I'm stubborn. Always have been, probably always will be. Nursing was not an exception to this at all. Although incredibly difficult at first, I fought through it with the support of my husband, mom (thanks!), other new moms and overcame the doctors suggestions to "supplement" with formula. Proud to say that Oliver never had a drop of the stuff nor has Miles.
I'm not one of the "loud and proud" breast feeding moms who 'whips it out' in public just to make a point. With Oliver, I would nurse in bathrooms, backs of cars, or with a nursing cover on should I be 'forced' to do it in public or around anyone other than immediate family. This was fine, because it's what I was comfortable with at the time. This go-round is a different story mainly because I have a 2 1/2 year old.
I still remember the moment my husband first saw me pumping. HA! Feeling a bit like a very unattractive Madonna, I had reached a point of no return. Now I'm pretty comfortable with it, pumping on the living room floor while I dress the toddler or chat on the phone with my mom. I've done it in cars (not attaching or detaching while driving, promise!), at work (that's another entry itself), while half asleep and contemplated doing it while walking the dog. (I didn't. I just thought about it. Multitasking at its finest).
Here's my compilation of breast feeding essentials. Often times, when I've gone to baby showers I've put together a small basket of some of these goodies - to be opened after the shower. Because, let's be serious, they're practical but not nearly as fun to open as cute onesies and stuffed animals. About half of them I didn't purchase until after Oliver was born (in 2011). Big mistake. Be forewarned - having some of these items (or all of them!) on hand will help considerably!
1. Shields. These can alleviate a lot of issues with nursing. Difficulty latching on or soreness (it happens!) being two of the major ones. Although I didn't need them with M, I used them regularly with Oliver for a few weeks until we both figured it out. I'd keep 4-6 of them on hand, and one in the diaper bag. I learned that the hard way!
2. A GOOD pump. The one pictured (Medela Freestyle Pump N Go) is the one that I have. Although the motor is a bit loud (meeeeeeeehp, meeeeeeehp) it's solid and has lasted for going on 17 months of use. I did replace the parts before M was born, but it still holds a charge and works well. WELL worth the investment.
3. Freezer storage bags. 7 weeks in, I've gone through one box already. They're pre-sterilized, easy to use and store well. Tip: label not only the quantity but the time of day. (Like the time I had to go through my stash searching for milk pumped after I ate Chinese food. That was fun.)
4. Quick clean steam bags. I use this every day (sometimes every other day) and they sterilize your pump parts after you've washed them with soap and water. Putting in enough water is important otherwise the parts get warped. I always lay mine out on a towel to dry once it's cooled down. (See below).
5. Wipes. I use these at work in between 'sessions'. Or at least I did last time. It's not like washing them fully, but it's better than nothing!
6. Lanolin. Just to have on hand to help with the soreness and scabs. Yes, I said scabs. It happens. (Before showering is a must.) I only needed them for a week or so...
7. Nursing pads. Some people might not need them. But if I even think about anything feeding-related, or hear a baby cry, or think about a baby crying they come in handy. Totally discreet, except for when you forget to take them out before going swimming. Oops!
8. Date-labeled bottle tops. These are AMAZING. I would slap one of these puppies onto a freshly pumped bottle and grin. You select the day of the week and time of day (AM, midday or PM) it was pumped and the guesswork is taken out of when to use it by! The U-shaped container is perfect for the fridge to find the oldest bottles first. Uh-mazing.
9. Nursing tank tops. Most of mine are from Target. I LIVED in them for 8 weeks with Oliver but have since resorted to 'normal' shirts because it's winter in CT, not spring in NC.
10. Nursing sports bra. (Motherhood maternity - here). It's not the most supportive, but it does the trick. When I run, I wear a regular heavy-duty sports bra and then take it off immediately after I'm done running.
Not pictured: Nice, comfortable nursing bras. Bought all of mine at Target. (Like this one here). I have one underwire one and try to avoid using it. Slightly uncomfortable.
Am I forgetting anything else?
Next post (not sure when): Pumping tips from a gal whose freezer looks like this:
(and whose bub has packed on 5lbs in 7 weeks)