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Breastfeeding can be tough! There is no doubt about it.

You know what is proven to help? Support and advice, both from experts and other mamas who have 'been there, done that'.

In the spirit of sharing, we have pulled together 101 of the best breastfeeding tips we've been given from the experts and our Milkbar community.

101 AMAZING Breastfeeding Tips

Preparing to breastfeed

1. If your maternity care provider gives you the go-ahead, you can antenatally express colostrum into syringes from 36 weeks in healthy pregnancies. A couple of millilitres of colostrum will buy you an extra feed or be able to be given to a baby who needs to go to NICU or be syringe fed to a sleepy baby or a baby who won’t latch... if nothing else it buys you some time to build your confidence breastfeeding! Sarah Ky

2. Trust your body! Most women will produce enough milk for their babies. Stress inhibits milk supply so unless there is a medical or similar reason why you might have a low supply trust your body, hold your baby, do skin on skin, feed on demand and take a deep breath- you got this mama! Sarah Ky

3. Speak to your treating doctor or lactation specialist about pumping before your scheduled c-section. I wish I did that to avoid milk coming in as late as it did. Ana Sipinkoski

4. Antenatal expressing! It helped me learn to handle my breast, something you’d think was natural actually isn’t. Plus it brought my milk in really quick so we had no period waiting for that. Also, I was super wrecked after labour and couldn’t hold my baby to feed properly, so we were able to finger feed him the colostrum that I collected with no stress or anxiety or having to resort to formula. Hands down the best thing I did! Laura

5. Stock up on super soft and absorbent breast pads for when your milk comes in. The Milkbar Team

7. Try and book in to a breastfeeding class before you give birth. These can be really helpful in giving you a better understanding of how breastfeeding works. Most hospitals will run them alongside their antenatal classes. The Milkbar Team

8. Visit and consider joining The Australian Breastfeeding Association. The website has some amazing resources and the telephone hotline is available for support and guidance 24/7. The Milkbar Team

9. Purchase a couple of supportive and comfortable breastfeeding bras. You'll need the support once your milk comes in! The Milkbar Team

10. Let your caregiver know that you want to breastfeed! Share any concerns you have and ask as many questions as you can. If they know that you're keen to get it right, they can help give you the info and support you need. The Milkbar Team

Did you know that is it possible to collect colostrum in the later stages of pregnancy?

Approval from your caregiver is advised

Getting into the flow

11. Put a hair elastic on your wrist to help you remember which side to feed from next. Lee Price

12. Relax when you and bub are feeding. Trust that bubs will instinctively know what to do assist but try not to interfere (but ask for advice when it's just not working). Temieka McAlpine

13. Things will constantly change - duration, amount, position! Michelle Kaminski 

14. Feed on demand, not by the clock. Michelle Kaminski

15. Just get through the first part - cracked nipples, latching etc, the rest is easy.  Michelle Kaminski

16. Grab everything you need before you sit down e.g the remote, phone, water, snack, spew rag etc. Lee Price

17. Prepare one handed snacks like bliss balls or banana bread that you can eat while you breastfeed (lactation cookies are also a great option!) Lee Price

18. Day and night milk have different properties. amyamygirl

19. Breastfeeding happens more than just once every 3 hours and they often need both boobies. Tiffany Faunt

20. Cluster feeding! Had no idea what was happening. It's tough but keep at it! Ask for help if you need it and always have a bottle of water or two filled up! It's thirsty work! Amy-Jane Nava

21. Be prepared to leak anywhere at anytime and not even know it has happened until someone points out your very obvious wet patch! Nicky Compton 

22. Always, ALWAYS take breast pads out with you! The Milkbar Team

23. Don't expect every feed to be amazing. Babies can fuss. They might vomit or poo halfway through a feed. They may want to feed every 45 minutes. It's all normal. Take each feed as it comes. The Milkbar Team

24. Make yourself comfy! Babies may look tiny but even the smallest human can end up putting strain on your muscles when you're holding them in the same position for hours and hours everyday. Make sure you're supported properly when you're sitting down and use pillows if you need extra support. The Milkbar Team

25. Breastfeeding singlets are the best. Not only do they offer easy access to your boobs, they all keep your tummy covered which is something many new mums prefer in the early days. And they're comfy enough to sleep in! The Milkbar Team

26. Button down shirts are a breastfeeding wardrobe essential. They can be paired with anything and make breast access so easy. The Milkbar Team

27. Learn how to breastfeed lying down. It's a total game changer, especially for night feeds. The Milkbar Team

28. Listen for the gulps! Many mamas wonder how they can tell if baby is actually drinking at the breast. If you listen, you should be able to hear them 'gulping' your letdown and then watch their ear and jaw move during the rest of the feed. The Milkbar Team

29. It's ok if your baby doesn't feed 3 hourly! The Milkbar Team

30. The best way to assess if your baby is getting enough milk is their output. Are they pooing and weeing? If they're having plenty of wet and dirty nappies then you're on the right track! The Milkbar Team

31. Unless you've been advised to do so by your IBCLC or primary caregiver; DON'T wake a sleeping baby! The Milkbar Team

Support, support, support (and we don't just mean a good bra)

32. Find yourself a cheerleader, be it a friend, your mum or partner, someone who will hold your hand when it all feels too much, and know that they will always get behind you. Temieka McAlpine

33. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (most hospitals have specialised staff for breastfeeding support or the Australian Breastfeeding Association hotline is awesome). Bethany Copeland 

34. It isn't always easy but keep going! Ask for help and get support if you need it, always have snacks nearby. Amy-Jane Nava

35. Make friends with other breastfeeding mums or go to breastfeeding groups. Amy-Jane Nava

36. For some it’s easy, for others like me it’s hard work, I cried almost everyday for the first two weeks worrying about supply , latching etc. Have a good support network who reinforce what you want to do not dissuade you! If your goal is to breastfeed surround yourself with people who will support you not encourage you to give up. Ana Sipinkoski

37. Don’t go home from hospital until you are confident with feeding. Wenolee

38. Find people who support you choice to exclusively breastfeed. I had friends who bottle fed their babies and all they did was pressure me into bottle feeding and told me he’d sleep better and be fuller for longer and that my milk was the issue, turns out it wasn’t I still had the same issues but my son refused to latch after taking the bottle and I just gave up. Four years on and I wish I had never listened to them. Lara Stevens

39. Visit the website and consider joining the Australian Breastfeeding Association. The support they offer both online and over the phone and through their breastfeeding groups is amazing. The Milkbar Team

40. Find yourself a good IBCLC. They are the breastfeeding experts and can help you navigate any and all breastfeeding issues. The Milkbar Team

Nifty products and resources that can help

41. There are products available to make it easier like the Haakaa Silicone Breastpump and nipple shields. You and your baby are both learning how to do this and it can take a while before it is pain free, hang in there. Bethany Copeland

42. Invest in a good quality breast pump. My milk didn’t come in for nearly 2 weeks but I kept pumping for my supply to increase. I believe a pump definitely helped me. Biancjeka

43. BodyICE Breast Pads are an absolute saviour for tender, breasts. Keep them in the fridge for the ultimate in soothing relief. The Milkbar Team

44. Catch your letdown with a Haakaa silicone pump while baby is feeding- save the letdown to freeze for an extra stash or save to feed in a bottle later (best to let baby suckle to let your body know baby wants milk to encourage supply and demand but if you’re desperate this caught milk will do the job. Sarah Ky

45. The Haakaa pump is essential! Build up a supply in early days when your milk comes through. You can even use it at concerts! amyamygirl

46. The La Leche League “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” book is amazing. I wish I had read this before giving birth! Muma Vibes

47. A good nipple ointment that you don't need to wash off before feeding is a God send for sore or cracked nipples. The Milkbar Team

