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Mom nursing with organic Niche nursing pillow

Tips to Set Yourself up for a Successful Nursing Journey

National Breastfeeding Awareness month is coming to a close and we couldn’t think of a better time to talk about the incredibly wonderful, challenging and rewarding nursing experiences moms go through. We’re all moms here at Nook and we’ve each had our own unique journeys from pregnancy to labor to the daily trials and tribulations of mommyhood. The first two months of a baby’s life consist of basically eating, sleeping and pooping. No matter the path you choose (or which path chooses you), ensuring your baby gets the nourishment it needs in those early months is a stressful time - but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a few tips to help you through those first few weeks!

Prepare Your Mind - and Your Heart

We spend so much time during our pregnancies preparing and reading up on all of the dos and don’ts while our babies are in utero. We anticipate the challenges of labor, sleepless nights and settling into this exciting yet uncharted territory of our new role as Mama. If it’s the first baby, all we have is time on our hands to read every blog post, medical journal and educational article surrounding bringing home baby. But no amount of reading prepares you for the overwhelming emotions that happen as soon as you see and hold the beautiful life you have created in your arms and all that follows.

Within hours of delivering baby, nurses are asking if you want to nurse and all of the research and reading you did goes right out the window. For a lot of moms, the immediate answer is yes, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some moms choose not to nurse and only formula feed. Some moms opt to exclusively pump and bottle feed. Some moms hope to nurse but their bodies choose a different path. Whatever the nursing journey may be, one common thread amongst all new moms is this: the breastfeeding road has not yet been traveled and there is no telling how your heart or body will navigate the journey. Throw in the post-partum hormonal ups and downs and it’s a recipe for new moms to feel like they’ve failed before they’ve even begun. And each baby is different, so even if this isn’t your first baby, it still may be a brand new experience.

As new moms, we feel a bizarre mix of ecstasy and the daunting responsibility of caring for this small, fragile, beautiful little life. We’re here to tell you it’s okay. We’ve all experienced this exact same fusion of crazy emotions. We’ve each had our own journeys too and want to share some words of wisdom to help you have a successful journey - no matter what that journey may be.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions - or for Help

During pregnancy, you may or may not have been able to observe other moms nursing their babies to see what it looks like. It’s not easy at first. Your milk doesn’t come in immediately and when it does, it can be uncomfortable. Babies can’t support any of their own weight, so you’re getting an arm workout while you’re trying to figure out how to get that baby’s mouth latched on correctly. Not to mention the fact that you need to do it every 2-3 hours around the clock! If something feels weird or not quite right, ask about it. Those who have traveled the road before you know the challenges and want to be a resource. It could be anything from the wrong nursing pillow to a bad latch to your baby having a lip or tongue tie or an infection in your breast.

Be patient with yourself and your baby. This may not come easy at first. Stick with it and remember everyone's journey is different.

Jamie CantalupoPresident, Nook Sleep Systems

Experiment and Try New Things

We all come in different shapes and sizes just like our babies do. The nursing position that may have worked for your sister or friend may not work for you. Try out different ways of holding your baby until it feels just right. There are women who swear by the cross body baby position while others prefer the football hold. Set yourself up for success from the beginning by getting the right feeding pillow. The Niche Feeding Pillow is supportive, organic, non-toxic and breathable making for a great pillow no matter the position you choose! It’s also great for our bottle-feeding moms, dads, grandparents, nannies, etc.!

Check out these different positions!

Find Comfort in Numbers

Know that you are not alone in this journey. Talk to your friends and family. Look for a local La Leche League you can go to for help and a community. Find a parenting Facebook group in your area full of other moms who are figuring it all out too. Or leave it up to your friendly Nook family to help you out. We’ve all been down this path and have our own stories to tell:

Stick with it

When I had my first daughter, Ivy, I truly wanted to nurse her for a full year. The nurses in the hospital told me to give it a good 6 weeks and I was so glad I listened to that. The first week I thought it wasn’t going to work out. The second week I wondered if I was going to produce enough and go the distance. After that, it was smooth sailing. I only had one child at the time and it became so easy, I felt like I was cheating. The hardest part was figuring out how to wean her and transition to milk in a bottle!! We had such a nice partnership in place! - Erica Shankle, Sales and Marketing Manager

Don’t Forget the Basics

The right nursing pillow (size, height, firmness, breathable, etc.) matched with the right chair (glider, rocking chair, etc.) makes all the difference in the world! You spend a lot of time nursing—especially in the beginning. You’ve got to make sure Mom and Babe are comfy and cozy.

When your supply runs low (or to help prevent that from happening), incorporate Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle and/or Fennel into your diet to increase your milk supply. Most of these herbs can be found in Mother's Milk Teas. Any herbal supplements or essential oils can be found at your local health food store or vitamin shop.

Drink LOTS of water. As soon as you start nursing, you’ll feel like you could drink a gallon of water. Make sure your water (or a helping hand) is nearby. - Katie Gunter, Global Sales Director

Be Patient and Prepared

Be patient with yourself and your baby. This may not come easy at first. Stick with it and remember everyone's journey is different. Try not to compare your journey against a friend or family members. This is your special journey for just you and your babe!

Struggling? You are not alone! Seek out a skilled lactation consultant.

Get started pumping sooner rather than later. This not only will help increase your supply but also reduce your stress, which is known to affect your supply. Introduce pumped breastmilk bottles when baby is in his/her groove to incorporate dad/partner in this special feeding time. This will also make the transition back to work easier for babies with working moms. - Jamie Cantalupo, President

No matter your journey, Nook is here to support you from offering friendly advice all the way to providing the best nursing pillow for you and your baby! There are only six days left to save 10% on our organic, non-toxic and breathable Niche Feeding Pillow using discount code NICHE10.