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Lactation experts spill their 6 secrets to breastfeeding success

3. Knowledge is power + it creates confident mamas.

Lactation experts spill their 6 secrets to breastfeeding success

Breastfeeding can be a beautiful, rewarding, and satisfying experience—there's no doubt. But it can also be a confusing, frustrating, and stressful time for new mamas. It's a whole new world, and it doesn't always click right away for everyone.


Yet the pressure we put on ourselves to figure it out and make it perfect can be a heavy load to carry. And no mother should have to carry that alone. That's why lactation support and education are super important on our journeys—especially in the beginning.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that baby should be exclusively breastfed throughout the first six months of life, and even after solid foods are introduced, up to two years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mom and baby continue breastfeeding until at least one year. Yet most mothers say that they don't reach their own breastfeeding goals.

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So how do we reach these goals?

We chatted with five experts to get their secret weapons, #1 best piece of advice on how to find success as a new nursing mama. Here's what they had to say.


1. When in doubt, get back to basics

Wendy Wisner, IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and popular breastfeeding writer says, “Most breastfeeding problems can be solved by going back to basics. If your nipples hurt, you probably just need to change position, shape and hold your breasts, or unlatch and start again. If you aren't making enough milk, you probably just need to nurse more frequently."

Start with the basics before assuming anything more complicated is going on.

“Trust biology, your body, and your baby," Wendy adds.

2. Support matters—in a big way

Megan O'Neill, CLC and Director of Lactation Support at Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness says, “Find support as early as possible. Take a breastfeeding class, locate a support group, find a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) or IBCLC that you can meet with if you run into any road bumps or have questions. Talk to friends that reached their own breastfeeding goals."

“Express your desire to breastfeed to your partner, family and close friends. Let them know that their encouragement is important to you. Set small goals and reach out to your support team when you are having a hard time. Breastfeeding can have its ups and downs...and so can parenting! Find people that will be that listening ear and supportive sounding board that we all need."

3. Knowledge is power + it creates confident mamas

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC and Owner, Lactation Link LLC says, “I think one of the biggest factors in mothers reaching their breastfeeding goals is confidence. Confidence they are doing well, confidence baby is getting enough, confidence in what to do when issues arise. Prenatal education is important. We all have mother's intuition inside of us, but having reliable information and options helps us to create the confidence to tap into that mother's intuition more readily.

4.Trust your instincts

Meg Nagle, IBCLC, blogger at The Milk Meg and author of, “Boobin' All Day...Boobin' All Night. A Gentle Approach To Sleep For Breastfeeding Families" says, “Trust your instincts! So often I hear new mothers say, 'I'm just a first time mother so I'm not sure...' If there was one thing I wish for every new mother it's to realize that you know more than you think."

“You will know if breastfeeding is not working. You will know if your baby is unsettled or something just isn't right. If you suspect something is going on, please seek help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who listens to you, respects your instincts and feelings and helps form a plan for you to reach your breastfeeding goals."

5. There will be tough days for all of us

Wendy Wisner, IBCLC also adds, “If you are at the beginning, know that chances are, you will eventually fall in love with breastfeeding. If things are so hard that you're not sure how you'll make it to the next feeding—just take it day by day, feeding by feeding, and you will get to the other side.

“Go to a breastfeeding support meeting. Meet other moms who are feeling as you are, and talk to other moms who made it through to the sweet spot of breastfeeding.

“Even when you get there, know that it is normal to have rough days as your baby gets older. Teething, growth spurts, and other fussy phases can all drive a nursing mother mad! We have all been there. You have the right to complain. You have the right to vent. It's all part of the cycle of life you are in with your baby, and with breastfeeding."

6. No matter what—you are enough, mama

Jessica Martin-Weber founder of The Leaky Boob says, “No matter what happens with your breastfeeding goals, you are enough. How our babies come to us births us as the parents that particular child needs. Likewise, our feeding journeys with our babies lay the foundation of our parenting confidence.

Your breastfeeding journey doesn't have to be all or nothing to be successful, it isn't a pass/fail event.

Asking for help and accepting your journey as it unfolds will help you to remember you and your baby are what are most important."


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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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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

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Comforts Electrolyte Drink

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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

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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

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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

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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 Comfortsforbaby.com 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.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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