Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baby 101: Nursing Must-Haves

 OK, so technically, there isn't anything you HAVE to have in order to nurse your child - just the necessary body parts and a good milk supply.  However, these are what I consider to be my "must haves" because they make nursing so much easier.

1.  Nursing pillow

I have a Boppy nursing pillow, and it was essential for the first few weeks of nursing.  I took it with me to the hospital when my son was born and used it every time I nursed for the first several weeks.  I don't use it for nursing anymore - a lactation consultant that came to the house when my son was a month old encouraged me to learn to nurse without the pillow because it would be liberating when I realized I could nurse anywhere, anytime without the pillow, and she was right.  I still use the Boppy to prop up my son when he's playing, so it's still getting good use, and I'm glad I had it at the beginning when I was getting the hang of things (and also because nursing in those early days takes SO MUCH LONGER since baby is not as efficient of an eater and falls asleep constantly - my arm would have fallen off if I hadn't had this pillow to support his body).


2.  Feeding smartphone app

I love the Baby Connect app on my iPhone; I use the timer function to time each nursing session.  This was extra helpful in the beginning when my son was constantly falling asleep while nursing; I would check the time to see how long he'd been eating to determine if I needed to wake him up to eat more or if he had already nursed for a decent amount of time.  Especially for those middle-of-the-night feedings, I'm not with it enough to watch the clock and remember what time I started, so the timer is handy to have.  I also like that it keeps track of which side I last nursed on so I can be sure to alternate sides each time to even out my milk supply.


3.  Lanolin ointment

This stuff was my best friend for at least the first month of nursing; as a friend advised me, it's best used proactively -- if you wait until you have cracking or soreness, you're fighting an uphill battle. I like the Lansinoh brand (I didn't hear good things about the Medela brand - it's supposedly much thinner). Just go ahead and apply it after every time you nurse to prevent or minimize any issues.  Make sure you use nursing pads, though, because this stuff is greasy and will leave an oily stain on your bras or clothing.


4.  Nursing cover

Everyone has their own opinion about nursing in public, and I have no problem with people who choose to go cover-free; however, I'm too modest of a person and feel more comfortable using a cover if I'm nursing in public.  It took me 3 different nursing covers to find the right one for me.  I tried the Udder Covers one, which was too thin/flimsy and felt like it would fly up in even the slightest breeze.  I then tried the Itzy Ritzy Nurser cover, which was lined, so it was heavier weight and not see-through; however, I was still always paranoid that it would shift while I was nursing and I'd be exposed on the sides, so I was hesitant to use it and usually resorted to nursing in the back seat of my car.  I also didn't like that these covers only covered my front, so if I was wearing a shirt that I had to lift up to nurse, part of my back would be exposed.

One of my friends finally introduced me to the stretchy, jersey knit full-coverage-style nursing cover (hers was the Covered Goods brand).  After looking at hers, I sewed my own using a yard of jersey knit fabric from Hobby Lobby (I had already bought 2 nursing covers so I was going the economical route). I LOVE this nursing cover and finally feel comfortable nursing in public with it - I like that it goes all the way around, so there's no chance of being exposed on either my front or my back.  I nurse with one arm out the neck hole (think toga-style), so I can easily peek in without having to have the rigid boning neckline that most other nursing covers have (which make them less compact in the diaper bag - this nursing cover folds up way smaller). If you decide to make your own, make sure to taper it at the top - the neck hole should be narrower than the bottom opening, or else it will drape too low when you use it.  


5.  Nursing sleep bras

These sports-bra style nursing bras from Target are great for sleeping, the gym, and wearing around the house.  The crossover front is easy to pull to the side for nursing, they hold nursing pads in place overnight, and they are super comfortable.


6.  Washable nursing pads

I found disposable nursing pads to be scratchy and uncomfortable, and at the rate that I use them, I'd go broke buying disposables.  I prefer to use cotton, washable/reusable nursing pads; although they are less discreet under clothing (but fine if you wear a lined bra), I've saved so much money by using washable nursing pads, and these are much more comfortable than the disposable kind.  I have 20 pairs.  If you order these, make sure you search for one of the promo codes where you just pay for shipping.


7.  Wireless nursing bras

Nursing bras are a must, in my opinion, so that you can just unclip and fold them down to nurse easily.  I prefer wireless ones because I've heard too many horror stories of plugged ducts and mastitis from wearing underwire bras while breastfeeding.  These nursing bras from Target work for me and the price is right; there are definitely nicer ones out there, but I refuse to pay $50 apiece for something I'll only use as long as I breastfeed.


8.  Nursing camis

I either sleep in a nursing cami or a tank top and nursing sleep bra (see #5 above) every night, which makes middle-of-the-night feedings super easy.  Nursing camis are also convenient to wear with a cardigan for easy nursing access.  Some people wear them underneath their other clothes, but I find them too bulky for that.  These camis from Target are a nice, thick (not see-through) cotton fabric - I have several in both black and white.


9.  Protein-filled snacks

I am basically hungry all the time when breastfeeding - they are not joking about the extra calories burned when nursing, and I'll find myself lightheaded and woozy if I don't eat something every couple of hours.  I try to keep protein-filled snacks like Kind bars handy between meals - consuming enough calories is important to maintain your milk supply, too.


10.  Water

Similarly, breastfeeding makes me constantly thirsty.  I can't make it through a single nursing session without a glass or bottle of water (including overnight feedings).  Keep some water close to your glider or wherever you nurse so that you can stay hydrated while nursing - adequate hydration is also important for maintaining your milk supply!

1 comment:

  1. This post is amazing! You explain everything so well, and the links are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

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