Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Breastfeeding Awareness: #4 My Top Ten Breastfeeding Do's and Don'ts Part II

Thanks for come back to my series for Breastfeeding Awareness. If you have missed any other posts check them out here, here, and here! Or click on the button below (click anywhere outside of the Pinterest circle.) 

Today's post is Part II of my Top Ten Breastfeeding Do's and Don'ts list. If you missed Part I: the Do's check it out here.

*Number one being most important*

1. DON'T ever assume your supply is low. Whenever I read a story about why someone couldn't or quit breastfeeding, 90% of the time their reason is low supply. If I had not been fully committed to breastfeeding, I most likely would have quit given this reason as well. Like most women, I too, questioned my supply throughout the first couple of months. Because I had little to no background on most breastfeeding issues, I just assumed Myles was not getting enough milk when he wouldn't stop crying, wanted to nurse for hours, and wouldn't sleep through the night. I questioned my supply again later on when I tried pumping after a couple week break and only got a couple DROPS! I couldn't understand how he was getting any milk when I couldn't even pump an ounce. The only reason I didn't quit after seeing that was because Myles refused to take a bottle. I was very upset at the time because I thought he wasn't getting enough milk and his health was in danger. However after multiple healthy check ups and continual weight gain, I realized that somehow he was getting enough milk. It may not make sense (and I am no doctor so always consult a professional if you are concerned), but they are getting more than you think! My son and I are living proof that you should never assume your supply is low. Even now my breasts never feel full and can't produce even half an ounce from a pump, but my one year old son is still thriving on a diet mainly consisting of breastmilk straight from his momma. Below is a great list of things that DO NOT indicate that you have a low supply:

This page on KellyMom is also a great resource. It gives explanations as to why the list above is true.

Before you decide to supplement with formula, talk with a professional (LC or doctor), do some research (read link above), and give your baby time to adjust. Giving formula only hurts your supply even more and is best to stay away from for at least the first couple of months until your supply is well established. 95% of the time your supply is just fine!

2. DON'T worry.... HAHA... who am I kidding, you're a mom now... your non-worrying days are over! As a breastfeeding mom, especially a first time one, the worries are endless: are they eating enough, am I eating good enough, are they gaining weight, are they sick, do they feel safe, am I bonding enough, and on and on. For the first two or so months of his life, Myles cried A LOT, and he also didn't sleep. I didn't understand what I was doing wrong and I was beyond stressed. And here's the unfortunate thing about stress: it kills your supply. So being stressed about a low supply only makes your issues worse. I know at times it feels impossible (trust me I know), but like I said in my Do's List, just take it one day at a time! It's all you can really do during those rough times. Your baby and breastmilk supply will love you for it!

 3. DON'T feel self conscious about breastfeeding your child. This is one that I am always struggling with. For a long time, I felt embarrassed to tell people that I breastfeed. How sad, right?!? I feel like people give me a look of "why?" every time I say I still breastfeed. This all dawned on me a couple of weeks ago; feeling ashamed and embarrassed to say I breastfeed is ridiculous. I have since really made an effort to show people that I am proud and happy to STILL be breastfeeding my one year old. The only way the taboo is going to be lifted is if it becomes normal, and it will only become normal by exposing people to it. If nursing in public is hard for you, you are not alone. From about 2-9 months, I never nursed in public. I became very self conscious and felt awkward making people watch me nurse. THEN I had a revelation: If using my breasts for their INTENDED purpose makes people feel uncomfortable, then that's not my problem. Weird how women flaunting their breasts around with massive amounts of cleavage is totally okay, but feeding my child is just wrong. Breastfeeding isn't looked upon as gross or wrong in most other countries...hmm.. maybe because their cultures haven't turned breasts into a sexual obsession. I shouldn't have to stay in my house all day long because my child needs to eat. Thankfully the law is in our favor; now if we could just get the general public on board :)
But I digress; point being, be proud of the fact that you breastfeed; it is a huge accomplishment. And if you don't want to nurse in public, totally understandable, but if you do, don't let close-minded people get in your way.

