Monday, August 24, 2015

Tips and Products for Early Breastfeeding

Smiling with a belly full of mama's milk.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, which is very fitting since I've started my second breastfeeding journey in the month of August.  There are a lot of fancy gadgets out there that can easily confuse and overwhelm a new mom.  Breastfeeding can be very tough in the beginning, especially for first time moms, so I'm hoping these tips make things a little easier for you.

I'm a very frugal person and hate spending money on gadgets that will just clutter my home.  A lot of my recommendations are things that you find around your house that can be used to make nursing easier.  They do make gadgets that also do these things but why spend money on some fancy tool when something you have in your bathroom cabinet works just as well.

Perfect water cup to use while breastfeeding

  1. Cup:  When you are breastfeeding you need to drink a lot of liquids.  While you are nursing you'll get incredibly thirsty, and since you're using one arm to hold your baby it's a little difficult to drink.  You can use any cup for this of course, but I love this cup my sister-in-law gave me.  The handle makes it really easy to hold and the lid and straw prevent me from spilling while drinking.
  2. Hair Tie:  When I'm nursing I always forget what side I nursed on last.  This causes a problem when I accidentally nurse on the same side a few too many times and realize that the other side is engorged and my baby is full.  I can always pump but I hate pumping when I don't have to, and the side that is being neglected doesn't get stimulated as much as the side that's receiving more attention.  For this reason I use a hair tie. I put the hair tie on the wrist that's the side I've already nursed from.  It's really easy to slip on and off and helps me keep track.
  3. Alarm Clock:  They make fancy apps to help you remember what side you nursed on last and
    what time you nursed last. Instead of downloading another app I just use my alarm clock on my phone.  After I nurse I set the alarm for 2 hours later and when it goes off I know it's time to feed again.  Sometimes Alice cluster feeds and nurses every 1/2 hour to an hour but other times she gets really sleepy and needs to be woken up at the 2 hour mark to feed.  The alarm clock is nice because I don't have to keep checking it, it reminds me when it's time to feed again.
  4. Nursing Pads: When you first start nursing you will become engorged and have a lot of milk. When you nurse and have your milk let-down you will leak on the side you're not nursing.  A lot of moms say this only happens for the first few weeks.  I have a really strong milk let-down so this happens to me for a few months.  In order to not leak all over your bra and shirt you use nursing pads.  There are disposable and reusable nursing pads.  I have a sensitivity to plastics and latex so when I've used the disposable pads my skin has become really irritated.  For that reason I use the reusable pads (and it's less waste, always a plus).  I bought these organic cotton pads and although they're very soft and comfortable, they leak through very quickly, so I haven't been too happy with them.  I have also used the Avent nursing pads and although they don't leak they aren't very soft and they are really thick so if you wear a tight shirt you can see them through the shirt.  Bamboobies are AMAZING! They're super thin, really soft, incredibly absorbent, and DO NOT LEAK.  The drawbacks are that they're shaped like hearts which I've found kind of awkward and they are really expnsive.  I've realized that in the nursing pad game you get what you pay for, so it's your call.
  5. Nipple Butter: When you first start nursing your nipples may become cracked and mine often get scabs.  There are a lot of products out there that can soothe this painful transition your body goes through.  I use the Lansinoh brand but there is also one made by Earth Mama Angel Baby.  I love the Earth Mama products and will definitely try it with my next baby.  When I was pregnant with Ethan I went to a lactation class and the lactation consultant gave me
    the Lansinoh brand, since it worked really well. Because I already had it, it's what I've been using with Alice (be aware that Lansinoh has lanolin in it which makes the reusable nursing pads less absorbent).  There are a lot of options out there though so follow the link and see which brand you think would fit your needs.
  6. Nursing Bra: I've talked about my frustrations with the lack of small sizes in nursing bras, in my post Goldilocks and the Nursing Bras.  Unfortunately, I still haven't found a solution to this problem but I'll let you know what I found works.  I have found the most comfortable and supportive nursing bra to be the Elle Macpherson Nursing Bra.  Sadly, no one told Elle that not all nursing moms have large breasts, so the smallest their bras come in is a 32C.  I use the Elle bras in the beginning when I'm the biggest.  Make sure you buy 1 bra that is 1-2 sizes larger than the size you are at the end of your pregnancy, just so you have something to wear in the beginning.  Once Ethan hit the 5 month mark my breasts went down to a B and eventually even an A cup.  When this happened I found that Target was the only store that carried nursing bras that were small enough for me.
  7. Nursing Cami: With Ethan I didn't think I needed nursing camis, I just used my own spaghetti strap shirts and would pull them down.  I found that this stretches out my shirts and isn't very comfortable.  A friend gave me some hand-me-down nursing camis and it's been so much easier.  I recently purchased these from Target and I really like them but the first two buttons come undone.  I also purchased the Basics Felicity cami and I LOVE them.  
For all my nursing moms out there, were there any tips and products that you found helpful when first nursing?

I've had quite a few moms ask me about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. Since there are already so many good posts out there answering this question, I'm just going to include the link to All of the info you would need is in their article.

I am by no means an expert in breastfeeding but I hope that you find my suggestions helpful as you embark upon your nursing journey.  As always if you want to message me for support or if you have questions about anything I mentioned in my post please feel free to e-mail me or follow me on Facebook and send me a message (all links are in the upper right hand corner of my blog).  Good luck mama, happy nursing!

*I was not compensated for this post.  These are products that I love, have purchased, and wanted to share with my readers.
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