MY BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY
When I was pregnant I already decided I wanted to breastfeed my baby. My reasons: studies have proven that breast milk is healthiest for baby, it encourages bonding between mom and baby and it’s FREE (formula is $$$)! I also think it helped me shed the baby weight sooner too... skinny jeans FTW!
Although the concept seems simple, I was still a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Thankfully with a little help and effort I am able too, which has been a rewarding experience. How you decide to feed your baby- whether it be exclusively breastfeeding, formula or a combination of the two, you should feel free to do so without judgment and unsolicited advice… do whatever works for you and baby! These are just some of my tips for breastfeeding if you are curious and contemplating it for yourself.
1. PREPARE BEFORE BABY
There are a few things you can do to prepare before you have your baby. I’d recommend buying Lansinoh™ (lanolin cream) and packing it in your hospital bag in case you need it. Cabbage leaves that are frozen are the BEST cure for relieving the discomfort of engorgement when your milk supply kicks into gear (generally 3-4 days after birth). It’s inexpensive too! A couple of sleepy time nursing bras are fantastic as they are comfortable, wireless and allow easy access to your hungry, hungry hippo!
2. SEEK SUPPORT
I am so grateful to the nurses at my local hospital who spent hours teaching me how to breastfeed my son. The concept isn’t so hard, but with your first child both of you are learning the ropes. The nurses (especially the one who was also a lactation consultant) were so vital in giving me pointers that made all the difference.
3. INVEST IN “BF FRIENDLY CLOTHING”
Breastfeeding is super convenient in some ways, but not so much in others as you are constantly peeling back clothing. I think it’s worth having clothing that is designed for nursing. My favourite are these nursing camis from MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY™ with built-in nursing bras with cups. This allows your baby easy access and you don’t need to expose your belly (an area I still am learning to embrace postpartum). I think it's smart to wait until your milk has come in before you go crazy buying nursing clothes to ensure proper sizing.
This next item is a breastfeeding cover. In this department I truly believe “to each her own.” I personally am not comfortable exposing 'the girls' in public so I choose to do this, but again do whatever works for you without caring what others think.
I like this Pashmena one from Jolly Jumper™. Not only is it cute, but also it’s lightweight so it doesn’t get too hot for baby and it also allows mom easy viewing access to her baby.
Other favourite products:
Nursing Pads. Self-explanatory but is so important when you're leaky at the start. At first I used disposable, but I found these reusable ones more comfortable and didn't take much effort to clean at all.
Milk-savers. If you are exceptionally leaky consider collecting it so not one precious drop of "liquid gold' goes to waste!
4. CONSIDER A PUMP
While I do nurse in public, there are times when I have to be away from Dylan or it’s just too problematic to nurse in which case a bottle is super handy.
I would hold off until you have your baby and are confident in your decision to breastfeed before investing in an electric pump. Before I gave birth to Dylan I bought a manual pump. This was great when it came to helping relieve engorgement by expressing just a little to take the edge off. Overtime however, I found the manual cumbersome and tedious. If you plan on bottle-feeding, even if only a couple bottles a week, I think an electric is worth it.
I like the Medela™ “Swing Single Electric Breastpump.” If you plan on pumping a lot, the double is probably worth it, but for me this works just fine.
5. PUMP CONSISTENTLY
Before your milk supply is established (within the first 6 weeks), I would recommend trying to pump a bottle a day. I didn’t which means my body now makes just enough for what Dylan needs. Compare this to the beginning of my breastfeeding journey where I could pump a whole bottle in 5 minutes! Ahh those were the days… Now my problem is when I pump I am trying to have my body produce more milk than it’s used too. This means it takes more time and effort to get those precious extra drops of milk. Next time I will consistently pump from the get-go!
6. KEEP ON PRESSIN’ ON
My son and I had so many issues at the start of our breastfeeding journey. He preferred one side from the start so much so that he went on “strike” from my one side for three weeks. There were anatomical reasons at least partially to blame so I had to overcome that. We also had latch issues… etc. I wish it were as easy as it looks at first, but if it doesn’t come “naturally” don’t panic. You two will get there. Dylan has got the hang of things and it’s now as easy as pie!
Despite any issues and obstacles we’ve had to overcome, I absolutely love breastfeeding my little one. He looks so secure, so content and he even makes these “mmm” noises just letting me know how good it is! I love that I am the only one that can nourish him in this way.
I hope you find this helpful. If you have any tips or questions on breastfeeding make sure to write in the comment section below.
* Note: I've not been sponsored by any of the companies listed above.