5+ Breastfeeding Tips For Mom - From Experienced Moms

Let's get real about breastfeeding mom-to-mom

By Brenna Gutell July 29, 2023

Once you become pregnant, you will begin receiving guidance on baby care during and after childbirth. In your pre-and post-natal classes you might learn a little about breastfeeding, and then again in the hospital or at home hopefully you'll also get some hands on help - if you need it. 

No matter how much information you get - sometimes what's missing is practical, real-life experience — and support. 

I'm going to share a few of my own personal tips to the mix: 

  • First, it's not just new mom's that need help with breastfeeding: Each baby and pregnancy brings a different set of circumstances. I learned the hard way that just because you were successful before or overcame challenges doesn't guarantee it will be easier the next time. I struggled a lot with my first - and I mean A LOT - that's a story for another day. I had overcome so many challenges, I struggled and worked so hard, I read all the books and articles before after and during, I had all the resources at my fingertips and still . . . I was blindsided when things did not work out as planned. You know what they say about plans!
  • Second is moms need a hand, even if they don't know it or are not comfortable asking for it: Moms do you hear me?! Please accept help when it's offered and don't be afraid to ask if it's not - and this is not just a breastfeeding thing. Just because we can do it all doesn't mean we should.
  • Last is support: It's so important for your partner, family, friends and doctors to support your choices - no matter what they are. 

At the end of the day we all just want what's best for our baby and that can look different to every family!

Via Canva

August is National Breastfeeding Month

Here are five tips from experienced mamas about breastfeeding . . . and what they wish they would have known when starting out:

1. Breastfeeding is crazy-cool . . . but it might feel weird at first

Breastmilk is amazing! Seems like out of nowhere, your body produces premium nourishment for your baby on demand. Did you know that your breastmilk will even change as your baby grows? It's customized for their every need, it will even change when they are sick to give them the extras their body needs. So Wild and cool! Even so, breastfeeding for the first time can feel strange - it can bring a lot of different emotions too. You might feel scared or as though you don't know what to do, don't worry and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Prior to this, your breasts were probably reserved only for private time. Then all all of a sudden a precious tiny human needs them. Nursing can change the way you view your body, you might experience a lot of mixed feeling - that's normal. Especially as these once sexy private parts transforms into very functional and necessary body parts to nourish your baby. 

Just remember, it may feel strange to breastfeed at first. It will likely take some time to adjust to this new use of you. It’s okay, these feelings are totally normal. Once you and your baby get in the grove it can be amazing. Nothing calms and soothes a fussy, tired or hungry baby like nursing - even a cranky toddler.

 kate_sept2004 via Canva

2. Breastfeeding is not always easy, and that's ok

Every mom has their own unique breastfeeding story. For some moms and babies, nursing can come like second nature. For some it can start a bit rocky, but smooth sailing after a little time and work from both parties. But for a few, it can come with some challenges! Successful breastfeeding often comes after a bit of hard work and extra support. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Some moms / babies have extra challenges to overcome. Sometimes it seems like your milk in not coming in or it's coming late. Sometimes you aren't sure if you are produce enough milk for your baby. Some moms might need to take medication that can make it harder to nurse or produce enough milk. You might be engorged or experience a clogged duct. Sometimes babies have allergies to various proteins or food items that come in breastmilk requiring mom to make some dietary changes. Babies can have a tongue-tie, lip-tie or have other physical challenges to overcome or work with. Sometime the physical roadblocks are not always discovered or diagnosed properly. If you still have trouble get another opinion, and maybe another if needed. Some babies can suffer from reflux. And then some babies might struggle to latch properly needing extra help. One of mine had a perfect latch, but has a suction issue. How about when moms have to head back to work? Nursing and pumping or pumping alone can add additional challenges to the mix. Hang in there, you've got this!

Answers to common breastfeeding questions and helpful information:

There are many different reasons why breastfeeding might not work the way you planned. Stay open, be flexible - you might need to switch gears and positions. Also know for some moms it might not happen for you and your baby. Every Mom’s journey is unique. Truly you are not alone if you face bumps in the road or if breastfeeding doesn’t end up working the way you plannedExclusively pumping can be an option for some, but even that has it's challenges and doesn't work out for every mom. I struggled with pumping too. At the end of the day some moms can't or might choose not to breastfeed! Even after getting lots of help if it still doesn't work for you and your baby, it's really and truly OK. We all need to do what's best for mom and baby and that choice looks different for everyone. 

