13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

Intermittent fasting has been a godsend for me. I’ve reclaimed my health, losing over 35 lbs in the year since I started. And I’ve finally lost the baby weight from 4 back-to-back pregnancies. All while breastfeeding. And taking care of 4 busy kids.

For me, intermittent fasting while breastfeeding has been the gateway to healthy habits and establishing a healthy lifestyle (you can read more about my experience here).

Because of my results, I’ve been asked a lot about what exactly I did to successfully breastfeed while doing intermittent fasting (IF). After nearly a year of intermittent fasting and breastfeeding, here are my top tips and recommendations:

13 tips for success doing intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

 1) Start slowly

Be gentle with yourself. This is not a quick-fix solution for weight loss. Your priority is health, both yours and your baby’s.

To ensure you don’t disrupt your milk supply, start slowly. Start with a 12 hour fasting period (for example, 8:00 pm to 8:00 am) and then gradually increase it from there to a 14 or 16 hour fasting window. 

To keep track your fasting/eating hours, download the free printable intermittent fasting and breastfeeding weekly log at the bottom of this post!

Since adjusting, I have mostly done a 16:8 (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating). My body is very comfortable with that and I rarely feel actual hunger.  I feel best eating between a 6 and 8 hour window.

2) Listen to your body

What is true hunger vs. simply wanting to eat? We spend so much of our life ignoring our body’s signals of true hunger and fullness.

Tune into your body and determine whether you’re experiencing hunger or just in the habit of eating. Pay attention to emotional triggers that send you straight to the fridge, even when you’re not actually hungry.

On this IF journey, I’ve had to wrestle with the fact that I am an emotional eater. My husband has a major work success. So we celebrate with milkshakes AFTER a huge meal.

My child gets injured and we rush her to the ER. So I nervously down a huge bag of vending machine Skittles.

I’m overwhlemed with work, kids, and my many responsibilites. And I find myself in a fast food drive-thru despite the fact I just ate and am not at all hungry.

Cutting through the emotional noise and actually listening to my true hunger cues has been a revelation. I’ve gotten back to my pre-4 kids wedding weight without counting any calories.

I also pay close attention to how what I eat affects my body. After 5 sugar cookies, I am zapped of energy and feel seriously gross. But after the green smoothie, I’ve got all the energy I need to keep up with 4 little kids. 

Not only do I eat fewer calories naturally, but paying attention to how food make me feel had helped me make healthier food choices. 

 3) Drink lots of water

One of the few things my pediatrician insisted on was drinking tons of water. Since I’m never without my trusty, (very banged-up) Hydroflask (the BEST water bottle ever), it hasn’t been a problem.

You need lots of water to maintain your milk supply.  And plus, it also helps navigating true hunger pains. And it makes your skin nice, too!

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

4) Don’t go nuts with exercise

As your body adjusts to a new eating pattern, don’t overdo your exercise routine. While you should certainly exercise regularly, gradually increase your intensity so as not to shock your body. 

When I started, I would exercise a few days a week for 25 minutes (doing this workout program). As I grew accustomed to IF, I now do a pretty intense weekly regime (heavy weights and HIIT cardio at the gym 3 days a week and running 2-3 days a week). 

5) Exercise right before breaking your fast

Experts recommend exercising immediately before breaking your fast in order to reap the greatest metabolic benefits.

At first, I thought that I wouldn’t have the energy to exercise, but now I feel best exercising on an empty stomach. I have the most energy in the hours before breaking my fast. 

Just make sure that you eat protein-rich food quickly after working out. I often will make a protein and fiber packed smoothie to break my fast (frozen berries, greens, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut butter, vegan protein powder).

6) Skip breakfast

Most people find this is the easiest way to do IF.

Because I’d always heard that skipping breakfast was the worst thing your could every do, for years I’d eat breakfast despite not feeling hungry. In listening to my body, skipping breakfast and starting my meals at noon gives me an energized morning.  

