Breastfeeding Tips from a Mom of 8

Breastfeeding Tips | RaisingArrows.net

*Those first 2 weeks aren’t fun.

*Lansinoh is your friend. (and so are these breast shells!)

*The worst of it will soon pass and it will all be worth it. (if it doesn’t pass, call your local La Leche League leader…that’s what they are there for!)

*Sleep while you nurse.

*Watch videos or listen to music or read while you nurse.

*Have a box of toys and activities near you for your toddlers to play with while your nurse.

*Don’t be afraid to unlatch baby to take care of discipline issues with the toddler.  Baby will forgive the delay.

*Toddlers always need to love on the baby at exactly the same time as mama is nursing.

*Nurslings always need to eat at exactly the same time mama is eating.

*You will try to nurse baby while you eat and you will spill something on baby.

*Don’t be afraid to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere.

*Practice nursing in public at home…in front of a mirror.

*Never underestimate the antics of a baby who does not want to be covered up while nursing in public.

*What you pump is not a good gauge of what is really there.

*There is nothing fun about pumping.  Don’t do it unless you have to.

*It’s okay to be a human pacifier.

*It’s okay to take your baby places babies usually don’t go because you are a human pacifier.

*It’s okay to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t go…I have a nursing baby.”

*Trust your instincts.

*Don’t trust Great Aunt Maudie who never breastfed a day in her life.

*Never feel guilty.

*Enjoy every second of it.

(You can read about my very special nursing relationship with the little girl in the photo above.)

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48 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Tips from a Mom of 8

  1. Thanks for this post. I’m a couple months away from nursing baby #5. I had to smile at some of the things you wrote (like toddlers always want to love on baby when he is nursing – so true!).

    Have a wonderful day!

  2. Nursing has been one of my favorite parts of being a mother! To know that you can literally provide everything your baby needs to grow healthy and strong is amazing and empowering! I found myself nodding with every item on your list (and laughing at a few too-human pacified…yeah! Been there! Lol) Thanks for the great post!

    • When I had a long break between babies due to a miscarriage and my husband’s deployment, it was breastfeeding I missed the most. Such a wonderful God-given blessing!

  3. I wish you had been my nursing coach! ;-). Nursing was very challenging for me – I had expectations of how it would go that didn’t line up with the reality. But I’m thankful for the short time I got to nurse each of my babies! I had to laugh and nod at many of the things on your list!

    • I didn’t nurse my first child very long because I didn’t know anyone who breastfed. My husband convinced me to stick it out for 2 weeks. What a guy! I agree that our expectations are often what get us down.

  4. Some extra thoughts from a breastfeeding mother of 7:

    *Those first 2 weeks aren’t fun. The worst of it will soon pass and it will all be worth it. (if it doesn’t pass, call your local La Leche League leader…that’s what they are there for!)* I have problems with pain and cracking even with a perfect latch. I get mastitis in the first 2 weeks. I don’t adjust well to nursing, even with having 7 children! It’s worth pressing on. Make a commitment to 6 weeks of breastfeeding and work from there. If you’ve never breastfed before, or only had bad experiences, I would probably try to make contact with at least an experienced mom within the first week if things seem difficult.

    *Lansinoh is your friend.* Lasinoh is not your friend if you’re allergic to is. Which I am. A horrible rash all over the area it’s contacted is the last thing I need on top of soreness and cracking! Since Lasinoh/lanolin comes from sheep, I think you’re more likely to have problems with it if you have problems with wool, which I do. Take vitamin E capsules and snip the end open. Apply the oil on both sides after every feeding. It does wonders!

    *Sleep while you nurse.* Oh, yes, I definitely do this!

    *Don’t be afraid to unlatch baby to take care of discipline issues with the toddler. Baby will forgive the delay.* Yes, I hate to do this. But for long-term happiness in the home, I will unlatch baby if major issues arise. On the other hand, I’ve learned to be very talented and can deal with many of these issues while continuing to nurse.

    *Don’t be afraid to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere. Practice nursing in public at home…in front of a mirror.* For me, a nursing cover is essential. We believe everything needs to be covered at all times, and I’ve known women talented enough to do that without a nursing cover, but I’m not. So, I always keep a nursing cover in the diaper bag.

    *Never underestimate the antics of a baby who does not want to be covered up while nursing in public.* We don’t find too much trouble with this honestly, if using a nursing cover rather than a blanket (the strap around the neck helps so much!). And since I use a nursing cover at home around my children, the baby is used to it.

    *There is nothing fun about pumping. Don’t do it unless you have to.* Agreed. I know a lot of new moms feel it’s necessary and it’s become part of the general expectation. I’ve only pumped for medical reasons (to let bad cracking heal). I personally find it easier to just keep my baby with me and nurse when he’s hungry.

    *It’s okay to be a human pacifier.* When asked how frequently my babies under 10 months or so nurse, it usually takes a lot of thought for me to figure out. Because they basically just nurse when they want to nurse.

    *It’s okay to take your baby places babies usually don’t go because you are a human pacifier. It’s okay to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t go…I have a nursing baby.* Yes, my baby stays with me because he needs to be with me to be fed. So, I don’t typically go places where having a baby will be a problem.

    • I’ve heard about allergies to lansinoh…thank you for sharing an alternative!
      And I do use a lightweight blanket to nurse with, but I still think that requires you to practice at home. You may think you are covered, but you can’t see what other people can see. Likewise, you may think you are NOT covered and you actually are b/c you don’t know what other people can’t see. ;)
      I also agree you need to practice w/ a cover at home if you plan to use it while out. Baby is not going to suddenly be okay with it.
      Great thoughts, Heather!

  5. I’m a soon-to-be mama to 7 and agree with this list! So glad you promote Christian moms loving their babies and giving them all the love, nurture and affection they need! It’s so worth it! I also liked your post about not putting babies on a sleep schedule. I agreed with everything you wrote there too :)

  6. Standing ovation!! Lovely post. Breastfeeding my children has been such a sweet joy in my mothering life. I am currently nursing baby number five, and I get a little teary that there will be a season of life when I’m no longer a nursing mama. For now, I’ll just enjoy THIS day.

  7. Great post! Thank you so much for these tips. They are encouraging to me; I am currently breastfeeding our four month old daughter. She is our first, and even though I expected breastfeeding to be challenging, it has been much harder than I expected.

    I found a natural nipple cream that I preferred to Lansinoh. It is Motherlove Herbal nipple cream. I purchased it from Amazon.

  8. I’m nursing while reading your blog and I Love this list! Especially your advice about being a human pacifier. Can I add one more though? “You know your baby better than ANYONE else. Trust the Lord & He will guide your mothering decisions every day.”

  9. I’m nursing my 3rd 5 month old now, and we have thrush that will not go away. We’ve tried Nystatin and Gentian Violet and I took Diflucan. We still cannot get rid of it. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Try grapefruit seed extract. You can dilute a few drops in water and apply directly to your nipples and baby’s tongue. Also, mix about 5 drops in a glass of orange juice 2-3 times per day and drink it down. I’ve found GSE generally clears up thrush really quickly. Probiotics also can help. Make sure to regularly sanitize baby’s toys, pacifiers, etc. If it doesn’t clear up with consistent treatment, or gets even worse, you may actually have a bacterial infection, not yeast. The symptoms may be similar, and anti-fungal remedies won’t touch them. HTH!

      • Ive had good luck with gfse too. I follow dr jay gordans thrush protocol and pain was almost gone in 48 hrs. There is hope! Im on a mobile so i cant link to it but if you goohle its easy to find.

    • I have had significant problems with all 3 of mine so far. For the 1st, I had mastitis, the 2nd, sore cracked bleeding nipples, 3rd, yeast. After the 2nd time not being a breeze like I had expected, I knew to get help at early as possible, and did. I also wanted to be as natural as I could be.

      My lactation consultant had me mix 1 tblsp of baking soda into 1 cup of boiling water. After it has cooled, obviously, apply the liquid mixture with a cotton ball onto your nipples, after having cleansed the area (with a warm washcloth, or baby wipe…etc.) Do this after each time nursing, or as often as you can…at very least once a day. Make sure you are washing your breast before/after nursing to prevent spreading it back and forth with baby, (not because it is dangerous to baby….its completely safe for baby) and also make sure you wash your towels/clothes/etc. after each use to prevent re-contamination. I honestly don’t remember how long it took to completely get rid of the yeast, but I felt better after about 2 days. I would definitely continue to ‘treat” for about 2 weeks.

