If you’re a first time mom, you might be overwhelemd with all the possible breastfeeding difficulties you might encounter!
I think we can all agree that breastfeeding, even though it’s “natural” can be REALLY hard!
You have your baby, someone will likely help your baby latch, then you’re sent on your way a day or two later!
Now you have to attempt to provide all the food this little baby needs to grow… it can be intimidating!
Don’t worry though! I have nursed 3 babies, two of them being twins, and have the info you need to have a successful breastfeeding journey too!
I’m going to tell you about the breastfeeding things I loved, and the nursing items I REALLY wish I would have had!
I’ve breastfed my twin girls for over a year, the end is finally in sight!
While I am very thankful that I was able to nurse that long… holy cow is it exhausting!
I have been supplying with formula, about one can a week, but overall I am still able to nurse them throughout the night, as well as most of the day. I only end up needing the formula if it’s been a busy day and I haven’t properly hydrated, or we just missed some nursing sessions for one or two days in a row and my supply dropped.
Some things I learned by chance, some breastfeeding tips I heard through friends (and wish I would have done!) and others I learned the hard way (such as don’t buy cheap milk storage bags just to save a dollar.. they all burst when thawing out!)
P.S. I just wanted to let you know that I am an Amazon affiliate, which means I do make a small commission if you buy something through my links! More info is here
What can I do to prepare for breastfeeding?
It can be so overwhelming once your baby actually arrives!
Especially once the reality hits of how nerve-wracking it is waiting for your milk to come in, and really trying to save every single drop!
Once your milk does come in (you get colostrum at the beginning in just drops.. that’s all baby needs at first!) it can be quite a bit!
I remember waking up and my boobs grew by 2 sizes and my husband said “Looks like your milk came in!”
So besides being exhausted because I couldn’t stop watching my baby to make sure he was breathing all night, I also had super engorged breasts and my nipples were already sore from all the latching attempts!
That’s why I wanted to make a list so that you could get an idea of everything you might need, instead of last minute shipping it in desperation!
The best thing to do would be to add any items that interest you (as well as other baby stuff!) to your Amazon Baby Registry.
Why is that the best thing? Does 15% off all unpurchased items sound good?? It did to me! I used it, and loved it! You can find out more about how to get the discounts on baby items here
For help with breast engorgement and clogged ducts
- These “Breast Therapy” heating and cooling pads! They can be cold to relieve the pain of engorgement, and be warmed for helping in relief of a clogged duct! They conform to the shape of your breast, and are reusable!
- My ultimate secret weapon is this pill when it comes to keeping clogged ducts at bay! It’s great for maintenance, but also super great for tackling a clogged duct! Just take 1 a day, or if you have a clog, take 2 or 3! My OB recommended this and I love it!
Breast Milk Storage and Breast Pads
- I love these that are perfect for saving every little drop of milk letdown! If you are only nursing one baby, then when you let down, you may waste up to an ounce on the side baby is not nursing on! I SO wish I would have had this with my son – instead, all my extra milk ended up in a breast pad =(
- If you want washable, reusable breast pads then why not get one with cute designs? It’s pretty much the only way to make it feel less awkward… breast pads are a MUST in the beginning because you will be making a ton of milk and will likely, at some point, leak through your shirt and be looking for the nearest sweater to turn on! I love these reusable breast pads because they are a great price, made of organic material, and come with their own laundry and travel bag!
- While reusable breast pads are great, I think that sometimes they are not as absorbent as needed in those first few weeks. That’s why it might be handy to have these super absorbent disposable breast pads on hand! Throw some in your purse for emergencies, or just use them for those heavy first weeks. These ones also have some stickiness on the bag so that they will stay in place in your bra and not bunch up!
- For the love of all things good… please buy quality bags if you will be storing your milk! This has been my biggest regret now that I am using up all my freezer milk. I know that lasinosh is the big name, but over 80% of their bags have burst upon thawing! That’s ALOT of lost milk (I thaw them out inside of a sandwich bag now, FYI, in case you are paranoid about losing your milk) I tried a couple of different brands, and really liked Medela Milk Storage Bags! They do SO much better in the freezer, and the material itself just feels thicker!
- If you don’t pump much, but still want to have a way to freeze excess milk you get through manual pumping or such, this milk storage tray is perfect for you! It freezes the milk into convenient little 1 oz sizes that are so handy if your baby just needs a little bit more milk, but you don’t want to waste a whole bunch by thawing out a whole bag!
How to help sore nipples feel better!
- Some babies really struggle with latch, or just love to chomp down. Even without teeth, that can really hurt! These “soothies” for sore nipples are so so helpful in the beginning weeks while you get breastfeeding figured out! They are perfect for relief from cracked nipples!
- To help heal cracked nipples, you gotta have some amazing nipple cream on hand like this! What I love about this brand is that you DON’T have to wipe if off before feeding baby (who has time for that??) because it’s made from ORGANIC food grade ingredients that are fine for eating! It also is an amazing price because you get double the amount of other nipple creams for the same price!
