Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Mommy Must-Haves: Nursing

Becoming a mommy has definitely been an adjustment!  Actually, that might be an understatement. :)  However, there are a few products and things that have been a huge help.  These products were all purchased after I had August, because they were things I needed that I didn't know I needed.  If you are about to be a new mommy or are about to attend a baby shower, maybe my experiences will help you in your decision making. :)

1. Hooter Hider Nursing Cover

If you plan on breastfeeding, a good nursing cover is a must-have.  I learned early on that if I want to have any sort of social life or be able to go out for more than an hour and a half at a time, I had to have something to keep me covered while nursing.  I even use this when we have people over or when I visit my family.  But, there are some things you need to look for in a nursing cover.  First, it needs to have a rigid neckline to hold the top open so that you can see the baby to help him/her latch on.  I originally purchased an Udder Cover nursing cover, and it claimed to have a rigid neckline.  The Udder Cover was only about $12 after an online coupon so I went for it.  I was very disappointed.  The hoop at the top would fall, leaving me exposed or it would cover August's face which would cause him to pitch a fit.  It didn't work.  The nursing cover should also have a "starchy" or stiff fabric.  Many of the nursing covers claim that they have a thin fabric, but that's not going to help the cover to stay off of your baby and create that tent form that helps you to see the baby.  The Hooter Hider nursing cover has both the rigid neckline that stays in place as well as the thicker fabric to help you see the baby.  They also have a lot of cute prints.  I purchased the print above.  The Hooter Hider is usually a bit more expensive than the Udder Cover, but since you will be using it so much, it is well worth the money and hassle.  

2. My Breastfriend Nursing Pillow

I wish I had this pillow in the beginning.  The first month or so of nursing, my arms, especially my wrists, would get very tired while I was feeding August. I always had to use the cross-over hold with him because it was the only way I could get him to stay latched.  That position can be really awkward if you aren't used to it.  (By the way, if you are a new mommy or are about to be, I definitely recommend that position over the cradle hold, at least in the beginning.  You will have a lot more control over how your baby latches.  It was hard to do in the hospital with my IV and it also requires a little more muscle than the cradle hold, but you usually get a better latch that way.)  This pillow works really well because it goes all the way around you, supporting your back.  It has an adjustable strap so you can fix it to where it won't slide or shift, unlike the Boppy pillow.  The Boppy Pillow, which sits in your lap, leaves a big gap between how high you need to hold the baby and the top of the pillow.  It never helped me to support the weight of the baby.  Also, the Breastfriend pillow is made of really dense foam so it won't ever lose its shape.  The Boppy is a great pillow for letting your child hang out on your bed or on the couch.  I have a Boppy, and I use it all the time for that.  However, a Boppy wasn't originally made for breastfeeding, but this one was, and you can tell when you use it. 

3. Tank Tops

I got these at Walmart for $5 each.  I wear them underneath my shirts for extra coverage while breastfeeding.  Even if you are just sitting at home nursing, you eventually get tired of your gut hanging out every time you go to nurse.  This way, you can lift up your outer shirt, and just pull down the top of the tank top.  Your belly stays hidden, which is nice even while using a cover.  These would also be great if you had a low cut v-neck shirt for nursing.  You could wear this underneath.  I like the ones I got at Walmart because the straps are adjustable, so I just have them adjusted to where I can pull them down without stretching out the shirt.  

4. Breast Pump

A breast pump is a must-have for me because in the beginning, it got to where to was too painful for me to nurse August.  We had a lot of latch issues (including his tongue-tie) so this was definitely a life-saver for us with breastfeeding.  It's also convenient in the beginning to be able to pump a bottle to take with you in public if you are still not as graceful with breastfeeding as you would like to be.  I also needed a pump so that I could leave August with my mom so Adam and I could go out for our 2 year anniversary.  I am no expert when it comes to brands for breast pumps, but this is the one I purchased.  I got it because it was right in the middle of the road price wise.  It wasn't the cheapest electric breast pump, and it definitely wasn't the priciest.  It was $100.  Electric pumps start around $60 and can go $300 plus.  I also knew Playtex was a reliable brand, so this is the one I picked out in the store.  I usually give things a little more research, but I just picked this up while I was out one day because I was so desperate.  So far, so good.  It gets the job done. :)

5. Newman's Nipple Cream

Like I mentioned, August and I had latch issues in the beginning.  To say breastfeeding was painful is the understatement of the century.  Breastfeeding pain > Labor pain.  No lie.  I wish I was exaggerating.  I was naive and thought that breastfeeding is easy because it is natural.  Wrong.  It takes time, more patience than you think you have, determination, and practice.  It took us a good 6 weeks to establish pain free and stress free breastfeeding.  To help with the pain of cracked and bleeding nipples (yes, I said bleeding), my doctor prescribed me Newman's Nipple Cream.  She actually sent me home with the prescription for it before I even left the hospital.  I wasn't having any problems with pain then, but I was so glad I had it when the pain set in after I got home.  You can't buy it in the store, so make sure you ask your doctor for a  prescription.  I know a lot of people use Lansinoh cream, but I prefer this stuff.  It's natural, and it's not sticky at all.  It has a lotion texture instead of a sticky balm.  

6. A very supportive sports bra

At my 6 week check up, I got the "ok" to start working out again.  I didn't think I would need a new sports bra for that.  However, when I decided to give Zumba a go (Zumba is not for me, I don't think), I quickly realized that my pre-pregnancy sports bras were not going to work.  Not only were they too small, but they weren't high impact.  Mine were just made of cotton and weren't even lined.  Working out is super painful if you don't have the right bra.  So I picked up a sports bra labeled "high impact" at Walmart.  It has an underwire, different hook settings to adjust the tightness and also has adjustable straps.  I got the Danskin Now brand.

7. A Breastfeeding Support Group

If you are going to nurse, you have to have a good support group.  I would say it's almost impossible to breastfeed if you don't have people around you who are supporting you and encouraging you to keep at it.  My husband, family, and friends have been very encouraging, but something else that has really helped me and made a huge difference in my stress level is going to a breastfeeding support group.  My hospital has one that meets once a month, and it's so nice to sit around with other mothers, talk about breastfeeding challenges, discuss products, milestones, suggestions, etc.  It's nice to be around people going through the same thing.  It definitely makes you feel a lot less alone.  I have also been to a Le Leche League meeting with one of my friends, and I really enjoyed that too.  The more meetings you can attend like that, the better.  

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you when it comes to making purchases or just preparing for breastfeeding.  If I could offer any advice to new mommies or soon to be mommies, it would be to immerse yourself in breastfeeding knowledge.  When I went to the hospital to have August, I knew absolutely nothing about breastfeeding.  I did all of my research on pregnancy, but none on what to do once August was actually here.  I didn't know that there were different holds, I didn't know that there could be latch issues, I didn't know that it could take weeks for us to get it right and could involve a lot of pain.  There is so much with breastfeeding that I didn't know, but if I had known to expect some of that, I would have had a lot easier time.  So do your reading!  Also, take advantage of the lactation consultants in the hospital.  Mine came in my room several times a day to help me.  They even spent a solid hour or two after August was born helping us learn how to get him to latch.  I didn't take advantage of the help though.  I didn't want to ask for help or "bother them."  But that's their job, and you get their services for no extra charge while in the hospital, so take advantage of them!  You will be so glad you did.  I hope this helps!

1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of nice products for feeding on a site True Baby Love


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