4. DON'T stop bottle feeding for any extended period of time if you don't want your baby to stop taking a bottle. Another one I learned the hard way. Don't start them on a bottle until you know their latch is good and they are gaining weight (as per most breastfeeding guidelines). I think it's good to wait at least a couple of weeks. For most women, a return to work is necessary, so at some point the bottle needs to be introduced. If you're lucky enough to be able to stay at home, then you may not ever need to introduce a bottle. It all depends on your preferences and lifestyle. If you ever want or need your child to go with a sitter for an extended period of time, then a bottle is really essential. Myles took a bottle great for about the first 3 months. I then gave it about a 3 week break and after that it was as if he had never seen or used a bottle in his life. I tried for MONTHS to get him to take one again. (At the time, I was still battling severe postpartum depression and desperately needed to have a break from him.) I bought several different bottles, nipples, sippy cups, etc., but he would not drink from any of them. I eventually gave up around 7 months, when it became apparent that my efforts were futile. I had to just accept the fact that he was never going to take a bottle again and it was something I was just going to have to learn to deal with. I spoke with a lactation consultant about my problem at the time and she said the same thing happened to her. So it may not be the case for everyone, but I would recommend not taking that chance. Keep the bottle consistent, even if it is just once a day, a couple days a week.

5. DON'T be worried if your baby isn't following the exact normal standards of breastfed babies according to what you have read. (Obviously, if something feels off or not right to you, you should consult your pediatrician.) I am speaking about all the little details you shouldn't get caught up on. Everything I read told me my newborn should be nursing for 30 minutes on each side for every nursing session. I don't think that ever once happened with Myles. I would be lucky if I got 15 minutes out of him. This was one of my biggest worries for a long time. But every time we took him to get weighed, he was gaining.  I guess he was just very efficient at getting the milk out. When he started teething, he would only eat for mere minutes at a time, but somehow he still kept gaining. So as long as they are healthy and gaining weight, don't get caught up in the details.

6. DON'T let yourself create habits you don't like, even if it's out of desperation or convenience. Also learned this one the hard way (sense a theme here?). From the moment Myles came barreling out of me, he did not sleep well (that's a story for another day). He had to be held to nap (the second he was put down, he would wake up) and didn't sleep through the night until about 9 months. After three months of about 1-2 hours of sleep a night, I got desperate. I thought I found an awesome solution: nursing to sleep! I was finally able to get him to take naps (30 minutes at a time) by nursing him to sleep. What I didn't realize was that I was creating a very addicting habit that is pretty impossible to break. Although it got him to take naps during the day, it seemed to make night time worse. From what I read, by nursing him to sleep, I made him become dependent on it for all sleep. However a baby goes to sleep is how they need to get back asleep if they wake up in the middle of the night. I have learned that to be completely true. For months Myles would wake up 10-12 times a night, only sleeping in stretches ranging from 30 minutes-2 hours (3 if I was really lucky). It was tortuous hell and all my fault. I started trying to fix this issue when Myles was 4 1/2 months (I took it slowly) and he finally got to 8 hours at 9 months. In my situation the temporary fix of nursing to sleep only made it harder for myself when I tried to sleep train. *Side note: I'm not saying there is anything wrong with nursing to sleep. It's only a bad idea if it is not something you want to turn into a habit. I still nurse Myles to sleep for most naps and bedtime. I really enjoy it now, but made it a lot harder to get him to sleep through the night. So just be conscious of creating habits.

7. DON'T forget about yourself. This is another one that I struggled and still struggle with. Yes, your whole life has changed and yes, a little tiny human depends on you for everything, but you can't give the best care to your baby if you aren't taking care of yourself. Breastfeeding can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. For the first few months, I was beyond exhausted EVERYDAY. It also didn't help that there were many times, especially in the beginning, I did not want to eat. However I always made myself and it really made a big difference in how I felt. Your baby is living because of what your body is giving it; it really is a miraculous thing. Pay attention to what you're eating and make everything you put it your body work to give you energy and provide your baby with the proper nutrients. Also drink lots and lots of water... It makes you feel so much better! Lastly, rest...it's awesome that you burn calories just by feeding your baby, but that also means your body is doing a lot of work even when you don't realize it. I know it's not really possible to be well rested with a newborn, but try to get as much as you can. Remember #4 on my Do List: ask for help; trust me it's the difference between merely surviving and thriving.

8. DON'T leave the hospital until you feel comfortable in the basics of breastfeeding and assured that your baby is latching/eating well. In my experience, at the hospital I had a wonderful lactation consultant. Like I have mentioned before, I really had no clue about breastfeeding and naively thought it would be easy. I didn't think I needed to learn anything because it would just come naturally. Luckily, it did work well for Myles and I and he learned to latch on strong pretty quickly. At the 24 hour postpartum mark I was ready to get out of there, but the LC said she wanted to see Myles eat before I left. When I showed her, she was very satisfied with our breastfeeding and she said she felt confident in us to give the okay to leave. I don't know if that is common experience, but I believe it should be. If the hospital doesn't offer a LC, ask for one. Before you leave the hospital, get them to come see you when your breastfeeding, get all the information out of them as you can, and have them make sure everything seems to be working well (latch, feeding, your comfort, positions, eating enough, etc).

9. DON'T feel bad if you don't love breastfeeding. Not everyone is going to be in love and extra passionate about breastfeeding. I know I am in the minority of extreme breastfeeding advocate (haha), but I am realistic in knowing that most people aren't going to be as crazed about it as me. Even now, I still have days that I am over it; days that I need a break from a little being constantly attached to my breast. We all know the feeling, so don't feel bad or ashamed if it's not something you love or even like. The point is, you're doing it; you're making sacrifices to give your child the best. And that is the definition of a wonderful mother!

10. DON'T compare yourself and child to others. I'm pretty sure we are all guilty of this one. I know I am... I think it is just human nature, unfortunately. EVERY child is different in so many ways, it makes no sense to compare. All babies grow at different rates, achieve physical milestones at different rates, learn at different rates, etc. That is what is so awesome about watching your child grow; you never know when they will learn something new, try something new, etc. Be proud of your child's accomplishments and let them grow on their own schedule. It's not a competition; it's a journey we are all in together. When it comes to advocating breastfeeding we need all the help we can get!

Now after all this advise, I have one more don't: DON'T let yourself be peer pressured. At the end of the day, you need to follow your own instincts. Get advise and do research, but always follow that little mommy instinct that was placed inside of you.

Come back for #5: My Journey and Bucket List... and lots of fun pictures :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Breastfeeding Awareness: #3 Sharing Stories

Thanks for come back to my series for Breastfeeding Awareness. If you missed the first two posts check them out here and here! Today I am featuring some of my all time favorite mommy bloggers and their breastfeeding journeys! I chose the below bloggers to showcase how unique and vast each woman's journey is, but still all connected through the theme of dedication to the care of and love for their child. 
I think it is so important to be encouraging to other mothers who breastfeed. A little "Great Job!" can go along way in a world of disappointing stares and "How long are you going to breastfeed?" questions. So enjoy and don't be afraid to send a little note! 

1. First off is one of my favorite breastfeeding blogging moms: Laura at tiny toes, little nose. Our little boys are very close in age, so I am always checking out her blog to see what Liam is up to! She has a beautiful breastfeeding relationship with her son and isn't afraid to show it off. I am so inspired by how free and confident she is with nursing her little guy! She recently wrote about this confidence in a post on nursing in public; you can read it here. Also check out her full breastfeeding story here.

2. Next is a mom I just started following and completely fell in love with after reading her post on breastfeeding a toddler. 
Check her out here:
Although her girl is older than Myles, everything she wrote about in this post is exactly how I feel with Myles! As a first time mom, I often think my child is the only one doing the things he does. I question his behavior especially when it comes to breastfeeding. I often wonder if I am enabling him or making him too dependent on me. After reading this post, I felt such a sense of relief knowing I could relate to every last word she wrote. Mommyhood is hard and it's always nice to be reassured that you're not totally screwing up. Another post I love is this one about her daily routine and nursing in public. Another truly inspiring and courageous mom doing what is best for her daughter and showing the world it is a beautiful thing!

3. This mom is probably one of the most famous in the blogging community and internet in general; Jessica at Little Baby Garvin. She was the first ever mommy blog I followed and is still one of my top 5 favorites. She is a tell-it-like-it-is mommy with a love for all things holiday and Harper; really creative and super funny. Definitely check her out if you don't already. This post is all about her breastfeeding journey and shows how things don't always go as planned. Mommyhood is about doing what is best for you and your child; making sure to use your breastfeeding support network to make the best decision for both of you.

4. This next blogging mommy is also on my top five favorites; Becky at From Mrs. to Mama. You only have to read a few posts to see how much this momma is dedicated to her children and family. It makes my heart so happy to see the love she has for them. The content on her page is real and truly heartfelt and I mean come on, look at how absolutely adorable both her little babes are! Her post is about her journey with breastfeeding both of her children and ends with a few simple breastfeeding tips. It is totally worth the read (as is everything on her blog!)

5. Number 5 is a blogging momma that I actually know in real life. Her blogging was part of the inspiration that got me to start my own. She is also doing a breastfeeding awareness month series so check out her blog (papier mache) throughout the whole month of August to see what other things she has in store! Early on, breastfeeding brought many challenges for this momma, but she showed true dedication to her child's health and did not give up. Most mommies struggle with breastfeeding at some point and if you are one of them, reading her story will give you the hope and strength to keep going. Also check out her breastfeeding bucket list and fun breastfeeding stories here and here

We are all in this together; let's help each other out and build each other up!
It's a beautiful thing ladies! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy {recipe}

This is my first recipe post. I wasn't planning on doing anything food related on here, but it is becoming a new interest of mine. Since Myles has started eating table food, I have had to step my cooking game up. Walking distance from our house is a local market called Fresh & Easy and I LOVE it. It has all organic foods, including grass fed meats, hormone/antibiotic free produce and dairy, and amazing prices! Not only is it better for you, it tastes so much better as well! So I will from time to time share some meals we are loving around our house!

Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy Recipe

  • What You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (6 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (such as Campbell's®)
  • 1 soup can of water
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the olive oil is heating, sprinkle pork chops with garlic salt and black pepper. Place the pork chops in the hot oil and fry until browned on the outside; about 5 to 8 minutes per side. Remove pork chops and place them on a plate. 
  2. Using the same skillet, pour the other tablespoon of olive oil in and heat. Add the mushrooms and stir until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Pour cream of mushroom soup and water into skillet and mix with the mushrooms.
  3. Place the pork chops back into the mushroom sauce, spooning sauce over chops. Cook on medium until the pork chops are fully cooked; flipping chops every couple of minutes and spooning more sauce over chops as they cook, about 10 to 15 minutes.
I served this over brown rice and added corn on the cob as a side. 
I cook the corn in the oven individually wrapped in aluminum foil; 350 degrees for about 30 minutes

And of course this is a Myles approved dinner!
He loves his corn on the cob :)

What recipes are you loving lately? I always need new ideas!

Come Follow Me

Yes he knows and he is not happy!
In fact, he is quite upset... and trust me you do not want Myles to be upset!

There is only one way to fix this and...well...  actually it's pretty painless... So just scroll down a little more and......

Click on my icons in the upper left hand side of my page under "Follow Me"
Or click the links below:

Looking forward to getting to know you all and following back!
Aww, and now Myles is happy again! 
 Happy Friday!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Breastfeeding Awareness: #2 Breastfeeding Essentials

Today's Breastfeeding Awareness post is all about the things I have learned throughout the past 11 1/2 months of breastfeeding. I call it my tips, tricks, and tools of Breastfeeding, aka Breastfeeding 101!

