Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Top 5 Breastfeeding Must Haves

Breastfeeding is the most BRUTAL-FUL thing. I mean, after you have grown a human for the better part of a year and get to experience the magic of childbirth the real fun comes. Breastfeeding is not for the weak minded, let me tell you. It is a minute by minute commitment that most mommies will struggle through.

I knew with the twins it was breast or bust. I never for one second entertained the thought of formula. I actually got pretty sassy with an LC in the hospital who dropped the F-bomb.

 I sought constant support from my local Lactation Specialists, I read and researched everything I could find and asked constant questions of friends. I pumped constantly to boost supply, dealt with nipples that felt like they were being seared off with a dull machete, boobs the size of watermelons ready to explode with each breath and never, ever questioned my body's ability to provide for my babies.


I tandem nursed the biggies for just over a year and was able to donate gallons upon gallons of stored milk. Dude was the same...accept I had a whole second boob to spare! I too nursed him for a bit over a year and was given the huge honor of being to share my milk with a close friend who too was dedicated to breastmilk. It was one of the greatest things I was able to do for someone I love.

It's easy to forget how challenging those first few weeks of nursing truly are. The  honey-like colostrum requiring constant massage, milk coming in hard and fast making you sick with discomfort, the boob boulders, sand granules, fearing plugged ducts, bloody and cracked nipples, latch issues, the CONSTANT questioning that all this is normal...I mean it is no easy feat.


Now that the hard truth is out of the way, here comes the good truth.

As with everything pregnancy/birth, all that pain/discomfort is temporary. That hard work, that dedication, will (in most cases), pay off. Once your milk stabilizes, nipples turn to leather and you/baby get into your groove, there is truly nothing more amazing than being able to provide your baby with the most natural, perfectly created just for him "meals by mommy".

There of course are many mommies who really struggle and give it their all before accepting that bitter defeat. While I am no professional, I think early stress from any sort of medical or other issue can really play a role in affecting milk supply. I know from supporting close friends that the heartbreak they feel from giving up on breastfeeding was devastating.

But above all else, any mommy who loves and feeds their baby in any form is doing a great job.

Phew, with all that out of the way, let this (overly) milky mommy share my favorite breastfeeding products/supports. I would be LOST without them!!

CLICK & BUY!
1. MILKIES MILK SAVER: Obvi, I couldn't use this with the twins as both of my boobs were occupied, but with Dude and after soaking through one too many T-shirts, I saw this and immediately bought it.  I used it nonstop with him and have already been catching milk like crazy with Richie. It is so easy to use; just stick your nipple in, secure with your bra/tank and let that boob drip fill up that silicon saver.  I usually get like 1-2 oz per feeding from just sitting there. No manual pumping required and always a dry shirt!! This is my favorite thing to use, especially in the first few weeks before I start pumping because I can build my stored supply without increasing my already over supply. Just be careful when you go to pick up baby... milk tsunamis are never fun.
CLICK & BUY!
2. MADELA MANUAL PUMP: Going from twins to a single is quite a different experience.I remember stressing about what on Earth I was supposed to do with that other boob when feeding just one baby. Did it just sit there? Could the baby drain one and then the other? Wouldn't one always be super full and hurting? I just didn't get it.

Thankfully, I am a quick study. This guy was a total blessing in disguise after having Dude. Being as I have too much milk and my boobs are on the verge of explosion constantly, I needed some extra relief after each feeding. I would catch on one side while nursing on the other, then after I swapped him to the other side I would pump out the rest of that golden goodness and then following him finishing on the other side, repeat. I LOVED the freedom of not being hooked up to the electrical pump while getting in more snuggles with Dude and doing little work for lots of supply. I have already used this a bit with Richie but only for comfort as I am not trying to kick up my supply any higher than it already is!

CLICK & BUY!

3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Book. This has often been referred to as "The Bible of Breastfeeding" and I have to say I agree. I bought this when pregnant with the twins and can honestly say I read it cover to cover during those nightly feeds where it was me, two suckling babes and the moonlight. I referenced it again with Dude and have done the same with Richie. It has everything you could ever wonder about all in one place that can be kept close at hand. We all know there are about a million questions and concerns that arise when breastfeeding, so to me, this book is a must!
CLICK & BUY!
4. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. Oh those sweet nipples. That phase between raw and leather is not an easy one. Thankfully Earth Mama has the most soothing nipple butter to ease some of that chappy, scabby process. I use it after each feed, before I use my manual pump and always before I shower. I love keeping those nips hydrated and calm...since it feels like fire torture at first with each latch. Aside from this being all natural and totally safe for mommy, another bonus is that it is safe for baby too! No more having to wipe off the lanolin from those tender feeding devices, baby can jump right on and you both can relax into a wonderful, snuggle filled feeding.

CLICK & BUY!
 
5. Earth Mama Organic Milkmaid Tea. Just because I am a milk machine doesn't mean I don't continue to support a healthy supply! As an oatmeal and tea lover, a daily dose of this amazing, organic tea does the job to keep me freely flowing. With all the right herbs straight from nature, this tea is a must have for any milky mommy's pantry.

While this is only my five most used items, there are many more things I just can't seem to live without. Nursing tanks to holster my melons during engorgement (any bralettte is just too restrictive for me), organic cotton/washable breast pads and of course my favorite breastfeeding app for the new (or always anal) mommy; Baby Connect.

And of course no breastfeeding post would be complete without sharing my two favorite sites to troll while feeding and wondering if you are doing this correctly...Kellymom.comcom for ALL the things breastfeeding. And my personal favorite timeline breakdown, The Alpha Parent - Timeline of a Breastfed Baby. 

As I enter my last breastfeeding experience with my last baby, I am soaking up every second of the good, bad, horrible and magical. I love me some breastmilk superpower and intend to live it up, pump it out and cherish this last wet n' wild ride.

Strive to thrive, 
Em

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