Tips Every Breastfeeding Mom Should Know

A mother wearing Layton’s Suki dress while breastfeeding her baby.

I am a Family Physician at UCLA and my practice is largely made up of new moms and babies. Every day I see expectant mothers and have now made it a point during pregnancy to discuss nursing. I recommend taking a breastfeeding class before baby arrives and tell all expectant moms that many women find nursing more difficult than labor and delivery!

For moms that are nursing, I often try to watch mom feed during our first few visits and make sure to acknowledge how difficult it is and how wonderful they are doing. I struggled myself and sometimes a few cheers and helpful hints can go a long way. I do tell nursing mother a few tips I have gathered over the years of practice and after having breast-fed two of my own.

Things every breastfeeding mother should know:

  1. It is not easy: engorgement, mastitis and bleeding nipples are common.

  2. There is more to nursing than breast milk. At first it is tough, and it may feel like a chore. Many mothers report being anxious and do not enjoy nursing. The bond and enjoyment that comes from nursing may not be immediate. It is common for mothers to only start to enjoy nursing once their babies are 2-3 months old.

  3. Pumping can be helpful for moms who want to see exactly how much milk their babies are getting, particularly if their child is underweight.

  4. Be patient. What works for one women may not work for you. Be open to trying unconventional nursing positions for you and your baby ( e.g., straddle) and understand it may take time. Lactation consultants are widely available and many will do home visits.

  5. Almost 75% of women produce more milk from one breast and it is more commonly the right breast

  6. Pre and post-natal vitamins many do not provide all of the nutrition your baby needs.

  7. All breastfed babies should be receiving a vitamin D supplement

  8. Eat a low FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) diet if your baby is fussy. Anything that can helps with gas, fussiness and irritability and then can potentially result in more sleep is worth a try!

  9. You can burn over 1000 calories a day by breastfeeding! Translation: this is not the time to go on a diet and cut calories!

  10. Women need to stop judging women: Do whatever works for you and enjoy your baby! Whether it be bottle feeding, breastfeeding, pumping or nursing. Motherhood has enough challenges and let’s eliminate the stress associated with feeding your baby:)

Stephanie Canale

Dr. Canale is from Montreal, Canada and earned her undergraduate and medical degrees from McGill University. She completed her residency training in Family Medicine at UCLA. After medical residency, she joined the teaching faculty at the UCLA Family Health Center, before joining the Santa Monica Parkside office. She enjoys seeing patients of all ages, especially families with young babies and young adults. Dr. Canale is a Member of the American Board of Family Medicine. Lactation Lab was born out of a personal need to understand what was in her breast milk she, in turn, wanted to help mothers optimize their milk and baby’s nutrition. She is married with two young children and despite loving the weather in Southern California still enjoys winter sports such as skiing and playing ice hockey.

Devon BerrierComment