Click HERE for my blog on my experience with lactation consultants at Kapiolani Medical Center Vlog about how Wai and Jackson differed coming soon! Also, will be chatting about the 5 things I wish I knew about breastfeeding BEFORE I started. lol
1. Pillows – I’m tall so I needed more pillows than most just to get baby up to the right height for breastfeeding. I like having a pillow with arm rests behind my back and I use my pregnancy wedges to help lift the baby to right level as well. My brestfriend pillow is a nice resting place for baby and also provides lumbar support.
2. Massage Oil – In addition to back pain… and neck pain… I had “mommy claw.” I can only describe it as intense pain in my hands, especially when I had them in the C-shape needed to properly cup the breast to nurse. This is where a supportive husband can come in handy (Pun intended) to massage your hands and neck and relieve some of the pain. I also used carpel tunnel wrist braces. At first, just on one wrist but then the other started to hurt as well so I had braces on both arms!! I couldn’t find the same one in the store so I ended up getting one of each of the ones shown below. The one I preferred was the shorter one but the longer one seemed to provide more support even though it was a bit more uncomfortable.
3. Heating Pad – Oh yeah, that’s not the only pain you’ll feel… Ugh! Engorgement sucks! (Pun also intended) The only thing that relieves the engorgement is baby sucking (attempting to empty) the breast. After your milk comes in, you will be engorged until your body adjusts to the supply and demand. Every morning, your boobies will be up near your chin – and hard as a rock. They’ll look great, but they’re all lumpy. This is totally normal. My heating pad was a god send! (Warm showers help too)
4. Nipple Ointment / Essential Oils – Chances are your nipples have never been treated like this before. They are not used to the constant sucking, moisture and tugging. Dry, cracked, bleeding… and just plain sore nipples can be relieved with a bit of ointment or oil. I used the Mother Love ointment and pure liquid Lanolin (links below) with Jackson and with Waipuna (my lanolin had expired – oops!) so I used DoTerra Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil and Myrrh.
5. Water bottle – You’re a milk machine and you need to keep hydrated in order to produce milk and not get dehydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink. My little trick was to fill my hydroflask before going to bed. Every time I would nurse, I would drink the entire thing. Baby is draining me, so I should drain my water bottle. Then, I’d have my hubby refill it so that it was available for the next feeding.
6. Breast pump – This one is loaded. There’s a lot of “stuff” that comes with pumping. The “stuff” is what makes it cumbersome but the freedom it can give you or the relief from engorgement is well worth it. Check with your insurance. You should be able to get a FREE breast pump. I got one during each of my pregnancies (Medela – you can either get the backpack or the tote). My routine was to pump in the morning when I get up (since my milk is overflowing). This allowed my hubby to bottle feed baby and create a special bond. It also allowed me to store up some milk for the inevitable days where I need to work, be off-island, or just need some “me” time.
“Stuff” that comes along with your breast pump? Storage solutions (I swear by the freezer zip-up bags – just make sure they’re sealed tight or you’ll get a sticky mess in the freezer), bottles, breast pump bra (you NEED this – regular bra or no bra does NOT work as well – trust me, I’ve tried).
7. Burp cloths – What goes in, sometimes comes out. Both of my children were spitters. They both eventually outgrew it. Waipuna is now 8 months old and she rarely, if ever, spits up after being nursed. In the early days, not so. I probably went through at least 15 burp cloths a day. I also use them while nursing to catch any spills. I place the burp cloth beneath my breast so that if baby lets some spill, it doesn’t go all over the place. A burp cloth is also handy for those moments when baby comes unlatched and you start spraying all over the place uncontrollably. ha ha ha!!
8. Nursing bra & pads – In the beginning I always used nursing bras. The first bra pictured below is the one I would use every day and to sleep in at night. The second one didn’t work super well for me because it doesn’t provide any support, it’s just cotton. However, if you want a nursing bra that “breathes” this is the one for you. The third bra below was the bra I used when I would be out and about since it looked best under clothing. You know the ones with the clips. Those are fine, but after a while, I found them cumbersome and just went to Victoria Secret and bought bras that I could easily fold. Regardless of what bra you choose, you’ll probably need some sort of breast pad. I use disposable breast pads. Yes, they’re bulky and don’t lie very smoothly under your clothing… but it’s a great way to keep the area dry and clean. Change your pads often to keep from getting thrush.
9. Supplements & Tea – I’m not sure if it actually works but I know moms that swear by their “Mother’s Milk” tea. I used it religiously before giving birth to Jackson and through the first few months postpartum. With Waipuna, I haven’t had any at all. It can’t hurt. Something that can definitely help is supplements. Baby is getting all of the “good stuff” from your breastmilk. If you take a probiotic, prenatal vitamin, DHA – baby is also reaping some of the benefits. A probiotic will also help you to keep healthy bacteria in your body and prevent some of the infections that you can get while breastfeeding. The supplements below are the ones that are still currently in my Subscribe & Save cart on Amazon.
10. Dropper – With Jackson, we had to resort to the dropper (on occasion) in order to get him interested enough in feeding. You may not have this problem, but it’s always nice to have one on hand in case you need it. It’s the same type of dropper you would use to give baby medication.
11. Some kind of breastfeeding APP – Kapiolani Medical Center has a new app called “Hapai” (Click HERE for link). It’s FREE. We used BabyConnect but there are a lot of different apps out there. I think ours cost $5 or something like that. It syncs with my husbands so that if either of us inputs information, the other can see it. What I love about these types of apps is you don’t have to remember how long you nursed, on which side or when. I mean, you’re a zombie… who really is in their right mind to remember that kind of stuff? It was especially helpful for when baby would not feed “evenly” on both sides. I could check the app to see which side it was that didn’t get as much action and start on that side for the next feeding. It also helps when you go the doctor and they ask you how many feedings baby is having a day, how many wet diapers, etc… just open the app and charts and things like that are at your fingertips!
12. As I’m going through photos for this blog post, I realized there’s one other thing that I really rely on while breastfeeding… booby covers! lol I got a SUPER cute one at the New Baby Expo in Honolulu back in 2012. It was handmade with a Hawaiian print but you can get the covers just about anywhere. I’ll link a “standard” one below which also doubles as a carseat cover. Now a days, I end up just using a burp cloth to kind of cover up out of respect for those around me. On the plane the other day, my jacket was big enough to kind of shield baby and boob from view. There is ONE cover up that I absolutely ADORE though! I found it scrolling through some shopping websites while pregnant with Jackson… let me go find it so that I can give you the brand name… Okay! I’m back. It’s a “Maternal America” breastfeeding cover / scarf. I love it because it’s soft and acts as a wonderful scarf but I can also use it as a blanket, breastfeeding cover and pashmina. It’s 100% cotton and comes in a few colors. It has a hole in it so that you can put it over your head… never been sponsored by them (although maybe I should be! lol), just truly love the product. I’ll link it below as well. LOVE LOVE love it! Here I am using it while traveling to Europe… the best.