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Breastfeeding Must-Haves

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Last week we talked about breastfeeding (BF) basics.  This week we’re going to talk about the BF bare basic necessities.  BF can be tricky but below are a few things I found that made all the difference.

Coconut oil: I know everyone raves about lanolin cream, but lanolin cream didn’t seem to do much for me.  I met with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and she recommended coconut oil, which made a world of difference.  Not only does it rub on easier than lanolin cream, it smells better – like a tropical vacation every time you BF! Ok, maybe not quite, but I did use it after every feeding, as well as on the breast pump to reduce friction.  And, if you buy the large jar, you can use it on your hair (or what’s left of it anyway after it all falls out thanks to those crazy hormones).  I hear it does wonders…

Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads: Specific? Yes! But just trust me on this one.  I’ve tried other brands and, in my opinion, they don’t compare.  These were given to me the day I left the hospital and they were seriously a lifesaver.  They can be chilled and are reusable for a few days.  I seriously made my husband drive all over Gilbert, AZ looking for more, but it was totally worth it.

Nipple Shield: So, these have a bit of a bad reputation and the IBCLC I saw said not to use one but I seriously would not have been able to keep BF without it.  My sister-in-law recommended it around week 3 of the BF struggle and it was a game changer.  I finally felt like I could BF without clenching my teeth and curling my toes.  I also didn’t notice a drop in my milk supply whiles using it.  Eventually, we stopped using the shield but just knowing it was there in case I needed it made me feel so much better about BF in general.

Breast Pump: There are really so many reasons you should get one.  1. Legally your insurance company has to cover a breast pump for you, either a rental or one you own, so it’s free!  2.  You may get a little full as your milk supply regulates itself and a breast pump can provide some much needed relief.  3.  BF may not go as planned and you may need to pump to keep your supply up and provide your baby with food through a bottle.  Which is totally fine and totally a great reason to get a breast pump.

Bottles: I ALMOST did not get any bottles.  I was BF, why would I need them? (I had a lot of learning to do…)Well, BF didn’t go exactly as planned for me and I definitely fed my little G breast milk through a bottle.  Without a bottle my baby may have starved.  Well, probably not, but it sure did help me out a lot by giving me time to heal.  It also allowed my husband to get in on the feeding action while I was pumping…. Or sleeping.  I’ll be honest and tell you, it was a little tricky switching from a bottle back to BF, but with a little patience it was totally possible.    

Nursing Bra: one word: comfortable.  Otherwise, I think this is pretty self-explanatory.  I looooved this one, but you do whatever works for you.

Pillows: I didn’t have a fancy nursing pillow but I did utilize pillows to stay comfortable and provide support while BF.  When I first started I basically built a fort out of pillows and put myself in the middle.  Pillows for my arms, pillows for my back, pillows for my baby, pillows for dayzzz.

Netflix: Or some other form of entertainment.  I spent a lot of time nursing and pumping those first few months and I definitely needed something to keep me sane.  I may or may not have watched the ENTIRE series of Gilmore Girls in 2 months…  Love those Gilmores.

Support: This is not something you can buy or pick up at a store, but it’s probably the most important thing on this list.  Whether your support comes through a spouse, a mother, sister, friend, support group,or  lactation consultant, just get some! Find someone to talk to, who can help you, and who is willing to be your personal cheerleader.  Without my support squad, I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it.  Then, once you’ve survived BF, you can be the support squad for someone else!

Let me know if you have any BF must-haves you think should be on this list!

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