January 16, 2013

The Breastfeeding Diaries Part 1: Getting Started

When I was pregnant with Hudson I had a lot of worries and anxiety about breastfeeding. Would it work? How would I know if he was getting enough? Would it hurt? How often would I have to feed him? The list went on and on. Part of my anxiety was due to the fact that it seemed like everywhere I went new moms were telling me how hard it was to breastfeed. And how tired they were. And how they gave up because it was too much work. 

So, I was scared.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my pregnant self to stop worrying. Yes, breastfeeding can be hard when you are first learning, but it gets easier. Yes, it's a huge responsibility. And yes, at first it hurt (just a little!).
But I can say with 100% confidence that 
it is worth it. 
The point of this series is to give soon-to-be moms and new moms an idea of how I made breastfeeding work for me and to discuss my journey of learning to breastfeed. I committed to breastfeeding and have been successful at it but I am NOT an expert. Furthermore, this is also a judgment free zone....and I mean it. I know firsthand how confusing and emotional breastfeeding can be. It is ridiculously hard at times to keep your baby fed and (mostly) happy, especially when you are a new mom. I believe that every mom is doing the best that she can for her baby, breastfeeding or not. Sometimes it doesn't work out no matter how hard you try. So the purpose of this series is not to make anyone feel bad. You are a good mom regardless of how you feed your baby! So please, if you don't have anything nice to say in the comment section please refrain from saying anything at all. Thank you. 

Okay, so let's get started.
My number one recommendation for moms who know they want to breastfeed is to do your research. First, attend a breastfeeding class. Most hospitals offer a birthing class, which is great, but they usually spend very little time on breastfeeding. The hospital we used also offered a separate breastfeeding class that I attended with my mom (my poor husband was traumatized from the birthing class, so we let him skip this one....however, if I had it to do all over again I would have skipped the birthing class and just attended the breastfeeding class. It's important for husbands to attend this class because they are most likely going to be your breastfeeding support system. They will be with you when you are struggling or upset and it is helpful for them to have some background knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding so that they can encourage you when you are feeling overwhelmed. My husband did some research and also read part of my breastfeeding book to make up for not attending the class! And don't worry husbands, the breastfeeding class is totally fine for men to attend.)

Second, start thinking about a support system. Most hospitals or even some pediatric offices offer a breastfeeding support group. Find out where there is one by you and write down the meeting times. Hudson's doctor's office has a lactation consultant on site to meet one-on-one or in groups with nursing moms. Take advantage of this service! I attended a support group meeting with the lactation consultant and it was wonderful! The lactation consultant will weigh your baby, watch you feed him/her, assist with your latch, and answer any questions you have. After you finish feeding they will weigh your baby again, which is great for new moms who wonder if their baby is getting enough....the lactation consultant will be able to tell you pretty accurately how many ounces baby is getting (and if that's enough for him/her). It really is encouraging to hear you are doing it right!

Okay, now for the breastfeeding supplies I recommend for every new mom. Did you know that breastfeeding supplies are tax deductible? So keep your receipts ladies!
Breastfeeding: Getting Started

1. The Nursing Mother's Companion is a great book to read when you are pregnant. This book is very comprehensive but it helped me mentally prepare and understand the importance of putting your baby to the breast frequently during those first few days. By frequently I mean you should make 10-12 attempts (or more!) at feeding within a 24 hour period. (And yes, that seems like a TON, but it was accurate!). I'll talk more about my first few days of breastfeeding in part 2 of this series next week.

2. A breastfeeding pillow is a must! You'll need something to help you support your baby, especially when you are first learning to breastfeed or if you had a c-section like me! I use the Boppy but I know some people prefer My Breast Friend. Test them out at the store to see which one you like better. I chose the Boppy because it was simple to use and could be used later to prop up the baby or help him sit. Plus, sometimes my husband uses the Boppy while he feeds Hudson...and there is no way he would have used something called the "breast friend." But to each their own!

3. Comfortable nursing bras. For those first few weeks you'll want a nursing bra that doesn't have padding or underwire. You'll be wearing them a lot so be sure to invest in something that is comfortable! I really like these by Gillian & O'Malley at Target.

4. Nursing Pads. You'll leak all over the place the first few weeks....and months. Trust me on this one. These are great because you can throw them away. They were a little bulky on me so sometimes I cut them in half! I think the next time I have a baby I'll ask my mom to make me some washable ones out of flannel.

5. Soothies Gel Pads are like heaven on your sore nips. Buy just a few pairs...you won't need them after the first month...in fact I think I only used two pairs.

6. You'll also need some nursing tank tops. I bought these Gillian & O'Malley at Target  tanks in several colors. They are great to wear by themselves or under a sweater for discrete nursing sessions. I found that after a few weeks of constantly wearing a bra or nursing tank top my skin was getting irritated. I'm not sure if this happens to everyone but I have super sensitive skin. I ended up wearing my regular Old Navy tank tops at night. They are stretchy and just tight enough to provide a little support  without any elastic digging in to my skin.