      I really hope this helps. God Bless you, and please don’t quit. Keep getting help….its worth it…and it does get easier/better!

    • Apple cider vinegar….take a wash cloth and soak it in a bowl of apple cider vinegar and then lay it on your breast, and you can wipe the babies mouth with it as well. I got this tip from a dear friend who breastfed all 8 of her children!! The times that I have had the thrush/yeast infection in my breast (thankfully my baby never ended up with it), it took care of it. Take the wash cloth and from the top of your breast rub it down towards the nipple. Praying for you.

  10. I absolutely loved breastfeeding my babies too. Such a wonderful privilege and joy. With each baby I have nursed longer – first it was 10 months, the next was 12 months and the last was 18 months. I’m expecting again and I don’t even estimate anymore how long I might breastfeed :) It is a special time that is so bonding. I really enjoyed your list!

  11. I really loved this post! We are expecting baby #6 in 5-7 weeks and I am so excited to nurse again! My (now) 19 month old quit cold turkey at 16 months because of the taste from me being pregnant :( We have been making very small strides to getting her re-latched and ready to be back at the breast after this baby’s born because I can tell she was NOT finished when she stopped so suddenly. I’m excited to tandem nurse, I’ve never been able to before!
    I shared your link with our local breastfeeding mom’s Facebook group for the advice and included a “trigger warning” about the story because I didn’t want them to become unnecessarily upset being reminded of their own past experiences. Turns out, every.single.mom who commented had read about your sweet breastfeeding relationship with Emily and was moved to tears <3 We all appreciated the reminder to sqeeze our babies a little tighter because you never know what God has in store for them :)

  12. I always say; “pumping sucks”! I have never been a good pumper and so all 5 of mine just go everywhere with me for the first year. I admire the dedicated moms that pump.

    Only one of mine have allowed me to cover while nursing.

    Each baby is different & has different nursing needs. Some stay on a tight schedule; others nurse & pacify frequently. It is all normal.

    Don’t let people tell you that your baby is spoiled because the baby prefers you.

  13. I’m Bfing my 4th and I strongly second sleeping while feeding. And want to share a tip I learned. I have a place (at my feet) for when my kids have a discipline issue. I tell them to sit until I’m done. I have to do this because I have forceful letdowns and the first half of a session I can’t get up. so it just turned into that.

  14. I would just like to add that it has always taken me about 6 weeks to get through the “traumatic” part of breastfeeding, before it becomes easy. It has been this way for all 3 of mine so far. I just expect torture for the first several weeks. After that, its the easiest thing in the world. But it can be so disheartening for someone who is expecting it to be easy or for the pain to only last for a short time. It is, however, so worth it to keep going through everything. So many people stop before they get to the good part!

  15. You put it perfectly! I agree with every single one of these! As a mom of 6, who’s currently breastfeeding my just turned 12 month old (sniff-sniff…it goes too fast), there’s just nothing better. I love the one about being a human pacifier! I know I am and it’s just never bothered me and I’ve never understand why other people have issue’s with it or tell other nursing mom’s not to be. It’s a great comfort for the baby and it’s only helping with your supply, especially in the beginning weeks.

  16. I had to laugh at the “you will spill something on the baby.” I have been known to put a napkin or burp cloth over baby so that I can eat and not spill things on her. For me, eating was usually the most convenient time to nurse, since I had to be sitting anyway.

  17. Love it! And needed a few as I have gotten pressure to wean my fourteen mo. But I’m not giving in! And nursing while I read the post too!

