My Top 6 Breastfeeding Essentials
Breastfeeding is meant to be such a natural and biological process. No one could have prepared me for how hard this so called natural thing was going to be. I only lasted two weeks breastfeeding Teresa because we had so many problems and not enough correct advice. Believe me, everyone has an opinion on breastfeeding. Whether it's correct or not. After two weeks of mastitis, a screaming newborn, topping up with formula and a baby that never seemed to stop crying I made the agonising decision to swap to formula. At the time, it was definitely the right decision for me but I have regretted that decision every day since.
When I fell pregnant with Valentino, I was determined to breastfeed and breastfeed I did. We made it to 17 months before weaning. Don't get me wrong. It was a hard road to get that far but I gave it my everything. Tongue ties, allergies and a slow wight gainer were just some of the hurdles.
I'm now sitting here, breastfeeding Francesca and we had similar issues as we had with Valentino. Luckily, over the course of the last 6 years I have learnt A LOT more about how to handle each hurdle. So here I am, bursting to share some of my favourite things that got me through those early days of breastfeeding:
These tiny little pieces of fabric are covered in a gel that is amazing for sore and cracked nipples. A friend recommended these to me when I had the WORST cracked nipples whilst feeding Valentino. He had tongue ties and we had to wait 4 long and agonising weeks to have the ties lasered. These compresses were my saving grace! They helped with the healing process before and after the laser surgery. You can buy them in a variety of pharmacies or online. Check out more about them here.
These are also amazing for sore and cracked nipples! I only discovered them when I was pregnant with Francesca and the lovely Anh from Silverette Australia sent me a pair to try. They are so easy to use and you don't have to worry about wiping any creams off before feeding. I used these in conjunction with the Multi-Mam compresses this time round. Silverette cups during the day for the first few months of feeding Francesca until my sore nipples settled and got used to feeding again and the Multi-Mams at night (because the cups were a little hard to lay on at night). They are well worth the investment to help with those sore nipples in the early days (and every so often when they get sore again. As I write this I'm off to pop them in for a sore nipple that Francesca gave me overnight haha). You can find them here.
This little beauty was and still is a great addition to any breastfeeding mama's arsenal! It's easy to use and collects milk whilst your breastfeeding. You just suction it to your other breast while you're feeding and BAM! You've got some collected breastmilk! I know it's not recommended to start pumping in the first 6 weeks unless recommended by your IBCLC (this can mess with your supply otherwise) but the Milk Mate is a great way to relieve engorgement in those early days. Only a breastfeeding Mama would know the joys of trying to latch a hungry newborn with rock hard, engorged breasts (Hands up if you know what I'm talking about?!). It's also great as a breast pump if you're out and about and don't want to lug around all those pieces to your regular breast pump. You can find more about the Milk Mate here.
It sounds so simple doesn't it? But it's a must for me when breastfeeding. I like to have it all filled and ready when I go to bed because aaaalllll that night feeding makes me so thirsty! I would drink a whole litre some nights during those first few weeks of feeding. A water bottle (with a flip top lid) just makes it so much easier during the night.... Less chance of spilling it on baby's head haha.
I lived in these crops for the first month post partum. My boobs were just too big and my nipples were too sore to have anything tighter on them! They're super comfy, easy access for feeding and great in the middle of summer to walk around the house in haha. They were also great to wash and get dry quickly, which we all know as Mamas is a must!
I may have put this last in my list but it certainly isn't the least important of the list! I stumbled across my wonderful IBCLC when I was having trouble breastfeeding Valentino. She was a godsend. An IBCLC is highly trained in all things breastfeeding and some are extremely knowledgeable on oral restrictions. Without her I don't think I would have made it to 17 months breastfeeding Tino. If you're having trouble with supply, with sore nipples, slow weight gain or any other myriad of things that can seem to go wrong in the early days, then please seek out help. They will help you to find the root cause of what's happening and help you to get on a positive breastfeeding journey instead of every feed feeling like hell (believe me I've been there).
So there you have it! These were my life savers this time round. The things that got me through those early newborn days. The things that made this 'natural process' a little more comfy as I navigated a new baby. Tell me in the comments what were your must haves when breastfeeding!