Breastfeeding Book and Nursing Pillow of Choice
While I did not buy a book, it probably would have been really helpful! I also did use a pillow in the begging, so you may like to do that too!
The best and highest rated breastfeeding book is, unsurprisingly, by the Le Leche League who are the major authority when it comes to all things breastfeeding
When it comes to boppies, you don’t need anything fancy!
You can try using pillows if you like, or no pillow at all, BUT if you have small breasts like me, it may be useful to lay your baby on the boppy so that they are able to reach your breast.
It’s also useful because it’s the perfect shape to cradle babies body while you nurse!
Nursing pillows are also awesome because they can contain your baby from rolling around in the early stages, as well as facilitating tummy time with your baby (which is REALLY important for development!)
This is the #1 Bestselling breastfeeding pillow on Amazon – it looks amazing!
If you’re returning to work and want to pump for your baby, check these products out!
If going to work at some point after having your baby, then it’s all about maximum pumping power, good storage and transport of the milk, and easy ways to keep everything clean!
I worked for a bit after my son was born, and really learned the ropes!
- While I didn’t have this while I was working, I did get it later on and SO wish I would have gotten it sooner! These cups can be used with any pump (just buy the modifier kit) and they make pumping hands free! Most of all, these breast pump cups can be tucked into your bra and you can DISCREETLY pump! That means no awkward convos on lunch break, with the person trying to avoid eye contact with your nipples being sucked back and forth by a machine (I hated that!) Just get a pair of these, tuck them in, and go! They can collect 8 ounces!
- If you’re always running late like me, then you’ll want a way to quickly clean your pump parts so you can get back to work. I really liked these sterilizing wipes because it didn’t require access to water or a microwave. I also loved them because they were super thick, unscented and bleach free!
- If you are uncomfortable with just wiping your breast pump parts, or would like to have daily/weekly cleaning maintenance for all your bottle/pump parts, these microwave sterilizer bags are such an easy way to keep everything sterile! If you have access to a microwave and water, these might be just what you need!
- Last but not least, EVERY working mom deserves to have one of these! It is so cute, stylish, and on top of carrying your pump and all the accessories, it also has an insulated section for transporting milk! I was bland and carried my pump in the bag it came in.. but then again, I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl!
Do you need some ideas to help boost your supply?
At some point, we all wonder if we are making enough, or maybe just want to make more to get a freezer stash.
Everyone is different, so any particular pill or cookie may or may not work for you but hey… it can’t hurt right!
I especially love lactation cookies! They are a yummy way to boost your supply, and there’s alot of healthy recipes out there that you don’t have to feel guilty about!
In fact, one of my most popular articles is my Peanut Butter Chocolate and Oatmeal No Bake Lactation Boosters! It’s been pinned thousands of time, and it’s definitely worth checking out! Even better, is that it’s gluten, processed sugar, dairy and egg free… and STILL taste amazing!
If you have a pump, you could also plan for some power pumping sessions to really boost your supply!
Power pumping, in short, is making your body think that your baby is going through a growth spurt. You do this by pump often over a short period of time, simulating “cluster feeding”.
Using this method, I was able to provide enough (and more!) milk for my twin girls in the NICU!
Here are some other ideas on how to boost your milk supply
- These Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle Pills really worked to boost my supply! I took them and I got up to 2 ounces more per pump session, which was amazing for me! They aren’t giant, and you only need to take 3 a day!
- These pills are great for gassy babies or if your body has not been responding to fenugreek or other typical supply boosting herbs. It’s one of the most potent herbs known to boost lactation, and they even off your money back if you don’t see any significant results in the first 21 days!
- If pills make you gag, then you might like this milk boosting chocolate drink mix! You can use it with milk, water, or heck, even your coffee! It has amazing reviews, and people reported getting up to 4 ounces more each session! This powder mix is easy to take to work, or just add it into a smoothie! YUM!
- Are you a tea person? Then you gotta try Mother’s Milk Tea! Other mamas (including myself) have had some amazing results drinking this tea, and it’s really easy to add into your day!
- If you want cookies, but don’t want to get all the stuff together, these yummy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies come ready to bake! They are the #1 bestseller in cookie mixes, so I’m sure these won’t disappoint!
- Don’t even feel like baking (who has the time anyways?) You might love these ready to eat cookies! I love that you can just slip one or two in your purse, or have them with your morning coffee!
Do you feel prepared to breastfeed now?
While this is all the information I could think of, there is so much more you’ll learn that no book or article could describe!
If you have issues breastfeeding, I definitely suggest contacting a lactation consultant. They can weigh your baby before and after each feed to make sure they are getting enough milk as well as watch you breastfeed to make sure things like baby’s latch are good.
Also… some women just can’t breastfeed!
Don’t refuse to give your baby formula because of some social pressure to exclusively breastfeed.
Remember, before formula, there were wet nurses and goat’s milk!
You will be a great mama no matter what you do, as long as you are doing what’s in the best interest for you and your baby!