If you missed the first post check it out here!

When I found out I was pregnant, I never actually made the decision to breastfeed. I say that because I always just knew that I would. I really don't know why because I never did any research on it, I didn't know anyone who breastfed, and I certainly had no idea that it would take tons of dedication and effort to make it work. I guess it was just one of those crazy motherly instincts that is instilled in you to make the right decisions for your unborn child. Needless to say, I wasn't quite prepared for all that breastfeeding would bring our way. So here are some things I think are helpful to know:


(i.e. before the baby gets here)

Build a Support Network

Before the baby is born do some research to find out what kind of support they have in your area. Find out any and all groups pertaining to breastfeeding. Trust me, you will need the support. Even if not right away (like me), I think it's safe to say that at some point in your breastfeeding journey, you will need support. Whether you will need advice, encouragement, or just some comfort knowing you're not alone; your success in breastfeeding can be greatly effected by the support you find. Having these networks in place before you have your baby is a smart move. With everything you will have going on with your newborn, trying to find help is the last added stress you need. My suggestion would be to start with your area's hospitals. Usually they are a great source of information. Many hospitals offer breastfeeding classes and support groups. I did not take a breastfeeding class because naive me thought "Oh how hard could it be? Women have been doing this for years, right?!" Looking back it probably would have been helpful (a lot more helpful and worth it than my birthing class lol). Many areas also have independent support groups like Le Leche League, which I heard are wonderful. If none of those are available to you, try an independent lactation consultant. They will come to your house and work with you one on one. To me this would be the last resort as I'm sure it is quite costly and most hospital support groups are free. Lastly, look into joining a mommy group. Even if they are not specifically for breastfeeding moms, chances are some will breastfeeders. Sometimes the best advice comes from fellow moms who have or are going through the same issues as you.

Make a Plan and Buy Accordingly

Well let's get real: the word plan and newborn can not seriously be used in the same sentence. However during the newborn phase it is better to over-plan and over-buy (and possibly have to return items) than to under-plan and under-buy (and have to go out at all hours of the night hoping to find what you need). 
Think about your breastfeeding plan: do you want to introduce bottles, are you going to pump, will you need pacifiers, do you want to supplement with formula, etc? Obviously, things will most likely not go as planned, especially if it's your first, but it is important to at least have an idea of how you want your breastfeeding journey to go. 

Buying suggestions for all needs:

Breastfeeding essentials

1. A Breast Pump- whether you're planning on exclusively pumping, building a stash for going back to work, or just giving an occasional bottle, a pump is a must in my book. The first pump I bought was an Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump. I decided on this one because it is considered a closed system. That means that no milk or condensation actually pass through the tubes, making it more sanitary. With a closed system, you don't have to risk the chance of getting the dreaded moldy milk in tubes problem. It worked well enough for the first couple of weeks. If you plan on using a pump just for the occasional bottle for some time away or going out, I would suggest this pump as it is about half the price of most other double electric pumps. However for me, I quickly realized that the Ameda was not going to be good enough. At the time I planned on going back to work at 12 weeks postpartum. I wanted to only give Myles breast milk though, so I intended on pumping between feedings to freeze my milk to be used while I was away at work. After just a few weeks, I was getting barely anything out of my pumping sessions. I went into panic mode and decided to buy another pump. At first I vowed to stay away from the Medela pumps. They were suggested in all the mommy blogs I followed, but I just couldn't get over some of the stories I read about people finding moldy milk in the tubes. I did some more research on pumps and came to the conclusion that the Medela double pump was the strongest commercial grade pump on the market. I also read more about the mold problem and learned that as long as you clean and check the motor regularly there shouldn't be a problem. So I went ahead and purchased the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote. I was very happy with this purchase. This pump was a lot more powerful than the Ameda and I was able to get more milk out of my breasts each pumping session. It does get tiresome to have to clean all of the parts after each use, but there really is no way of getting around that when it comes to pumping. I also highly recommend the "on the go tote" option.  It comes with a cooler bag and contoured ice pack for keeping milk cold if your pumping away from home. And the best part is it all fits nicely and discretely into the bag!

