Friday, December 27, 2013

1st time mom review series // breastfeeding

My latest mom goal is to make breastfeeding my bitch. From the day that Charlotte was born, I have had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding.

I knew when I got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed. For the health reasons, for the financial reasons, for the connection between mother and child reasons ... for all the positive reasons, I wanted to try.

I know a lot of women, for various reasons, who weren't able to breastfeed so I told myself that I would do everything in my power to try to make breastfeeding a reality for us but if I truly couldn't for whatever reason, I wouldn't beat myself up about it. 

Turns out (as with almost everything else leading to me becoming a mom) that I overthought it and Charlotte latched on (not correctly at first - ouch) and has been a boob sucking champ ever since. 

There were a few frustrating moments on the beginning - I could only feed in the football position, my nipples point out so I have to hold my breast in order for her to latch, etc.) but we figured it out pretty quickly. 

And ladies - it hurts. Like a mofo. Not going to sugarcoat it at all but give it 3 or 4 weeks (and a huge supply of nipple cream) and it becomes much more tolerable. I'm really lucky that I haven't faced any breastfeeding related complications or ailments but if you do, just tell your doctor. I can't stress this enough - do not hesitate to ask for help. It really does take a village to raise a child!

Now - 2+ months later - Charlotte is a very efficient eater, usually only taking one breast for 5 minutes or so. We mastered her lying sideways about 3 weeks in and it doesn't hurt anymore (for the most part).

Here are a few things that I have explored to make breastfeeding easier. But the beauty is, you don't need anything except you and your baby!

Nipple Cream
I cannot emphasize this enough - nipple cream is a MUST for at least the first month of breastfeeding, if not longer. One tube will probably be enough (after you finish using all the samples you stole from the hospital). It's only about $10.00 so don't hesitate. Buy it ahead of time and be ready to lube up after every single feed.
Breast Pump
 I was given two hand-me-down pumps in the beginning (and before you ask, yes I was okay with this because I could sterilize them and I knew where they came from). One was a hand pump and one was a single electric pump. I had no clue what I was doing with either but finally used them both to release my engorgement I the beginning so Charlotte could latch easier. Then I would throw out the milk (super wasteful - I know). Then I invested in this pump (knew I didn't want to spend too much because I wasn't planning on pumping all the time, and it was on sale). I started pumping and freezing with the idea that we would start giving Charlotte a bottle at 6 weeks from time to time so I could have a break. I am still pumping (usually once a day) and freezing but she still won't take a bottle. That's another post entirely and I am still trying. Just FYI - she won't take a pacifier either (not too bummed about that one though).

Free Nursing Pillow
When I got pregnant, I got a ton of coupons, etc. for free things. One of them was for a nursing pillow - all I had to do was choose the colour and pay the shipping. Sold. I didn't know any better so I basically ordered everything I could that was (relatively) free. When I received it, I was frustrated because I couldn't even wrap it around my belly. Um - yes, I was 7 or so months pregnant - ha ha. Fast forward to baby Charlotte being born. When I was in the hospital I couldn't feed her any other way than the football hold. It worked for about the first 6 weeks actually. We had a posturepedic pillow that we bought years ago from Costco (with an indent in it similar to a change table pad) and that worked to lay her in and feed her (and yes, I let her sleep in it and no, it is not recommended and completely goes against every baby safety message out there - I'm a firm believer in you gotta do what you gotta do). After that I transitioned to holding her sideways and used a Jolly Jumper pillow that was given to me at my baby shower. That didn't last long because it flattened out quite quickly from her weight (I now use it to lay her in it to sleep. And yes I know that is a HUGE no no too). I started using the firmer free pillow and it has worked but the way that my breasts are shaped, I need to hold my nipple in her mouth so I wanted to purchase something that would allow her to lie comfortably without me having to position her and hold her so much. More on that below.  
Free Nursing Cover
Another free item was a nursing cover from Udder Covers. It's cute. It works if I have to use it. Charlotte hates having it over her head. I hate breastfeeding in public. It sucks. Basically the product is totally fine but it doesn't work that great for Charlotte and I so I ordered another option. More below.
 I am so glad I splurged and ordered one of the new Bobby nursing pillows. I wasn't sure if I was wasting my money on something that I already had at home but I love that this pillow has two sides - a soft and a hard, molded side. They say that the hard side is for when the baby is quite small but I put my almost 3 month old on that side and she is able to nurse and I can be hands free. Because of the shape of my breasts, with the other pillows, I have had to bold my breast in her mouth. Now I don't have to and it is awesome!
Covered Goods
I like this cover because it covers both your front and your back but Charlotte still hates having her head covered (she's a little heater so I think it overheats her). If I have to use any cover though, this one is it. Amy Tangerine sure likes hers (and I love her little guy's legs sticking out). Be sure to follow her blog - she is awesomely talented!
Breastfeeding is a learned behaviour. Your baby comes into this world knowing what to do but for you, it is brand new and foreign. Give it the time and patience it deserves, and ask for help if needed. And if you can't do it, don't beat yourself up. You are still an amazing mom!

Are you a 1st Time Mom and trying to figure it out as you go along too? Feel free to leave me a comment with any questions and I will be more than happy to get back to you. Thanks for reading!

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