Tips for Successful Breastfeeding in Words From An Ohio Doula: When Breastfeeding Didn’t Work For Your First Child

mother breastfeeding her two year old in a field of yellow flowers in lakewood ohio

Breastfeeding is an amazing thing.

It’s such an important aspect of your baby’s health and one of the critical components of helping your baby develop a healthy immune system. Maybe you knew this with your first baby, maybe you didn’t. But here’s your truth: it didn’t work out so well last time and now you definitely want to breastfeed or at least be more successful or even breastfeed longer. Well, I’m going to give you tips for successful breastfeeding to help you have a successful breastfeeding experience! These tips don’t replace the advice of a health care provider. Persistent breastfeeding problems should be referred to a breastfeeding professional. Please enjoy reading these wonderful words from An Ohio Doula: When Breastfeeding Didn’t Work for Your First Child!

Don’t overthink it

Breastfeeding has been over complicated for us westerners. The perfect latch, perfect position, length that baby should be feeding, etc. Unfortunately, not all of us have had the privilege to see someone breastfeeding throughout our lives or even know someone who has breastfed; therefore, some support is lacking. My most important advice to you would be to follow your baby’s lead. Even right after labor. Some babies will want to eat right away, some babies will wait, so follow baby’s cues. Babies typically want to eat within the hour. Learn more about the breast crawl here. Baby will know when baby is hungry and has built-in instincts to breastfeed, you only need to guide them. That being said, these tips are given as a reference and to keep you motivated.

You got this momma!
breastfeeding baby staring at camera

Skin to Skin is important

Your chest is a baby’s home. They are familiar with your heartbeat and voice in the crazy new world they have just been introduced to. In addition to skin to skin providing comfort, it also increases oxytocin to assist with bonding and increasing prolactin which helps with milk production. Laidback position is great to start off within early breastfeeding.

Avoid Bottles and Pacifiers

Be aware of other alternatives. Using a bottle before the baby gets the hang of nursing from the breast can start a snowball effect of issues. Nipple confusion can cause poor, or a non-latching baby, nipple pain, and an overall fussy baby at the breast. In saying that if the baby needs to use a bottle for later on, introduce a bottle at 6-8 weeks or after having 2-3 weeks of good latching.

mother holding her naked babys bum while breastfeeding in a field of yellow flowers in ohio

Breastfeeding position is important but…

As long as the baby is well supported you don’t need a perfect breastfeeding position. In fact, a laid-back position in the first couple weeks of breastfeeding will be fine to use and may be helpful as well as simple. Make sure the baby is well supported in her chin and pelvis and diaphragm.

Frequent Feeding means baby is growing…

It’s not you, it’s them.

  • “I don’t think my baby is getting enough”
  • “He’s always eating”
  • “He’s been on my breast for like an hour”

Sound familiar?

The frequent woes of a mom whose baby is going through a cluster feeding stage. It’s ok. It’s not usually your milk supply but babies do cluster feed during growth spurts and for comfort during growth development.

If the baby is:

  • Having frequent bowel movements
  • Doesn’t seem to be in any pain
  • Seems well hydrated
  • Active not showing any signs of being more tired than usual
  • Overall contentment
  • Lots of wet diapers

Your baby is probably just going through a growth spurt. Growth spurts typically happen between 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 5-6 weeks, and every two months (during growth spurts I would avoid pumping to store milk). This is typical but doesn’t mean it only happens during these times.

It may happen before or later, but this is just a general timeline. My fourth baby cluster fed almost immediately after delivery. If you see the number of diapers drop significantly, baby seems lethargic or shows signs of dehydration, then seek out help from your pediatrician and a Lactation Consultant. I recommend reading The Wonder Weeks to get a good understanding of baby’s fussy periods during growth and development.

mother sitting in a field of yellow flowers while looking down at her breastfeeding child in Nigerian outfit

Tips for Surviving cluster feedings

Really try to avoid supplementation. Supplementing (giving baby, juice, water, formula, cereal, food) WILL DECREASE YOUR MILK SUPPLY. I am not bashing mothers who choose to use formula but that being said if you’re hoping to exclusively breastfeed, it’s best to try and avoid it. The formula that advertises breastfeeding supplementation has all the same ingredients as the regular formula with a little more probiotics. It’s marketing. It’s also more expensive than the regular formula. For more tips on how to survive cluster feeding, click HERE!

Seek the right professional

If your struggling, get your questions answered by the right professionals and even another breastfeeding mom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen and heard the wrong information given to a breastfeeding mom from her doctor, her ob-gyn, and/or pediatrician. Not to put them down, but it’s not their specialty. It’s best left to an IBCLC, or a CLC to avoid misinformation or finding a pediatrician trained to support breastfeeding.

mother sitting in a field of yellow flowers with a white dress on breastfeeding her daughter

Key things to take away

  • Persistence is key.
  • After the first two weeks, things get better
  • Get help right away. I’d suggest making an appointment with an IBCLC or CLC within a week after birth even if breastfeeding seems to be going well. Getting help sooner than later will prevent the snowball effects of breastfeeding problems.
  • Get support! Find a support group as a part of your preparation for the baby. A breastfeeding support group will give you the relief and support you need to know that you’re not alone.
  • Find a pediatrician that is trained in breastfeeding specialty or is breastfeeding supportive.
  • Patience is a virtue. Be patient with yourself and baby.


Angel Coleman , CLC, CD (Pro-Doula), LCCE


Fruit of the Womb Perinatal Services

Ready for more Cleveland Motherhood content? Then don’t skip over the blog links below!

Ohio Birthing Centers to Help Make Your Birth Experience Great!

Top 3 Ohio Pediatric Dentists That Make You Feel Like Family!

Are you a mother looking for local breastfeeding support in a local, uplifting community with mothers just like you AND breastfeeding professionals? Join my NE Ohio Breastfeeding Mothers Group on Facebook! Can’t wait to meet you!