Breastfeeding Tips for Beginners (The Advice Your Mama Didn’t Tell You)

New mama, let’s chat about breastfeeding tips for beginners that your mom didn’t tell you about!

During pregnancy, many mothers have decided to at least try to breastfeed their babies. Many women have stars in their eyes and ideas of precious moments spent with our newborns nursing sweetly at the breast.

While there are many precious moments with breastfeeding, not everyone is going to experience an easy time breastfeeding. Especially the first time around when you don’t yet have firsthand experience with how breastfeeding can go.

There are, however, tips, hacks, and advice to help a beginner to breastfeeding have a better experience than they might have without the help. I’m excited to share with you in the hopes you have a beautiful experience breastfeeding.

breastfeeding tips for beginners

Affiliate links may be used in this post and if so I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when purchasing from my site. I’m also part of the Amazon Affiliate (Associate) program where I earn a commission from sales made through my affiliate links. Find my full disclosure policy

Breastfeeding Tips for Beginners

It IS normal and natural at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey to experience pain, tenderness, and soreness. Breastfeeding might be awkward at first for you and your baby but going into it knowing that will help you with your expectations. 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: All information provided on the site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Mom to, and its owner, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site. This website is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace medical professionals.

Best Breastfeeding Advice for New Moms

  1. Your breastfeeding nipples will hurt 

When you first begin breastfeeding your nipples are likely going to hurt or be sore. I know that lactation consultants often say that if you’re doing it right it won’t hurt, and while that may be true farther into the experience of breastfeeding, in the beginning when your nipples have never had that kind of friction, they will be sore and sometimes maybe even painful.

How can you help sore nipples?

  • Make sure the baby is latching correctly
  • Switch between breasts when breastfeeding
  • Use nipple cream between feedings
  • Make sure you don’t have thrush – which is a yeast infection of the nipples
  • Check that you don’t have a clogged milk duct
  • Use cold compresses after nursing
  • Use breast shells in your bra to prevent aggravation from your clothing
  • Consider a nipple shield during breastfeeding
  • Consult with a certified lactation consultant if simple changes don’t make a difference

2. Your baby may need help figuring it out

Just like you, babies need to learn to breastfeed. And sometimes certain babies may have more difficulty than others thanks to things like tongue ties. 

Your lactation nurse in the hospital will help you get the baby to latch properly. If you’re noticing pain while nursing in the hospital I would recommend you talk to the nurse right away. She will help you in figuring out what is going wrong. 

Some things that might help in positioning the baby properly as a newborn would be a nursing pillow and back support

Deluxe Nursing Pillow

3. Your milk supply might be low

Some women experience low milk supply during their breastfeeding experience. I had that problem with my firstborn son. Low milk supply could be for a variety of reasons.

One could be that the baby isn’t nursing properly from something called a tongue-tie. If you talk to your doctor about supply concerns he/she may check your baby’s tongue to see if the baby has a tongue tie that could be adding to the problem.

Another reason for low milk supply could be that you aren’t feeding frequently enough. If you go hours in between feedings at night it can affect your milk supply as it tricks your supply into thinking you don’t need to feed your baby as often.

If you’re supplementing with formula, especially in the early weeks, it could be tricking your breasts into believing you don’t need as much milk for your baby.

Nipple shields can cause low milk supply and the reason for that is that they keep nipple stimulation low. If you are having a hard time breastfeeding and your supply is low I’d advise speaking to a lactation consultant to help you. 

What you can do to help increase your milk supply?

  • Nurse frequently and allow the baby to empty your breasts
  • Nurse from both breasts
  • Consider pumping to fully empty the breasts if your baby isn’t emptying them
  • Get lots of rest, good nutrition, and plenty of water

4. You may feel crampy when nursing

Especially in the beginning, you may feel a bit crampy when you’re nursing. The same hormone, oxytocin, that triggers your milk to let down also causes your uterus to shrink back to its normal size. When nursing, you’re triggering that hormone and it can cause a cramping feeling, especially the first few days after delivering your baby. This is normal.

5. Your beasts will leak

Your breasts are going to leak and leak a lot. When you think of your baby, hear your baby cry, talk about your baby, you release oxytocin, that hormone that causes milk letdown – and this will happen anywhere and everywhere. You can use nipple pads or shells to help catch the breast milk. This will save your clothing!

Nipple Pads

6. It may not be as magical as you’d hoped

Breastfeeding is natural and while that is true it doesn’t mean it’s easy, painless, or even a bonding experience for every woman. You’re going to be tired, hormonal, and may suffer from thrush, mastitis, or a fussy baby who wants to nurse all the time. It can all add to the difficulty to enjoy the process. 

