Nip Tips: Breastfeeding Hacks for Tired Mamas


tips for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding: it is billed as the most natural, beautiful function of a mother’s body. If breast is best, you would think that it would be the most natural, most comfortable experience in the world. And as an added bonus it will bring you back to your pre-pregnancy weight immediately and also give you the glow of a Grecian Goddess. Instead, it is painful, messy, frustrating, and exhausting. I am constantly covered in milk (both direct from the tap and regurgitated back onto me), my nipples are sore from the tugging of an aggravated and inpatient human vacuum, and I get no more than two hours of sleep at a time as I wake at the whim of a voracious eater. 

Don’t get me wrong, I actually do love to breastfeed. I breastfed my son for fourteen months until he completely lost interest. I loved the bond that is created between us. He truly needed me, and he knew that he could count on me to always provide for him. He also never got sick in the entire time that he was breastfed (and neither did I!). While I was grateful to have ownership of my body back when it ended, I also grieved that chapter coming to a close.

So now here I am with an almost-three-week-old who shares her brother’s love of the boob. She is also a voracious eater (and a comfort sucker) that leads to hour-long feeding sessions. She also had trouble latching in the hospital that led to painful bruised nipples. But this time, I was prepared.

Here are my top hacks for mamas currently or planning to breastfeed. 

1. Listen to your body. Breastfeeding doesn’t feel like getting a massage from Chris Hemsworth. But it should also not cause excruciating pain. If it hurts that much, stop. It’s likely a bad latch, or there could be another problem like thrush or mastitis. With my son, the nurses in the hospital just grabbed my boob and thrust it into his mouth. He latched on like a vampire, and through my tears, the nurses assured me that the pain was totally normal. Almost an hour later, he came off, and my nipple was purple and bleeding. “Oh,” she said, “Must have been a bad latch. We’ll try again on the next breast.” And the same thing happened and kept happening for two days until the lactation consultant came in to see me and put me on nipple rest. Because I knew better the second time around, I was absolutely prepared for this and saved myself a world of hurt. 

2. If you have flat or inverted nipples, use a nipple shield. This sucker saved my entire breastfeeding journey. My lactation consultant outside of the hospital recommended it while my nipples healed and to teach my son to latch. It was like the heavens opened up, and a choir of angels sang “Hallelujah!” while he nursed. 

3. Use a Haaka. If a Haaka were running for President, I would vote for it. That’s how much I love this product. It wasn’t a thing with my son, so when my friend recommended that I add it to my sprinkle registry, I really had no idea what to expect. It’s a silicone “pump” that you just squeeze onto the boob from which the baby is not feeding, and it catches the letdown that would otherwise be absorbed by a breast pad. It can also be used as a pump. I catch 2-4 oz of milk with every use that I can put in a bottle so that my husband can assist with feedings, and I’ve already started a decent freezer stash. I have not used my electric pump ONCE. Just the Haaka. And it’s $12 on Amazon. God bless this silicone miracle. 

3. Get some Soothies and keep them in the fridge for after an extra-long/aggressive feeding session. They last for up to three days and are like a cool hug from a fluffy unicorn for your tatas.

4. Always have a glass of water and lip balm at every “feeding station” in your house. Hydrating is obvious, but no one talks about how breastfeeding affects lip dryness, too!

There are tons of other tips that are more well-known: nipple cream, breast pads to help with leakage, boppys, nursing bras and tops, etc. Anything that can make this incredibly difficult thing that you’re doing easier – do it! If you have a good arsenal, and most importantly, a support team of family, friends, and other mamas there for you (especially at those 3 a.m. feedings!), you will have a much better chance of surviving this crazy chapter of motherhood. 

May the nips be ever in your favor, mamas. 

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