Breastfeeding can become enjoyable, but those first few weeks are hard while establishing a supply. Here are some ways to help you during those first few days.
Supplies for breastfeeding success
Supplies for breastfeeding success
Tylenol: for the cramps you will feel as your uterus shrinks back to size every time your baby feeds. Yes, they forget to tell you about this particular pain.
Lanolin: Use before and after every feeding to avoid cracked nipples and to soothe the pain on them as they get used to the mistreatment. It’s perfectly safe for use even while baby is feeding and while pumping or with a nipple shield.
Nipple shield: use if baby can’t get a good latch on the breast or if it’s painful, you will be able to see if milk is actually coming out since it’s transparent plastic.
Breast pump: There is a love-hate relationship with this one… It’s for those times when baby doesn’t want to feed and your breasts are exploding with milk and hurt. Or when baby is sleeping and you don’t dare wake them, because golden rule#1 is NEVER wake a sleeping baby. It could be hand pump. But if you are going back to work I highly encourage a double electric breastpump. I love the one from Lansinoh.
Diaper: Wet a diaper with water and put it on the fridge, not freezer. Use on engorged flaming swollen breasts when they hurt.
Side-laying position: sleep or nap lightly while your baby drinks and sleeps by your side, without being afraid that you will drop the baby… Studies have shown breastfeeding mothers are hyperaware of their babies and they cannot roll over them, trust me, it’s science. Also, babies do not really roll over until months later, so you’ll be safe there.
Co-Sleeping: Will help you sleep during those first few weeks with a baby waking every 2 hours. You will wake-up to a hungry baby, you can offer the breast for feeding and then go back to sleep. Sidecar your crib to your bed for adding space to your bed, this way you can move the baby to bed with ease. You can learn how to sidecar your existing crib here.
Breastfeeding pillow: if you want to spend time on the computer, you can have baby feeding and falling asleep on the pillow close to you.
Water bottle and a snack: have on hand at all times. When baby starts drinking you will feel like you are in a dessert and there is no more water left on earth that will take away your thirst.
Nosefrida: sometimes baby will refuse to breastfeed because his or her nose is stuck. This is easily remedied by clearing the way for air, for babies 6+months it’s ok to also use saline spray before using the nosefrida to loosen up the boogers.
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water or gas drops: The most effective gripe water will help your baby get rid of those gasses that make him feel irritated and will make him or her stop the nursing session. Use the gripe water for when you see that baby is having trouble passing a bowel movement, it works like magic. Use small doses and work your way up until it works.
Formula preferably ready-to-feed. Notice how my supplies include formula. This is because there are time when you will be too tired, too much in pain or just unwilling to keep going at it. For those times, break out the formula bottle and feed your baby. There is nothing wrong with feeding a bottle when you are too tired or too upset to keep going. It is more important that a baby has a happy mama than an irritated one.
Giving a bottle will not affect your supply forever, you can get it back up.
As a personal experience, I can tell you that I went from feeding my baby half formula and half breastmilk to exclusively breastfeeding. It took determination to keep going, and a mini “breastfeeding vacation” in which I continued to feed my baby throughout the day, making the choice to breastfeed instead of giving a bottle (trust me, there was nothing relaxing about this vacation).
Therefore, it is possible to re-establish a breastfeeding supply. Learn more details about it from kellymom.com, where you can find all things breastfeeding related with more specifics.
Supplemental nursing system by Medela: a sort of feeding tube that you can use to promote breastfeeding in premature babies or those who cannot latch very well, they get fed and it helps improve your supply.
- Nipple shield
- Breast pump
- Diaper for engorgement
- Side-laying position
- Breastfeeding pillow
- Water bottle and a snack
- Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water or gas drops
- Formula (ready-to-feed)
- Supplemental Nursing System (SNS)
How to pump most effectively
1) Use the lowest setting on the pump, this motion will help with the letdown.
2) After that, start massaging your breasts from the root towards the nipple, as if squeezing out the milk. Don’t do it hard. You will see that this helps create a faster flow. This is called hand expressing, but when you do it while pumping it helps speed things along.
3) Use gravity, if you can try leaning forward while you pump, that helps the flow too.
4) It’s ok if there are only some drops on one breast and 2-4 ounces on the other, or if you get nothing at all. Don’t continue trying until later. If you don’t have anything in a breast, it’s probably because baby already drank all of it. Wait for your breasts to produce more milk by stimulating or trying hand expressing.
5) Drink water
6) If pumping hurts, use lanolin. It might create a little bit of a slip but it’s better than hurting your nipples even more.
7) Stay off the pump or breastfeeding for some hours while you apply lanolin. See my notes on the fact that it’s ok to use formula, you don’t need to be a supermom or a martyr and let your body heal.
8) Good luck:)