2. Breast Milk Storage: If you're pumping, you're most likely storing. In the beginning this was the part that confused the heck out of me. Even now, the process makes my brain hurt. Luckily the Medela  pumps come with a nifty little magnet that tells you how long milk is good for in every different storage option. Here is another good chart:

Storage depends on the reason you are pumping. When pumping, the best option in my opinion is to use freshly pumped as much as possible. It is good for up to 5 hours at room temperature. If I was pumping because we were going somewhere and I wanted a bottle, I would pump before we left so I could use the freshly pumped milk instead of having to figure out how to warm up milk that came from the fridge or freezer while we were out. If you are giving a bottle at home or sending milk with a sitter then it's a little easier to use cold or frozen because you can warm it up with hot water from the sink. If you know you will use the milk within 5 days, then keeping it in the fridge is just fine. Don't be alarmed if the milk separates and starts to look funny. This is totally normal and will mix up once it is warmed. I have also read not to shake the milk in order to mix it back together. I guess it separates the protein molecules, which isn't the end of the world, but best if you can avoid doing it. If you're pumping to strictly build a stash for when you return to work then straight to the freezer is best. When I froze the milk I would make bags of 3 ounces. That seemed to be the best amount to minimize waste. You will most likely have to adjust that as your baby grows but I would never make more than 5 ounce bags. You can make smaller amounts as well and then combine them based on how much your baby eats at certain times.
As far as products go I used a couple different brands. I first started with the Ameda 20 Count Store N Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags with Adapter because that was the pump I had. I thought the store and pour was a neat idea because I was using the Playtex drop-ins (I will get to bottles next) at the time and I could easily pour the milk into the bottle liners. The problem I had with these liners was that they spilled. I had even read reviews on them that said to not put them on their side because they would leak if they were not closed all the way. I didn't think about it because I was certain I had closed the bag tight. However when I went into the freezer to check the milk, it had all leaked out :( ... cue me crying over spilled milk. The other issue with these bags is that they are inaccurate in their measurements. The way the bag is shaped makes it appear to have more ounces than what is really in the bag. To fix that, you can just measure in the bottle first, then pour in the bag and write the accurate amount on the bag label. Of course, once those were all used up, I tried a different brand. I read some reviews and decided to go with the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. These are the bags I would recommend. They have a double zip lock to ensure that there are no spills and they are able to hold up to 6 ounces of milk. I had no problems with these bags and somehow they are the least expensive!

Win, win in my book! Also sometimes I would just store milk in the Medela 5 oz Breastmilk Bottle Set if I knew I would be using it within a day. It's nice because they can go straight from pumping into the fridge and all you need is the cap. If you want to do that definitely buy extra bottles. You will always need two for pumping both sides, so I would have at least 5 or six bottles total.

3. Bottles: I will preface this category by saying that this is a very sensitive subject for me..lol. I will go into more detail in my journey post, but I will say that bottles might be the ultimate bane of my existence as a mother so far. The first bottle I decided to go with was the Playtex Drop-Ins. I like this system because the removable liners means less washing! I also felt better using them because I didn't have to worry about making sure the bottles were sterilized and had no soap residue after every wash. This is a perfect starter kit here:
Playtex Drop-Ins Kit. I highly recommend these bottles and nipples. The other bottles I used in the beginning were the ones that came with my pump: Medela 5 oz Breastmilk Bottle Set. It was out of convenience that I used these, but I never had any problems with them. 

