5 Breastfeeding Mistakes to Avoid for First Time Moms

  |   By Kate Trout

If you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby. . .congratulations!

Breastfeeding is an amazing experience, and it’s important to remember that practice makes perfect.

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breastfeeding mistakes

While some babies latch right away, others take more time.

Some moms experience zero pain, while other moms have difficulty in this area.

What I’m saying is that everyone has a unique experience.

But, one thing I wasn’t aware of was all the mistakes I was making. And if I would have done a few things differently, I think I would have had an easier time.

Hopefully, after reading this, you can avoid some common breastfeeding mistakes that many new moms make.

Mistake #1-You Neglect Your Nipples

If you’re pregnant, you can’t take it easy on the girls.

Your nipples are going to be put through the wringer, so it’s essential to toughen them up. You’re not doing yourself a favor by neglecting them.

So, each day in the shower, take a dry washcloth and start to toughen them up by vigorously rubbing them. This may make you wince with pain initially (but just imagine what a baby’s mouth will do) but will prepare you for nursing once your baby arrives.

Some lactation consultants also suggest pulling on them and pinching them to build up a tolerance and become desensitized.

Mistake #2-You Don’t Choose a Nursing Bra

Think you’re going to “wing it” when it comes to nursing your baby in public?

This probably won’t work out well.

When you wear a nursing bra, you ensure easy access to your breasts, and you can remain comfortable and discreet. Nursing bras are also fully padded and supportive for the moments when your milk comes in, and they help you stay discreet as you’re wearing nursing pads to beat leakage.

Many moms work, but they don’t want to stop providing their baby with milk while they are away from home. So, a nursing bra just makes life so much easier when you’re pumping at work.

breastfeeding mistakes

Rosie Pope Underwire Lace Nursing Bra
Available in Bands 32-40 and Cups B-DDD
via Nordstrom

breastfeeding mistakes

Le Mystere Sexy Mama Underwire Nursing Bra
Available in Bands 32-38 and Cups D-G
via Nordstrom

Mistake #3-You Skip Nipple Cream

Nipple cream can be used as a preventative: keeping nipples from cracking, alleviating pain and bleeding, while also being safe to use if ingested.

It also travels easily, so you can keep it in your purse or diaper bag.

If you choose an ultra-thick lotion (which is necessary if your nipples are super dry and in terrible pain), just remember to wipe it off with a washcloth before you nurse, just as a preventative.

However, most nipple creams are safe to use by both parties.

breastfeeding mistakes

Motherlove Nipple Cream
via Motherlove

Mistake #4-You Try to Figure It Out By Yourself

Before you get frustrated and quit if things aren’t working out the way you want them to, take advantage of a lactation consultant.

There’s some in nearly every hospital, and there is also a league within your town that provides support. New moms think they can’t afford this service, but getting this kind of assistance is usually covered by your insurance company.

So, why would you not take advantage of this?

A lactation consultant will help give you tips, so your baby latches. They will offer different holding positions, props (like nursing pillows), and will be able to evaluate if you’re producing enough milk or if you need to build up a supply.

They can help answer questions if you're in an immense amount of pain, and they will also just lend an ear if you’re frustrated, sad, tired, or confused.

Being a new mom can be a scary, trying time. So, the best advice they’ll give you is to stay calm so your baby will too.

Mistake #5-You Don’t Buy a Pump

Sometimes you’ll need to pump if you’re away from home for too long if you become engorged.

This is when a manual pump and storage bags/bottles come in handy. Some moms invest in an electric pump, which helps when they’re ready to start weaning off of them. (You can check out my detailed guide to choosing a breast pump to learn more)

Lots of moms think they can go without these feeding accessories because they’re going to nurse solely off the breast.

While this sounds nice in theory, there’s nothing wrong with pumping from time to time and storing up some milk to have in case you ever get in a pinch (getting stuck in traffic while your baby’s at home waiting to eat could be your worst nightmare!).

Always prepare for an emergency!

It’s also worth noting that you may qualify for a free breast pump through your insurance. I have a step-by-step guide you can follow here.


Now that you’re aware of some common breastfeeding mistakes, hopefully, you won’t make them!

Consider each point above and take control of the situation so you can feel confident during the process and you can focus solely on nourishing your baby (and nothing else)!


Kate Trout is the blogger behind Maternity Glow, where she writes about practical pregnancy and parenting tips. You can find her on Facebook.

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