7. Lansinoh Lanolin cream is a must have! I used this for the first 4 weeks and it helped me avoid chapped and cracked nips! And it feels awesome. 

8. A nursing cover. This one isn't something everyone must have, but it does come in handy when you need to nurse the baby and have visitors. Or if you have to nurse your baby in the car (like I have!). 

9. And finally you need a good double breastpump. The Medela Pump in Style Advanced seems to be the most popular pump...and for a good reason! It comes in a tote bag so it's easy to take to work. Plus, once you learn what you are doing it is easy to use. You'll want to at least familiarize yourself with your pump before you have your baby just in case something happens and you are not able to nurse him/her right away. I didn't bust out my pump until Hudson was 4 weeks old because I figured I would forget how to use it....but that's just me.

So that wraps up my first breastfeeding post. I absolutely love breastfeeding and hope this series will encourage new moms to try breastfeeding and stick with it! Next week I'll talk about what breastfeeding was really like the first few days. In the meantime, I would be happy to answer (to the best of my ability!) any questions you may have!

25 comments:

Christina said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I am expecting and a little overwhelmed with all the information needed and just trying to figure out everything and this post was soo helpful! Can't wait to see the next one!

KRISTIN said...

This is amazing! I had a really hard time getting going with breastfeeding but I REFUSED to give up. This was so important to me and I'm so glad I stuck with it! It took 6 frickin' weeks before we had it down and it didn't hurt (I had some extra circumstances that set us back), but I agree that it is totally worth it. and I 100% agree that a breastfeeding class is crucial and that the hubbys should be there, I let Jason skip it too and I wish so badly he knew what was going on when I was having such a hard time. Again, fabulous post! Can't wait to read more. :)

melissa said...

What a great post! I'm sure this will be helpful to so many moms. I loved those Target nursing bras too. In fact, I hated to go back to "regular" underwire bras when I was done nursing because they were so comfortable!

Leah said...

Great post! I agree with all your musts. I had no idea that supplies were tax refundable, thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

thank you so much for posting this! i am expecting a little boy in june, and i definitely plan on breastfeeding him, hopefully exclusively for the first 6 months. we are going to be registering soon, and i'm glad to see that you recommended some of the same things as my breastfeeding friends! i need to check out the gillian and o'malleys bras and tanks. thanks again!

Samantha baney said...

breastfed my first and i agree with 100% of this! my next is due in march and i plan to do the same! great post!

natasha {schue love} said...

Awesome post! And agree with all the products that you recommended! And I WISH I knew the breastfeeding supplies are tax deductible!!!

Carolyn said...

This is an amazing post! When I have kiddos someday, I'll definitely be going back to it! :)

Lobster Meets Peach said...

Awesome post!!! I could not agree more, breastfeeding is 100% worth the work. Just wish that I knew all the supplies where tax deductible:)

Mrs. K said...

Great post! As an expecting mommy I too am having Breast feeding anxiety! What I am mostly anxious about is breast feeding while going back to work. I hope you cover that at some point. Would love to get your thoughts on how its been for you!

XOXO Jenn said...

Good post, Julie! I was so glad I read up on breast feeding before I started and definitely took advantage of the lactation consultants at the hospital for several weeks after I have birth. Thanks for letting new moms know it can be difficult, but it's not impossible (for most). At 11 1/2 months pp I'm still going strong!

Anonymous said...

[p](ugg outlet store) The UGG snow ground boot which is called Women's Bailey [url=http://www.uggclassicsshort.co.uk]ugg classic short boots[/url] Button Triplet 1873 Sand by people is a famous band . The trail to this ending? Freelance, location-independent [url=http://www.uggclassictallboot.co.uk]ugg classic tall boots[/url] high-ticket profits . Examples from this layout include Radio Button controls or other controls that happen to be used in Form containers . Each boot contains a sheepskin sock [url=http://www.uggbootstort4u.co.uk]ugg boots uk[/url] to wick moisture away, and a rugged yet flexible lightweight outsole . Bigger [url=http://www.uggbaileybutton4u.co.uk]ugg bailey button boots[/url] Order, Bigger Dicount . You can wear Nike latest and most high-quality [url=http://www.uggbootsaledic.co.uk]ugg boot sale clearance[/url] sportswear products in the car . Unique Events: This really [url=http://www.uggoutletforuk.co.uk]cheap uggs for sale[/url] is your own much more elegant as well as stylish kind of isabel marant franceisabel marant sneakersthat隆炉s bought or even selected having a Special day in your mind like a stylish social gathering, wedding ceremonies, a unique day or simply the warm evening around town, typically the most popular because been something along with pumps for example gorgeous as well as glittery ladies flip flops or even sends, attractive stilettos as well as ladies style footwear . If you want to learn more [url=http://www.uggbootsugg4u.co.uk]ugg boots uk[/url] information about the shoes, please click here: http://www.[/p]

Chelsea @ two twenty one said...

Great post! Pinning for later. ;)

Shay said...

Oh, how I wish I would have had this when I was pregnant! I felt like I was adequately prepared for all breastfeeding entailed but I was so wrong! My best friend is my hooter hider now:-)

Megan. OneFifteenDanville. said...

