My Feeding Essentials
Breastfeeding can be such a rewarding, bonding experience to help connect Mother and child, but it can also be frustrating and downright painful. In reality, breastfeeding doesn’t always go smoothly, there can be hiccups along the way and it can take some time to get the hang of. As a new Mum, you don’t need to purchase every product on the market, but there are a few products that definitely make it less stressful and a little easier. Here are some of my breastfeeding essentials.
Breast Pump I didn’t start using an electric breast pump until I went back to working full-time at 5-months postpartum. Working every day and pumping throughout the day can be hard work, especially if you are running on little sleep and feeling stressed. You need to make sure you’re drinking enough water and eating enough. I found taking fenugreek throughout the day would really boost my milk supply. Max would have about 300 mls of milk per day + solids when she was in day care so I had to ensure I was pumping enough so she had enough for the following day. Having a reliable breast pump is so important because it can save your sanity and make your life a lot easier. I use the Medela Freestyle double electric breast pump which I love because I can pump both breasts simultaneously, it has a rechargeable battery, making it easier and more convenient to pump wherever and its easy to clean.
Milk storage bags After you have got the hang of pumping, freezing extra milk can be a life saver. I wish I started pumping right after Max was born so I had a big milk stash for those times when my milk supply was low, or if I wanted to have a few hours out of the house, by myself. When I did start pumping, I would store extra milk in Glad bags and freeze them. I would store around 50 mls in each bag, label them with the date, and lie them flat. When I wanted to use one I would thaw each bag in the fridge. On the evenings when I would come home from work and would be too tired to pump, I could go straight to sleep knowing I had milk in the freezer.
Nursing Pads Leaking boobs can be a common and sometimes embarrassing problem with Mums. I remember when Max was only a few days old and I went to the supermarket without nursing pads in, only to return home with wet patches on my top. It’s safe to say, I made sure that never happened again. Nursing pads or breast pads are a great way to stay dry and comfortable. I used the Haaka disposable nursing pads that can be washed after each use.
Nipple Cream Sore nipples and sometimes nipple cracking can occur when you first start breastfeeding and it is no fun! I used the Weleda Nipple Care cream which protects and soothes the nipples. It contains calendula and chamomile that supports the renewal of new skin tissue. There are no chemicals or nasties in this product making it safe for baby.
Fenugreek Fenugreek is a herb that is commonly used by nursing mothers to increase milk supply. When my Mum came to visit me a few weeks after having Max she told me to start taking Fenugreek to increase my milk supply and it worked so well. Fenugreek comes as a tea, powder, tincture or pill. I use fenugreek tea and will make cups of it during the day. It can take between 24-72 hours to boost your supply. If you have asthma or certain allergies, use caution when using fenugreek. Side note, it can make you smell like maple syrup.
Water Breastfeeding can be thirsty work and its so important to stay well hydrated to ensure you are producing enough milk. Aim to keep a bottle of water on you at all times so you can sip on it throughout the day. When Max was a newborn I would get so thirsty feeding her during the night and sometimes drink up to 1.5 litres during her night feeds alone. I found on the days when I would forget to drink water, I wouldn’t produce as much milk. Breastmilk is 88% water so staying hydrated is key!
Nursing Cover My handbag always has at least 2 swaddles in it in case I need to pump or breastfeed while I’m out. They’re great for coverage or to clean up any spilt milk (or those embarrassing spray leaks).
Don’t feel guilty to take some “me” time, being relaxed while pumping or feeding often leads to a greater milk output.