Need a little help with breastfeeding, Mama? You’re not alone! For something that is supposed to be natural, it can be really, really difficult at first!
As I write this my post, my son is a little over one year old and that means that I’ve been breastfeeding for a full year. I can’t believe it! Three HUNDRED and sixty five days.
There were were so many times that I wanted to quit and so many times I was convinced that I would have to quit even though I didn’t want to at that point. We had a very hard time, especially at first, because my son never got a good latch until he was six months old (keep reading to see what I did)–SIX MONTHS. I battled having a low supply at times due to, in my opinion, PCOS. But with a little help from the things listed below, we’ve made it and now it feels like second nature!
This journey has meant a lot to me and I wanted to share the 10 things that help with breastfeeding.
**BUT really quickly, I just want to say that formula is awesome and if you formula feed at any point, either exclusively or to supplement, that’s awesome. We have had to supplement with formula when my supply dropped and my son wasn’t gaining enough weight. I have no shame and neither should you! He loved being snuggled with a bottle in his mouth just as much as breastfeeding–and so did I. There’s no shame in choosing or needing formula at any point! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We used it for a little while to supplement when needed. Fed is best. Period.**
Here’s 10 Things that Help with Breastfeeding for You!
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
A friend recommended that I read this book BEFORE giving birth and I am so glad I did. I think my favorite thing about it is that it has information about how breastfeeding changes as your baby ages. It also covers nursing positions and where to find help when/if you need it.
The Boppy & My Brest Friend
I count both of these items as one because I used them both and considered them lifesavers at different points. My Brest Friend is best for when your baby is itty bitty and you can strap it around yourself. I just felt more supported and also didn’t feel like my babe was going to roll away when I was sooo tired in the middle of the night feeding him. Best of all, I was even able to be more mobile while feeding as well with the My Brest Friend. I loved this thing so much I’ll forgive the silly name. But the Boppy was also great at other times. It’s soft and plushy and easy to use. I really recommend both.
ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to build a freezer stash, you need a silicone pump–whether you have an electric pump or not. Who knew that when you feed on one side, the other side leaks? At least early on in my breastfeeding journey, I would “catch” 2 oz sometimes and it really helped me build my stash in the early days. Easy to use and can’t recommend it enough! This can be used when pumping, nursing, or just watching TV.
KellyMom is a free, online resource that has tons and tons of helpful, scientifically verifiable information. I realize the irony of saying this on my blog, but there is a lot of crappy information out there on random blogs and it’s hard to find info you can trust. As someone who appreciates well-researched and information that can be proved, Kelly Mom was the most helpful resource out there for me. There are Facebook groups (like Dairy Queens) and it can be super helpful to ask a real person a question. But I will say that there are a lot of dramatic people with very strong opinions, so take anything said to you in a Facebook group with a grain of salt.
Okay so you know how I said that my son never got a good latch? Well THIS saved our ability to breastfeed. Some people don’t like the nipple shield, but it will not only save your poor nipples when they’re in a lot of pain, but they’re perfect for little ones who can’t quite latch on correctly. There are small and medium sized shields based the size of your baby’s mouth. Start with the small if your baby is itty-bitty. Make sure never to cut it or create more holes in it to allow more milk to flow, this can cut baby’s mouth.
Most people use them for 2-6 weeks, we used one longer. In all honesty, it sometimes annoying to have to have one handy and clean all times, but one day he just latched on perfectly and decided he didn’t need it! Every baby is different, but I’ll be keeping one handy in case my next baby has a hard time.
Fennegreek – Drink or Pill
Fenegreek is incredibly helpful for when your supply gets a bit low. Some prefer to drink it in tea and others like the pill form. I liked both. I noticed it significantly improved my supply. Experts recommend you don’t take it unless you need it, but it’s REALLY nice to have around when you do.
Strapless Pumping Bra
Oh the strapless pumping bra. I actually wasn’t planning on pumping but OH MY GOSH am I glad I did! The nights where my son actually slept, my boobs would be so full it physically hurt. With my pump I was able to build a freezer stash and provide myself with some much needed relief when I was away from my baby! The pumping bra makes pumping bearable.
But I HIGHLY recommend the strapless over the ones with straps because you can slip this on anywhere and at any time without having to take your shirt off.
Comfortable Nursing Bras
These were my favorite nursing bras. I actually don’t recommend that you get a “cup size” nursing bra until you are actually nursing. There’s no way to know how much bigger (or not at all bigger) your breasts will be until you are actually nursing, so these are prefect both in the meantime and throughout nursing because they’re so comfortable.
TRUST me when I tell you, you need to have nipple cream. You probably won’t use all of it, but when you need it, you’ll be glad you have it. I also liked these because they helped prevent clogged ducts and provided relief when needed.
A Supportive Community
If you have people around you constantly telling you that you can’t breastfeed or that it’s weird somehow, you need to ditch those people. Breastfeeding may or may not work out for you, but if you quit, it needs because you or a doctor think that’s the right decision, not because you felt bullied or demoralized. Check out breastfeeding support groups in your area (ask your OB or Midwife) or online.
Have questions or tips you want to share?
Comment and I’d love to read them!
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