Tips That Helped Me Survive The First Weeks of Breastfeeding | Health, Love & Fire

Tips That Helped Me Survive The First Weeks of Breastfeeding

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Making it through the first few weeks of breastfeeding for the first time was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be. Your body has just been through the crazy experience of labor and giving birth and you're adjusting to having a newborn to take care of and all while trying to figure out how to breastfeed. I was lucky and had a fairly easy adjustment with Harper who caught on to the whole feeding thing pretty quickly, but even so, there were times it was tough! I spent quite a bit of time before giving birth reading other mom blogs and posts on labor, newborn care and breastfeeding but I was always looking for more suggestions and stories to help me prepare so I decided to share some of the ways I made it through the first two months of breast feeding. 

Before I delivered, I spent time getting everything ready, or as ready as I thought I could be. One area I spent very little time preparing for was breastfeeding. Make sure you have a good feeding pillow. I found at first that a boppy was too big and not form fitting enough so it was hard to keep Harper up close to me to feed at least for the first few weeks. I ended up using a Breast Friend pillow, similar to one I had used at the hospital until Harper got big enough and then I switched over to the hoppy. Having both pillows was probably more than I needed but I found the breast friend pillow the perfect way for us to learn and feed the first few weeks and loved the hoppy from about a month on. 

Now you've delivered a baby, sleep deprived and trying to adjust at home and all you want to do is lay on the couch in sweats and rest. A new mom friend suggested nursing tanks and zip up sweatshirts as the perfect breastfeeding and labor recovery outfits and she couldn't have been more right! I literally lived in those tops for the first few weeks. I was comfortable, and at the same time it was easy to breastfeed. Even on days when I had visitors over or ran errands I still felt put together but comfortable and able to breastfeed easily when I needed to. 

One of the hardest things was the amount of time you spend feeding. At first your little one wants to eat every two hours or more, and just when you've gotten yourself put back together it feels like it's time to feed again. There were several days I found myself overwhelmed and in tears just trying to plan out when I could get in a meal or a shower between feedings. It was absolutely something I was unprepared for. After Harper had gotten the hang of latching and had gained a couple pounds, I started pumping a bottle a few times a week to allow Dan to be able to feed her and give myself at least a one feeding break. Having even just one feeding that I didn't have to do made a huge difference in my mood and my stress!

Another thing I purchased after giving birth was supportive nursing bras. I figured my chest had gotten as big as it was going to get and the nursing bras from Target were sufficient but I found myself quickly needing something different. I ended up making another appointment with a lactation consultant at the hospital I delivered at, who was able to fit me in some amazingly comfortable and really reasonably priced nursing bras. Feeling comfortable and supported all day not only made a huge difference in how I felt and looked but also in my mood! Before getting new nursing bras I was constantly unhappy with how I looked in my t-shirts and just felt unsupported and uncomfortable. I never would have thought to go to the hospital to get a good bra but it literally was a game changer and I highly suggest it! Both bras I purchased were less than $45 and can be converted to normal bras once I'm done nursing, although hopefully my chest won't be as large and I'll need a smaller size by then. 

One of the biggest things I was unprepared for was how uncomfortable nursing was going to be at first. Our first night home with the baby I can remember sitting in her nursery feeding for the third time in five hours being so exhausted and just crying in pain. The pain slowly went away over the first few weeks but I needed something in the interm. By applying lanolin after feeding and using ice or hear packs in between I was able to make nursing more bearable. Each feeding I would keep track of the sides she fed on, the length of time and my pain scale. I noticed that the later in the day it got after feeding more often, the more pain I was in.  I honestly don't think I would have continued to breastfeed as long as I have if I didn't have something to ease the pain. Lanolin was given to me by a new mom at my work baby shower and she suggested I pack it in my hospital bag to begin using right away. I forgot about it at first, but it quickly became my go to after feedings and really helped make me more comfortable! 

Honestly, Breastfeeding is something I never looked forward to or really wanted to do before having Harper, but knowing it was the best thing for her and I made me really want to try my hardest to make it work. There were definitely days where it was a struggle and I wanted to give up, but I found tools and tricks to help make it through it. And even through all the pain and struggles, I'm so glad I stuck it out and created that bond between the two of us.
What did you find helped you through those first few weeks of breastfeeding?

Boppy Pillow
Breast Friend Nursing Pillow
Nursing Bra
Zip Up Hoodie


  1. Thanks for this post!! Breastfeeding is something I really want to do, but I'm so nervous about the pain and the problems associated with it. Hopefully Charlie Beth latches easily like Harper did and I can stick out the pain for the first few weeks!

  2. The first few weeks SUCK. I got really sick and had to stop for two weeks because of the antibiotics I was on. That break really caused me to think about stopping breastfeeding, ultimately I decided to keep going and to supplement with formula as well. The break allowed my breasts to heal completely and when I started back things went much much better. What helped me other than the break was supplementing and this cream called Motherlove Nipple Cream!

  3. Thank you for this! I'm nervous about it too, so this was definitely helpful. :)

  4. My little one is 3 weeks old now, and I decided the other day breastfeeding wasn't working for us. We had to supplement with formula from the very beginning in the hospital because she was a hungry little monster. And apparently, I have flat nipples (sorry if tmi), but having to use a nipple shield was really difficult. She would nurse but fell asleep very easily, would suck but not swallow all the time, and when she'd fight me she'd grab the shield and pull it off. It just started getting way too frustrating for both of us especially when she'd still need to supplement with formula afterwards. I'm working on getting my supply to where I can pump exclusively, but who knows if I'll ever get to that point. I bought the ingredients to make lactation cookies, drinking a lot of water, and I'm trying to pump every 3 hours or so to help increase it. I've been kind of hard on myself because I really wanted to be able to breastfeed exclusively, but I've had to tell myself that feeding my daughter is the most important thing whether it's breast milk or formula.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.