I'm still over here celebrating World Breastfeeding Week and helping other mamas enjoy their nursing experience. Before I dive into the most helpful gear I've found during my own work, I'd like to take a moment to speak directly to mothers who either can't or don't want to nurse their babies.
You are amazing. I respect you as a parent, as a mother, and as a fellow woman. I will NOT tear you down for the choices you've made or been forced to make. And I would like to hear your story! Because I care about women's experience as mothers, and I know that it doesn't always go according to plan. Even if you're at peace with your nursing - or lack thereof - others might still shame you. The last thing I want is to make anyone feel even more mom-guilt than they're already heaping on themselves. So, while I'm spending this week focusing on World Breastfeeding Week - know that I will be spending time specifically on formula-feeding moms soon!
Without further ado: I've nursed two babies from birth, and I'm still nursing my second. My son never had a drop of formula, while I've given my daughter formula a time or two when my breastmilk freezer stash fell through. I've lived through cracked nipples, clogged ducts, and new-teeth-biting. And while I can't guarantee this breastfeeding gear will prevent these difficulties, it does make nursing at least a little more enjoyable.
No, I'm not talking about pillows that you sleep on at night! Nursing pillows - the Boppy and the Brestfriend - are the two most popular. One of the ways nursing takes a toll on your body is just by making you sit in a contorted way so that your baby can reach the breast. Think about just how many hours a woman will spend nursing over just the first year of her baby's life! It adds up, and it wreaks havoc on your posture and core strength. Nursing pillows help lift baby up to the breast, so that the nursing mother can sit with better posture. The pillows can also help a newborn relax while feeding without coming unlatched.
One of the awkward parts of breastfeeding is the simultaneous letdown. When your baby nurses on the left side, your right side can also experience a letdown, which essentially wastes milk by spilling it into your nursing pad or bra. Instead of losing that precious milk, you could try using Milkies - or even a Haaka pump! Milkies are a silicone disc that fits inside your bra and over your nipple. They catch any dripping milk so you can later transfer it to a breastmilk bag. When I had Rory, I discovered Haaka pumps - and I am so impressed! Haaka pumps are soft silicone pumps that use suction to both cling to the breast AND draw out a steady stream of milk. They go beyond just catching milk and actually help express it from your ducts. I can't say that they could replace an electric pump, but they sure do build a freezer stash quickly! On average, I'd gather about 2 ounces more milk for freezing during every nursing session.
Hot And Cold Packs
My personal favorite heat packs for nursing are Booby Tubes from Earth Mama Angel Baby. They smell great, hold their heat well, and offer great coverage. As a close second, I'd recommend a set of Lansinoh Therapeals. If I'm being completely honest, you ought to keep the Therapearl packs in the freezer and save the Booby Tubes for heat. Both can come in handy - relieving engorgement, numbing cracked nipples, or helping loosen a clogged duct. In a pinch, just wet a washcloth, pop it in a Ziploc, and microwave or freeze it. Wrap it in a towel and apply to the breast. There's no valor in gritting your teeth through the pain!
Of course, there are a million different styles and kinds of baby gear. Yes, there are many breastfeeding aids to consider. No matter what you use, just make sure it's working for you. No two mamas want the same things through and through!
What breastfeeding gear have you used? What other item should I try during my nursing relationship with Rory? Tell me more on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.