Happy World Breastfeeding Week, Mamas!
In celebration and support, I’m sharing 5 items that saved me on my ‘way less than perfect’ breastfeeding journey. Here we go…
Lansinoh Soothies: These gel pads made by Lansinoh were an absolute heaven-sent. My nipples were destroyed by a poor latch for 3 months and these patches made the most progress in healing them up between nursing sessions. On one side of the Soothie is a glycerin-based gel that cools on contact, and on the other is a soft fabric backing to help prevent your bra from rubbing (and does a wonderful job keeping the pad in place instead of getting caught up and sliding around). Any mama experiencing cracking, bleeding, or soreness NEEDS these (and a good ibclc to help you fix the problem).
*Note that these are a “solid” gel material but it is still recommended to gently wipe off the breast before nursing to avoid any loose gel particles or dirt from being consumed by baby.*
Lansinoh Lanolin: If you’ve ever perused the breastfeeding section of a store or done a quick search online, you know there are about a billion brands of nipple creams, butters, gels, etc. While I tried quite a few brands in my hunt for relief, Lansinoh HPA Lanolin was the definite winner. The texture and coverage was just right and created the ideal barrier from irritating bras and breast pads. I used this stuff for probably a solid 6 months. The struggle was real. Lansinoh’s single-ingredient lanolin is not only super effective, but also hypoallergenic, 100% natural, ultra refined, and safe for both mom and baby. I was not at all surprised to see this is the #1 recommended nipple cream by doctors and lactation consultants in the U.S.- It’s an absolute must-have for anyone experiencing mild irritation.
Haakaa: This is the #1 breastfeeding item I wish I had found sooner. My Medala breast pump was not my friend. It hurt, it leaked, I couldn’t find the correct size flanges or get the proper pumping technique down… It was such a nightmare that I ended up expressing by hand when I needed to store milk away. (Thank goodness I work from home and never needed much.) At one point during this fiasco, I heard about the Haakaa, a magical manual pump that you just suction on to your breast while baby eats, or you pump, on the other, and it collects milk. It took me WAY. TOO. LONG. to buy one and try it. I thought because I didn’t have crazy leakage or intense letdowns, this product would be a waste of money. Eventually a friend shared a link to a knock-off on Amazon for a price I couldn’t deny, and I was immediately in love. This thing is incredible, ladies. Every breastfeeder needs a Haakaa. I’m serious. Go. Go now. Shop. Buy. Do it. Stop doing so much work for your milk. Thank me later. No, really. Bookmark this and thank me later. 😂
A Carrying Caddy: This silly little thing seriously simplified my life. To maintain a successful breastfeeding journey with our issues, I found Mini and I needing a lot of STUFF: breast pads, nipple cream, Soothies and post-Soothie wipes, sterile water syringes, constant water to stay hydrated, snacks… (priorities, ladies). It was after experiencing such a hassle lugging these things around from room to room, and quite a few times not having them because I wasn’t able to get up (never wake a sleeping baby), that I decided to pack them up in a simple Thirty-One caddy. Instead of trying to gather individual items and lug them around, the caddy kept everything together. Simple time-and-stress-saver.
A Soft Blanket: I’m not sure if it was me or my baby or just “not so great for us” products, but there was not a single nursing positioner on the market that worked for me. I couldn’t get myself comfortable. I couldn’t get Mini at the right angle. It was pressing on my c section scar. I didn’t understand how to fit my baby on it without suffocating him in my breast. (True story. The large chest issues are serious.) Finally I gave up on all the easy-fix pillows and products and just used a $15 fleece blanket. It was soft and gentle and completely customizable for whatever position we needed. This thing came with us everywhere, too, so it was a bonus that it traveled easily. (Imagine me walking from my car into the hospital for our breastfeeding support group, carrying my newborn and diaper bag, with a big fleece blanket trailing behind us… messy hair, tired eyes, bleeding nipples: perfect picture of motherhood.) Super bonus points here: I also used this blanket to support Mini when we used the side lay position at home, as a pillow when I was trying to get comfortable post-surgery, and even during labor as a comfort. It’s the simple things that work the best sometimes.
Alright, breastfeeding mamas! What were your bf’ing must-haves? What do you think of mine? Anything you DIDN’T love?
*Always remember, while breastfeeding may start out uncomfortable, it’s not “normal” to have serious pain for an extended period of time. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding your baby, don’t be afraid to reach out to a board-certified lactation consultant or your local Le Leche League or other support group. Let ladies with experience and expertise help you. You aren’t the first or last mama to struggle. Seek and accept help and pay it forward in the future.*