In honor of Maxwell’s 2nd BIRTHDAY!!!!! Our breastfeeding journey has been long and strong, he will be weaning soon due to me taking on more work. I wanted to wish all you new mommies well on your journey and give you some tips.
Before I had my son Maxwell, I had a plan to breastfeed. No matter how many books you read, until you are going through you can’t really anticipate what it will be like. Here are some things I’ve learned that I think might be helpful to a new mom or a mom who finds nursing your baby to be a challenging.
1. The right support. Starting with your husband/partner. I had a talk with my husband before our son was even born, and I told him what I needed and expected from him in terms of things he can do to help. In the beginning, it was just things like propping a pillow under my arm or grabbing me some water and or a snack, but as time continued and we exposed to more people I needed him to be comfortable with my boobs always being out. That sounds funny but let me explain, I needed for him to not feel uncomfortable if we had people over or if we were in a cafe or out on a shopping trip, I needed him on my side. My husband is very supportive but he would cringe if I had a nip slip in public and it started to make me feel bad. Look it is what is is and sometimes you fumble and people see your nipple especially when you are learning and the last thing you need is someone saying “babe you’re nipple!!” It’s not helpful, in fact, it’s just plain annoying our babies and their need to eat in a prompt manner is way more important anyone’s sensibilities. Also just knowing he was in my corner should anyone had anything negative to say help me remain confident and less stressed.
The right support could also mean going to a support group. I had been going to La Leche League meetings since I was 20 weeks. I can’t stress to you how empowering it was for me and still is, I go every month. I imagine there would have been several times I could have given up or would have felt pressure to do things that would have been either counter productive for my baby or interfered with milk production. Listen, there are going to be people, well meaning, or just plain nosy people that want “help” and tell you what to do or not to do. You have to remember it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with you. Some of the things I was told was quite discouraging but the things people say are from their own experience and or trauma. You and your baby deserve a fresh start without any prejudice based on other people’s fear or limited thinking. Going to a support group gave me the confidence to say bugger off to everyone including but not limited to doctors. Let me give you an example. When my son was born I knew I wanted him right away for skin to skin and to put him to the breast as soon as possible. My hospital was great about it, I also knew I didn’t want my baby given anything but my colostrum, no formula, no sugar water, no nothing. When we got home from the hospital Maxwell developed Jaundice. Often times pediatricians recommend supplementing with formula but I knew that could possibly hurt my supply and hinder his ability to nurse. I nursed him a lot, a lot, a lot, and gave him a little sunlight and it went away. Another example is when I was pregnant I mentioned to a well-meaning family member that my plan was to breastfeed, and she said to me “oh that won’t last”. Not only is it second nature but we are going strong, my supply is amazing, no end in sight, we will wean when he’s ready.
2. The right bra for you. I’ve found success with bralettes, unfortunately for me, nursing bras were really difficult for me to use, navigating the clasps caused me so much anxiety. If my son was hungry and we were out unless I was wearing a tank top it was impossible for me to unsnap it with any grace. With bralettes, I just pull it open like Clark Kent removes his shirt to reveal the Superman S. Trust me when you go from a screaming infant to a soothed nursing infant you feel like a superhero too.
3. Washable/reusable nursing pads. It’s pretty self-explanatory but it’s helpful to be in control of the things you can control. You can hand wash them with a nice relaxing scent and let them air dry, doesn’t take very long and you are back in business. Disposable ones are fine but don’t get caught with an empty box and you are not in a position to leave the house to get more. Not only that, the whole taping them to your bra, they don’t really stay anyway, and it’s less expensive over the long haul. I like the Bamboobies.
4. Nipple cream. I used nipple cream, in the beginning, it does really help. It hurts in the beginning, I won’t lie to you, it freakin kills. Nipple cream softens the skin and helps with cracking and dryness.
The Boob Ease is Organic, contains no lanolin which isn’t great for you or your baby. P.s no judgment if someone bought you the Lansinoh you and your baby will be ok. In my experience, Maxwell did breakout so the organic nipple cream seemed to be better. The point is nipple cream is awesome!
5. And lastly, foods that support lactation. Lactation cookies, I’m not a scientist, can’t guarantee the results but I think they work and a great excuse to eat cookies whenever I want. Same with the Mother’s milk tea, I can’t guarantee the results but I like to feel like I’m doing everything I can do to aid in my long-term breastfeeding success. There are many things on the market, but these are what I’ve tried so far. You can go to your local grocery store for tea and for cookies you can go Babies R Us or go online.
These are just the five things that really helped me. But there are so many other things that can help mommies breastfeed. Some honorable mentions are nursing pillows,(I used the breastfriend) he’s bigger now, so I don’t really use anything. A glider or rocking chair, having plenty of water bottles, premade snacks and meals, and other local mommies who can trust and randomly text.
This journey will be up to your baby, Our breastfeeding journey lasted 26 months, some are shorter, some are longer. All is well.