August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month (who knew!?) so I thought it’d be the perfect time to jot down a few things about how it’s going in our neck of the woods! I knew all along I wanted to breastfeed and it was probably the thing that I was most uncomfortable with when it came to life with a newborn. I had NO idea what I was doing! I was open to formula should he need it and breastfeeding didn’t work for us, but, shortly after he was born, he latched on right away. He ended up having trouble continuing to stay latched. The nurse gave me a nipple shield to try, so we did that for the first night and by ‘night’ I mean from when he was born (12:10am) to 8am. By the time I asked to see the lactation consultant at 8 when she arrived, I already had blood blisters. Come to find out, the shield they gave me was way too big. I was already in so much pain that feeding him made me so anxious. It hurt + I had no idea what I was doing and I was trying to find what worked best for him. The lactation consultants over the course of our hospital stay were wonderful. They were able to help him latch. He latched without the shield until my milk came in and from that point, he needed a properly sized shield to nurse. Using the shield was fine at the beginning – I didn’t really know any different, but as time went on it became more inconvenient. I always had to have it with me. I’d be ready to nurse him upstairs only to realize that I left the shield downstairs. I was halfway to my mom’s one day and it hit me. I had left the shield at home and I had to turn around. He couldn’t eat without it. Not to mention it had to be cleaned after every use, plus, he would tend to knock it off with his arms while getting started nursing. I tried a few times to get him to latch without it, but he was never having it. Then one day when he was 6 weeks, I decided to try again and somehow it worked! He latched and never turned back. He’s been shield-free for 2 weeks now, which is so great. It’s so freeing! Slowly but surely we’re getting into a rhythm and figuring it out together.
He nurses every 2-3 hours during the day and then wakes up one time during the night, usually around 3. It’s a tough path – you have no idea how much they’re getting. Especially at the beginning, sometimes he’d nurse for 5 minutes an other times 40 minutes. It was super stressful not knowing how long I was going to be feeding him for. Since we ditched the shield, he seems to be a faster eater, but I still don’t know if he eats an ounce or 4 ounces. I never will! I’ve used a scale that we have here at home multiple times and it was super helpful at the beginning to know how much he was getting. Now, though, it’s become more of a stressor because I freak out if he only ate 2.5 ounces when I “think” he should be eating 4. So, I’m going to pass that scale along to one of my friends who will be a mama come October and I’m trying to roll with it and trust that he’s happy and healthy. He’s gaining weight and having enough wet and dirty diapers, so I think we’re okay.
I wanted to share a few things I’ve loved and have helped make the process go a bit more smoothly. These are just some things that have worked for me! I’m always up for hearing suggestions and also helping to answer any questions you guys have about the process. I’m BY NO MEANS an expert – all I can do is share my experience and hope that it helps someone else!
Pillows – At the hospital, I used their pillows. In hindsight, I should have taken the Boppy. So if you’re pregnant, I’d highly suggest taking a nursing pillow with you! Having tons of hospital pillows shoved all around you trying to get in the best position is just not the best. I used the Boppy when I got home but quickly decided I didn’t love it. A lactation consultant recommend the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow and I LOVE it. It’s what I use now at home a lot of the time.
Nipple Cream – This nipple cream is my favorite. I’ve tried this one and a few others, but this definitely takes the cake and is the only one I use now.
Coconut Oil – I use this occasionally in place of the nipple cream and love it. It’s super helpful to help heal and soothe. Plus, the individual packets you can get at Trader Joe’s are awesome for the diaper bag!
Breast Pads – I’ve tried reusable ones and various disposables. I still can’t decide what I like best! I do love these, though!
Breast Pump – Insurance covers a breast pump for you. This Spectra pump was one of the options and I’m glad I went with this one. It’s great! My only suggestion would be to order the car adapter and also extra bottles/parts.
Manual Breast Pump – This is so great for those times you’re in a pinch. I’ve used it multiple times while driving. 😉
Storage Bags – I don’t know that brand really matters here! I haven’t found any that seem superior to others.
Bottles – These Comotomo bottles are what Graham took like a champ at 4 weeks. The past couple of days he’s been refusing them, so, we’ll see if starts taking them again or we find another bottle that works well for him. All fingers crossed because we are back to work a week from today!
And I can’t leave out WATER. Water, water, water. Drink tons and always have it by you when you nurse!
***Edited to add: I wrote this post a few days ago. Today I’ve been anxiety-driven because for some reason he doesn’t seem to latch properly today. A shallow latch causing me lots of pain and above all else, I’m worried he isn’t getting enough. Oh and then I worry my supply will drop. Ugh! I need a massage! ha! The roller coaster or motherhood! 😉