Breastfeeding my son was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. It created a bond between him and me that we will never have with another person. However, our journey ended earlier than I would have wanted.
Read on to see the breastfeeding mistakes I made as a first time breastfeeding mom. Some of the products mentioned were gifted to me in exchange for my honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.
Breastfeeding Mistakes I Made As A First Time Mom
1.Lacking An In-Person Support Team
When you are a first-time mom, everything is new. The things that I thought would come so naturally, didn’t. I never imagined how hard it would be to bathe a screaming and very slippery newborn, or identify diaper rash and know how to treat it. I certainly didn’t imagine that breastfeeding would be so hard! How could something that seems so natural and innate, turn out to be so painful and confusing?
Of all the breastfeeding mistakes I made, a big one was lacking an in-person support network and education. Nobody was against me breastfeeding, yet no one seemed to be a big supporter either. I had a few long-distance friends that had nursed their baby, but it isn’t the same as someone that is so close to you that they can physically help you when you are struggling or tell you what might be wrong.
If you are a first time breastfeeding mom and feel a lack of support, I would suggest reaching out to your local La Leche League or hospital/clinic to find an in-person support group near you. It is best to get help right away, don’t wait until you have made all the breastfeeding mistakes that I made.
2. Thinking I Didn’t Need To Nurse So Much
I think I should make the disclaimer that I am not a breastfeeding expert by any means. However, I have come to learn that it is essential to be nursing around the clock in those beginning days/weeks to establish your supply and keep baby well fed. When I was nursing my son, I tried to feed on demand, yet this quickly became exhausting.
There were times when I didn’t think my son could possibly be hungry and would seek out other solutions to comfort him. Or I would be nursing for what seemed like forever (like all evening for hours on end with little breaks in between). My husband and I were worried that he would become too dependent on my breast for comfort and that wouldn’t be good for either of us. Looking back, that in and of itself was a mistake!
When you are newly breastfeeding, it is so important that you follow your baby‘s cues. They might want to cluster feed, or feed on demand. Try your best to do what you can to meet these needs. Frequent nursing cues your body to make more milk, helps your baby learn how to nurse efficiently, and keeps them happy and well connected to you.
3. Not Being Comfortable With Nursing In Public
In all areas of my life, I am a pretty modest person. So when it came to breastfeeding, I really only wanted to do it in the comfort (and privacy) of my own home. There were times that I would be at a friend’s house and excuse myself to go nurse, but never when I was in a public place. This meant that I would pack what little milk I had in my stash, or formula, to feed my son. As you can imagine, this caused our trips to be short, uncomfortable for me, and really messed with my supply.
I would suggest getting a great nursing cover and letting yourself and your baby get used to wearing it or see if you are comfortable without a cover. A lot of public places also have private and comfortable nursing stations you can use. You might just need to ask.
Skipping nursing sessions while supplementing is sure to mess with your supply. Messing with your supply is probably one of the biggest breastfeeding mistakes a mom can make.
4. Not Drinking Enough Water
If there is one thing that can really affect your supply, it is staying hydrated. Just think about how much water the average person should be drinking in a day and how many of us don’t reach that goal. Then consider how many ounces your baby is using, that is coming from your body supply. If you are dry, chances are your supply is, too.
Try to drink water every time you nurse/pump. Leave a water bottle that is always full near your nursing station, as well as throughout the house, so it is ready when you are.
5. Skipping Meals
Motherhood is exhausting. I often found myself too tired, too busy, or too forgetful to be eating healthy on a consistent basis. Along with the water, your body needs calories to support itself and your little one.
Just like with water, try leaving a little snack for yourself as a “treat” each time you stop to nurse. This is one of those breastfeeding mistakes that is actually fun to correct.
6. Not Making The Most Of The Milk I Was Making
Sometimes you don’t realize how good you have it, until it is gone. At the beginning of my nursing journey, I was given several tips that I seemed to ignore. I didn’t fully understand how important these things would be until my supply started to slip. Here is how to make the most of your milk.
- Use a HaaKaa during every feeding to catch milk from the other breast while nursing.
- Never dump good milk. Even in the middle of the night if your baby is sleeping, store the milk for later.
- Use milk collection cups if you are prone to leaking.
- Pump after each nursing session to increase supply (if needed) and build a stash for later.
7. Not Using An Efficient Breast Pump
When my son was 3 months old, I returned to work part-time. Once back at work, I found it really difficult to find the proper time to pump. My sessions were sometimes shortened or skipped. You can add this to the list of breastfeeding mistakes I made as a first-time mom! Looking back, I wish I would have had the freedom of the Freemie Liberty Wearable Breast Pump. This pump is a game-changer for pumping (and breastfeeding) moms everywhere!
Freemie Liberty Wearable Breast Pump
- Rechargeable battery powered mobile electric breast pump
- Hands-free Next Generation Freemie Cups
- Sleep Timer function with automatic shutoff
- Hospital-grade suction
- +100 settings
With over 100 pump settings to choose from, this little pump is stronger and more versatile than most other pumps on the market. I would suggest doing a little research along with trial and error to find the perfect setting for you. Once you do, you can use the 3 re-programmable memory buttons for easy one-touch access of your preferred settings. I would program mine for stimulation/let down, power pumping, and a relaxed mode.
- Liberty Pump
- Next Gen Cup Set
- Cups come with two sizes to fit most (25 and 28mm). Customize your flange fit by adding soft Fitmie inserts. Available in sizes 15-26mm.
- Pump Connection Kit
- Power Adapter Kit
- Clothing Clip
- Carrying Bag
Finding the Right Fit
The right attire makes it easier to get Freemie Cups in and out of your bra. I would suggest wearing a looser fit top for quick access. Nothing with too high or too tight of a neckline. If you want to help camouflage the pump under your clothes, try adding an infinity scarf or jacket. You can also trim the cup tubing to your preferred length and wear inside or outside your shirt.
Don’t forget that your bra fit is critical for success! Hold cups by hand first to see the positioning of the breast funnels. Note how much pressure is needed on your breasts to make a secure seal. Try all of your bras to find the ones that hold the cups just like your hands did. I would recommend checking out Hotmilk Lingerie for nursing bras. They have super cute styles, with tons of size options, and are super function for both nursing and pumping.
Wear It On The Go
Next Gen Freemie Cups are worn in your bra, underneath clothing. They collect up to 8 ounces of milk inside each lightweight Freemie Cup, safely and hygienically separated from the electronic pump motor. After a pump session, just remove the cups and transfer your milk to storage.
This hidden and super quiet pumps allow you to wear your pump anywhere! Imagine having the freedom to pump during work meetings, your daily commute to and from work, at the grocery store, really anywhere!
This pump also features the world’s first programmable sleep timer on a breast pump. Set the sleep timer in 5-minute intervals, up to 40 minutes. The pump shuts off automatically after 40 minutes. Pumping while you sleep, does it get any better than that!?
Charge It On The Go
Charge the pump with a USB cord from a computer or in your car, or use a wall socket. The Freemie Liberty Wearable Breastpump allows you to enjoy total pump portability. Simply place the pump on your desk or workstation, wear it with the detachable belt clip, or carry it along with you in a bag. No matter what, you are totally hands-free!
Head over to the Freemie Website to see more about this hands-free breast pump.
We all live and learn. It seems like it is always easier to look back and see our mistakes.
I hope you can learn from the breastfeeding mistakes I made and have more success than I did. We have tons of resources on the blog from experienced mamas about breastfeeding and all other types of new mom tips and tricks. Check out a few of my favorite Thrifty Nifty Mommy breastfeeding posts below: