I quickly found out that babies spit up and drool all the time. Even more so if they get reflux during those first few months. Instead of always using a burp cloth. (I had burp cloths stashed everywhere too) But, I also found it was easier and helpful to just put a bib on her after I had burped her. In addition, to cut down on spit ups, I would keep her upright for about 15 minutes. My baby also went through a drool phase when she was teething and having her wear a bib during those times was also helpful.
Thank you for reading! I Hope you found some of these mom hacks for breastfeeding and pumping helpful. Remember, every mother’s breastfeeding journey is different and unique!
Lastly, if you feel you do not have enough time to take a breastfeeding class, or if you want a refresher, there are two very affordable ($19.00) online classes by Stacey Stewart. She is a lactation expert. One is the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class and the other is the Ultimate Back To Work Pumping Class. Check them out here! She also includes a bonus e-book and it is very informative.