Whoever thinks breastfeeding will be easy clearly has never done it. As natural as this task is, it certainly offers a variety of hurdles that every mother, as well as their baby, has to jump over. It's an art that requires practice, dedication, focus, and a lot of luck. Of course, most articles online deal with the importance of breastfeeding on the physical and emotional development of a child. Contrastingly, we tend to read a lot about the debate over breastfeeding versus formula and bottle feeding.
But one thing we definitely don't spend enough time with would be the physical and emotional affects this task has on the mother herself and the "girls" who provide her baby with all the nutrients they need. When moms start to breastfeed, they tend to notice a lot of changes in their bodies, including their size, tenderness, and downright soreness. All of this is normal, but there are a number of things that each mom can be doing to make the experience of her "girls," as well as the breastfeeding process, far easier.
This article will delve into these tips, all of which are sourced at the bottom for further reference. Of course, every one of these tips is designed for the mom but also for the baby. After all, breastfeeding can be far more challenging than most people think. Without further ado, here are 20 breastfeeding musts moms are forgetting when caring for "the girls."
20 Be With Nature And Get Some Fresh Air
Believe it or not, but your "girls" really need some fresh air once in a while. Uncovering them and release the entirety of them to the sun, or even clouded sky will help them feel a lot more at ease. Additionally, the air flow will help them feel less dry which will make breastfeeding more comfortable. This can be done during a feed as well, as you can leave one of your "girls" out in the son while the other does the job. Then, make a switch. Open air will also help dry them off after the baby has completed the feed. This will make things more comfortable for you and stop you from even thinking about using a hair dryer on them; that's always a bad idea since it's just too warm. So, let those lovely "gals" come out to play once in a while.
19 All Those Proper Feeding Techniques
If you're using the right breastfeeding techniques, chances are you're making life easier on your "girls". Feeding your baby correctly will help avoid a ton of different problems that "the girls" tend to face. This includes soreness, engorgement, and plugged ducts. Proper breastfeeding techniques even help you avoid mastitis, an inflammation if your "girls". But in order to successfully feed, you need to make sure that your baby latches on correctly. Things may not be perfect at first, but eventually, both you and the newborn will get used to it. One of the most important things to remember when breastfeeding properly is that the baby has the entirety of the lip of his/her mother's "girl" in his/her mouth. Additionally, pulling your baby off properly is equally important. This can be done by inserting a clean finger into the corner of the baby's mouth so they can detach.
18 Spending A Lot Of Time In Victoria's Secret
Take a note from Barbara Palvin here and visit your nearest Victoria's Secret, La Vie En Rose, or any other lingerie store. One of the easiest ways to protect your "girls' during breastfeeding is to wear the right bra. Throughout the pregnancy, your "girls" will begin to engorge with the milk that will eventually feed your baby. As they get bigger, pre-pregnancy bras get smaller and things will get uncomfortable. This is why investments should be made into nursing bras, which will help after the baby is born. If you're not into these bras, a really nice cotton one will help make life so much easier when needing to breastfeed. Just avoid ones with underwire as they tend to put too much pressure on your milk ducks which could eventually lead to mastitis.
17 Keeping That Schedule As Regular As Humanly Possible
Even if you're Kim Kardashian and have to jump on your private jet to fly off to some swanky event, you need to keep a regular breastfeeding schedule. Alongside feeing properly, feeding on a regular timetable is one of the most important aspects of successfully getting the task done while protecting your "girls". It's recommended that you aim for at least 8 to 12 feedings a day. This will help top reduce engorgement in addition to building a healthy eating schedule for your beautiful little newborn. Using both "girls' equally will also be an important addition to your schedule. Keep track of which "girl" was used at which feeding in order to balance out the work. This will help you not wear out one of those precious "girls".
16 Going In For A Few Awkward Examinations
Yes, a random man or woman checking out your "girls' can be pretty awkward indeed. But it's absolutely vital that you remember to go see your physician and get your monthly "girl" exam once you've started to breastfeed. They will be a tad more lumpy than usual since they're full of milk, which can cover up other potential issues. This is why it's important to let a doctor take a look. Additionally, doing your own examinations are also important. In order to make things a tad less lumpy, continue to feed, massage, and pump. All of these tips will help you reduce lumps and make your monthly appointment go more swiftly.
15 Reaching For That Moisturizer... A Few Times A Day
Every time you reach for that moisturizer you're doing a major favor for your "girls", especially while breastfeeding. Think about it. Your "girls" are going through a lot during the course of any feed. They are being tugged, pulled, bit, and taken for everything they offer. So, of course, they are going to get dry and be in need of some relief. Sure, your milk is known to be a sufficient moisturizer, so you could just massage that into yourself. But the more moisturizing lotion the better. Besides, that will have a more pleasant odor as well as not make you feel as uncomfortable as it dries up. So, do yourself a favor a purchase a few extra bottles and apply every time you've finished breastfeeding. In fact, you may want to use it all over your body as it will make you feel just that much more fresh and clean. Just make sure that the lotion is safe for the baby and is fragrance-free.
