Breastfeeding Essentials

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm three and a half months into my breastfeeding journey so far and though there has been some pretty intense pain, some tears and some frustrating times, I absolutely do not regret my decision to breastfeed my baby. That being said, I completely understand why some women choose not to. It's basically a full-time job and you are 100000% committed to your baby 24/7. By far, the worst time was weeks 2 and 3. I was so sore that I would literally cry while my child was pigging out happily seemingly enjoying my meltdown. But it really does get better if you can just suck it up.
The most traumatic morning would have to be when I woke up with two completely different sized-boobs...I'm talking visibly a cup size difference...What the Heck??!! One side was less sore than the other, so I thought it would be a genius idea to only feed the baby on one side for practically an entire days worth of feedings...smarty pants that I am, I figured out the problem and thank the Lord everything went back to normal, but that would have to have been the closest I came to giving up the breastfeeding thing. Learn from my mistake and alternate! haha Even if one side hurts worse, just get through it! It's so worth it to look down at my baby while she's eating and she'll just peep up at me and give me the biggest grin, milk dribbling out the side of her mouth.
It is hard, it does take a lot of time and for the most part, I'm solely responsible for getting baby girl fed, unless I pump,  which is a job in and of itself. Until Caroline got into a regular sleeping routine (my fault it took so long), she'd wake up constantly through the night wanting to eat and I'd just sit there, tired as hell at three o'clock in the morning glaring at my sleeping husband and snoring dogs cussing all of them in my head. I've passed that stage as well haha. It's just an adventure but it's a rewarding one. Not only am I helping my baby build up her system, I'm helping myself lose weight and establishing and strengthening a bond with my girl. I'm linking to some of the things that I've found to be essential to my breastfeeding. Let me know if I'm missing anything that makes life easier on a mama!

Avent Manual Breast Pump~ I do stay at home most days with Caroline (I only work a few evenings a week), but I have to say, I totally prefer my manual pump over my electric one! I find that it's faster, cleaning it is easier and it's lighter for traveling. 
Nuk Electric Breast Pump~ I did get an electric pump as well as a manual. It's a single pump and can operate by battery or plugging it in. This is suppossed to feel more like a nursing baby, but I've found that expressing is more difficult and takes twice as long with my electric pump. Go figure...
Avent Bottles~ These are pretty much the only bottles we have. I have about 6 of the 4 ounce bottles which is what I leave for the baby for each feeding when I have to leave her with my mom or sister. I have about 6 of the 8 ounces bottles as well but I guess you'd need more if you formula feed.
Boppy Pillow~ Love it, gotta h ave it, can't live without it! It makes feeding so comfortable as far as baby's placement and keeps me from an aching back when I have to lean over and feed the baby if I don't use my pillow. I have an extra cover for mine, which I'd recommend having just in case your little one drools milk everywhere or spits up. 
Target Sleep Bra~ These are by far my favorite nursing bras and they're affordable. I have three of this kind and three of a more public friendly bar. These have no padding so wear out of the house at your own risk, but they are super comfortable. 
Lansinoh Lanolin~ This stuff got me through two weeks of nip hades. I only used it for about the first six weeks so you should only need one or two tubes, but it was truly a Godsend. 
Avent Breast Milk Storage Cups~ I plan on breastfeeding for at least six month, maybe longer, the good Lord and baby's teeth willing, so I've been on a pumping regiment for about the last month and a half trying to build up a freezer supply for once I stop breastfeeding. I'm oppossed to giving my baby formula unless I absolutely have to for some reason, so it's my goal to have enough milk stored in the freezer for at least a few months supply of feeding once Caroline starts eating oatmeal and baby foods. 
Lansinoh Storagw Bags~ I like these storage bags the best as far as taking up less space in the freezer and  they have handy little labels for date pumped and amount frozen. They just lay flat in the freezer shelf and you can stack the up to save space versus the cups listed above, but those cups can attach to my pump so it eliminates a step and a dirty bottle which is always nice, too.

