Family: Breastfeeding supplies

Hi friends! I got a request to write about breastfeeding supplies, so I thought I’d post some of my faves in case you are looking to set up your arsenal, or if you have any tips/ideas to share!

I’m not really going crazy with a bunch of breastfeeding gear/stuff for baby #2 for a couple of reasons:

1) you don’t really need a lot to breastfeed, which is a huge part of its magic! Insert boob, done.

2) With supply issues, I didn’t have the best luck last time, and if it doesn’t work out after a solid try, we’ll switch to formula. Livi switched to formula at around 6 months, and she is thriving, healthy and happy. Switching to formula also it ended a lot of the stress and sadness I felt surrounding the need to exclusively pump. 

As far as the first one goes, there are a few tools that can make things a little bit more convenient.

Breastfeeding supplies

The first one is a comfortable breastfeeding pillow. Last time, we used the Boppy for a while, but Liv would slip into the hole between the Boppy and myself. We switched to the Brest Friend, which we really liked. Ergo recently came out with a new breastfeeding pillow, which I would love to try for baby #2. It’s kind of pricey, so I washed the Boppy (the styrofoam inside of the Brest Friend is toast so that one isn’t happening), and am going to see if the Ergo is worth picking up. 

Ergo breastfeeding pillow

Next one is nipple cream. I used the Motherlove last time and really liked it. We didn’t have a fantastic latch though, so there was still a lot of initial pain and cracking. 

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Something else I think can help a ton is a great breast pump, especially if you’re going back to work full or part-time. This was the main reason why I was able to still give Liv breastmilk for about 6 months even though breastfeeding wasn’t super successful for us. I exclusively pumped for a loonnnnnng time (and used this snazzy Lady Gaga-eqsque hands-free bra), and am thankful that it enabled me to give her breastmilk. At the same time, whenever I would hear the womp-wommmmmp womp-wommmmp of the pump, my toes would curl a little bit. 

MPNSA001 02

Nursing bras and tank tops are pretty awesome, too. I picked up a few inexpensive nursing bras from Target and loved them. (I just browsed around on the Target site and they’ve really upped their game since I had Liv! So many comfy and cute options.) The Bravado nursing tanks are perfect layered under clothes, especially for fall/winter babies when the weather is a bit cooler. I found one while I was sorting through Liv’s baby stuff and was stoked. I’ll probably pick up a black or dark brown one in the next month or so.

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A group support group or consultant can work wonders, too. We had someone from Mama’s Latte come to our house when Liv was a couple of days old, and while she was super knowledgeable, she wasn’t a ton of help in our particular situation. (I really think this is my fault because I was “mmm-hmmm”-ing and nodding and my sleep-deprived zombie state flushed a majority of what she said out my brain.) Looking back, I wish I would have called another lactation consultant or sought the help of La Leche League. Even though breastfeeding is supposed to be “natural and beautiful,” for a lot of women, it can also be extremely challenging. This time, I have the numbers of a few reputable consultants who may be able to help us get off to a good start! I’m also hopeful that it will be easier with #2, because you’re more used to the positions and ideas behind it, and I’ve heard that supply increases with each baby. (Many of you have told me that, too, which has been awesome to hear!!) I bought a breastfeeding scarf while we were in Arkansas, and figured I could at least wear it as a cute scarf if it doesn’t serve it’s original purpose. 😉

A positive attitude with flexibility and acceptance is the last one. I felt so defeated last time, and was really hard on myself about it. Over time, I realized that I really was doing the best I could, and I was still feeding my baby, whether it was through breastmilk or formula. In other words, her tummy was full, she was growing, healthy, happy at loved; all that really matters. This time I’m going to do the best I can, seek out help, and if it doesn’t work, I’m probably not going to do the pumping circus. I think it will be too much to be chasing Liv around + caring for a baby + attached to the pump all day. 

While I was pumping, I also took fenugreek and blessed thistle, and ate foods that help to promote a good supply. Here’s a recipe for my favorite lactation cookies!

Lactation cookies

This week is world breastfeeding week, and I wanted to say cheers to all of you mamas out there working hard to feed and take care of your babies. <3

Are there any things you used to help with breastfeeding? Any advice you found particularly helpful, especially with a second baby? I’m finishing up the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and have really enjoyed it. I wish I would have read it last time!

xoxo

More + some blasts from the past:

Liv’s 6 month update

Adventures in breastfeeding

Our first weekend home with Liv

Snoozing on the job

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Comments

  1. Your take on breastfeeding and pumping was exactly what I needed to read right now. I have a 1 month old that I wasn’t able to get to latch and I’ve been pumping and hating it. I’m slowly weaning myself from the pump and have been feeling guilty, but I think it will be the best for our family. Our pediatrician made me feel guilty about this decision even though everyone else in my life has been incredibly supportive. Thank you!