7) Plan a satisfying 1st meal

This was especially important in the beginning. Your first meal should be both delicious and satisfying. A meal heavy on protein and fiber will set you up well for the day.

When I first started to do IF, I was just trying to get a handle on my out-of-control cravings. I wanted to eat ALL OF THE THINGS. All the time.

So making a delicious 1st meal was really important to help ease my cravings. As I adjusted to intermittent fasting while breastfeeding and my craving subsided, my meals naturally became healthier and healthier. 

8) Stop eating after dinner

As you go through the day, you are using up your limited store of willpower. After dinner, most of us have very little willpower left. Therefore, eating anything during this time may send us for a ride on the binge-eating train packed to the gills with sugar and carbs.  

9) Take PGX before meals

At first, you may be tempted to overeat. Especially, at your first meal of the day. But that will just leave you zapped of energy and will NOT help you achieve your health goals. PGX can help with that.

I first heard about the supplement PGX when I read Dr. Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet (which is awesome) where he highly recommends taking it before each meal. PGX is a soluble fiber from natural sources that helps regulate blood sugar, reduces food cravings, and helps with appetite control.

Since it takes 20 minutes after eating for your body to feel fullness, taking a few PGX fiber capsules with water before eating can help with overeating.

I typically take 3-6 capsules a few minutes before eating a meal (especially my first meal of the day) and it helps me not to go nuts and eat everything in my sight. If I’m feeling especially hungry, it helps me not to feel so ravenous so I don’t eat so much that I feel gross.

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

10) Get protein and fiber with each meal and snack

This combination has been really helpful in satisfying my hunger without overeating. There are so many possible combinations.

For a meal, I’ll eat chicken or fish with a ton of baked veggies and maybe some whole grains. Or I’ll have a smoothie packed with greens, seeds, coconut or almond butter, nuts, some fruit, and vegan protein powder. A snack might be an apple with almond butter or some nuts and raw veggies. 

10) Experiment with meal schedule

To find out what works best for you, you may have to experiment a bit before finding what works. For me, this meant a satisfying, protein-rich meal at noon, a snack a few hours later, and then eating a final meal with my family at 6:00 pm or so.

11) Take your Vitamins

Be sure to continue taking the vitamins your pediatrician recommends while you breastfeed. For me, this means continuing my prenatals and taking vitamin D.

12) Quickly forgive yourself when you “mess up”

Don’t let minor setbacks stop you from your health goals. “Messing up” is just how we learn new habits and skills.

My success has come entirely because I refuse to give up, not because I eat perfectly. Seriously, most people can’t do the cold turkey approach.  

Most of us give into temptations as we claw our way to better health. Just get back up every time you fall and there is nothing you can’t accomplish. It may take some time, but you will do it.

Intermittent fasting while breastfeeding is possible

For the last year, I have practiced intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. Through following the tips above, it’s been of one of the most important steps I’ve taken to conquer my cravings, lose my baby weight from 4 pregnancies, and finally reclaim my health.

It was the vehicle through which I have managed to slowly lose over 30 lbs while creating a healthy lifestyle. I hope that what I’ve learned from doing IF will help you on your health journey. Just remember, your biggest priority is health: your health and the health of your baby.

Good luck, mama!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

Breastfeeding is tough. Which is part why 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they want to. While there are many reasons for this, one reason is that breastfeeding becomes too inconvenient and too difficult when life gets busy.

If you want to be successful and nurse long term, creating a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe is essential. Cute and versatile breastfeeding clothes will make nursing discreetly quick and easy regardless of where you are.

And the good news is that there are sooooo many amazingly cute breastfeeding clothes out there right now (see below for a comprehensive list). We’re basically in a renaissance for breastfeeding clothes. It’s an exciting time to be alive, ladies!

