Breastfeeding Essentials (Featuring Gift Genie Express)
Ok, yes I may be a little obsessed with breastfeeding. I wrote a post on it when I was woefully miserable with cracked, mastitis-y, blistered ass nipples here. And I wrote more recently about how I managed to muck through the first three agonizing months (are you scared yet? Don’t be. But I cannot tell a lie.) and come out the other side here. I could go on and on for DAYS about breastfeeding, but suffice to say, it was nothing like I anticipated.
Nick and I didn’t take any birthing classes before Redmond made his debut. I get very anxious when faced with Too Much Information, and for me, it was better to do research on my own, talk to friends who’d had babies, and head into it without preconceived notions of what I hoped it would be. This worked well for me, but the downside was that I knew positively nothing about breastfeeding prior to my wriggling, slippery, ten pound newborn being brought to my bosom. I figured that if it worked, it would just happen. You know? So I had no “gear” at all, besides a few breast pads, two non-supportive nursing bras, and that was about it. Now? Well, now I have all the gear. Recently Gift Genie Express sent me their nursing gift box, and let me just say….if you have a friend who is about to have a baby, get them this. If you are about to have a baby, get yourself this.
Everything in this box is a. super helpful/necessary, and b. made by real woman and mothers. Which is a bonus.
And now, for The List.
- BREAST PADS. Oh my gosh, the sheer amount of leakage I did (and still do, just less so now) in the first months after Redmond was absurd. I had like, three breast pads at the beginning. Now? I have around fifteen sets. My Breastfeeding Support Box included a really cute, SUPER soft and absorbent set, and I stocked up on these ones. They’re under 4.00 per pack, so its worth it.
- SLEEP BRAS. On the topic of leaking…before I wore a bra to sleep in with breastpads to keep things under control, I would wake myself up in a puddle of my own milk every night. I am talking milk everywhere. We had to change the sheets daily, and I felt disgusting. But my lactation consultant had insisted on not wearing a bra to sleep in…I think she should have clarified by saying not to wear a constricting or underwire bra at night, because as soon as I started wearing this bra to sleep in, complete with pads, it got so much better. No more aching nipples/boobs flopping around, and no more Milk Swamp.
- NIPPLE BALM. My gift box included a great little chapstick like tube of balm in it. I haven’t needed any in a while, but this was perfect timing since Redmond has sprouted three adorable teeth, and on our recent flight to Indianapolis, he used those teeth on my nipple…so…thank goodness for the balm. When I was in the trenches of nursing during the first three months, I would anoint my nipples with Earth Mama Nipple Cream BEFORE I nursed, so that my dry, cracked nips would’t bleed. I’m sorry, so graphic, but so true. And it helped them heal tremendously.
- SUPPLY BOOSTING FOODS. I honestly have had a TON of milk since it came in. At times, too much…which is why I got mastitis twice and was prone to blocked ducts for a while there…But at the start of things, I had a really hard time pumping. I am away from Redmond for three days a week, so I was in a panic that I wouldn’t have a store set aside for him. I ate Oat Mama bars and, as if by magic, my milk began to flow into the pump. Nowadays, Redmond is beginning to dabble in the world of solid foods and the universe of teething. That means that some days, he will nurse just enough for sustenance, and other days, he is like a breastfeeding machine. I was getting pretty nervous about my supply dipping and not being able to catch up to him when he was ravenous, so the Lotus Tea in my gift box has been a great help. I drink it once a day. Its delicious, and it seems to be helping even things out. There is also a lactation mix in package, and I plan on making granola bars with it, so I’ll let you know how it works.
- NURSING BEADS. These are one of the things I would have pish-poshed at the beginning of motherhood. But now that my sweet baby boy is like a wildling when he nurses, they come in handy. He literally has hands flailing all over the place unless he is completely exhausted. He pulls my hair, sticks his fingers up my nose, fish hooks my bottom lip– anything he can manage to grab. I have been trying really hard to break him of hair pulling, so now I wear the beads (When I remember to) and wrap his fists around them when he starts grabbing. He also likes chewing on them, and they are cute with an outfit, so its a win all around. Get some. Save your hair. I feel like if Redmond had his way, I would be bald.
- HAND PUMP. Thank goodness our insurance covered the expensive electric pump I got, because I HATED IT and it would have been a huge waste of money. It hurt, I never had the “let down” I needed with it, it took forever, the speeds were never right–for me, it just didn’t work. The hand pump I got for under 30 bucks? Works just fine. Now I can pump about 8 oz in ten minutes. In the car. Which is where it usually happens, lets be real.
- NURSING BRAS. So important. They have to be supportive too. Because I felt like Frump Master 3000 in the first few weeks with my engorged bosoms and saggy bras…I did a lot of research and found some affordable, cute nursing bras that I still like/am wearing. This one is on sale for 10 dollars right now. I have it in black and tan and they are my favorite. La Isla also makes a good one for under 20 dollars. My gift box came with these cute little bra clips (you can see one in the photo above) to help remind you which side to nurse on. These really are helpful, since in the beginning, I couldn’t keep track of much, and I lived in constant fear of starting on the wrong side and then getting engorged and then getting a blocked duct and OH MY GOD MASTITIS NOT AGAIN. You know? Who needs the stress. Stick a little clip on the side that you need to nurse on next, and you are ready to go. So there it is. I hope I haven’t scared you or overwhelmed you if you’re a first time mommy. Breastfeeding is totally worth it if you can do it. Its pain free now, and I don’t mind it at all. I like having the connection with Redmond, and I like snuggling him post nursing. But it isn’t easy for everyone, and hopefully this list can make it better for some of you out there. Other mama’s, what are some things you couldn’t/can’t live without?
Thanks to Gift Genie Express for collaborating with me for this post!