Once I got the hang of breastfeeding it was, honestly, effortless. As a result, I continued to nurse until my son was a toddler. However, those first few months were really difficult. Thankfully, I was surrounded by supportive family members and friends, who helped me when things sucked (literally). I don't think I'll ever forget the small things people did for me when I breastfed, because they truly did make all the difference.
Since breastfeeding — especially at the beginning, and especially if you're breastfeeding on demand — can feel like an endless cycle of feedings, the monotony of it all tends to weigh you down. That's when the kindness of loved ones (and even strangers, because there's good in the world, you guys) can make the business of nursing less stressful for everyone involved. Before I gave birth, my mom helped me create these wonderful "breastfeeding baskets" on each floor of my house. These delightful baskets contained breast pads, a spare shirt, lanolin, and receiving blankets. Trust me when I say that seemingly small thing, made long or unexpected nursing sessions much easier to manage.
In order to breastfeed successfully mothers need to be well rested, hydrated, have good nutrition, feel comfortable, and obtain the necessary tools to successfully manage their stress. That's a tall order for a postpartum woman so, in other words, mothers can't do it alone. Small kindnesses can make a seriously large difference, so if you know a breastfeeding woman, consider helping her out by doing one (or all) of the following: