Breastfeeding success hinges on getting off to a good start. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. In fact, it can be frustrating, exhausting, and even painful at times. Especially in those first few weeks. Many women lose confidence, get overwhelmed, don’t get the support they need, and end up quitting breastfeeding early on. I want to close those barriers and give you the proper tools to help you be successful at breastfeeding. These 7 essentials will help you get off to the right start in your breastfeeding journey.
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You will need some nursing bras, but don’t buy too many before baby comes, as your bra size may change. I preferred these sleeper nursing bras, and honestly, I wear them all the time. They are super comfortable, have easy access, and you don’t have to deal with those obnoxious clips when you are halfway asleep trying to pull your boob out at 2 am.
Breastfeeding is natural sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any learning from baby and mom. It will take some time to get the hang of breastfeeding, and your nipples have to take the bullet for that! Your nipples will be sore those first few weeks, and it may be tough to breastfeed at times because of the soreness, but having baby to breast is the only way your body is going to know how much milk to make. Having a good nipple cream is a lifesaver in order to get through those tough first weeks. I loved Mama’s Nipple Butter (and so did my nipples!). If you are in extreme pain while nursing or experiencing pain after the initial weeks, be sure to meet with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and have baby’s latch evaluated.
Soothies Gel Pads are another lifesaver for those first few weeks! I liked to put mine in the fridge and keep them cool. They brought such relief!
Unless you don’t mind having wet circles where your boobs are out in public and going through more bras and shirts than needed, then you will need some nursing pads, because there WILL be leaks! I love these reusable bamboo nursing pads. They are super comfortable, unlike those itchy and irritating disposable ones. Plus, they are good for the environment and cost effective! Win, win win!
Breastfeeding makes you THIRSTY! Plus, staying hydrated is important to keeping your milk supply up. You’ll want to keep a large water bottle near you at all times. Get one with a straw, because you aren’t going to have two hands to unscrew a cap. 😉 My husband and I had a pretty good system worked out for when baby woke up. He would change her diaper, and I would go to the bathroom and fill up my water bottle and then come back to nurse to her. My husband did a great job of making sure my water bottle was full at all times when I wasn’t filling it. See dads can be involved in breastfeeding! Click here to read more ways how dad can be involved and bond with his breastfed baby.
Manual pumps are great to have on hand for when you are engorged and just need to express some milk for relief. Relieving engorgement will help prevent clogged ducts and mastitis and will make it easier for baby to latch. Be sure to not pump too much, otherwise it can lead to an over-supply. Manual pumps are also perfect for travelling and work great for a lot of women who don’t respond well to electric pumps.
Babies are so tiny and helpless those first few months. You basically have to do all the work for them, and unless you want to be holding baby every time you nurse (sometimes for hours at a time during those cluster feedings!), you will need a good nursing pillow to help support baby. The boppy works perfect for a nursing pillow, and you also get the most bang for your buck, because it can be used for so many other things, like propping baby up, tummy time, and helping baby learn to sit up!
This post should really be called 8 essentials for breastfeeding success, because I am actually going to add in one more, and that’s a SUPPORT SYSTEM! This is a big one for most women. Having a supportive husband and family can make a huge difference in your breastfeeding success. Surround yourself with supportive people. Join your local La Leche League Facebook Group, attend breastfeeding support groups, and find a local postpartum play group. Be sure to tell your husband and family how important this is to you that you succeed.
Breastfeeding is truly a bonding experience like no other, and I hope these tips will make your breastfeeding experience successful and enjoyable.
What About You?
Did you find this post helpful? Did you have any tools or tips that made your breastfeeding journey a little easier? Comment below and let me know. Share this post with your expecting mama friends.
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