    • Fitnessista says:

      this hit so close to my heart. i know exactly how you feel and it is TOUGH. kudos to you for sticking it out for a while, but also for making the smart choice for you <3 i felt such a sense of relief when i stopped the pumping circus, because it was really affecting me
      lots of love to you!

    • I know exactly how you feel! I gave up trying to breastfeed with cracked, bleeding nipples when my daughter was 6-days old. Then I pumped exclusively until she was about 8-weeks (I returned to work at 10-weeks). I had a huge amount of guilt for stopping because I had an abundant supply for her, but I wasn’t happy and in-turn neither was my husband. We started mixing in formula to her bottles and did 1/2, 1/2 until I ran out of frozen BM right after she turned 5-months old. Formula also did wonders for her as she was a little gassy and fidgety and once we introduced it she just settled down and smiled non-stop! Now she’s 6-1/2 months and such a wonderful, happy little girl. It truly was the best decision for us — but the guilt never goes away. Darnit! Follow your gut (and maybe find a new pediatrician?).

    • You do what’s best for YOU. Yes the baby benefits from BF, but it has to work for the whole family. Also a month of breastmilk is great for your baby–so many benefits already. If you find that you enjoy your baby and this newborn stage more doing bottles and/or formula, go for it. My mother in law always says, “look at all of these people walking around in the world, and no one cares who was breastfed and who wasn’t.” Also I would find another pediatrician

  2. I’m reading the womanly art of breastfeeding too! 🙂 i didn’t know how much of an effect a natural childbirth can have on breastfeeding.

    • Fitnessista says:

      yes, it’s very interesting! it’s also a huge reason why i hope we can go intervention-free again because i’m hoping breastfeeding works out with #2

  3. Hi Gina,
    Cloth diapers – I also posted this on your other post from today, but thought it might be good to write it here as well since it’s got less comments, and I’d hate for you to skip over me! So sorry, I definitely don’t want to clog up your comments, just want to make sure we can connect. 🙂

    I have been a long time reader of yours and live in San Diego, I read that you are wanting to sell your cloth diapers and I am 16 weeks pregnant with my first and am looking for cloth diapers, so I would LOVE to get them from YOU! Would you please email me, then I will get you my number (or you can provide yours, what ever works best for you!) and we can figure it out?! I would email you directly, but don’t have a direct email for you. Thank you so much!
    Casey

  4. Tip: Before the latch, use your index finger or thumb to gently press on the baby’s chin to open their mouth up WIDE, BEFORE LATCHING. The wider the better latch. The baby should have most of your areola in its mouth. If the baby has only your nipple, break the latch by gently pulling on the corner of her mouth, to avoid pain for you.

    **Latch is KEY. It’s everything. Keep breaking the latch, until its perfect and doesn’t hurt. A correct latch WONT HURT. In a pinch nipple shields are a godsend, to temporarily relieve soreness. Good luck!

    • I second the nipple shield! I have flat nipples, and had no support group, and my last resort was the nipple shield, which allowed me to tolerate breastfeeding both my babies for 10+ months each! 🙂

      • Christine says:

        Yes! Nipple shield nipple shield nipple shield!!!! I saw FOUR lactation consultants in the first 7 days of my sons life because we were struggling so bad. The last one put a finger in his mouth and said he had a high pallet and I had sloped nipples. It’s hard to tell but if you look closely you can tell. He needed a ton of boob in his mouth to get a proper latch. We used the nipple shield to help things along (and it minimizes pain) and it was a godsend. She said not to use too long or too often because it can reduce supply as they aren’t getting as good of a latch but it was something. I also wasn’t fast enough when he opened his mouth – she literally threw him at my boob, I thought his neck would break. But she was like girl, you have got to be fast to get that latch! My husband called it the hungry, hungry hippo – that’s exactly what it looked like.

        Another thing she had us try was putting some milk in a bottle. Sit him up, have him take 8 sucks only (count them – they go fast!) then remove bottle and try to latch him. After a few tries if he isn’t latched, sit him up, take 8 sucks, then try again, repeat. This helped take the edge off his hunger (but didn’t allow him to get full) and that way he wouldn’t get worked up and too frantic to latch. It gave him a little something to help calm and soothe him and then try again since we were both calm.