It’s worth the investment

Let’s just be honest for a sec–popping the ladies out isn’t exactly convenient in most clothes. You may be able to get away with what you have for the first month or two when you hardly ever leave the house.

It makes nursing easy and convenient

But once you are back into the normal routine, nursing quickly becomes incredibly inconvenient in most normal clothes. I have seen my fair share of moms who’ve had to pull their entire dress up to nurse their baby. And–let’s face it–I’ve been there too. It’s not pretty. 

But you can completely avoid that hassle. Breastfeeding clothes (and nursing-friendly clothes) make discrete nursing easy and convenient. They also increase your chances of successfully breastfeeding for as long as you choose.  

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

Been there and done that

But alas, I can be a very slow learner at times.

While I am a major breastfeeding clothes advocate now, it took breastfeeding 3 kids to figure out how much easier life is with them. With my first three kids, I looked at nursing clothes online, and while they were cute, I felt like they were a little expensive.

I’ll get by on what I have, I thought.

But “getting by” meant many uncomfortable and awkward situations as I strained to get the milk bags out of uncompromising clothes. I’d be sitting in my car nursing a child with a dress or blouse pulled all the way up exposing my tummy.

Or awkwardly trying to nurse with a cover while trying to navigate through about 5 articles of clothing, pushing this one that way and that one this way just trying to feed my child.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun.

So once I was pregnant with my 4th, I finally decided to splurge and buy actual straight up, honest-to-goodness breastfeeding clothes. And I’ve never looked back.

Welcome to Shang-ri-la, ladies!

It completely changed my breastfeeding experience. It was a whole new and wonderful world. It was awesome. And I pretty much told anyone who would listen that breastfeeding clothes are amazing. 

No more awkwardness and stress while trying to nurse in public. No more fumbling with 6 articles of clothing and intense discomfort as I try to feed my child.

Not only was nursing very convenient, but nursing clothes are designed to make it discrete.

Most are designed so that very little of your breast is exposed while you are nursing–and what is exposed is covered by your baby. I found that while in public, I could quickly, easily, and very discreetly nurse my little one (with no cover) without getting any looks whatsoever. Not only was it soooo much easy for me, but it’s like people didn’t even notice.

I’m still nursing my 14 month old and wearing nursing clothes every single day.

So, now that you know you need some breastfeeding clothes, let’s dive right in!

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES: THE BASICS

Nursing clothes are made to make nursing convenient and discreet. Clothes in your closet may already fit the bill (hello, deep-v’s!), but investing in some great nursing pieces are totally worth it. 

Assuming that you do laundry about once a week (if you do it more, then hats off to you, milady), here’s a basic guideline for what you will need.

  • 5 + Nursing Bras (regular & sport)
  • 5-7 Casual tops
  • 1-2 Dressy Tops
  • At least 1 dress
  • Optional: nursing pajamas 

While you don’t need to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, you do want to make sure you have enough clothes to make breastfeeding convenient.

If it’s not convenient, you’re probably going to stop nursing before you really want to.

Also note that, if you are like most women, the first several months after giving birth you might want some more forgiving clothes as you work back to your pre-pregnancy size/shape.

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES YOU NEED

5 or more nursing bras

These are absolutely essential. If you can’t whip your tatas out of your bra easily, it won’t matter what you are wearing. Breastfeeding is just going to be awkward. So first things first, get some nursing bras! For more guidance on selecting nursing bras, check out the article from The Bump.

