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Breastfeeding was (and still is) one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in motherhood.
Maybe harder than labor. Ok, not quite, labor was pretty intense for me. But since labor is one day and breastfeeding goes on for as long as you chose to do it, it’s definitely a challenging job. And because you’re making a constant decision to do it, it becomes kind of a mind over matter thing. The first two weeks were the absolute hardest. Your nipples hurt like crazy, sometimes to the point of tears. I definitely don’t remember reading that in the What to Expect Book! (Maybe it’s in there and pregnancy brain took over?) I definitely recommend seeing the Lactation Consultant before you leave the hospital. They will check for tongue tie which can be an issue for latching, give you tips for different ways to hold the baby while nursing, and give you nipple guards and some cream that helps with cracking. They will also send you home with a formula pack just in case you need it. We still use the little formula coolers and icepacks to this day!
Some mommies are not able to breastfeed, the child has intolerances to certain things, or they simply don’t want to, and their children are happy, thriving little babies on formula! There is so much judgement surrounding breastfeeding. You’re judged if you give your baby formula, and then you’re judged if you breastfeed your child in public!
Why can’t we all just appreciate that every mother has the best interest of their baby in their hearts and we are all doing the best we can?
I’ll be honest, after spending over 2 years of motherhood breastfeeding, I kind of have a love hate relationship with it. On one hand, I love the extra snuggles, but sometimes by the end of the day, I often feel over touched and just want some personal space. That rings ever more true now that I have a toddler and a baby. I nursed my toddler for 15 months when we weaned after finding out we were pregnant again. Now I am still nursing my 11 month old. She’s not a huge eater of solid foods yet. She will eat them, but a lot of it gets tossed on the floor or fed to the dog, which she thinks is hilarious. She also wakes up a few times at night to nurse still. (This momma is tired!) All that to say, I don’t see an end to my breastfeeding journey just yet!
But in honor of National Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would share the things that I have used along the way that have helped make my journey a little bit easier.
Boppy Pillow These are great in the newborn stage! You are able to put it around your body so you can rest the baby on it while nursing. Then, as the baby grows, you can position them to do tummy time or support them while they are learning to sit up on their own. They have tons of different cute covers as well!
Madela Pump This seems to be a favorite in the pumping world and the one I used. If you have health insurance, a pump is usually covered 100%. So give them a call before you purchase one. But a battery pack, lighter adapter, and carry bag are extra things that are not included with the pump. These were definitely helpful if I needed to pump in the car or was away from an electrical outlet.
Freemies These are great! They are compatable with most pump brands and fit into your nursing bra or tank (I don’t recommend these for a tight fitting, underwire type bra. They need some space.) But instead of a breast pump bra were the bottles hang out and your shirt must be open, you can pump discreetly in public or at work. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many areas to pump in public as their should be!
Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags These were my favorite brand. I never had issues with the bags leaking, they stand up well while you dump the milk into them, and freeze flat for easy storage. I had to have an emergency appendectomy when my daughter was two months old and wasn’t able to breast feed for 24 hours. I was happy to have a small supply in the freezer!
Nursing Tanks These are so comfortable and have a shelf bra inside. The top unclips for easy access for your little one. I still wear these to bed and sometimes under a t-shirt for added coverage when nursing in public.
Hopefully you will find this list helpful on your own breastfeeding journey! Are there any other things you’d add? Comment below!
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