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It’s World Breastfeeding Week and nearly my nursiversary!
When I had Baby Bird, my goal was to nurse her for six months. It was the minimum recommendation of the World Health Organization and, with all the difficulties we experienced, I figured it was the best I’d be able to do.
But the six-month mark came and went, and Baby Bird and I kept going. Now I can honestly say I don’t know when our breastfeeding journey will end.
I’m leaving the decision in her tiny hands.
Determination played a huge part in us reaching this milestone, but several products were critical in getting us here, too.
- Nipple cream — Breastfeeding can be painful. For real. That’s especially true if your baby has a bad latch, as mine did. Having cracked, bleeding nipples while learning how to nurse is not what you need in your life. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter was a saving grace for me in the early days. It was recommended to me by a lactation consultant in the hospital, and it’s all I’ve ever used (I still use it as a lip balm for myself and Baby Bird).
- Nursing pads — My nipples became SUPER SENSITIVE after I started breastfeeding. Bras or water touching them, an overly air-conditioned room — all made me want to cry. I used Bamboobies washable nursing pads day and night until my nipples “toughened up.” The pads also do an awesome job of hiding leaks. Honestly, the early months of nursing would’ve sucked without these.
- Nursing bras — Underwire bras became the enemy when I started breastfeeding (clogged milk ducts are no joke). I purchased several nursing undergarments because I didn’t know any better, but you’d do just as well investing in some comfortable sports bras (i.e., nothing that compresses). Just make sure whatever you buy is good quality: You’ll be washing the bras frequently, and you don’t want the elastic to give out prematurely.
- Nursing pillow — I started my journey with a Boppy, which I loved, and moved to a My Brest Friend Deluxe as Baby Bird got bigger. The Boppy was perfect when my daughter was small and light (newborn to 5 months old), but once she gained a good bit of weight, its softness became a liability. We needed something that provided more support and stayed tight against my body. The My Brest Friend was perfect. Now, as we near the year mark, we don’t use anything. Baby Bird either sits across my lap and nurses, or we use the saddle position.
- Hot/cold packs — Your breasts can become engorged and sore when you nurse. Yes, you could plop a bag of frozen corn on your boob for some relief, but that could raise eyebrows when you run to the grocery store. I’d recommend Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy. The packs can be cooled to help with soreness and heated to alleviate plugged ducts. Bonus: Security at the grocery store won’t think you’re trying to steal frozen corn.
- Support — Before I found the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh, I turned to the Kelly Mom website for answers to my nursing questions. Support groups for nursing moms and your local La Leche League can also valuable resources.
It’s also important to have a support system. I was lucky to have a husband, parents, brother, aunts, and cousins who were impressed by my decision to breastfeed, and they provided encouragement when times got tough.
Having supporters makes the tough task of breastfeeding much easier, and it’ll prevent you from feeling the isolation that many nursing moms endure.
You can do this, I swear. And these essentials will help you do it.
I look forward to hearing about your nursiversary, mama!