Tips And Advice For Breastfeeding Mothers
It is kind of funny to find myself writing an article about breastfeeding since I never really cared to do it in the first place. Now that I have seven months of breastfeeding under my belt, I couldn’t imagine feeding my daughter any other way.Since I began breastfeeding Katie, I have tried exactly three different brands of breast pads, three types of bottles, two types of sippy cups and three different types of nursing bras. I have wasted a lot of money. I hope that my recommendations can help other moms save a little cash and maybe make the breastfeeding experience a little bit easier.
I couldn’t write recommendations without some tips.
When I gave birth I was told about a feeding schedule. “Feed your baby every 2-3 hours,” was what my nurses said. So I did. Katie would cry because her little belly was the size of a marble and she digested breast milk very quickly, but I didn’t want to do anything wrong since I was a new mom. I feel so bad that I tried to put Katie on a schedule and didn’t realize I needed to feed her on demand. If I could do it over, I would have offered her a boob every time she made a noise! But my main point is, don’t try to feed your newborn on a schedule.
Another silly thing the nurses told me was that Katie needed to feed for like, 20 minutes on each side. Katie would nurse for about 10 minutes on one side and fall asleep. I would freak out and try to wake her up to “finish” nursing her. I realized that some babies are more efficient nursers than others and Katie. was. efficient. I started only nursing her on one breast at a time, after following my mommy instinct, and she has been gaining weight perfectly. I guess my second tip is to follow your instinct.
After about two months, I would wait until the late hunger cues to feed Katie. OMG, it is hard to get your baby to nurse when she is crying! Do not wait until your baby is crying to feed!!! Sticking the tongue out like a lizard is a very early hunger cue. Rooting is a hunger cue. Crying? It’s too late.
I was really lucky in that Katie didn’t really tear up my nipples and she was a very good nurser from the beginning. I hope that your breastfeeding experience ends up being as amazing as mine.
When I breastfeed in public I usually just pull a boob out after I step away from the crowds. I know other women don’t feel comfortable doing this, but I can’t, for the life of me, get Katie to nurse when a cover on. What a pain it is!!! Since I got my Ergo carrier I haven’t had to worry about anyone saying anything (even though I am within my right to nurse, however, wherever I want) because no one can even tell I’m nursing Katie.
I wear nursing tanks all night long and most days of the week when I don’t need a lift. Katie sleeps in my bed and nurses all night long, so I wear a nursing tank every single night. I’ve tried the night time bras and such, but nothing beats a nursing tank. I wear a long-sleeved shirt over it to keep me warm while we cosleep and keep the long sleeved shirt pulled up so it’s not in the way. It works beautifully.
I wear a Bravado nursing bra when I go out with a regular old tank top underneath my shirt (like the $7 tanks from Wet Seal). I purchased several bras from Motherhood Maternity that ended up being complete crap. They picked up tons of lint when I washed them and seriously lost their shape. I get it, they are cheap. But what a complete waste of money!!! Get a few good nursing bras and you won’t ever have to look back.
Products to Wear
In the early days of breastfeeding, you should not use reusable breast pads. Every woman is engorged right after giving birth and I can almost guarantee that you will leak through reusable pads. Wait at least eight weeks to make the switch. In the beginning, I used Lansinoh Nursing Pads. They never leaked. Also, I got a great deal on Amazon with Subscribe and Save. It’s really awesome and if you aren’t an Amazon Mom, you should really sign up and benefit from the deals. I get free shipping on everything I purchase and it’s always super cheap.
After the first couple of months, I wanted to quit creating garbage. I bought some super cheap nuk nursing pads and they were terrible. They stuck to my poor nipples and tried to rip them off! Never again. Please, don’t use these!
Then I bit the bullet and ordered Bamboobies. They are really cute and the overnight pads are to die for. They are so thick and soft. I wash them with my cloth diapers and they are just great. The day time pads are very thin and hide easily under my nursing bra. Love, love, love them! Also, the company is based in Colorado and was started by a group of moms. Double awesome.
Unless you are able to stay home with your baby constantly and never leave her side, you will need a breast pump. I didn’t leave Katie until she was six months old to return to work, but I did like to enjoy some wine before that point.
Medela is my brand. They are the alpha omega of breast pumps.
I was lucky to get the best breast pump they make – a Medela Pump in Style. They are very expensive, but they are amazing pumps. It takes me about 10 minutes to pump eight ounces. If you can afford a Medela, get one! I love, love, love mine. I can’t imagine a mom who is working full time having a lesser pump.
If you really want a lot of milk output in a short amount of time, upgrade to the Pumpin Pals breast shields. The Medela breast shields kind of suck. These are much more comfortable and somehow get out more milk. If you have trouble with your current breast shields, give these a try.
I am currently only working 18 hours per week, and I think that if I didn’t receive the Medela as a gift I probably would have opted for something else. I participate on the WTE (WhatToExpect.com) message boards, and I keep seeing moms RAVING about the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump. They say they get more milk in a shorter span of time than with their electric pumps using this one. Weird, right? So while I haven’t tried this, I trust the girls on WTE.
Even though Katie was over 8 lbs as a newborn, she was still tiny and it hurt my back to feed her. I used my pillow religiously in the beginning.
I used a Boppy pillow to keep Katie at the right height. They make cute covers and later on you can use the pillow to prop your baby up for playtime before they can sit. I highly recommend this pillow.
One drawback to the Boppy is that, from the reviews I read, it is not ideal for plus sized women. My Brest Friend Pillow has awesome reviews. It has a pocket where you can store things and it also velcros on. Baby cannot fall between Mom and the pillow, either.