 PR Image Factory via Canva

3. What to do if Breastfeeding hurts

We aren't sure why we didn’t realize this before baby. You are putting your softest skin — through the ringer — which prior to this pretty was pretty much always covered. From sore and cracked nipples to blocked ducts . . . breastfeeding sometimes can hurt at first especially if you don't have a proper latch! There are a variety of options to help, nipple shields, nipple creams and ointments, some with lanolin to helps sore or cracked nipples - don't worry nipple creams are harmless to your baby. They seem to keep coming up with great products for Moms all the time. Depending on your situation it might help with latch to use a nipple shield - you might want to consult an lactation specialist for help with this. 

The good news is for most moms it will get better as the weeks pass. That being said, breastfeeding shouldn't be painful especially after the first couple of weeks, if you still have pain or it's ever really bad  — please ask for help sooner rather than later. Reach out to a La Leche League leader, find a lactation specialist or talk to your doctor - sometimes breastfeeding issues can require extra intervention.

Helpful breastfeeding information:

4. Bottle-feeding challenges

Even nursing moms sometime include bottle-feeding as part of their baby feeding routine, either by choice or necessity. Some babies have trouble taking to a bottle - even if they don't breastfeed. Drinking from a bottle differs from breastfeeding and some nurslings need extra help learning to do both. Some babies who have difficulty nursing can also have trouble with a bottle for the exact same reasons they had trouble nursing, mine did. Some babies just don't like a bottle or just prefer mom, sometime you need to find the right bottle - there are sooo many. If there are any suction issues or difficulties due to a high palate, tongue / lip ties it can affect bottle feeing as well. If your baby struggles with a bottle, it means that as much as your partner might want to help with middle-of-the-night feedings, or family wants to give you a break it might be only you that baby will accept. That can be a lot to handle! If you want to or need to bottle-feed and your baby is having difficulty don't hesitate to ask for help - often a lactation consultant, your family doctor / pediatrician will be able to offer some advice and assistance.

 Nagore Irigoyen via Canva

5. Your boobs might be seen in public - not really

When in public, we see new moms trying to sneak away to a corner to nurse so they don't "bother" anyone, or trying to cover their baby up with a coverup — which often just annoys baby. Listen up: You and your baby are NOT a bother! A friend told us best: If I wanted to have a happy baby and not miss out on valuable social interactions, I was going to have to be brave and nurse that baby in public. I started out with lots of gear, but once that baby started crawling, I had to ditch the cover. Now I do my best to keep the boobs under wraps using the clothes on my body, but I’m sure some unsuspecting strangers have us on more than one occasion at this point. While it might feel like you are on display as a exhibitionist, honestly most people will not even notice and if they do just smile.

You'll find what works best for you. I liked using a nursing cover especially in those early days when both mom and baby are trying to figure out this whole "breastfeeding" thing. They're also helpful if you need to pump in a public restroom or your car. The covers usually have a strap that keeps them from falling off - one less thing to think about or stress over. Blankets work well too, especially if it's cooler out - for cold days I liked fussy blankets for cooler days I liked thinner receiving blankets. Nursing bras make breastfeeding a lot easier. Also think about your clothing, extra long shirts, button openings, or stretchy tops can make breastfeeding a lot little easier - they even make nursing tops.

I'm going to add in a few more personal tips for breastfeeding in public. 

While many moms will head to the nearest restroom, please know you do not have to - you have the legal right in California to breastfeed your baby in any public place. That said I recommend you find someplace where you are comfortable and your baby is comfortable - this is different for everyone. Some babies don't mind the noise while others need quiet and distraction free, also know it will change as they age through different stages of development. Keep in mind how long your baby typically nurses, some are short and sweet and others like my son were in for the long haul. When my boys were babies I seemed to spend a lot of time at the mall, some department stores (especially older ones) have large lounges in their restrooms, some even have sofas making it a great space to relax and nurse or pump and keep an eye on siblings. Some malls or large stores even have family rooms, which can come in handy especially if you have older siblings with you. My other favorite spots were furniture departments - even patio furniture depending on the season at a big box or hardware store. Then there are those times where you might need to be creative and just figure it out on the go. I've even held nursing baby with one hand while pushing a shopping cart with the other. Nursed in the dentist or hairdressers chair. When it's not hot out I've even sat in the car - I sat in the back seat and just locked the doors up for privacy - plus the windows in the back are tinted, but remember the front is not and that's where a window shade can come in handy.

Know your rights:

Local Breastfeeding Resources:

More Breastfeeding Resources:


No matter if you breastfeed or not, you'll find this part of the trip can be like a great step into the unknown and unlike anything you've ever done before. It’s a wonderful adventure with many ups and downs — just like the rest of parenting! Best of luck, sweet new Momma. You got this.  

A version of this article originally appeared on Macaroni KID Richmond, Va.

This articles was updated and edited by Brenna Gutell, Publisher of Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas