Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breastfeeding Must Haves and Update for Month 2

Must haves:

  • Boppy or My Brest Friend 


My Brest Friend

They both have positives and I was fortunate enough to have both that were loaned/handed down to me.  The Brest Friend was my favorite in the beginning.  It's very sturdy and comfy.  It's great when you and baby are learning to breast feed.  The Boppy is more compact and has really cute slipcovers.  I got one at Pottery Barn Kids that matches my nursery.  They are both useful but I like the Brest Friend in the beginning and the Boppy later.  Now I really don't even need a pillow when I feed her.

  • Lanolin

Let's face it, you can't always expect to have a perfect latch right from the beginning.  Lactation consultants will tell you that you should not have any pain if you are doing it right but learning to breast feed takes work and you can get sore the very first day of trying.  Using the lanolin can save your nipples from some serious irritation that can make a huge difference in sticking with breast feeding or giving up.  Also, I don't care how good your latch is, all that feeding and pumping is just not something your tender skin is used to in the beginning.  

Take in your hospital bag and use it the very first day :) It won't hurt the baby and is totally fine for them to get in their mouth.  I don't think the brand matters as long as it's pure lanolin.  

  • Nursing Pads

Again, I have both.  The washable are easier on sensitive skin and are obviously more economical because you use them over and over.  In the beginning when your milk supply is still getting regulated you may leak a lot.  The washable pads will probably leak through.  They work better later on when there's only minimal leakage.  Some people don't need these but I always use one or the other because I don't want to get caught in a situation with leaking milk spots on the front of my shirt ;) 

  • Snacks and water

In the beginning, breast feeding made me really hungry and thirsty.  Also, once I sat down for an hour long nursing session with my newborn, it was hard to get up to get something to eat or drink.  I kept a basket next to the place I choose to nurse with snack bars and a water bottle, along with lanolin, nursing pads, and anything else I would need.  

  • Fenugreek
Fenugreek is a supplement that helps increase milk supply.  I use the More Milk Plus which has some additional herbs in it to help with let down and other things.  It is crazy expensive but I was obsessed with my supply when I was having some trouble with breast feeding so I thought it was worth it.  Just plain fenugreek also works and is more reasonably priced.  

  • Breast Pump
    The Medela pump is awesome and insurance now has to cover it for you.  Thanks for the breast pump Obama.
    Pumping after feeding and in the middle of the night if baby sleeps through really helps increase supply but consider this a full time job for a while.  It sucks but can make a HUGE difference.

  • Bottle Brush
    A bottle brush can save time with all of the cleaning of bottles and pump accessories.

  • Dr. Brown's bottles
    They have the slowest nipples and really make the baby work for the milk, which is the most similar to feeding at the breast.

  • Another huge tip that I didn't learn until later on was if you are going to be pumping all day, just stick the whole bottle and parts in the fridge in between pumping and pull out and reuse each time.  Clean them all thoroughly at the end of the day but you don't necessarily have to clean everything each time.  This will keep you from going crazy.  Make sure to have clean hands when pumping or feeding baby.  Once you've experienced Mastitis you will know you can never be too cautious:)

Some other really helpful things that can make all the difference in breast feeding:
  • Supportive husband/partner and family
  • Taking classes while still pregnant- education is so important 
  • A good lactation consultant- or 2 if necessary
  • A good book on breastfeeding- again, the more you know the better
  • A positive and relaxed attitude- it's really easy to freak out in the beginning but you have to be confident, trust your instincts, know that what your doing is best for baby and that it will eventually work out in the end if you're patient.
Also, some say these are myths/old wives tales but steel cut oatmeal, beer, lactation cookies, a little alcohol (to relax you) can all help increase supply.  Stress is a major negative but really hard to control (especially for me) so a glass of wine once and a while can help.  I did all of these things and I really increased my supply so who knows which really did the trick. 

My update:
Blake had a couple of weeks where her weight gain really slowed.  She never lost any weight but she was barely gaining.  I think it was my supply (from Mastitis) but I started to get really frustrated and stressed.  My lactation consultant suggested we see our doctor at this point and she didn't have any more suggestions.  I felt I needed a different perspective.  A friend recommended Kay Gregg who just happened to be really close to my house.  She's a lactation consultant but with a different method.  It was great to get to see two different ways of doing things.  They were both valuable but Kay's way of doing things was really what we needed at that time.  She was calm and relaxed and got me back on track.  She has a grandmother-ish sweetness and calmed my anxieties.  I never had to see the doc or supplement with formula and Blake got an A+ at our 2 month well child doctor's appointment.  

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