Breastfeeding Tips

We were lucky to have a good mother sucker, but the following things helped us:

Get Help!

The #1 tip is to have someone (like a lactation consultant) work hands-on with mommy and baby. Every breast and every baby is slightly different, so an experienced person can help you find what works for you.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When Lizzie was focused and well-fed, our baby seemed to be more focused and feed well. So, feed mommy first!

Eat (or Swallow) Your Placenta

Lizzie found that swallowing her encapsulated placenta pills really helped with postpartum cramps (which otherwise would get really bad during breastfeeding in the first week)

Latch Mechanics

The baby's body should be as close to mommy as possible, and a bit lower than you might think: their nose should be at the nipple level. This allows them to raise their chin up to latch with a nice, big mouth (their mouth should be asymmetrical on the nipple). You can also help them by pushing their shoulders in slightly, and shaping the breast into a "hamburger" (using your hand in a "C" or "U" hold so the breast can fit in their mouth easier). This YouTube video illustrates how it works: ...and this longer video goes through more detail with lots of examples:

Mama Sutra: Try Other Positions

Many mommies/babies do best with the classic "cross-cradle" position, but after a few days Lizzie and Adam liked the "side-lying" position the best. Other positions include the "football" (or "clutch") hold and the "cradle" (both a bit more comfortable than cross-cradle but often not as easy for starting breastfeeding), and the "laid-back" ("biological nurturing") position. More info on various websites such as ...and some comprehensive/funny ones on this blog.

Diapers Before Boobies

Adam hates having wet diapers, so even if he was very hungry, if his diaper was wet, we found that he breastfed better if we changed the diaper first.

Narco Feeding: Keeping Awake

Early on, Adam kept falling asleep before finishing a full nurse...later on he was able to successfully nurse while asleep, but in the first few days, we had to massage his body to keep him awake. Lizzie also found that flexing her pectoral muscle helped jostle him slightly to wake him up.

Keeping Focused: Breastfeeding Burqa

Especially as Adam got older and thus better neck control, he was easily distracted when breastfeeding, especially if we were outside. We found that draping a sheet over Lizzie & him helped him focus.

Treats for Teets: Fenugreek and Mrs. Patel’s

Having trouble with milk production? Try fenugreek, a natural stimulant. One delicious way to get fenugreek and other lactation-inducing herbs is Mrs. Patel's Cookies, available directly at or at the Natural Resources store in SF. Simplyrealmoms has some other tips for increasing your supply. Lizzie also found that pork stock (especially homemade with a pig's leg—not for the faint of heart!) brought up her production.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Mastitis

If on the other hand you're over-producing, you might get plugged ducts and mastitis. Lizzie was able to treat hers with hot compresses, vitamin C, echinacea, homeopathic phytolacca, and lots of rest/water. Massaging plugged ducts—including with an electric toothbrush—also helped. Check with a doctor if it persists for more than a day! (A friend also recommended Green Clay, either using compresses or directly on the breast like a face mask.)

Colic: Diet, Burping, and Gripe Water

We found that our baby was less colic-y if mommy avoided certain foods (spicy food, onions/garlic, and sugar), we were good about burping him frequently, and occasionally we gave him "gripe water" (chamomile tea with fennel and ginger, recipe here, you can also buy it in the store...we got the Mommy's Bliss brand, which was easier to use since you don't need to refrigerate it). We gave gripe water to Adam when he was being particularly fussy, and often he'd chill out a few minutes afterwards (thus making going to bed easier).

Mariposa for Motivation

If your baby isn't eating well, you can try mariposa lily flower essence: put a few drops on your hands and hold his head or feet. This seemed to help Adam in the first few days.