48. The LaVie Lactation Massager is AMAZING if you suffer from clogged or blocked ducts or are expressing regularly. The Milkbar Team

Managing pain and discomfort

49. Try a nipple shield if you are in pain. Wenolee

50. That breastfeeding can hurt at the beginning, even when the latch is correct. Your nipples just need time to adjust. Wenolee

51. If your baby bites, try not to jerk react and throw them out the window! Just say no in a firm voice. Toni Blake

52. At the beginning when my nipples were crazy sore, I found it useful to use nipple shields every second feed or so to give myself a break. I didn’t have any troubles getting rid of them once I was better healed. Rebecca Kummerhoff

53. Take a hair brush to your boob when you have mastitis... the day I was given that tip was a day of blessed relief. Arna Bahnana

54. If you have trouble breastfeeding or it hurts at all investigate tongue and lip ties, with several people if you have to. Megan Gilbert

55. Use your own breastmilk to cure cracked sore nipples, rub into nipples and areola before/after/anytime feeding and let air dry. Mary-Kate Alphonse

56. Don't ignore pain! If it hurts to feeds, wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey. Seek help from a breastfeeding specialist. The Milkbar Team

57. Mastitis can turn really nasty, really fast. Don't ignore a lump or blockage as it can spread quickly and leave you very unwell. Heat, massage and seeking help from an IBCLC and/or your GP is essential. The Milkbar team

58. Yes, it is possible for your nipple to become infected, especially if it has been damaged as this damage can let bacteria creep in. See your GP or caregiver if your nipples are struggling to heal. The Milkbar Team

59. Try different feeding positions if you're in pain. Sometimes shifting the way your baby is positioned can take the pressure off the sore parts of your nipple. The Milkbar Team

60. Your nipple should never be lipstick shaped after a feed! A change in the shape of your nipple means that there is an issue with the latch. See an IBCLC as soon as you can. The Milkbar Team

61. Cabbage leaves really can help with engorgement and mastitis! The Milkbar Team

62. If you haven't got access to cabbage leaves, try soaking two newborn nappies in water, wringing them out and popping them in the freezer. Pop them in your bra as makeshift cooling pads. The Milkbar Team

63. Heat/cool packs are super handy to have at home to help with engorgement, letdown and conditions like mastitis. The Milkbar Team

How to look after yourself and boost your supply

64. Make sure to eat regularly and drink lots of water as you are still eating for two! Bethany Copeland 

65. Drink lots of water! Amy-Jane Nava 

66. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and feed your body nourishing foods! Sarah Ky

67. The first 6 weeks can be really hard but it DOES get better. Keep an eye on your mental health. Sarah Kate Hall

68. I'm feeding my 4th at the moment. Milo, oats or fish oil boost my supply really well when it's low. Samantha Newland

69. Smoothies are a great way to ensure you're getting plenty of nutrients in. They can also be drunk one handed. The Milkbar Team

70. Including galactagogues or milk boosting ingredients in your diet can help give your supply a boost when you're feeding a lot. Foods like oats, brewers yeast and flaxseed are all said to have milk boosting properties.
You could also try a lactation cookie. The Milkbar Team

Words of wisdom

71. What you express isn't a true form of what you produce. Amy-Jane Nava

72. Enjoy it. It is a very special time a lot of women can't or don't ever get to do. Amy-Jane Nava

73. Don’t automatically assume you have low supply focus on weekly weight checks and wet and dirty diapers - my baby is fussy at the breast and I ended up having oversupply. Ana Sipinkoski

74. Don’t give up! It’s hard work at the start but if you keep at it, it becomes easierBiancjeka

75. Keep going it’s hard work, messy for months but it will get easier! amyamygirl

76. As a GP with a special interest in feeding/cry/sleep problems things I wish I could let all mothers know are that it’s not supposed to hurt! DON’T just soldier on, ask for help early - it’s not a failure. It’s a huge learning curve for us all! The most likely cause for difficulties breast feeding are the baby being ‘positionally unstable’ (eg head not supported, spine not aligned), things like clothes/pillows/baby arms getting the way of a baby’s breastfeeding reflexes being turned on and very importantly ‘breast tissue drag’ - look at where the boob wants to fall and bring baby to boob, not the other way around! Dr Amy GP Mum