  18. I wish I would have had these comments when I was breastfeeding. There’s so much wisdom.
    It was very challenging for me to produce enough milk. I just want to put this out there for anyone who might need it… at the time I was having my babies I was really struggling with low thyroid, but didn’t know that’s why I was having so many struggles. It slows your whole body down, and in my case that included my milk production (which made me stressed, making things worse, I’m sure). I figured this out several years later. I will never regret how much effort I put into giving my babies every drop I could. I have a baby waiting for me in Heaven. Maybe the Lord will allow me to breastfeed with ample milk supply when I get there?? :)

  19. Thank you! I’m nursing my 6 month old & loving it! I nursed my older 2 as we’ll & wouldn’t trade that time for anything. I totally agree with you on every point. Thank you for this blessing & laugh. It means a lot to know it isn’t just me!

  20. I, too, am allergic to lanolin/wool, and the best thing (and least expensive!) I’ve found is to express breastmilk and rub it in right after nursing. It has worked every single time! :)

  21. And it’s okay to politely but firmly inform the grabby, rude lactation staff at a military hospital that you’ve got it under control, that you are aware that nursing your toddler (whom you just weaned 5 months before) isn’t exactly like nursing a newborn and that the littlest member of your family will figure it out under your patient guidance ;-) Here’s to hoping it won’t happen again this time!

  22. Oh, how I love this picture of your sweet Emily. I am expecting our fifth in just a little over a month and am really looking forward to nursing. Great tips that brought a smile to my face!

  23. Love it! Thanks, shared this with FB. I love that you’re nursing the most discreet way possible! Nothing screams “I’m breastfeeding!!!!” Like a some gigantic cover! I wore a rectangular cover with the last baby because he was such a bad nurser and my breasts were too big for me to figure out how to do it without flashing someone. Now I’m nursing baby number 2 and I’m ALMOST there. I generally keep a thin neck scarf around just in case.

    • Have you tried nursing with baby in a ring sling? I find it very easy to nurse discretely using one that has a nice long tail. I have never gotten along with nursing blankets or those big square covers.

  24. And if you absolutely can’t nurse, it’s okay. I am the mother of ten, and I was only able to nurse my first. My second child badly damaged my nipples from an incorrect latch, and it changed my anatomy to the point that no future babies could latch.
    Many lactation comnsultants and nurses tried to help, but all finally said it just couldn’t happen. The amt of blood my babies would spit up was frightening.I made it the first 2-3 weeks with the rest, then as the baby begna to lose weight, I would have to supplement, and finally bottle feed.
    I have heard it said that EVERY woman can bf, but it really isn’t true. And I can remember standing in the shower crying over the fact that I couldn’t do it. I wanted to experience it again so bad.
    Just a word of encouragement for those Moms who can’t nurse for whatever reason. YOU are still a GREAT MOM!!!!

  25. Hello I’m a mother of two, a four and nine month old daughter. I’m currently nursing my youngest and plan to do so till age 5 or when she weans, problem is I think I might be pregnant I’m 15 days late and two positives and three negative test and so much discharge and now first time my daughter has thrush. I’d love to have another baby and another natural birth but I’m so lost, if you could offer any help I’d highly appreciate it.

  26. I love this! We’re expecting our second baby in 6 months, and I’ve been trying to gather tools to help all of us (especially the toddler, who will be 22 months old) with the transition. Thank you for sharing wisdom from your experience!!! This new mama really appreciates it :)

  27. Thank you for this post (and your entire site!). I recently found your blog and have been devouring all your wisdom. I am due any day with our third baby (here on earth…we have three in heaven) and am determined to nurse this baby. I have never made it past 4 weeks nursing due to pain. I have used Lansinoh each time, but find that I stick to my shirts/nursing bras/breast pads…which doesn’t help heal the cracked and bleeding nipples. Do you suggest the breast shields to help alleviate the sticking, or is there something else I should try? Ant suggestions would be welcome, we really can afford to buy formula with this baby (thank you health insurance premiums that have skyrocketed).

    • YES! Use those breast shells! They are wonderful and will help tremendously! Get a nursing sleep type bra too – they are more comfortable. Make sure baby’s latch is good, and don’t hesitate to call a LLL leader if you need to. They are trained to even be able to watch you nurse and explain what might be going on. (hospitals often do this too!) ((HUGS))

  28. Amy, this is one of my favorite posts and I read this post again and again. Each time I have a newborn I feel like it is a new learning experience, for me and baby.