Like a lot of expectant moms, I had this idyllic image in my head of how breastfeeding would be. In my mind, I imagined myself snuggling my newborn to me and she would be gazing up at me, so lovingly, as I nourished her little body. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely snuggling and gazing but there was also a bad latch with both of my girls in the beginning. And with a bad latch, the early days of breastfeeding can be downright brutal. But don’t worry! There are lots of things you can do to make it just a little bit easier and more comfortable until you both get the hang of nursing. Here are the things that got me through, especially in the early days (through month 1) with both of my girls:
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As I mentioned, both of my girls had bad latches initially. Evy’s was so bad that my nipples cracked and bled before we got it fixed. I would literally grit my teeth and try not to cry when it was time to put her back on (this sounds bad but I promise you won’t even really remember it in a few weeks.) In the hospital they gave me the Medela Gel Pads but let me tell you, they do not compare to the Ameda Hydrogel Pads. Put them in the fridge to chill and then place them on your nipples after nursing and feel the cool, sweet relief. You’re welcome.
In the beginning, I prefer this pillow over the Boppy because it is adjustable so you can bring it up higher and have it stay there to keep your newborn in the proper position for nursing.
These reusable nursing pads are so soft and comfortable. I love the cute heartshape andthey don’t show through your clothes. Definitely a must have.
Natural nipple cream that goes on easy and keeps your nipples moisturized so they don’t crack. I rotated applying this and using the Ameda Hydrogel Pads.
I used this instead of moisturizer on my chest, arms and belly for the first month. It is natural and safe for baby.
When you are nursing, you will be thirsty. Like really thirsty. Have an insulted tumbler or water bottle handy at all times. I used the huge insulated cup from the hospital because it has a straw and a handle which let’s be honest, is handy (ba doomp boop).
These are great throughout nursing, but especially so in the first month. You will be nursing a lot and tanks just make it easy to nurse without having to put your baby belly on display. They are also great to sleep in and they are just easy.
Look, even though you are nursing, you still need a breast pump. When your milk first comes in, your little newborn might not be up to the challenge of keeping up with your over abundant supply. Enter the breast pump, you can take the edge off when your breasts are so full they feel like they are going to burst (I swear it gets better quickly!) and save yourself from a blocked duct (or worse) and save your baby from feeling like she is at the end of a fire hose. If you will be returning to work a double electric is the only way to go but if you will be staying home with baby you can probably get by with a manual pump.
This is my all-time favorite baby app. I used it with my first and now I am using it again with my second. It lets you track everything. Which side did you nurse on last, how sessions did you have yesterday, total time spent nursing, time since the last time you nursed, etc. It was a total lifesaver for my sleep deprived non-functioning brain during those first few weeks. I am still using it six months later and will likely use it until baby is a year. The developers are always updating it and making it better all of the time. The just recently completely updated the interface and added Apple Watch functionality. I couldn’t live without it.
So there you have it, those are my breastfeeding must haves to get through that first month. What were your must haves? Was there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below!