77. You don’t need to toughen up your nipples - if it hurts, there’s a problem! Heather Costello

78. Try not to take on all the negative comments and mixed advice in a personal way. Easy to feel guilty/like you're not doing good enough, like its your fault or there's something wrong with you. Sarah Kate Hall

79. The first 2 weeks are THE hardest and if you can make it through that you will make it! Tiffany Faunt

80. That it doesn’t just happen naturally and easily, that it takes a lot of hard work to get it right. That first month is a tough one, I’m now breastfeeding my 5th bubba and those early days never get any easier. But it’s totally worth it to push through. It’s also the most rewarding experience. Tiana Langridge

81. It is the most precious and challenging thing you'll ever do! It can take time, but if you are eager to breastfeed perseverance is all you need! Remember it's new to you AND baby, you're both learning so go easy on the both of you! Caro Rucko

82. It was really encouraging to know that the battle and pain of the first few months would be so worth it. Once established, it is such an easy feeding/soothing option. Rebecca Kummerhoff

83. Breastfeeding takes some time and effort when baby is new but is very worth persisting, soon you’ll both be pros at it! Megan Gilbert

84. New babies need lots of feeds. Forget every 4 hours, more like every 2! ˇhis is normal, so get support for yourself so you can sustain this. Megan Gilbert

85. DO cry over split milk. Call a friend and sobNicky Compton

Getting a good latch

86. Latching issues - don’t stop at one lactation consultant find several IBCLCs (I went through 8) Ana Sipinkoski

87. Use nipple shields if your baby has trouble latching at the start and if your nipples hurt. My baby was a month premmie and I had flat nipples but the shields were a god send. Biancjeka

88. Be sure to assess for a lip or tongue tie on your own because the nurses/ lactation consultants in the hospital don’t always! if you think you see one, have them double check and help you work though it appropriately. Bri Blankenbicker

89. If you've you've got an oversupply issue or forceful milk let-down, sit reclined (on couch or bed propped with some pillows) to feed, or lay down in bed. Mary-Kate Alphonse

90. It doesn't matter how the latch looks, it's how it feels! If baby is feeding well, transferring milk and having wet and dirty nappies then you're doing great! The Milkbar Team

91. If your bub has a really small mouth, the 'football hold' can be really handy for getting a good and comfortable latch. The Milkbar Team

Tips and tricks

92. I think one that helped me was when they've gone asleep clamped onto you, a little tickle under the chin will often make them release their jaw. Anna Jax

93. Always sit down with your phone/book/tv remote in reaching distance! Kirra Finikiotis

94. Don’t wear light coloured tops as it will show up leaks.  Lee Price

95. Use breastmilk for moisturising baby and help heal other skin conditions for baby like baby acne (milia). Squirt onto baby’s face or body during a feed/awake/or playtime allow to air dry. Apply as often as you wish. Mary-Kate Alphonse

96. Add leftover expressed breastmilk (expired shelf-life or just extra milk leftover) to bath. You can also use leftover milk for homemade cream/soap/ or turn it into jewellery. Mary-Kate Alphonse

97. Breastfeeding helps increase your oxytocin levels (feel good/love hormone), can help soothe emotional issues with adjustment to parenting such as anxiety and depression. Mary-Kate Alphonse

98. Running out of breast pads? Use a folded sock in between your breast and bra cup instead. Mary-Kate Alphonse

99. Go braless as much as possible, especially if you have nipple damage. The Milkbar Team

100. Drink your tea or coffee out of a Keep Cup or other insulated cup. It'll actually stay hot so you can enjoy it, even if it's half an hour later than you planned. The Milkbar Team

101. Enjoy the journey mama! It's one of the most special times of your life. The Milkbar Team

Further Reading:


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