Before I had babies, I did my research. I knew that I wanted to give nursing my kids a try, but I also knew it might not work out. I tried to figure out the best breastfeeding hacks and breastfeeding tips for new moms ahead of time, but honestly, it sounded like a whole lot of work.
However, I had read about all the benefits to breastfeeding, like that it made your kids smarter or helped you bond with the baby (which, yeah, not necessarily). And the biggest benefit of all from where I stood? It was cheaper.
And with maternity leave looming, and a strong desire to become a stay at home mom eventually, that was a VERY motivating factor for me. I was determined to press on and to find out how to breastfeed for a year, at least.
When the time came for me to deliver my babies and feed them, though, I found that breastfeeding was just not my favorite thing. It hurt more than I had expected (even though everyone had TRIED to warn me), and Lila took AGES to eat. We got in this infuriating eat/feed expressed milk with a syringe/pump cycle that took a full hour and a half…leaving me with thirty minutes before we had to start again.
I almost gave up, but decided to push through (because CHEAPSKATE). I set short goals for myself, like making it to two weeks, and then a month, and then two months, and slowly but surely, we made our way to a year.
And I still didn’t like it. And that’s okay.
However, in the process of learning to make breastfeeding bearable for myself, I found a may to make it work. I’ve got to admit, making a few little changes makes it SO much easier for to breastfeed for a year, even when you don’t like breastfeeding. So if you find yourself in a similar position, give yourself some grace. And don’t worry, because we’ve got some FANTASTIC, super-easy breastfeeding hacks for lazy moms for you to try.
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Get the Right Supplies
I’ve always been a budgeter, so I Googled how much money formula cost per month, on average. (According to BabyCenter, it’s anywhere between $70-$150 a month, depending on the formula you use). So if throwing $100 at my nursing problems was enough to keep me breastfeeding, I would still be saving thousands in the long run. Financially, it just made sense to invest in the products that would help me continue to save money as the months went by.
For me, that meant investing in a decent set of nursing camisoles and bras. For some, it’s more convenient to just hitch up your shirt and feed your little one, and for others it makes more sense to just tug down or unhook a nursing camisole when it’s time for your babies to eat. Either way, figure out what clothing items you need and set aside some money to invest in them.
You may find that having an extra set of pump parts, or even an extra pump, alleviates some of your breastfeeding problems. I constantly forgot my pump at home, so I eventually bought a spare to keep in my desk at work. And with several pumping sessions a day, I made clean-up quicker by purchasing a separate set of flanges and tubes to use at each session (check with the CDC for the most current pump-cleaning guidelines).
I may not know what you need to breastfeed your specific baby, but I bet YOU do. So go and get it without shame. Especially knowing that breastfeeding will save you TONS of money in the long run. (Or, consider adding some of these items for YOU to your Amazon Baby Registry) Do whatever you need to do to motivate yourself to keep going, because trust me- you’re going to need motivation from time to time.
Use a Nipple Shield
Nursing hurt when I first started. Like, a lot. There was lots of chafing and a little blood involved. My lactation consultant suggested I use a nipple shield to help ease the pain, and I was bizarrely resistant.
I had heard that it could lead to nipple confusion, or that we might never be able to wean off of it. Finally, in a fit of desperation, I caved. It was SUCH a game-changer for my breastfeeding journey. I needed to stop trying to “tough it out” and let go of all the ideal scenarios, and do what was working.
We ended up using the shield for eight weeks in total, and then seamlessly transitioned away from us. It was SO not as big a deal as I had thought, and made life so much easier.
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Nurse Lying Down
Lila was usually at the breast for forty-five minutes per nursing session, which basically feels like forever. I struggled to get comfortable and spent way to much time slumped over on the couch with a phone in my hand.
One sleepy afternoon, I happened to try nursing her while laying down. I found that not only did I experience less pain as a result, but that I actually felt rested when she was finished eating. It was a hands-free breastfeeding solution that worked great for both of us. From then on, I spent many of our at-home nursing sessions in bed, often with a Netflix-streaming tablet propped up beside me.
Try to Get Your Baby to Take Expressed Milk Cold
If you do need to feed your baby extra bottles to supplement (whether that’s formula or breast milk) see if you can get them to take the bottle at the most convenient temperature. For breast milk, they’d ideally take the bottle at fridge-temperature, and for formula, room temperature. If they are hesitant to do this, you can get them used to the idea in stages, by warming it just a little less each time. This won’t work for all babies, but if it does, just think of all the time you’ll save (and how convenient it will be when you’re away from home!).
Learn to Breastfeed While Babywearing
This breastfeeding hack saved me SO.MUCH.TIME. Especially with my second, when I was busy chasing around a preschooler and volunteering at her Co-Op preschool, I just didn’t have time to sit and nurse for 45 minutes like I did the first round. I learned that by throwing Abram in the Ergo Soft-Structured carrier and adjusting it to sit just a little lower around my waist, I could successfully latch him onto my breast and go about my day. I’d throw a cover over the entire Ergo and feed the baby without anyone being the wiser.
Target, the park, on a hike- you name it, he ate there. It saved so much time and so much energy, and we both enjoyed the extra snuggles babywearing can offer. There are tons of different wraps and carriers that allow for hands-free breastfeeding, but the odds are that you can find a way to make it work with whatever carrier you already have.
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Nurse While Baby is Swaddled
Now if your baby hates being swaddled, you’re going to want to ignore this one. But my GOODNESS how those little flailing fists can get in the way! One of my best breastfeeding tips for new moms is to eliminate one of the factors that makes latching difficult by using a swaddle. You can avoid all that grabby drama by swaddling your baby before they nurse, keeping their little limbs out of the way, at least while you get them latched.
When they’re secure in their nursing session, feel free to let their arms loose. Or, you can keep them swaddled in the hopes that they will fall asleep eating and transition seamlessly into a long nap in their crib.
I mean…a mama can dream, right?
We’re not going to sugarcoat it- breastfeeding can be hard, especially in the early stages. But by following these breastfeeding tips and hacks, we think you’ll see that it doesn’t have to be THIS hard. (And if no one has told you yet- if you really hate breastfeeding, you don’t have to do it. We promise it’ll be okay.)
If you do want to continue nursing, find a way to make it easier on yourself, like with the breastfeeding hacks on this list. With any luck, you’ll be taking the lazy mom approach to breastfeeding before you know it!
Need more tips on how to make breastfeeding work for you? Check out this amazing breastfeeding class from Milkology that thousands of moms JUST like you have benefitted from.