Breastfeeding essentials?(32 Posts)
Sorry if this has been done before but I'm planning on giving bf my best shot once baby arrives and so far have got some Lansinoh but not much else!
What else do I need in advance and what couldn't you live without? I've read that you need to wait until your milk comes in to get nursing bars, so can you wear maternity bras until then?
Get two of the very stretchy bravissimo nursing bras that come in s/m/l. You won't settle down in size for about 6 Weeks which is a long time to do without bras
I still wear them for pottering at home days. DS is over 2.
Also muslin squares for covering up/
Get breastpads for leaks. I found the reusable ones soaked through quickly in the early days. The large, thin disposable ones were best. Now I use reusable ones in the day and disposable overnight.
Breastfeeding makes you incredibly hungry and thirsty - a sports bottle is handy for water, doesn't matter if it gets knocked over. Stock up on snacks and keep some by your bed at night.
I found that in the early days I had to try various different combinations of chairs/cushions/ pillows to get the baby propped up at the right angle. I had had a C-section so that probably didn't help but I found I had back trouble because of holding the baby at funny angles trying to get him to latch so I had to be careful to make sure we were propped up.
Definitely agree with having food and drink available - including overnight.
Also a book/TV boxset that requires no concentration.
This is probably a bit of a personal choice rather than an essential but until you're confident I and some friends found it helpful to keep a notebook/phone memo to record feed times and which side - I still struggle to remember which side he's last fed from (and I do have some of those bra clips, but I don't remember to change them either!)
Sports bottle for water.
Lansinoh breast pads as well as the ointment. Keep the ointment by a radiator or similar so it's not stiff when you want to apply it.
You won't be jumping up and down for a few weeks so bras are only really to hold breast pads in place. If you're lucky, you'll stop leaking within one box of pads.
Hopefully you'll be one of the people who find it works pretty easily, but do look up where your nearest breastfeeding support groups are and when they are on (and when half term is near you, as most baby groups close!), where to hire or buy a breast pump from if you need one, and other bits like a My Breast Friend cushion, shields, and other things that can help if you find it hard - so you know where to go or send someone to if you need them in a hurry.
Snacks - healthy muffins or flapjacks, chocolate, fruit.
For disposible pads lansinoh ones I found best, after a while when leaking was minimal I used little lambs bamboo breast pads.
I couldn't have done without a v-pillow :-)
Cheap vests to wear under your normal top so you can hook it down while lifting your outer top up
As for nursing bras, I have small boobs so was just using the sports bra type bra for the beginning bit until my boobs settled down. Not useful unless you are small too
Oh someone suggested stretchy bras too so maybe it is useful for everyone. It is to hold the breastpads in place. Mine leaked the entire year!
I would add to that nipple guards and patience! I found bf ing incredibly painful at first which came as such a surprise as I did my think that would've the case for something so natural. When I suggested nipple guards, I was advised not to use them by midwives (with no plausible reason). However for me they were the difference between continuing and giving up. I used them for about a week to allow my cracked sore nipples to recover and then a friend have me a great DVD called breast feeding with no tears (can't remember who it's by, but google it). This helped me get the latch right and then I could start afresh with normal nipples without the guards. I had absolutely no issues with nipple/teat confusion and my DD didn't mind them one bit. Hopefully you won't need them but next time round I will have a pair in my bedside table just in case! Good luck!
YY to stretchy nursing bras that cover several sizes. Make sure you get one with full-cup drop so the whole boob is out (not one with
stoopid apertures for the nipple to poke through) - it maximises skin-to-skin and you need to see what you're doing to figure out latching at the start.
This Bravado bra is the most comfortable bra I've ever worn, even for sleeping. It did me from early engorgement to settled supply and I'm still wearing it 13 months later
Don't use the Boots breast pads. I've found that even their extra-absorbent ones leak (or are soaked through after a couple of hours, but I make far too much milk at the moment).
Set up a breastfeeding "station" in whichever room you'll spend the most time. Choose the most comfortable place for you, and have a table with lansinoh, bottle of water, spare breast pads, muslins, snacks and book/TV control/laptop/whatever you need on it. In the first weeks you'll spend a lot of time feeding your baby so having a set area makes it easier, IME.
Work out what kind of tops you'd prefer to wear: will you lift or pull down, or would you prefer the ones designed for nursing that have concealed slits at the sides? You don't need them, but I've found them brilliant for discreet nursing in public. Took 3-week-old baby to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and had to feed her during the photos, at dinner, etc. No one noticed. But you can do very well with a nursing bra, simple singlet and a loose top that you can lift or pull down. Or shirts. With DD1 I lived in shirts (poppers are easier than buttons for a quick feed).
Cushions. Make sure you have several of various sizes. You'll probably want to try different positions for feeding.
Useful: nipple shields and breast pump (again, don't get the Boots branded ones). Both great for sore, cracked nipples. If you can afford it it's good to have them ready in advance because when you need them the good brands are never available in store.