5-7 casual nursing-friendly tops

  • Nursing Tops: I recommend getting at least one honest-to-goodness nursing top. This top from Undercover Mama is my favorite. It’s long, comfortable, and it actually clips right onto your nursing bra so it is INSANELY easy and convenient to nurse. It’s long and flattering and makes nursing and running around after kids easy. Undercover Mama is a fantastic and reasonably priced brand to get cute and comfortable nursing clothes.
  • The Deep V: These are perfect casual wear and are not nursing specific, so you may already have them around. I’ve really like these ones (note: you will want to order a size up). Pair with jeans, leggings or a cute skirt and you are golden. Personally, I love this skirt–like LuLaRoe but way cheaper and it comes in a zillion patterns/colors. Downside of the deep-v is that the top of the breast is exposed if you are concerned about being super discreet and like to nurse without a cover.
  • The Button up Top: Not nursing specific, but still super convenient for nursing. 
  • Nursing Tank Tops: Wearing these handy tank tops under your clothes make most tops nursing-friendly. Downside is that you have to lift your top up  and fumble with more articles of clothing. But if you are on a tight budget, these are the way to go.

2 “dressy” nursing-friendly tops

At some point, you are actually going to need to dress up somewhat and get out of the house. If you work, I’d get several tops.

Even if baby is not coming with you, chances are you will need to breastfeed at sometime while wearing whatever outfit you are wearing. Even though my baby never joins me while I teach evening classes (obviously), I nurse her right before I leave and right when I come back. 

A nursing dress

You may not wear dresses all that much, but when you need to wear one, chances are it’s going to be hard to nurse unless it’s an actual, honest-to-goodness nursing dress.

Personally, I love to wear dresses. Plus many styles of dresses are quite forgiving and comfortable to frumpy postpartum bodies.

This is probably my very favorite dress and it comes in 4 colors! It’s also Undercover Mama so it clips right into your bra for super convenient and discreet nursing. 

I also REALLY love the dresses at Milk and Baby. I have bought several and while some were kinda pricey IMO, the convenience of nursing clothes seriously makes it worth the price. I’ve sqeezed every penny from those dresses!

Optional: Nursing Pajamas

Nursing pajamas are nice for hanging around the house during the postpartum healing period. During that time I don’t really  “get dressed” yet, but it’s nice to have something comfortable to wear when answering the door and for when people stop by to see the new bundle of joy. 

Recap: My Favorite Items

 

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES RESOURCES

List of Great Breastfeeding Clothes Websites

  • Milk & Baby: Great selection and super cute clothes. I have a few dresses from here and I always get compliments when I wear them. People are so shocked when I tell them they are nursing dresses! 
  • Milk Nursingwear: This retailer also has a massive selection of great clothes.
  • Latched Mama: While the clothes are pretty simple, they are affordable and well made. My 3/4 sleeve dress has held up really well.
  • Amazon: Amazon has an impressive array of breastfeeding clothes available including many of the above brands plus some very inexpensive options (just be aware of quality and fit issues with cheaper selections).

Clothing Retailers with Nursing Clothes Selection

These are all retailers whose nursing clothes I love.

  • Born to Surf: Tons of cute modern clothes. You’d never guess they were nursing clothes!
  • Roolee: Super cute, hip, and affordable nursing clothes. Favorite part: almost all the nurisng dresses have pockets. 
  • H&M: From bras, pjs, to tops and dresses, H&M has it all. Generally simple, but solid finds.
  • Target Clothes: Not only does Target have a decent collection of nursing clothes, but they ALWAYS have loads of cute button-up blouses that work perfectly (I own several that I use for nursing).
  • Old Navy: A very affordable selection of nursing clothes.

Welcome to the world of convenient & discrete nursing!

My friend, learn from my errors and make sure that you have a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe to set you up for breastfeeding success. Clothes make all the difference in making nursing both convenient, easy, and discrete.

Nursing is hard enough without clothing choices making it inconvenient. By investing a a few items, you can change your whole experience.

Good luck, mama!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

Intermittent Fasting & Breastfeeding: My Experience

Intermittent Fasting & Breastfeeding: My Experience

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional nor am I advocating Intermittent fasting and breastfeeding without your doctor and pediatrician’s consent and support. Everyone’s situation, needs, and health are different. I am simply sharing my experience while I was under the guidance of a doctor.*

Intermittent Fasting & Breastfeeding: My Experience 

I have a really hard time losing weight while breastfeeding. Like instead of losing weight, I gain it. While other women waste away while breastfeeding, I’m voraciously downing the last cupcake.

