10 Ways to Succeed at Breastfeeding

a mom breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is such a good thing for you and your baby. Maybe you’ve heard it can be a little tricky to get used to. Although babies are born with rooting and sucking reflexes, and moms’ bodies are designed for it, breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily. But with practice, a strong support system, and some helpful products, your chances of success are great, mama.

It helps to know what to expect, and how you can make breastfeeding as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Breastfeeding can be a wonderful opportunity to bond with your baby, provide health benefits for you both, and make feeding time ultimately easier (and less expensive!) than using bottles and formula. Once you’re in the know about the basics of breastfeeding, you can relax and enjoy the experience.

In this post, you’ll find links to products from Boppy, the revered baby gear company who developed their original Boppy® Classic Feeding & Infant Support Pillow nearly 30 years ago. If you aren’t familiar with the Boppy brand, let us introduce you. They’ve earned the trust of moms for their high-quality, well-priced, and essential breastfeeding support and baby products. The ones we’ve included here are tops for nursing moms.

With a few great products and the help of these ten tips, you’ll be well on your way to breastfeeding success.

1. Get Comfortable

At first, it might feel a little awkward or even embarrassing for you to breastfeed in front of friends and even family (if you don’t feel that way, more power to you, mama!). Although we can tell you to be confident and proud of nursing your baby, that alone probably won’t shake the feeling. Not to worry, there are many cute breastfeeding cover-ups available, like this gorgeous infinity scarf, to help you feel comfortable with nursing around others. The Boppy® Infinity Nursing Scarf transforms from a comfy style statement to a full coverage nursing cover, complete with a mesh peek panel to see your baby, in a snap.

2. Latch Well

Establishing a good latch is one of the most essential elements of successful breastfeeding. With the proper latch, baby’s pull on the nipple is easy, not painful. To make sure your baby is latching well, experts recommend using a crescent-shaped nursing pillow like the Boppy® Best Latch™ Breastfeeding Pillow that properly positions and supports baby. Designed with a lactation consultant, this pillow is specifically for breastfeeding and features dual-sided textures for infant support (firm) and older babies (softer), plus a waist belt to keep the pillow perfectly positioned.

Boppy Two-Sided Breastfeeding Pillow
Boppy Two-Sided Breastfeeding Pillow

3. Nurse Often

Leaking and engorgement (overly full breasts) are two common breastfeeding challenges moms new to breastfeeding often experience. Nursing often is the best way to avoid both of these issues. Frequent breastfeeding also helps establish a strong milk supply for your baby. You might want to keep a supply of breast pads on hand, to stash in your bra in the event that you do spring a leak (it happens!).

4. Get Help with the Hold

Babies may be tiny, but they aren’t weightless, and you can quickly begin to feel the strain when you’re cradling a rapidly growing newborn for hours. A breastfeeding pillow like Boppy® Classic Feeding & Infant Support Pillow helps provide the support and comfort you need to keep at it. Plus, Boppy pillows are incredible multitaskers. Use them throughout baby’s first year for tummy time, as a baby backrest, for bottle feeding, and as a support when baby starts sitting up.

5. Build Supply Through Demand

New mamas often worry about making enough milk for their newborns. It’s important to remember that newborns eat frequently not because they aren’t getting enough, but because their stomachs are so tiny – at birth just the size of a cherry, and still only as big as an egg by three weeks! Nursing on demand – that is, whenever your baby wants to eat – will help establish your milk supply.

6. Sleep Whenever You Can

Shot of a young woman relaxing on the sofa at home

It’s exciting to have a gorgeous new baby to care for, but you also have to take care of yourself. Make sleep a top priority in the first few weeks after giving birth. You need to heal, and being well rested will make any breastfeeding or baby care challenges you face that much easier.

7. Treat Sensitive Nipples

It’s not uncommon for new moms to experience some nipple sensitivity from breastfeeding. If you’re feeling sore after a feeding, apply some soothing nipple cream to protect and heal the area. If you’re finding breastfeeding to be painful, a poor latch is likely the problem. A lactation consultant can evaluate baby’s latch and suggest adjustments to it.

8. Ask for Help

Hopefully you have a great postpartum nurse or lactation consultant around to help you get the hang of breastfeeding in those first few hours and days after birth. They’re experts who help new moms with breastfeeding every day, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice! Check with your insurance to find out if they cover home or office visits with lactation consultants once you’ve returned home.

9. Expect Some Messes

Boppy Pillow Slipcover

Breastfeeding a baby isn’t always the tidiest of tasks. From a newborn’s spitting up to a mama’s turn-off-the-hose breasts, it can get a little messy! That’s why it’s good to have a small cache of baby bodysuits, burp cloths, and Boppy Pillow covers like these from Boppy (available at Amazon in so many cute colors and patterns) on hand.

10. Remember the Reasons

By nursing your baby, you’re providing so much good, to the both of you! From the best possible nutrition and immune-boosting antibodies for baby, to weight loss and many other health benefits for you, breastfeeding is well worth the effort. Remembering the reasons you’re committed to breastfeeding can be great incentives to keep it up!

I’m a married mom of two living in Seattle, WA. I have a eight-year-old little boy, a second grader! He’s a fairly reserved kid and all about Legos and Minecraft. I also have a little girl who turned four at the end of February. She’s a tiny thing but a big ham; we call her our clown. They’re a lot of work but also a ton of fun. I love to eat, cook, and run (in that order). But at the end of the day, give me a spot on the couch and a little bit of TV or a good book, I’m done!