Cabbage leaves in the fridge for the Days of Engorgement. They are surprisingly comforting when shoved in your bra.
Oh YY geeka re the annoying apertures! They squish the breast and that can really hurt when you're engorged! And they are such a freaking pain for nursing. M&S brand ones are pretty good, I think.
hmm, well, once you've got past the early stages and are feeding out and about, I would really recommend the 'peephole' style bras (mine were Hot Milk and very pretty too), they allow for pretty discreet feeding. Stretchy vest down, top up, baby on, away you go (it wasn't that easy to begin with!). But ones that expose the whole breast are handier when you're getting started, though I don't think I was wearing a bra at all in the early days of being surgically attached to the sofa!
I used Johnson and Johnson breast pads, never had a problem and they're easy to get hold of.
Nursing cushion, plus other cushions.
I would recommend getting some bottles and a pump as I would really try to get the baby to take a bottle of expressed milk, mine was a bottle refuser which was actually a real pain in the arse when she was under 6 months and feeding a lot.
Some decent viewing - borrow everyone's box sets, you will been on the sofa watching TV A Lot!
My top tip is to get everything ready near you before you start to feed. That might be: phone, TV remote, gass of water, book, muslin, snacks......it's really awkward to get up once you've started and it takes longer than you might think.
The first thing we bought after DD was born was a breast pump. If you are having trouble getting feeding established, being able to pump a feed so you can give your nipples a break, can be a godsend.
Don't forget easy to eat food, stuff like bananas or pre-wrapped cakes. You will be amazed at how hungry you become.
Posh squash so that you feel like an adult, and some white wine so you can have a small glass in the evening to help you through the "witching hour" which is the several hours between 6 and 10 p.m. where breastfed babies can sometimes feed almost constantly (or that's what it feels like!).
The phone number of the nearest breastfeeding support group - go before you give birth if possible, so that you can meet other mums and realise that it may be hard but most breastfeeding problems can be solved with the right support.
I got nursing bras in advance. It's also possible to use nursing bras as maternity bras because neither are underwired.
I found a nursing cushion very useful, but you may be able to manage okay with pillows / other cushions.
YY to having drinks and snacks within easy reach and some boxsets or suchlike planned for when you're stuck on the sofa.
I use a bracelet to help me remember which side DS2 last fed from, easier than relying on a notebook.
Breastpads were essential at first.
And seconding recommendations to have details of local breastfeeding support groups to hand in case it takes a while to get breastfeeding established.
Lansinoh breast pads (I leaked profusely the entire time). Boobs. Snacks. Drinks.
Middlemarch. (free, or a snip, on kindle)
If you get washable breastpads, be very careful to wash them securely in a net / bag, or they will bugger your washing machine.
Piles of cushions and pillows. Your little newborn will need to be nestled on top of a pillow mountain to reach the breast without you getting backache. Don't bother with specialised stuff.
Lots of cheap vests in colours that will cheer you up
I really like these sleep bras - comfier than my nursing bras with no clasps to dig in: www.emma-jane.com/sleep-bra-342.htm
oh, and the other thing you need is an on-board DP. Who knows that while you are getting bfing established, his role is To Do Everything Else. Including, most importantly, making sure you have a big bottle of water beside you, snacks to hand and lunch in the fridge. But include under this heading shopping, cleaning, cooking and laundry.
I put a lot of my success with bfing down to having this kind of support. I didn't have any of the big problems that people can have, like mastitis or tongue tie or reflux, but I did really struggle to begin with and DH was a life-saver.
YY to a good book, I read a whole Penny Vincnezi series, I think about a woman who ran a publishing company, while bfing, I would prob it up on the pillow next to DD's head.
Oh yes, books! Get a small ebook device so you can hold it and turn pages with one hand (while other hand/arm is occupied holding baba).
Or better yet, read books on your smartphone of choice so you can text, google endless baby-related things, faff about on mn, etc. in between chapters of War & Peace
I found it difficult to get DS into a comfy position, so the my Brest friend cushion was a lifesaver. It's a lot of money for a piece of covered foam with a twee name, but well worth it for me.
Oh and loads of muslins for general mopping up.
Thank you all so much for the amazing tips!
You can read/learn so much about bf in advance but it feels like you can't really get the measure of what it's like and the little things that can make a big difference in terms of support
I have an 11 day old DS (my first) and have spent 11 days feeding constantly! So, my tips are big bottle of water to hand and if you want a cup of tea then get a flask, make sure you have phone, iPad, book whatever within reach....muslins to put on your shoulder when burping and for any milk spills. I'm leaking a lot of milk so breast pads definitely and I've actually been using Lansinoh on my nipples since 37 wks pregnant and now as often as I can and no issues so far.
My boobs are pretty massive at the moment but apparently they calm down when your milk supply has regulated so I'm making do with the link below for now which are comfy and stretchy. Think I'll wait a few more weeks until getting some decent bras.
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