One thing that helped turn this around was practicing intermittent fasting (IF) following my 4th pregnancy and birth.

Honestly, it was perfect for me. No I didn’t lose a ton of weight quickly (because that would not be healthy or easy to maintain), but I reversed the trend of all my previous pregnancies and have slowly and continuously lost weight (here are my top tips for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding).

The Struggle is Real

After each birth, I would resolve to finally lose the weight. But I always had trouble losing while breastfeeding. In fact, I usually would gain 10 lbs before then getting pregnant again.

But since breastfeeding is amazing (and I really do love it), I refused to let my weight interfere with what was best for my baby.

After the birth of my 4th and last child Dec 2016, I was bound and determined to lose the weight. I was going to finally overcome my inability to lose weight while breastfeeding.

So after getting the okay from my doctor, I had joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, tried to eat healthy, and worked my butt off for weeks and weeks. But my weight did not budge.

It was so incredibly depressing.

Then, I came across intermittent fasting while researching healthy eating, which was my main struggle. It was a revelation. There are so many health benefits to IF, it’s unreal (e.g. fat loss, increased lifespan, lower ideas risk etc).

I wanted to do it, but couldn’t find anything substantial about intermittent fasting AND breastfeeding. I didn’t want to risk my milk supply or quality, but I also didn’t want to wait a year to lose weight.

But then I thought: women throughout history have successfully breastfed with limited food supply and in various circumstances. How could a couple extra hours of fasting a day impact my milk supply?

My experience with intermittent fasting and breastfeeding.

Talking to the Doctor

At my baby’s 3-month visit, I decided to ask the pediatrician about it. My milk supply was well established and my baby and I were in a great routine.

My pediatrician has always been very involved in my nutrition when I am breastfeeding, making sure I am getting all the vitamins and nutrients I need so my babies get what they need. She is very current on research and very concerned with healthy living. So I figured she was the perfect one for me to talk to.

I honestly figured that she would say “no” out of extreme caution. But to my pleasant surprise, she was really supportive of my plan to fast daily for 16 hours (half while sleeping).

I was going to eat between noon and 8:00pm each day while focusing on drinking tons of water and eating healthy.

I started the very next day.

Managing Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding

I woke up around 7:00am and got busy taking care of my kids. I wasn’t going to eat until noon, so I tried to stay busy. Honestly, that’s not hard as a mom, right?

After the morning routine, we went to the gym. By the time I got my kids checked into the kid’s center, worked out, gathered up my kids, and drove home it was almost noon!

By then, I was definitely ready to eat and prepared a nice big meal. Then I ate 3 meals between noon and 7 and made sure to be done eating at 8:00pm.

I continued this and by about day 4, it was seriously no big deal waiting til noon to eat. In my experience, it was really easy to adjust to IF. Eating during an 8 hour window is so doable!

Plus, I found that feeling “empty” in the mornings helped me have more energy to take care of my kids and get stuff done around the house.

MY RESULTS

Milk Supply

To my pleasant surprise, my milk supply was unaffected by the fasting. I had plenty of milk and I noticed no change in nursing whatsoever. My baby didn’t seem affected one bit.

At times when I’ve lost weight more quickly–months after beginning IF–I have noticed a slight (and temporary) drop in supply, but that seems unrelated to IF and more to do with rapid weight loss. As of right now, I have a very healthy still-breastfed 15 month old.

Weight Loss

The weight immediately began to come off at about a pound a week (my breastfeeding sister has seen similar results), which is perfect.

Other than the first few days, I never felt hungry. I have lost 35 lbs so far.

I wasn’t necessarily drastically changing what I was eating right off the bat. But the best part of intermittent fasting is that it helped me get in control of my eating–which was key for me on my weight loss journey.