You can recover the experience if it’s not as magical as you’d hoped. 

I recommend you tell someone close to you how hard it is. Let your emotions come out, express yourself, and don’t be afraid to tell someone who loves you. You’d be surprised how supportive your friends and family will be. 

Get to the source of the problem. Is it pain? Look into ways to ease the pain. Remember, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. Uncomfortable in the beginning yes but if your baby is latched properly it shouldn’t be painful. If it is, look into possible tongue ties, latch issues, or breast issues like thrush or mastitis. 

Get sleep and rest. When you’re exhausted it’s much harder to enjoy anything in your life. Sleep deprivation is a real thing and many mothers experience it. While yes it’s completely normal to be tired as a new mother, you should be napping when you can to catch up on as much sleep as possible. Instead of folding the laundry or doing the dishes, you need to be squeezing a nap in. This is when you need to speak openly to your partner about their expectations and let them know you are going to nap when the baby naps.

Talk to a doctor about your emotions. If you’re having a hard time bonding with baby or enjoying the breastfeeding experience, talk to your doctor. Being honest about your emotions in the early weeks is going to be vital to your experience as a new mom. Don’t feel shame, every mother will have some sort of hormonal reaction in those early weeks. 

Realize that it can be normal not to love breastfeeding. Not everyone is going to feel blissful when breastfeeding. It’s a lot of work. If you don’t love it but are still committed to breastfeeding, just realize you aren’t alone.

7. You’re going to be a milk-making mama

Your life is going to be revolved around nursing, especially in those early months. You’ll be nursing often, pumping most likely, and be making plans around your nursing. Nursing will feel like a full-time job. Out to a rare dinner with your partner? Your milk is likely to come in and you’ll need to nurse. Our at the grocery store and the baby begins to cry from hunger. You’ll need to nurse then or soon. At church, library, even driving… well, you get the idea, you’ll be nursing everywhere. If you are more comfortable nursing with a cover up, you’ll want to invest in a few for those situations where nursing out in public will happen.

8. Your breast are going to grow in size

When your milk comes in your breasts are going to grow in size. Like, a lot. 

I remember when my milk came in with my firstborn son I could hardly believe my eyes. They more than doubled in size.

Also, be prepared when you stop nursing they will likely deflate.

You’ll also want to find a good nursing bra that is supportive and allows you to easily nurse.

Nursing Bra

9. You may love it more than you thought

There is a lot here that may discourage you but please don’t become discouraged about what breastfeeding may be like. This article aims to prepare you for many of the realities but the bliss you may feel breastfeeding will make it all worth it. The bonding and beautiful experience of providing nourishment for your child will be something you’ve never experienced before or ever will again. Enjoy the heck out of it! It goes faster than you’d think.

10. You may end up switching to a formula

Here’s the final and big breastfeeding tip for beginners, you need to realize there’s a spectrum of nursing mothers out there. You may love it, everything about it, and never want it to end. Or, you may enjoy parts of it, feel bonded to your baby, and put up with the harder parts of breastfeeding. Or, you may wish you could enjoy it, wish you could get past pain or infections and wish you could feel more bonded to your baby while nursing but realize it’s just not for you and you need to switch to formula. 

Just know that if you switch to formula, you aren’t alone. There and many mothers opting for formula feeding their babies for many different reasons. There’s no shame in that. I had to supplement with formula and then eventually switched over to formula and though in my case, I wanted to continue but couldn’t, the fact is – whether you can’t or just don’t want to anymore, the formula is perfectly fine to use with your baby. 

In the end, you need to consider not only your baby’s health and experience but also need to consider your health and experience as well.

breastfeeding tips for new moms

Wrapping it up

The goal of these breastfeeding tips for beginners is to create realistic expectations of their breastfeeding experience. You’re going to be tired, your baby is going to need to learn how to breastfeed, and YOU are going to need to learn how to teach your baby to breastfeed. You’ll be sore in the beginning, and you will face challenges, but if you are committed, want to breastfeed long-term, and have a support system and tools, you will be ready for this journey.

Remember these tips:

  1. Your nipples will be sore
  2. Your baby may need help figuring it out
  3. Your milk supply might be low
  4. You may feel crampy when nursing
  5. Your breasts will leak
  6. It might not be the magic you thought
  7. You’re going to be nursing all over town
  8. Your breasts will grow in size
  9. You may love it more than you thought
  10. You might end up switching to formula

Recommended Breastfeeding Video


Pin for later reading

breastfeeding tips


XOXO, Nell

Comments 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content