I've left off an obvious thing that I read absolutely everyone would need, but I never used once so I just wasted my money and that's breast pads. The only time I ever leaked was at night and it was only a few times when I was first establishing my supply so I had no use for the Lily Pads. I'm sure this isn't the case for everyone, but I had no need for them. I hope that if you feel inclined, you'll at least give breastfeeding a fair shake and try for at least a month. I won't lie, there is a period that absolutely SUCKS, but it does pass. I know it's not for everyone and I don't want to be preachy or force my opinions on someone else, but I'm so glad I stuck it out. At first, I knew I'd breastfeed for the first six months as recommended and then move on, but I can honestly say I'm considering doing it even longer...Not like 'Time Magazine' cover longer, but maybe a couple more months than I initially planned on. Happy feeding y'all and any other tips or tricks you've learned are always appreciated!

Oh, and listed below are some awesome links with breastfeeding info that I've found really helpful

PS...Opinions on foods that affect your baby when you eat them (aside from the obvious like caffeine and alcohol). I've read both schools of thought. At my breastfeeding class, I was told anything was fair game when breastfeeding except caffeine and alcohol, but I'm curious about other's experiences.


  1. Thank you for the post! What other nursing bras do you recommend? I'm due in 2 weeks and on the hunt for THE bra.

  2. J. Smith, Trained Doula (DONA)November 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    “Congratulations for doing what is best for you and your baby!! It sounds like you’ve had a struggle and I’m sorry to hear that. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. It sounds like you’re out of the woods but your readers should know that if it does hurt or you have tissue damage, like cracked skin, that is a huge indicator of a bad latch. I would recommend calling your local La Leche League International Chapter or a breastfeeding professional not associated with the hospital (look for “CLC” or “IBCLC” as a credential). The same goes for needing lanolin for more than the first couple weeks. You want to correct a bad latch right away or the pain will continue and/or lead to infection. I’m glad it doesn’t sound like that happened for you! The pump you mention is made by “Nuk” which is distributed by a formula company. The reason it sucks (or doesn’t…haha a little humor) is because it is not in their interest for you to have a good breastfeeding experience. They want your supply to tank so you will buy formula. They’re sneaky and horrible companies! Breastfeeding professionals like myself recommend against buying breastfeeding supplies from formula companies for this reason. Some women find the manual pump more comfortable, discreet, and efficient than an electric pump. However, if you find that it is no longer meeting your needs, your local LLL chapter or health department can provide recommendations or you can try looking at

    You also mention being frightened of teeth. This is a common fear but it’s really not an issue. A properly latched baby covers her teeth with her tongue. You also won’t need oatmeal or other cereals. Breastmilk is the only food your baby needs for at least 6 months – maybe longer. After that time you can move straight to vegetables and fruits. No need for expensive empty carbs packaged in China.

    For the previous commenter: you won’t know what kind of bra works best for your shape until your milk comes in. I suggest getting some generic nursing camisoles (at least 3 or 4) from Target or Walmart and then going shopping for bras if you want them after your baby is several weeks old. Many of my clients find they don’t even need more than the camis which are great for layering and not feeling exposed when nursing in public. The ones at Target/Walmart are about $12 each, but you can get some prettier ones at maternity stores if you really like them. Even those are pretty affordable though.

    Congratulations again and good luck. You’ve hit a milestone most women, sadly don’t reach. 59% of women who initiate breastfeeding in the US quit before 6 weeks so you should be proud of yourself.

  3. Hi Michelle! Honestly, I just bought some cheap nursing bras in a few different colors from Target since they're just going to get all milky anyway and I like them just fine. ( bra ) is the link.
    Thanks for all the info J. Smith! My pediatrician (who is a male) actually told me to let the baby use me as a pacifier during the first few weeks...luckily I have a good friend in NC who is a huge bf advocate and had already warned me against doing that. I had no idea Nuk made formula, but that explains why I don't like that pump. I wondered what the big deal about the electric pumps was! haha

  4. Thank you for the great information. We just had our daughter on Sunday and breast feeding has been quite the experience. I am really starting to understand the level of commitment it takes. Thank you again for the great information and resources.