Last year when I finished breastfeeding Ari I put together the following blog post that I felt could be helpful to other new moms. I wanted to re-post this today to keep it current and update some of the links that have changed. Enjoy!
Breastfeeding your child can be one of the most beautiful experiences imaginable, but it can also be horrifically painful. I knew going into my breastfeeding adventure 9 months ago that there would be a learning curve on my part and my daughter's, but I was still ill-prepared. Eventually we both figured out what we were doing, what worked for us and we survived! I am soooo glad that I stuck with it and that I was able to bond with Ari the way that I did. I have tried to share with all of my girlfriends any tips and/or tricks that I learned along the way. I then decided that I would post a blog on my experience and include a list of items that helped me. You can find most of these items at babies r us, Target and many other stores. I am simply listing the ones I found at target to give you an idea. I am not endorsing any one brand. Shop around and find what looks right for you. The links on here are just to put a picture with a description and idea on price.
1. Medela Disposable Nursing Bra Pads: These are simply pads that you stick inside of your bra or nursing top to prevent leakage onto your clothes. I only used these when i was going out of the house.
2. Medela Tender Care Lanolin: A sample of this was given to me at the hospital so I did not actually buy any. It was helpful and soothing. I later purchased this balm that I loved. Ari's face would be all shiny after nursing but I caked this stuff on. It really helped with any sort of chaffing and dryness just like chapstick for your lips but it looks like a glue stick : )
3. Medela Soft Shells for Sore Nipples: These were a nipple saver!! I was given different soothing gel pads but all they did was press my nipples back down and then Ari would have to pull them back out again. This was a painful process. By wearing these cups 24/7 my nipples could stay erect and I didn't have to worry about my clothes rubbing on them. They are just rounded shells that put a guard between your nipple and your clothes. They also collect any leaking milk. The one thing you have to be careful about is that you regularly empty the milk that leaks out during the day (I used a dropper) and then I would put the little sponges in there or strips of toilet paper wadded up in there at night. If not, you lean over a little and dump milk all over yourself (been there done that).
4. Medela Standard Contact Nipple Shield: I was given one of these in the hospital so I never purchased one. It was great! It is basically a nipple that you put over your nipple : ) So, when the baby is pulling and pulling you are not taking the brunt of the suction. This is not recommended for long term or frequent use as you and the baby need to become accustomed to the "natural" way but this was great when one nipple would be really sore but I didn't want Ari to skip feeding on that side, I would use this to give that breast a break.
5. Nursing Tank top: I lived in nursing tank tops while I was breastfeeding. There was no reason to NOT have one on. You are on call at all hours and it makes life so much simpler to be able to just whip one out at a time when necessary. Now this is not the exact top that I wore. I had a couple of different styles and colors as I was LIVING in them like I said so I needed a variety. The ones that just have a cut out when you pull the flap down were not as convenient to me as I felt like I was sliding the hole around to get it in the right spot. The ones that just expose you as soon as you pull down the flap are the best (in my opinion). They are easy access and easy one handed clean up.
Of course you will also likely want a breast pump, Boppy and an Udder Cover or some things like these but the above items are not always so obvious. If you have a girlfriend that is having a baby and plans on breastfeeding; the above is a nice starter kit. Like I said before. Breastfeeding was great and I am glad I did it but I will never forget the lessons that I learned and the issues I hope to avoid with baby number 2 (whenever that happens).