14 Staying Away From Admittedly Fun But Bad Habits
So, you've gotten through pregnancy and therefore it's okay to go back to that partying lifestyle, right? ...Wrong. No, it's not. First of all, what kind of mother has the time to go out on the town when she has a newborn at home? Also, drinking and over fun things can be bad for nursing. If you do have the occasional drink, nursing needs to be delayed for a solid two hours before you breastfeed. Seriously, this stuff can transfer the baby. Nicotine is also something that passes through the milk and actually harms the baby. It's one of the reasons why SIDS is higher amongst babies with mothers who are actively parting in a puff or three. Constantly having to delay breastfeeding will make the baby hungrier and far less likely to be kind to your "girls" when they finally do get to eat.
13 The Smart Way of Dealing With Clogged Ducts
Your ducts are small tubes that transport milk from deep inside your "girls" out to the baby. Muscles cells squeeze the milk through these ducts to create a flow when your baby begins to feed. But not everything can run smoothly and the milk can be impeded. Having clogged ducts not only makes breastfeeding more challenging but it makes it more painful. Once you have one clogged duct, chances are that the other will become clogged as well. If untreated, clogged ducts can lead to mastitis and other issues. You can recognize a clogged duct via a painful lump on your "girls" that could even be red. It can vary from the size of a pea to a peach. Abrupt changes in feeding schedules, nursing in the same position, and inadequate draining can cause them. So making sure you aren't doing thee things will help immensely. Additionally, continuing to nurse, heating them and massaging them will help relieve the ducts.
12 When In Doubt, Trust Those Self Examinations
You absolutely cannot forget about doing those self-examinations as often as possible -- even once a day is good. Although it's important to go to your monthly check-up with a doctor, you need to spend your own time with your "girls" as well. Your "girls" will be going through a lot during this time and therefore need to be given extra attention. While breastfeeding, you may feel a few extra lumps and bumps that would be cause for concern if you weren't breastfeeding. But this is just milk. Breastfeeding, massaging, and pumping should help even them out after a couple of days. However, if you notice things staying longer than they should go to your doctor at once.
11 Spending Quality Time With Some Lanolin Cream
Although we've just spoken about the importance of moisturizing after breastfeeding, we should talk about the benefits of Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream. While other moisturizers may be deemed safe to use all over your body while breastfeeding, Lanolin cream is a genius product that's meant to specifically soothe and moisturize your "girls". What's great about it is that it's a product meant for adults that is 100% safe to use while breastfeeding. Therefore, unlike the vast majority of products, it doesn't need to be wiped off before you breastfeed. Additionally, you don't need to feel bad about purchasing lotion meant for babies as this is designed for adults. Trust us, this lotion is a lifesaver for moms who want to take care of their "girls".
10 Maybe Springing For Some Pads
Purchasing some pads for your "girls" will help you avoid awkward moments in public as well as discomfort while you're out and about. These pads add a layer of security to help you avoid milk leaking through your shirt. However, these pads do need to be changed frequently, especially if they get any liquid on them. If they aren't changed, you will be doing yourself a disservice as it could cause some irritations and even infections. These pads also help decrease soreness and thrush, as well as lower your chances of developing mastitis. A very good tip would be to purchase washable pads instead of the one-use ones that fill up trash cans and landfills. These washable pads are also far more comfortable and don't feel scratchy. Your "girls" will thank you for the purchase.
9 Spend Dough On A Nursing Necklace... Actually Though
No, nursing necklaces aren't for style. Seriously, we wouldn't attempt to convince you that all of the biggest cellobioses wear these things for fun. Sure, some of the more expensive ones can look okay, but they're really more about function than fashion. This is because a baby tends to be pretty grabby while they're breastfeeding. After all, they don't know what to do with their hands. This can mean that they can cling a tad too tightly onto the other "girl" or even the one that's doing all the work. After a while, this tends to hurt and cause the "girls' to feel a bit sore for a few days. Having a woof or silicone beaded breastfeeding necklace will help keep the baby's hands occupied while they feed. Additionally, the necklaces can also be used as teething toys for when they start putting them in their mouth.
8 Battle That Engorgement With Might
Engorgement is incredibly common in women when they breastfeed. When your "girls" are engorged, AKA too full of milk, they can be extra tender and even stretch your "girls' flat, causing them to split and crack. Usually, engorgement happens during the period where your "girls" are unsure of how much milk they need to produce for your baby. After a while, it should level out and consistency should be found. However, many women battle engorgement throughout the entirety of breastfeeding. The best way to battle engagement is to massage the "girls" using one or two fingers. Gentle pressure around the center will bring the swelling down. Using the right shield on a pump will also help as the wrong size can cause issues.