Both of those bottles/nipples worked fine until I decided to go back to exclusively feeding from the breast only. This happened at about 14 weeks. Ironically, I made the decision because I was trying to save my sanity... ha! (again more on that in my journey post). When I tried to give him a bottle again after not giving him one for about 3 weeks, he absolutely refused! And so began my quest to find a bottle he would take. I tried the The First Years Breastflow Bottle, Tommee Tippee Bottle, and NUK Orthodontic Latex Nipples. I even ventured into the sippy cup realm out of desperation with the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Transition Cup. And while all were nice bottles, I guess none of them were close enough to the nipple to trick my kid. I eventually just gave up as I figured my son would rather be able to go to college than know that I finally found a bottle he would take after 100 unsuccessful tries and 1,000 of dollars later. Moral of the story, find a bottle you and your child both like and STICK WITH IT :)

4. Nipple Cream: It is important to know that I am not frivolous. I do not buy things I do not need and I always look for a deal first. There are so many products marketed to first time moms who haven't a clue and think they need one of everything in the baby department. I tried to steer clear of all the hype on the 1,000s of products out there and stick with the essentials. I was on the fence about the nipple cream. I read a lot of great things about it, but I just wasn't sure it was necessary. I decided to buy it and keep it in the box, just in case I ended up not needing it. I went with the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin. Well it didn't take long for me to realize I needed nipple cream! All I can say is this stuff is a lifesaver. Not only does it numb the pain, it is also very soothing. I only needed it for about the first week, but it was still worth it as I used it after almost every session. I didn't use the whole tube, so I would suggest just buying one at a time just in case you don't either. This is one of those products that you want to have before the baby comes, sitting on your bedside all ready to go. I promise it's worth every penny!

5. Pacifiers: I wasn't sure about the pacifier. It's one of those things that kids can easily get hooked on and then you're fighting tooth and nail to get them to get over it. Since I got a few at my shower, I just decided to keep them and figure out if I wanted to use them when the time came. I got both the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier and the MAM Silicone Pacifier. I waited a few weeks as recommended by most breastfeeding experts to see if Myles would take a pacifier. I started with the soothie because to me it looked the most like a real nipple. He adapted to it really well. It was a nice break from him using me all the time to soothe himself. The soothie is definitely #1 in my book. Now I will say that the soothie is probably only good up until a certain age; I would say around 6 months. After that, you will probably want to switch and go for something more like the MAM Silicone Pacifier. Myles never used these as actual pacifiers because when he stopped taking the bottle at 14 weeks he also stopped using a pacifier. He did however use them as teethers to chew on and they worked great for that.

6. Breastfeeding pillow: I, of course, registered for the Boppy Pillow. This was one product I didn't really do any research on. I just figured since it was the most popular and widely used, it was the best option. I have since read some great reviews on it, so it may just be personal preference with me, but I hated it (for its intended use anyway). When I first got it, it was very hard and inflexible and honestly not at all comfortable. I could never seem to get it into a position that worked well for feeding Myles and I. It did come in handy for laying Myles in though. I know it says you're not supposed to have them lay on it, but he liked it and I was always watching him. 

Boppy Pillow: breastfeeding, no; baby laying, yes! 
I pillow that I would 100% recommend is an L-shaped pillow. The ones they make for sleeping would probably do just fine, but they also make them specifically for breastfeeding like the Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow. I never actually owned this pillow, but I used it when I went to a breastfeeding support group. These were the pillows they offered at the group and I absolutely loved it. It was soft and comfortable; it maneuvered well and I didn't have to wrap it around my body! It's large enough to keep using as your baby gets into the older months, but works well with a newborn as well. (There were babies of all different ages at the group). I wish I would have had this pillow from the beginning; I seriously cannot not say enough great things about it! 
If a breastfeeding specific pillow isn't something you can afford, any normal pillow will do  fine really. You just need something that the baby can rest on during those newborn hour long nursing sessions :)

