By Maggie Whitley
Breastfeeding Tips and Tricks That Made Life Easier for Positive Mama Maggie Whitley
Not sure you’re ready to hit the next breastfeeding milestone? Check out breastfeeding tips and tricks from positive mama Maggie Whitley and stay confident in your mommying!
I joined “the nursing club” in a whirlwind when our oldest, Maxwell, was delivered via C-section in March. When I made the decision to breastfeed, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. Only a few women in my family breastfed, but I was too young to form any memories of their experience. I remember one of my aunts encouraging me to nurse. She said if I can create a positive mindset, my experience has a greater chance of success (and she was right!). I’m so grateful for her “aunterly” advice because it’s something I refer back to anytime nursing feels really difficult. When our daughter Natalie was born the next October I knew I was about to begin another amazing round of baby bonding. But this time I felt much more prepared and aware.
Both of my newborn children took to nursing extremely well. Both babies gained weight easily, quickly, and were wonderful snugglers. These three things made it super easy for me to nurse, which made it even easier to continue to nurse them. I haven’t experienced any real difficulties, which I know is a huge blessing. However, sometimes, when our baby is latched and it’s only me who can feed them, and I’m tired and in need of a little personal space, I struggle emotionally. I wish we had been more consistent with bottle-feeding, but we hadn’t, so the bottles mostly sit inside our cupboards.
Our son was 14 months old when I stopped nursing him, and it was definitely one of my hardest moments of motherhood. I cried in my husband Zack’s arms knowing this chapter was over. I knew, though, as soon as I turned the corner from his bedroom Maxwell and I would simultaneously begin something new together.
Any time I experienced a new breastfeeding milestone, it automatically felt so grand. I felt so empowered, so strong in my mommying.
Like the first time I nursed in public, for example. I was certain everyone was watching me, criticizing or ready to shoot a glare my way, but that wasn’t my experience. I remember telling Zack, as I was positioning our son to nurse him, “Just act normal, and don’t stare at me!” And can I confess? I was totally sweating sitting in that restaurant booth because I was so nervous something would go wrong. As soon as our son had nursed, I felt so proud of myself for making it through. I had nursed in public; I did it! I could have sworn confetti fell from the ceiling tiles.
Another breastfeeding milestone was learning how to nurse laying down with our firstborn.
Because of my C-section scar it took a little longer for this to be a comfortable position, but once I was able to I absolutely loved it, especially during the frequent nighttime feedings. Living in Los Angeles, our days are active with daily walks and lots of play time, and by the end of the day my legs often ache. Being able to comfortably nurse lying down makes taking care of our baby’s needs so much more relaxing for me.
Since nursing for the very first time, over two years ago, I’ve been keeping an informal list of my favorite nursing products. I’ve also been making more of an effort to remember my best nursing tips, especially since it’s easy to forget when I’m not actively breastfeeding. Many of my girlfriends are becoming moms, and as we continue to add to our family these tips are becoming increasingly helpful for me.
My Favorite Nursing Essentials:
- Swaddle blankets
- A double electric pump by Ameda
- Washable nursing pads
- A clip down nursing cami – so helpful with all the nursing stages
- A fun/patterned nursing bra, like one with polka dots!
- Dressing in layers, either for coverage or sudden hot flashes
My Best Nursing Tips:
- Remember that very few people actually notice you nursing in public.
- Trying to wear a bra during those first months is silly.
- As soon as you can, learn how to nurse lying down.
- Pack an extra shirt and bra pads in your diaper bag.
- Having a “team of supporters” helped me through my moments of panic, hours of uncertainty, and days of exhaustion.
- If layering isn’t your thing, consider a shirt that can be pulled down to nurse (instead of pulled up), along with a burp cloth for coverage.
- Your baby can sense your calm, just like he can sense your stress. Take a deep breath, close the door if you need some privacy, and try latching him again.
Maggie, also known as Gussy, documents her life and handmade craft business through her blog. Founder of Gussy Sews and Maggie Whitley Designs, she lives with her husband, Zack, and two children, Maxwell and Natalie, in Los Angeles. Find out more about marriage and life after pregnancy at her blog today.