7 Be Besties With Some Cabbage Leaves
It's okay to be a bit of a hippie and use cabbage leaves on your "girls". This is because they are perfect as liners for your bra that acts as a pad but also help reduce the possibility of engorgement and even mastitis. However, moms should definitely be aware of how long they're using these cabbage leaves on their "girls". If they use them a bit too long, chances are she will be risking drying them up. A few minutes a day is usually enough as it the cabbage leaves over a variety of benefits to your "girls", as well as soothes them quite nicely and naturally.
6 Staying Away From Hand-Me-Downs
As expensive as every baby and breastfeeding product can be, it's usually best to avoid taking someone else's hand-me-downs. Of course, it really depends on what the product is and what the condition of it is. But, when it comes to breastfeeding supplies, such as pumps, you can never be too careful. According to the FDA, with the exception, if multiple user pumps (which can be found at hospitals) the vast majority of pumps are devices meant for one person and one person only. This is because there's no guarantee that the pump is fully clean and disinfected between uses. Infectious particles that dwell in these pumps can irritate your "girls" and even the baby.
5 Be A Queen And Use A Teabag
You never need an excuse for a cup of tea. But you certainly don't need one while you're breastfeeding. It's always good to have a nice cup near you while you breastfeed to help keep you feeling soothed and occupied while your baby does their business. But even if you're the type of mom who doesn't like drinking caffeinated tea while breastfeeding, you can still use the tea bags for a greater purpose. Once the teabag is cool to the touch, you can use it against your "girls" as it will provide soothing relief, much in the way that putting them under your eyes does. Just make sure you have something nonabsorbent between your bra and the tea bag so that you don't mark it.
4 Reach Out To Someone Who Can Actually Help
Not everybody is helpful when it comes to breastfeeding. A lot of partners, especially dads, can just be useless when trying to help their baby-mommas breastfeed. This can put a lot of pressure on your "girls' and make things far less fun. This is why it's great to reach out to a lactation consultant, La Leche League Leader, Midwife, or another medical professional in the community. This is especially true during the first few days of breastfeeding. Getting these first few days "right" will help relieve tension and cause your "girls' to feel a lot better as the days go by. In some areas, like B.C., Canada, a public health nurse will call moms to make sure they've successfully been breastfeeding once they left the hospital. But this isn't always the case and getting help, especially before you've left the hospital, will make it easier on you and your "girls".
3 Draining All That Milk By Having A Feeding Frenzy
If you don't drain your milk after feeding it can lead to blocked milk ducts and, eventually, mastitis. As we've spoken about earlier, both these things cause great discomfort to a mom's "girls" and the entire breastfeeding process. As tempting as it is to give your "girls" a break after an extended period of feeling discomfort, it's far better to nurse as much as possible, even if you're pumping into a bottle. Your "girls' will thank you for it later on as they won't have to battle engorgement, blocked milk ducts, or anything else. The less milk you have in there between feeds the better. Not draining the milk will also interfere with the natural rhythm your "girls" and baby get into when feeding.
2 Getting Creative With Positions
It's quite normal for moms to feel soreness if they experience a slight run after feeding in the same exact position every time. This is especially true if the baby is suddenly deciding to feed from odd positions. This may even cause cracking or blistering, which are not fun for your "girls". This is why you definitely want to change up the breastfeeding positions now and again. You need to worry less about how the baby will react to the change of your sitting or lying position and more about diversity in feeding. The baby will adapt if they are hungry enough and it will help you avoid soreness. Additionally, changing angles also help give sore spots time to heal.
1 Chatting With The Doctor On The Regular
Having open and consistent conversations with your doctor or health care specialist will be one of the most intelligent ways of taking care of your "girls", especially when you go to your monthly appointments. Of course, if you are experiencing consistent soreness, engorgement, or blocked milk ducts while breastfeeding, you definitely want to be making extra appointments to see your physician. They will be the best person to consult with going forward. After all, they're the experts, even if you read a ton of articles like this one. These doctors will also be able to recommend products that are safe and incredibly helpful to you, your "girls", and your baby. Chatting with them as often as possible is good, just don't use up their time unless it's important.
Sources: BreastPumps, AskDrSears.com, CDC.gov, PumpStation.com, MayoClinic.org, Dol.gov, Rachel's Remedies, FDA.gov, You-and-Your-Baby.cpha.ca, Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, nrdc.org, Breastfeeding.ie, Very Well Family, Women's Health Network, Very Well, NC Healthy Start, Elvie, CWHN