7. Nursing Cover: Up until a month ago this would have been on my not necessary to buy list and in all honesty I guess it still is. I mean, yes, I would recommend having a nursing cover on hand, but buying one for some ridiculous amount of money is completely unnecessary. It is just a square of cloth with a strap for around the neck. They can be made with minimal effort and about $5. I never had an actual nursing cover for a long time. I used blankets during the first couple months and because Myles couldn't move around much, they worked just fine. Then as he got older and his feedings became more consistent/predictable, I just planned outings around when he ate. I have never been a big NIP person (for others' comfort, not my own), so I never saw the need to have a nursing cover. I did buy one recently though (resale purchase of course) because we went on our first plan ride and I knew I would need all the help I could get to keep my goodies contained as Myles does not stop moving. I suppose it was worth the $8 I spent on it, because I wasn't completely exposed but it really didn't deter him from moving all over and ripping the cover off from around his face. I should have bought one that was bigger (wider and longer) and maybe that would have helped. 
So all in all, I would say having one is necessary for certain occasions, but make your own or make sure it's big enough with a small price tag!

8. Nursing Pads: This was an item that I personally did not end up needing. I had a couple that came with the pump kits I bought, but I never ended up using them. I think I am in the minority for that one though. I have never had a super strong let-down or an engorgement problem. For the first week or so after my milk came in, I got engorged a couple times but nothing super painful and I also barely ever leaked. And when I did leak, it was so little that it really didn't warrant wearing a huge bulky nursing pad. Regardless of my situation I still think, for most people, these need to be on hand for when baby comes home. I would suggest starting with the brand that you trust most; some examples are Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads or Medela Disposable Pads.

9. Formula: I really do not like putting this on my list because it's possible that having formula around may just aid in unnecessary supplementing, but I think everyone should have at least a sample can or pouch in the house just in case. I know that there are unforeseen circumstances that arise during newborn care and it would really be stressful to need something and for it to not be readily available. Most formula companies have starter or sample kits that they send out for free. I would suggest signing up for one or all of them so you have a little bit around. That way you don't have to pay for it, but you have just enough in case of an emergency. Always consult an expert before supplementing though because it is never good for your milk supply to start supplementing with formula. If you're having issues most likely that support network you have in place can help you before you get to the point of having to supplement. Hopefully it will never need to be used, but it is there for your piece of mind. 

10. Clothes: If you read any breastfeeding essentials lists, most of the above items are on the lists. I have included most of the basics and a couple extras. There are a few things though that I have not included that you see on most others' lists. The main items being nursing specific clothes. I find it completely unnecessary to buy bras and tanks made for nursing. I see no added benefit of being able to un-clip the strap vs. just putting the fabric under your breast. Sports bras and/or bralettes work perfect for me and I am able to wear them under cute flowy tops as well. I love any of these bras from Forever 21: they are super comfy, come in all different colors, and are way cheap! Same goes for tanks: you can just buy normal tanks and still be able to wear them even after you're done breastfeeding. They work just as well and have many more colors and styles to choose from. Go crazy with all these options!

*I will add that in the beginning you may need a more supportive bra as your breasts may be engorged and painful. Also as you start venturing out into the world again, you may need a more uplifting bra with an under-wire for when you wear certain shirts or need more support. In those cases you might need a nursing specific bra that un-clips because under-wire bras are not as easy to tuck under your breast.  

Link Up:

Stay tuned for the next post on my tips, tricks, and tools continued!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Breastfeeding Awareness: #1 Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

I'm a little late, but it's still going strong so Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

And just for your viewing pleasure, a little glimpse into the life of a breastfeeding toddler:

"Oh hey, I'm just hanging out; having a great day with my mom."

"Oh wait, my mom... that just made me remember something.."

"I WANT milk... No, I NEED milk... NOW mom!!"

"Oh thank goodness... Yummy, mommy milk is the greatest!"

"Oh man, I didn't think I was going to make it... but all is right in the world again. Thanks mom!" 


"Now I can go back to being the goofy little man that I am... That is until the next time I need some comfort... in approximately... 5..4..3..2.."


Stay tuned for my next post in this series on the Tips, Tricks, and Tools of breastfeeding!