Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Booby List

If you are one of those people that gets freaked out about the idea of breast feeding, I'm sorry. Just go ahead and skip this post, maybe go read about my crazy former neighbors or that late night moth attack I'll never forget. I know that some people think it's weird, and that my foodie readers probably don't want to hear about boobs. Or maybe you do. But if you are a mommy-to-be and you are considering breast feeding, right on! It has been the single greatest bonding experience I have had with my little man and I could not recommend it more. Plus, it's free, and you know how I love free.
Boobie Beanie by SarasStiches on Etsy

That said, breast feeding can be a challenge, it can be scary, and it can be incredibly frustrating in the beginning. If you are dedicated to trying to stick it out, there are a few things you must have in your arsenal...

A Breast Feeding Support Group or a Lactation Consultant or at least an Experienced Friend: I can't stress this enough. I started going to a breast feeding support group when Jude was 4 weeks old, and have gone almost every week since then. There are so many moments when I thought something was wrong, but when I shared my concerns, at least 3 other moms were experiencing the same thing. I left group feeling better every time. There are a million ways to position, tons of products out there to help, and sometimes you try ten things before you find the answer. Having someone to give you feedback or just listen to you moan can be the saving grace on those tough days when you feel like a miserable moo cow. Check with your hospital or your doctor/midwife to see if there is a group near you. If not, there are online communities if all else fails. You can even contact me! I'm not an expert, but I'm happy to listen to you cry it out via email.

Nipple Cream: You are going to have some pain. It can range from a bit of chafing to toe curling pain every time your baby latches on. One way to ease that early pain in the boob is the right nipple cream. Many of the women I know use Lansinoh , but I hated it. It was so thick and greasy! I switched to First Years Nipple Butter and loved how much smoother it was. Plus, I like that it has no lanolin, because it kind of freaks me out to rub sheep grease on my lady parts. I used it after every feeding and the soreness was gone within a few weeks. However, if you have severe pain that lasts longer than a few weeks, you may want to ask your doctor for a prescription for Dr. Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment or APNO. It is the stuff of dreams.

A Good Breast Pump: Especially if you are going to go back to work (but even if you just want a partner/sitter to give a bottle now and then). Most of the women in my group have the Medela Pump InStyle Advanced and love it. It really doesn't matter what brand you have, but get a good one. It will save you time and frustration. Many insurance plans cover all or part of the cost now, and all of the cost is tax deductible. Just be aware that, especially in the beginning, you may not produce a lot. You may never produce a lot, but don't freak about it. Your production could be anywhere from 1/2 an ounce to 8 ounces per pumping session depending on a million factors. How much water or caffeine you drink, how much glandular tissue you have, when you last nursed your baby... It all comes into account.

A Hooter Hider: Some kind of nursing cover is a necessity for feeding your babykins in public, which you are bound to have to do at some point! A blanket or burp cloth will always do in a pinch, but a real nursing cover is worth registering for! The strap around your neck helps prevent your sweetie from tearing it off and exposing your hoohas to the world, which will happen. I assure you. Most also have a stiff band in the neckline so that you can peek down to check on your baby's progress. I have also used mine as a makeshift changing pad, a stroller shade, and a beach blanket. It's great.

Well Fitting Nursing Bras: Go buy several brands before you give birth. Try to clip and unclip them with one hand in the dressing room. If you can't do it easily, don't buy it! Grab a few nursing tank tops while you're at it. The Gilligan and O'Malley ones from Target are great, and (obviously) affordable. Get fitted professionally if you have to. Your girls are going to change so dramatically over the first few weeks that having an uncomfortable bra will make you so miserable.

One fun thing to also get is this beauty. Come on, you know that photo is funny. But seriously, it makes folding laundry, typing emails, or just stuffing your face possible while pumping. It may make your breasts look like superheroes in disguise, but it's worth it if you are going to do lots of pumping!

So ladies in the peanut gallery... Did you breastfeed? What are your favorite tips/products?


Kat said...

LOVE this post! Thank you for putting this out there. I'm super jealous of your community - I needed to do that but the one in my area (meetup) meets during the weekdays! So hard when you're working full time. ps- congrats on keeping it up! I hope you're SUPER proud of yourself :)

Rachel & Greg's Life said...

My daughter is currently 6 weeks old and we have been breastfeeding from the start. Yes, it was a challenge in the beginning, but it has gotten easier (especially after that first week when the milk comes in). I fully agree with what you said on this post, the all purpose nipple cream and a lactation consultant are life savers. All of us mothers should never be afraid to ask for help, we are not alone with motherhood :) I love your blog, keep up the great work! -Rachel from Seattle