4 experts on the 1 piece of breastfeeding advice new moms need to know

“Be gentle with yourself and know that no matter what, you are doing an amazing job.”

4 experts on the 1 piece of breastfeeding advice new moms need to know

You’ve just given birth and now there’s one more thing to add to your list of firsts: breastfeeding. Even if you planned to nurse from the moment the pregnancy test was positive, the learning curve can feel steep and the pool of breastfeeding resources can feel shallow.

Whether you’re in the stage of preparing to breastfeed when baby arrives or already boob-deep in the highs and lows, know that it’s natural to have concerns about nursing.

To help, we reached out to a panel of experts for the one biggest piece of advice they have for new breastfeeding moms.

Seek support early and often

Carrie Bruno, registered nurse, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and founder of The Mama Coach: Bruno says the pressure on new moms to successfully breastfeed can actually be detrimental. According to her, the idea that breastfeeding is easy is simply not true—although it can eventually be if a mom has support. She wants new moms to understand that it’s okay to ask for help, even before the baby comes.


“I describe the initial two to three weeks of a breastfeeding journey to be a rollercoaster ride,” Bruno tells Motherly. “She will have a great feed where she thinks it's not a problem and the very next feed could leave her in tears.”

This can be compounded when a mom doesn’t know where to find resources. Bruno says to do some homework before baby arrives, such as finding out where there is a local breastfeeding clinic or which lactations consultants are available. Bruno says, “Finding this info before she has the baby can decrease the stress postpartum and help her get support sooner.”

Get help if it’s painful

Diana Spalding, midwife and Motherly's Birth Editor: Spalding advises all new moms to seek support from partners, lactation consultants, pediatricians and people in their villages. She says, “Please know that you are not alone. Be gentle with yourself and know that no matter what, you are doing an amazing job.”

Spalding adds breastfeeding should never be painful for moms, so a medical professional should be alerted if it is. According to Spalding, as many as one in 10 babies has a tongue or lip tie and this can be reason for painful feeds.

“Adjusting to breastfeeding can be uncomfortable at first for the nipples, but it should never hurt—severe pain is usually an indication that something is up, and it's often latch related,” she says. “If the baby can't get a deep enough latch, they end up kind of chomping down on the tip of the nipple, which really hurts.”

She notes many moms report that having a tie corrected isn’t an immediate fix, but it does ultimately help.

Prioritize establishing a good latch

CJ Blennerhassett. Registered Midwife: Another experienced midwife, Blennerhassett says the single biggest technical tip she offers to new nursers is simple: Focus on getting a deep latch—which looks like getting “a ton of tissue in the baby’s mouth.”

Once baby has a good mouthful of boob, families may start to focus on some of the emotional challenges around breastfeeding. According to Blennerhasset, while couples often imagine sharing the baby duties equally, in reality the nursing parent will be doing the majority of work involved in the feeding.

That can be hard for either partner when they realize the balance isn’t quite what they’d imagined, but accepting reality and accepting help with other baby duties can help both parents feel more involved.

“Partners and members can find other ways to support that workload,” Blennerhasset says. “That’s okay.”

Trust your instincts

Meg Nagle, aka The Milk Meg, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant: A mom of three and La Leche League leader turned well-known lactation consultant, Nagle says moms need to trust their instincts—whether they’re breastfeeding their first baby or ninth. If you’re in pain or struggling, it doesn’t matter if someone tells you the latch looks good. If it’s not working for you, it’s not working.

“It’s really important that we’re assessing a breastfeed on how it’s feeling and whether or not the baby’s gaining weight and is content—not how the latch is looking,” Nagle says. “If you are going to seek someone’s help—if that’s a lactation consultant or a doctor or whoever—it’s so important that you’re seeing someone who is listening to you and really taking into consideration your feeling and your insight as well.”

If you are struggling with a nursing challenge, don’t be hard on yourself. Breastfeeding worries are as common as breastfeeding itself—but also often surmountable with guidance. Check out local breastfeeding groups and don’t be afraid to say when it’s hard.

Like anyone trying something for the first time, you (and baby) may need a bit of practice.

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

Keep reading Show less