Since beginning IF, I have changed my eating habits a lot. But it’s been a really natural and gradual progression which means that it’s a change that has been easy to maintain.

 

 

Best Result of IF: Changing Habits

I never struggled to exercise–I love it. But you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. And breastfeeding makes me feel like I am starving ALL THE TIME. It was hard to control my eating because I want to eat everything in my sight.

With intermittent fasting, I felt like I took back control of my eating habits. It became easier to start making better food choices.

Calorie counting has never worked for me. I’ll be dedicated fore about a week before I lose track and then eat whatever I can get my hot little hand on.

But as I gained more self-control through IF, I started to be more mindful of my true hunger cues and really listening to my body. Listening to how food actually made me feel. 

As I gained more self-control, I read some fantastic books on nutrition that helped shape the foods I was eating. Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • The 10 Day Detox: This book was really helpful in conquering my sugar addiction and cleaning up my eating. 
  • The F-Factor Diet: This book really helped to start eating healthy fiber-rich foods that filled me up without adding loads of calories.

With IF and continued nutritional education, I began to finally stop the cycle of gaining weight while I breastfeed my babies.

Intermittent fasting while breastfeeding was the answer for me.

 

Overall, intermittent fasting is simple (no counting calories or tracking food) and has been a miraculous way for me to build healthy eating habits. It was an important tool for me in taking back my health and losing 35 lbs of extra weight from you pregnancies. 

If it interests you and you are breastfeeding, be sure to consult with your doctor/pediatrician first. (And check out my top tips for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding).

Also, I created a free printable intermittent fasting log (see below) where you can track your food, hours fasted, weight, and milk supply.

I’d love to know how it goes for you! 

Good luck, mama! 

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6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success

As I prepared for the birth of my first child, I was bound and determined to breastfeed. I read everything I could and I just knew that I would avoid all the trouble that others had.

Boy, was I wrong. Even amid 22 hours or labor and an emergency c-section, the greatest challenge I encountered was trying to breastfeed my baby. Six weeks of tears and bleeding nipples followed before the pain stopped.

Had I not been so intensely stubborn, I would have started to use formula. But I just couldn’t give up. 

At one point of intense middle-of-the-night delirium, my husband actually begged me to stop. It was miserable. How could something so natural be so insanely hard?!? 

But when I had my second child the following year, I was determined to escape the weeks of misery. And I did. I went on to successfully nurse 3 more babies (for a total of 3.5 years and counting).   

Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be as awful as it was for me those first 6 week. In fact, it absolutely shouldn’t be.

Learn from my mistakes and set yourself up for breastfeeding success as early as you possibly can. It will help eliminate a lot of the frustration and increase your chances of nursing as long as you desire. With both you and your baby reaping the benefits.

But the tricky thing about breastfeeding is it’s not something you can really practice until game day. You can decorate a nursery, buy all the baby clothes, and stock up on diapers.

But how can you really prepare to breastfeed a brand new baby? What can you do to set yourself up for success? Here are my best tips after breastfeeding 4 children:

1.) Bring your nursing pillow to the hospital/birthing center. 

This may seem obvious, but in the rush to get to the hospital, many moms don’t think about the nursing pillow. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t bring it until my 4th baby. (I may be a slow learner.)

But the minute your sweetie is born, you’re going to start nursing. And you want to be surrounded by the tools you need.

 Note: Make sure you buy at least 1 waterproof protective cover for the pillow AND your normal covers. That thing is gonna get seriously messy.

2.) Ask for LOTS of help

If you are afraid to ask for help, you need to get over that right now. Use the lactation consultant and all the nurses to ask question after question, and get as much latching help from the get-go. When ANYTHING pops up, ask for help. 

If you feel that the lactation consultant isn’t helpful, get another one or find a nurse who is helpful. Many nurses are absolute treasure troves of breastfeeding knowledge!

With my first baby, I asked for the lactation to come to my hospital room. She made me feel stupid, so even though I was struggling, I didn’t want to ask her back. And then I struggled for the next 6 weeks looking every video and tutorial I could find to no avail.

With any number 2, I had an amazing nurse (the daughter of a lactation consultant) who was uh-mazing. She was so helpful and patient and taught me so many little tricks. She’d pop in during every shift (even when she wasn’t assigned to me). I experienced no pain nursing any #2!

On baby #3, I struggled again. Little did I know, she had a serious tongue tie. But again, I asked for help. And the lactation consultant sent to my room didn’t help. So I asked for another, who ended up being the mother of my old nurse!

So even with the tongue-tie, with the help of a great lactation consultant, I figured it out.

6 Essential Breastfeeding Tips

6 tips for breastfeeding success

3.) Have a support system in place. 

This is one of the most overlooked resources in this world of do-it-yourselfers, but is probably THE most important key to success. I’ve seen some advice given to hire a lactation consultant before you even have the baby.

But who can afford that!?!

For thousands and thousands of years, people successfully breastfed without having to hire in-home help. What people have had, historically, is a knowledgeable breastfeeding support system. There is a good chance you have experienced breastfeeders in your circle somewhere.

Women around the world have the same struggles, but the most successful breastfeeding societies have strong breastfeeding support systems.

Consider asking relatives, friends, or close neighbors if they’d be willing to help once the baby comes. The vast majority of experienced breastfeeders would be downright thrilled to help you out.

Heck, email me if you need help!

If you are feeling modest, I’m telling you–after labor, you won’t care who sees your ta-tas.

And once you learn the ropes, be sure that you then help someone else as they learn to breastfeed.

4.) Don’t stress out about a little formula supplementation.

I’m going to take flak for this, but it’s true. A little formula will not derail your breastfeeding endeavors.

If you’ve done much breastfeeding research, you’ve probably heard that supplementing with formula will affect your supply. And it certainly will. If you do it regularly.

But let’s say you are in so much pain from a bad latch and are basically delirious from pain and lack of sleep (been there!). A few ounces of formula isn’t going to be the end of the world.

However, it may give you the chance to get sleep, give your nipples a break, and try again a bit later with a little more sanity at your disposal. You can have breastfeeding success with a little formula.

5.) Buy nursing clothes.

Perhaps you’ve already looked, but they seemed pricey. It’s worth it, trust me. You’ll thank me later when you can breastfeed discretely and with ease in a public place as opposed to pulling your dress over your head in a nasty public bathroom stall or your car.

I cannot tell you how much this completely changed my breastfeeding experience. I didn’t get breastfeeding clothes til baby number 4 and it was a different world. Breastfeeding was sooooo much easier. For more on breastfeeding clothes, check out my guide here

6.) Get a suitable pump. 

Not everyone needs a pump, but you don’t need to be a working mom to find incredible value in a good pump.  

When I had extremely sore nipple, pumping gave them a break while still getting milk to my baby.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, but plan to be able to leave your child for a couple of hours, a single pump will do the job. The medela swing is perfect. I loved it until I started working part-time.

If you plan on working or being away for 3 or more hours regularly, or you are not comfortable breastfeeding in public and want to bring bottles, the Medela Pump in Style is awesome.

I’ve cooked dinners, graded papers, and even done squats–all while pumping. You wear a pumping bra and can pump both sides, hands-free. It’s awesome! I feel like if I had gotten a double pump with my 1st two kids (I didn’t get it until #3) I would have been able to nurse them longer.

And Above All: Be kind to yourself, mama. 

Remember, breastfeeding is not a stick to measure yourself up to anyone else.

Your mental and physical health is the most important thing you can offer your new baby, not breastmilk. Do the best you can, and love yourself. You created human life. That’s pretty amazing, mama.

I wish you great breastfeeding success! May the milk freely flow and the nipples be pain free.