Ah….breastfeeding. It’s a heady mixture of extreme pain, leaky boobs, nip-lash, boob access everything, along with the best snuggles you could ever imagine. All you really need to breastfeed is your baby and your boobs, but there are definitely things that make it easier. This is our list of the top five things we found made breastfeeding life more manageable. If you are pregnant with your first child, here is some #realchat about the realities of breastfeeding life.
We’re not being paid to endorse any of this, it’s personal opinion, born out of experience breastfeeding three boys.
1. Old school cloth nappies
I was gifted ten or so cloth nappies before I had O Boy, with the giver saying “trust me, these will come in handy”. And yes, they certainly did! Not only are they great as a burp cloth for catching those unwanted spews, but I also used them to soak up excess milk (if you haven’t had your baby yet, keep reading). Especially in those early days, it is not uncommon for whichever breast you are not feeding on to leak for almost the entire feed. In the middle of the night I didn’t bother to use my haakaa (more on that below) so I would just use an old cloth nappy over my boob to soak all the excess milk up. These little beauties are inexpensive, can be chucked in a normal wash, they are quite soft, and very absorbent. My tip – get a lot (ten plus) as you will go through them! And keep one everywhere - couch, nappy bag, bedroom, car...you get the idea.
You can get these at the Baby Factory
2. Haakaa silicone pump
The haakaa silicone pumps are seriously amazing, especially in the early days. They are fully portable, comfortable, not clunky and make you feel less like a cow being milked. During the day I used my pump to catch the letdown (and the rest) on the breast I wasn’t feeding on, which meant I could build up a little stash of milk (for all those bottles my babies won’t take….)
Click here to visit the Haakaa website
3. Comfortable chair and pillow
With all my boys, even when they were in the room with us, I took them into their room to feed and change them. With Baby H we invested in a lazyboy which is in his room (I actually got an older model, which had been recovered, from TradeMe). I will be honest, it is not the most stylish chair out, but it is super comfortable and the ability to rock, or recline has been a life saver on many occasion. In addition, I found a pillow - I use a tri-pillow - super helpful. When baby is little you need to keep them nice and close so pillows take the pressure off your arms, shoulders and back. They continue to be useful as your baby grows by allowing you to relax during a feed while ensuring your baby is well supported.
4. Breastfeeding singlets & sports bras
I invested in five breastfeeding singlets when O Boy was born and I still wear them daily with no. 3. I know they don’t provide enough support for some people but my breasts only grow to a size C-D cup, so they work well for me. I prefer the ones with some padding as they stop milky patches showing and provide a bit of extra support. The reason I like the singlets – they keep my tummy covered, and, if I wear a t-shirt over the singlet then my whole boob isn’t exposed either. I’m all for breastfeeding in public but, personally, I like to keep as covered as I can. I’ve found there is a lack of really nice breastfeeding singlets but you can get some good plain ones from Kmart. Bonds do a good one too but, in my experience, they are a smaller sizing so it might pay to size up.
In between having O Boy and Baby H, I started to do a lot more exercise. I continued to exercise once Baby H was born, and will return to exercise shortly with Baby F, and the maternity and breastfeeding friendly sports bras from Candenshae were a life saver. They meant I could easily feed my babies at the gym, or as soon as I got home.
5. Water bottle and snacks!
You’ll probably find that as soon as you sit down to breastfeed you’ll be super thirsty. Invest in a water bottle that you can easily use one handed, bonus if you have a couple so you can have them easily accessible in the locations you feed baby. Oh, and have snacks...lots of snacks. There are plenty of delicious lactation cookies on the market - or do some research and make your own.
*** The other thing that was extremely helpful when it came to breastfeeding my first born was a Lactation Consultant. If you are struggling with breastfeeding seek expert help straight away - even if they confirm the latch is good and baby is feeding well, if it gives you the confidence you need, that is money well spent in my opinion. All the best mamas x