1. Find a good lactation consultant who can help you in the first couple of days to make sure your latch is good. Not all of them are militant. I used Cindy Baylis in Long Beach, and she's excellent. You can find a guide with lactation consultants in the LA area at www.breastfeedla.org.
2. On about night 3 home from the hospital, the baby will be really hungry and your milk may not have come in yet. Be prepared to either supplement with formula or stay up all night until your milk does come in. It's better if you can avoid bottles and formula, but one bottle won't hurt.
3. Don't worry about keeping the baby's nose clear. I wasn't latching my daughter on deeply enough because I was afraid she wouldn't be able to breathe. My pediatrician told me they are obligate nose breathers, and they'll unlatch themselves if they can't breathe. You need a deep latch to eliminate the pain.
4. The best tip from the lactation consultant: if you take antibiotics while nursing, make sure to take acidophilus when you start the antibiotics and for 60 days after you finish the antibiotics to avoid thrush.
5. Starting around three weeks or so, pump for 5 minutes an hour after the baby's first morning feeding to start an emergency reserve. If you only pump for 5 minutes, there will still be milk if the baby wants to eat again.
6. Rotate through the oldest milk first so you don't have to throw anything out. I took a class at the Pump Station in Santa Monica, and they said that they follow the 5/5/5 rule - milk is good for 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the fridge, and 5 months in the freezer. I went back to work when my daughter was 3 months old; she's six months old now and we're still breastfeeding, with her sitter giving her bottles during the day. She gets fresh milk from me in the mornings and evenings, and either thawed or fresh milk in bottle from the sitter.
7. You can obtain a tea, Mother's Milk, and an herbal supplement, More Milk Plus, to increase your milk supply if you're having problems with low supply. Whole Foods carries both of these. However, be aware that they may cause the baby digestive distress. My daughter's stool was green in the afternoon, which the pediatrician said was a sign that something was moving through her system too quickly. It took me a while to figure out that it was the tea, which I was drinking every morning. One book I read said that these supplements are most effective only for the first six weeks, after which time your supply should be well enough established that you shouldn't need them.
8. Drink lots of water! One lady I work with said citric acid, which is present in lemonade, has been shown to increase milk supply. She specifically recommended Minute Maid frozen pink lemonade. I didn't notice an increase but I'm already drinking lots of water.
9. Unfortunately, breastfeeding starts out harder and gets easier as the baby gets older. I think too many people give up before they get to the good part!
10. Lots of hospital nurses will hand out nipple shields. I used one for a few days, and it did give my cracked, bleeding nipples time to heal. Lactation consultants hate nipple shields because they prevent the baby from getting a good, deep latch, and as a result the baby gets less milk, which can decrease your supply. If you have to use one, try to use it as little as possible (stop using it after the first five minutes) and work on correcting your latch.