When I was preparing to become a mom for the first time I knew right away that I wanted to breastfeed my baby.
I was overwhelmed by the gadgets and products as I walked by them in Buy Buy Baby to register for my baby shower. What did I really need? I thought I needed them all.
Now that I am a postpartum RN and mom of four I can tell you what breastfeeding products are REALLY important and what made nursing my new baby easier.
Best Breastfeeding Products to Guarantee Success.
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Nipple cream- This is a must have! I recommend using it right away after each feeding. Apply it to the nipple after the baby feeds and you can wipe it off with a clean/wet cloth prior to feeding.
Hydrogel Pads– These were a life saver for my sore nipples! They are a soothing gel pad that you can place on the breast in between feedings. You can use the same set for 24 hours so they go a long way.
Nursing Support Pillow – This helped so much with getting my baby in the best position to latch. We had to try several different positions to find the best latch to decrease my nipple pain and I couldn’t live without one of these!
Nursing Pads – Once your milk comes in your body doesn’t know exactly how much it need to produce so there tends to be an overabundance at first. . . cue the leaky faucets! While my baby fed on one side my milk would “let down” and my other breast would drip milk OR I would hear my baby crying and my breast would start leaking OR if I got too full they just let go! I had to wear these for the first few months after I had my son until my milk regulated. I really loved this brand!
A good breast pump– This is a must have even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed. There were many times my baby could not empty my breast effectively. He was having difficulty getting a good latch. He got too sleepy at the breast to get all of the milk out. I had mastitis and needed to drain my breast more frequently than my baby could… I could go on and on! I used the Medela Pump in Style with my last pregnancy and it was fantastic.
This pregancy I plan on using the Spectra Pump and I have heard ALOT of mamas rave about it so I am excited to try it!
A comfortable nursing bra – I LIVED in my nursing bra for weeks, like I NEVER took it off! I needed to have the constant, comfortable support for these new breast that were way too large for my body and SUPER sensitive. Plus I wore my nursing pads for the first few months postpartum and I had to have a place to put them! I would recommend buying a nursing bra a size larger than you currently wear, supportive but not too tight. AVOID ANYTHING WITH UNDERWIRE!
Milk collection device- This doesn’t have anything to do with the pain experienced with breastfeeding but IS A LIFESAVER! I would leak ALOT on the opposite side when nursing my babies. I hated for all that milk to go to waste. When someone introduced me to the Haakaa I was amazed at how much milk I could collect! Up to an ounce!!
Lactation Tea- to help increase and support breast milk production.
Common Questions/FAQ About Breastfeeding.
How long will breastfeeding hurt?
- Ideally breastfeeding will not hurt at all except for mild discomfort during the initial period of adjustment.
- If you have experienced any of the problems mentioned previously ( bad latch, tongue or lip tie, mastitis…) you can expect healing time to vary from 1-3 weeks depending on how quickly you can resolve the issue you are dealing with.
How can I relieve the pain with breastfeeding?
- First and foremost, GET A GOOD LATCH! If you have sore/cracked or bleeding nipples you can use the Hydrogel pads and lanolin mentioned above in between feedings.
- Also you can apply a saline compress on the nipple and allow it to air dry after.
- Saline compress: Mix 1 cup of warm water to 1-2 tsp. of salt. Mix well. Soak a cotton ball of gauze pad in the solutions and remove excess water. Apply compress to the affected area for 10-15 min. Allow breast to air dry completely.
- If the nipple is severely affected please contact a Lactation Consultant in your area for more help.
How do I know if the baby has a good latch?
- Make sure that your baby is positioned correctly. Baby should be pulled in close to you and “tummy to tummy” or “tummy to side” if in the football position.
- You should never bring your breast to the baby, rather bring the baby to the breast.
- Hold your breast with your thumb and forefinger above and below the areola in a “C” hold. Almost as if you would hold a hamburger. Make sure to pull your fingers back a bit so they are not in the way of the baby latching.
- Stimulate the baby to open his/her mouth VERY WIDE. Never try to stuff your nipple in their mouth for the sake of getting it in there.
- You can rub your nipple from the nose to the chin to stimulate them to open their mouth or rub the nipple right under their nose.
- You can also try to express colostrum so the baby can smell it/lick it and taste it to entice them to open up wide.
- When the baby’s mouth is open wide, insert the nipple in the mouth aiming for the roof of the baby’s mouth.
- When baby has a deep latch you should be able to see both lips flanged out, the corners of their mouth should have a wide angle rather than a small narrow one, you should be able to see more of the areola above the top lip vs below and the chin should be touching the breast.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Breastfeeding your Newborn.
Breastfeeding my children was one of the most rewarding and special times in my motherhood journey. It was also one of the most frustrating and challenging. I have NO idea where we would be or if I even would have kept breastfeeding my children if I had not had help along the way.
I truly hope this helps any mamas out there that are suffering or wanting to give up. Seek out the help you need . . . we are not meant to do this ALONE!
I would love to hear your journey with breastfeeding. Was it challenging? Was it easy peasy lemon squeezy? How did you overcome your difficulties? What did you enjoy? What did you hate? I’d love to hear your thoughts.