By Serena Norr
I loved breastfeeding my two daughters but I didn’t realize how challenging – both mentally and physically – the experience would be. There was cracking and leaking and soreness. There were different pillows and pumps and bras. There were products I never used before and many of which I didn’t know about until after my daughter was born. Everything was new and foreign but I knew I wanted to try to make nursing work. As a new mom, you don’t need every product on the market but there are some distinct items that can make the nursing experience a little easier. Here are some of breastfeeding essentials that helped me breastfeed:
Nourish Your Body
After having a baby you may be ready to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. . However, if you are nursing you will need to take in an extra 300-500 calories per day (about 1800-2200 calories a day, depending on your height/weight) to produce milk and supply your baby. Breastfeeding also burns a ton of calories, so you will need to nourish your body with wholesome food as you continue to supply nutrients to your baby.
Comfortable Nursing Bras
A regular bra and a nursing bra are two completely different pieces of hosiery. I didn’t realize that until after I was breastfeeding and my old bras couldn’t support my breasts that were now bursting with milk. For me, that meant bras that could support my back and breasts as well as bras that provided easy access for my hungry baby. New moms should purchase 2-3 comfortable bras (I love the brand Leading Lady) that are supportive, easy to wash and breathable.
Leakage happens. When I went back to work with my second daughter I knew I wouldn’t be able to pump on demand so I had to ‘cover up’ my leaking breasts with comfortable nursing pads that would soak up any milk that was ready to be released. You can buy nursing pads at any drugstore – just make sure they are thin and stick on easily to your bra. At night, I place a cloth or a rag nearby since leaking happens at all hours of the day or night.
Some people are downright not into nursing pillows. Personally, I love the comfort and security that they provide my baby as she rests on a pillow that is designed for her body. I also love how nursing pillows eliminate gaps while being flat and firm – proving my baby with support and security. There are various brands on the market with the most popular being Boppy, Simplisse, and My Brest Friend.
Mother’s Milk Tea
Breastfeeding is not easy for everyone and some people have issues with their milk coming in. To assist with that, many experts suggest trying Mother’s Milk Tea that is believed to promote healthy lactation. A caffeine-free herbal tea, Mother’s Milk generally contains fenugreek, anise, fennel and coriander that helps produce more milk within 24 hours.
A Breast Pump
This is ideal for moms that go back to work or even for those that want to share feedings with their partner. I loved that I could pump milk and have bottles for her when I was at work as well as have bottles ready for my husband for night feedings. My breast pump was also fantastic during the first week after I gave birth. My milk hadn’t come in so in addition to the baby suckling, I used a pump to assist with the production. There are tons of pumps on the market from single to double to electric models so be sure to do your research and ask around before you purchase one.
I had heard about cracked nipples, but the experience of actually having them put me on a mission to find a cream that could heal and treat my poor skin. Opt for a non-toxic and lanolin-free product that is safe for baby while it also soothes the skin.
Are you breastfeeding? What helped you the most?
About the Author:
A Brooklyn-based writer and mom of two, Serena Norr created her original blog Seriously Soupy as a way to learn more about soups and to experiment with new ingredients. She also writes about healthy living, parenting and lifestyle topics on her blog Mama Goes Natural.