Thursday, August 25, 2016

Breastfeeding Must Haves

My Thursday posts are usually focused around food, so today is really no different, but this time it is what our baby will be eating for the first six months of his life. 

I've only nursed one child so I'm not an expert, but these are some helpful things to get you started:

Patience!! That is number one.  I'm sure they exist, but I know few people who just started nursing their child and it went off without a hitch.  This is a learned skill that both you and your baby have to acquire, and even if you've had multiple children, you still need to work with the new baby and of course they are all different.

A support person. Commonly your spouse, but could also be your parent, friend, or lactation consultant.  Feeding a baby, especially at night, can be a very lonely experience; it can be painful, messy, inconvenient and just plain hard.  Having someone around who can help you, even if it's just being near you, is immensely helpful for success.

A breast pump. The one I liked was this one.  I still need to figure out if the one I still have works, or if it needs repair or replacement.  It is useful for getting the milk flowing, "fixing" inverted nipples, and allowing you to stock up for when you need to be away from the baby at mealtimes.  Some people like the double pump, but I liked my single.  I would recommend the electric one rather than the hand pump so you don't have to do as much work.

A pillow with a removable cover.  The pillows themselves have nice patterns , but they will inevitably get wet and it's easier to remove a cover and throw it in the wash rather than washing the whole pillow.  You may want to get a few different covers for this purpose. 
A privacy cover, if you want.  I have no issue with someone feeding their child out in the open, and I think (I hope) society is gradually moving that way, but if a cover makes you feel more comfortable, then get one.  They have really nice patterns and different styles.

Nursing pads.  I tried many different kinds, but my favourite is this brand.  I had no patience for the reusable cloth ones, although some people don't have an issue.  I wore these constantly and they were certainly required for the first few months.

Lanolin Cream.  I buy the Medela brand, but there are others available.  I've also heard coconut oil works.  Smear this on after every feeding and shower and you'll feel much better.
Nursing bras without underwire.  I have both kinds, but you definitely need the ones without underwire because you'll need to wear a bra to bed for a long time (with the pads) and an underwire simply won't do.  Get several of the style that you like, and then you can just keep switching them (and rinsing them out between uses, I told you, this is a messy business).

A notebook and clock.  Especially at the beginning, you'll need to know how long you're baby has fed, which side you started on, and when you last fed him/her.  You will be tired and not remember these details on their own.  You'll need to write them down and time your feedings.  You should also write down when you changed diapers and what was in there.  If you have trouble breastfeeding and need to go back to the hospital (like we did with E), the doctor/nurse/lactation consultant will want to know these details.  I'm sure there is an app for this now, but I will stick with the old fashioned pen and paper.

(Back at the hospital with jaundice, so another tip is "although you may feel terrible at the time, it will all be okay, and you're not alone!")

Good luck!

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