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Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts that you can give your child AND it also comes with the added benefit of benefiting you as well.
However, breastfeeding can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the right essentials.
Today, I wanted to share some of my best breastfeeding success tips that have helped me in the past and that I’m currently using now during my breastfeeding journey.
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Make sure you have the proper essentials
Without the proper breastfeeding essentials, you’ll find that your breastfeeding journey is cut short.
With the right breastfeeding essentials, you can make your breastfeeding journey last for a year or longer without it being overwhelming or painful.
Below are the breastfeeding essentials that have been helping me through my journey so far.
- Pillow – I started out with my pregnancy pillow, but around one month I swapped to using the Boppy. The Boppy allows you to keep your hands and arms free so you can still do other things while breastfeeding.
- Breast pump – If you’re unable to nurse directly or would like help with feedings investing in a breast pump is a must. They’re so many options on the market today, however, after hours of research, I opted to go with Dr. Brown’s Customflow Double Electric Quiet Breast Pump.
- Milk storage bags – When pumping you’ll need milk storage bags. However, please note that not all milk storage bags are the same. I’ve tried three different brands so far (Parent’s Choice, Nanobebe, and Dr. Browns) and out of all of them, I have to recommend Nanobebe breast milk storage bags as being the best.
- Hot/Cold compresses – During the first few days/weeks of your breastfeeding journey, it’s not uncommon to feel discomfort from engorgement as your milk regulates. Hot/cold compresses can be very helpful for this. I tried a few different brands for this as well, however, the ones that worked best for me were Frida Mom Instant Heat Breast Warmers as they don’t require a microwave (I ditched mine a while back) and they’re reusable.
- Nursing and pumping bras – If you didn’t use nursing bras during pregnancy (which I highly recommend) now is the time to invest in some. I use different bras for nursing and pumping, but they do have some all-in-one bras available. For nursing/all-day bras I purchased these and for pumping, I use this one.
- Breastfeeding Bottle – If you’re nursing and bottle feeding it’s important to have the correct bottle to ensure that you don’t cause nipple confusion or discourage your baby from wanting to nurse directly altogether. After a lot of research, I settled on the Nanobebe Breast Milk Bottles and they allow me to switch between nursing and bottle feeding as needed.
- Breastfeeding Pacifier – Just like selecting a good breastfeeding bottle, you also want to make sure you have the proper pacifier. The ones that I find work best are the Nanobebe Flexy Pacifier (daytime) and the MAM Glow in the dark pacifier (nighttime).
- Nursing Friendly Clothing – Nursing with the wrong attire on can cause breastfeeding to be a source of frustration. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you have comfy nursing-friendly clothing available for both inside the home and outside. I’ve personally made sure my closet consists of nursing-friendly tops (such as these), dresses (such as this one), and sleepwear (such as this), so whenever it’s time to nurse I can easily and quickly start.
Of course, there are other breastfeeding essentials that can help make breastfeeding more convenient and comfortable, however, these are the main ones that I feel will help me reach my goal of breastfeeding for a year.
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One thing you’ll quickly learn when breastfeeding is that you’ll have an insatiable thirst.
It feels like since I’ve given birth I’ve been thirsty nonstop.
Breastmilk is primarily made of water so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough water to avoid decreasing your supply.
Plus, dehydration isn’t very good in any scenario so you want to make sure that you’re staying hydrated for your personal health as well.
However, when staying hydrated you want to try to avoid caffeine as much as possible and drinks that have a bunch of sugars in them.
If you do experience problems with your milk supply I’d recommend Mother’s Milk Tea and Munchkin Milkmakers Cookies. My milk was slow to come in and I used these for about 72 hours and it sent me into an oversupply (so be careful with how frequently you do use products to increase your supply because having an oversupply is not fun and can take weeks to get regulated).
Note: You may have read about people drinking Body Armour to increase their milk supply. While it may work I’d recommend doing so with caution due to the amount of sugar in these drinks and recommendations on forums were suggesting as many as six per day).
Keep busy while nursing and pumping
Each day you’re going to spend hours nursing, pumping, or a combination of both.
You don’t have to just sit and watch your baby nurse or listen to milk splatter into a bottle.
Instead, do something to keep yourself busy so it doesn’t feel like you’re existing just to nurse and pump.
Nursing and pumping time can be used to catch up on your favorite show, do some work (if you work remotely), read a book, or even play a game.
Since I work from home, I typically catch up with emails during my daytime pump sessions, and during my nursing sessions and night pumping sessions I’ll catch up on a show (currently watching the 90 Day Fiance dramas, I Love a Mamas Boy, and Smothered – in case you need some suggestions) and/or I’ll play a game.
Game-wise, I’m all for playing Cooking Dash and Classic Words. However, recently I came across Solitaire.org and I’m enjoying their game selection.
If you don’t have time to do anything for yourself at any other time of the day, you can use nursing and pumping times for a little self-care.
Make time for daily self-care
Between nursing and pumping for the majority of the day, especially in the beginning when you’re doing this every two hours, it’s easy to forget about making time for daily self-care.
However, if you want your breastfeeding journey to be successful and meet your breastfeeding goals self-care is not something that you want to neglect.
Not making time for self-care will put you at a greater risk of struggling with postpartum depression.
Whether it’s painting your nails, going for a run, or even just relaxing in the bath instead of taking a shower, make sure to do something for yourself each day. This will make you less irritable and frustrated, so you’ll have more patience for breastfeeding during the early days when it can be really hard.
NOTE: In addition to practicing self-care daily. It’s also important to avoid stress as much as possible to avoid affecting your supply.
Read Also: 50 Self Care Ideas For Moms
Doing these things will help you have a successful breastfeeding journey
Keep in mind that fed is always best. Therefore, if breastfeeding isn’t working out for you don’t feel bad about stopping your journey early.
Hopefully, the tips I have shared here today will help you with your breastfeeding journey.