Thank you for posting this. It's just the encouragement I needed. My baby is 9 days old, we've had issues latching, started using a nipple shield, as as of 3 days ago successfully weaned off of it. I am going to take advantage of the resources at my hospital just to make sure we are on the right track. I love Breastfeeding and that special time with my girl and thank goodness we haven't had to supplement at all.
Boppy and Gillian o malley bras really are THAT awesome!

Sara said...

The the series and all the items you recommend. My baby is 11 months and has been breastfed the whole time. Wish I had known about the IRS deduction! Also, thanks for sharing about the lactation consultants. My son went on a nursing strike when he was 5 months old and the lactation consultants were a great help with getting through it and back to nursing!

Anonymous said...

dating a newly divorced woman http://loveepicentre.com/taketour.php rules for dating women

Kristen @ All In My Twenties said...

I dont have a baby so Im sure youre wondering why Im even commenting, but I have to tell you THANK YOU FOR SAYING NO MATTER HOW YOU FEED YOUR BABY, YOU ARE A GOOD MOM! I have witnessed women get so vicious on this subject and I personally know friends who have had BREAKDOWNS over breastfeeding because others around them were judgemental when they didnt know their circumstances! In my book, if you feed your baby and they are healthy and happy YOU ARE RIGHT IN GOD'S EYES!! So happy this is working so well for you! That babe is adorable!! You already know this cause I tell you all the time! XOXO Kristen

Anonymous said...

have addressed this problem by [url=http://www.onleyoulouboutin.com]louboutin boots[/url] Both OCD and Pure O are symptoms of an [url=http://www.onlyyoucom.com]アグ ブーツ[/url] cases Any such connector that you purchase [url=http://www.jppie.com]UGG ブーツ正規品の通販サイト[/url] unit Coffman starter Hydraulic system Ice [url=http://www.antjp.com]モンクレール ダウン[/url] have addressed this problem by [url=http://www.onlyyoucom.com]ugg ブーツ 激安[/url] lantern are intricately carved to make [url=http://www.salevivi.com]ルイヴィトンのアウトレット[/url] have greater uric acid levels to start with [url=http://www.antjp.com]モンクレールレディースコート[/url] is completely destroyed only to be replaced [url=http://www.jppie.com]ugg 正規[/url] on the right track Want a good logo design [url=http://www.outletluxury.com]モンクレール アウトレット[/url] extracts that relieves swelling and pain [url=http://www.jppie.com/]http://www.jppie.com/[/url] HD4170 Coil Inserter The HD 4170 coil
cautions that are not necessarily [url=http://www.salevivi.com]ヴィトン バッグ[/url] mobile termed J Butterfly a few weeks before [url=http://www.sheepskin2013.com]Christian Louboutin shoes[/url] creating new social networksemail accounts [url=http://www.onleyoulouboutin.com]louboutin shoes[/url] change of life Overall males get gout more [url=http://www.outletluxury.com]モンクレール 通販[/url] Most companies will match the paycheck [url=http://www.onleyoulouboutin.com]louboutin shoes[/url] his second WSOP bracelet he said ny time you [url=http://www.outletluxury.com]モンクレール アウトレット[/url] audible alert will accompany them These [url=http://www.salevivi.com]ルイヴィトンのアウトレット[/url] really challenging There were so many tough [url=http://www.buynewcom.com]ugg ブーツ[/url] looking into This small-scale 401k may [url=http://www.antjp.com]2012モンクレールキッズ[/url] Eventhe said In the aircraft industry [url=http://www.jpsheepskin.com]http://www.jpsheepskin.com[/url] Flash file for J Butterfly converter Hence

Sheila Lynn said...

Thank you for your post. I am expecting a little one in June and this has helped me with all of my questions. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

bev said...

Nice post and wonderful of you to offer support to new breastfeeding mothers. Most mothers (75-95%) choose to breastfeed but unfortunately often do not get adequate assistance and support from doctors, nurses, families and society in general. Successful breastfeeding mothers frequently provide the most encouragement and practical support to other mothers.
I'm proud of you!

Britt @ The Magnolia Pair said...

I am SO glad you posted this! I feel like a rockstar for registering for all of the supplies you listed before I read your post. It was so assuring reading your tips and knowing that what you did/used worked. So helpful Julie!! Now I need to invest in that book :)
My class is next week so I am pretty excited!

Julie P said...

I'm a little late reading this, but stumbled upon it, and what great advice! I'm 16 weeks pregnant with TRIPLETS and plan on breastfeeding as long as I can. I know its going to be exhausting with 3 babies but I think being prepared is the best step that I can take. So thanks for putting this series together to help prepare future Moms!

Kristen said...

i'm really looking forward to these series and thank you so much for your honesty! breastfeeding is really important to me and i want to hear/know everything i can to be prepared. i know it's very time consuming and tiring to start, but for me, i think the benefits will pay off if it works.

April said...

Thank you so much for these breastfeeding posts! I'm expecting my first in October and I'm determined to nurse and I've also been scared. But your posts give encouragement-keep them coming! :)

Blogging tips