        With all of that (I truly thought it was not going to happen for us) I ended up nursing him until 15 months. I couldn’t believe it.

        Good luck!!! Your outlook is great and is similar to what the lactation consultant said to me. Your job is to bond and provide nutrition. Nutrition can come from you or formula. If you are too stressed due to BFing to bond, then you need to take a step back and think about what will give you and your baby the best chance to bond. If you are both frustrated and crying – something needs to change.

        Congrats!

  5. Thanks for the info! I’m planning on breast feeding my little one and have no idea how it will go. I’m kind of scared but I’m sure it becomes natural once the baby is here 🙂

  6. Look into laid back/reclining breastfeeding vs trying the standard positions. LLL will be familiar with this approach! http://www.llli.org/btissue5pg04

  7. Ameda gel soothies were more of a life saver than nipple cream for me. They are like a cool soft blister pad for your boobs, I don’t think I would have been able to make it past the first 2 weeks without them!

    Another thing I recommend is the book “Unbuttoned.” It is a compilation of short personal essays about breastfeeding, both successfully and unsuccessfully. It is touching, funny, and (not sure if this was planned or not) each story takes about the length of a nursing session to read 😉

  8. I breastfed my first for 11 months and my second for 12 months (while working full time- so very familiar with my breast pump too!) best advice I ever heard was to give it 6 weeks. Just because breastfeeding is natural doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes 6 weeks of solid effort and then something just “clicks”. Also- I loved my “my breast friend” pillow with my first but didn’t use a nursing pillow at all with my second. Was easier to grab a throw pillow for support if I needed it when I had a two year old to chase after while breastfeeding my infant. Good luck and good attitude!

  9. Thanks for posting this Gina! My one month old never latched, and I have supply issues despite taking fenugreek, having bloodwork done, etc. Your view is refreshing and although I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded with those who share it (my husband and doctors) the guilt is overwhelming. I’m finally getting to the point where I’m moving past it; he is healthy and happy and I will continue to pump even the littlest amount I get for as long as I can. Wishing you the best of luck with #2!

  10. amelia@i_heart_kale says:

    I’m hitting the start of 9 months with my daughter Caroline now. I exclusively breastfed her for the first 5 months, then she became incredibly distracted while eating and I’d always have to feed her in a dark nursery with white noise. I ended up switching to pumping and her only feeding by breast 1x per day. Now I exclusively pumping & she hasn’t breastfed directly since May.
    We never had latch/supply issues & had an amazing lactation consultant. The point of me sharing this isn’t to brag, but to let you know that you can email me/pm me on instagram at any time for tips/advice when it comes time, if needed. I’ll even whip you up a giant batch of those lactation cookies and send them your way. My house is always stocked with the ingredients!! Gluten free and all.
    Can’t wait for your little one to arrive. So close!

  11. Christy L. says:

    These nursing tanks were a HUGE staple while nursing. They snap for nursing and also are for hands-free pumping. They also had plenty of support. I recommend them to anyone planning to nurse/pump. http://www.amazon.com/Full-Coverage-Hands-Free-Pumping-Nursing/dp/B008K467QO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1438743964&sr=8-2&keywords=nursing+pumping+tank

    Also, I LOVED these nursing cardigans. They have a button on each side so you can button it to double as a cover-up. They also looked pretty cute while they weren’t buttoned. I had a few covers, but I wound up only using these cardigans. They are awesome for someone who isn’t quite comfortable nursing without a cover. http://www.motherhood.com/Product.asp?Product_Id=943470571&MasterCategory_Id=MC28

  12. I just got done nursing my 18 month old. He actually latched incorrectly at first and I had bloody sore nipples for the first few weeks but I pushed through and it became so easy that I just kept going and he loved it. I think my biggest advice would be to relax, trust your body, eat enough, and drink a ton of water! If it’s something you really want to do, you can find a way – utilize all the great resources and support available to you. Good luck!

  13. My second son was born about two weeks ago and by some small miracle he latched on from the first try (my first son didn’t) and breastfeeding has been fairly easy, plus I produce a ton of milk. BUT, I have to have c-sections despite my valiant attempts at birthing prevention free. I think no matter what we are all so different and it’s okay. I had a really hard time accepting the c-section thing until I realized it’s okay. No matter what I just want to, like you said, make sure my baby is fed, healthy, happy and loved.

  14. Christine says:

    I had a very similar situation with my first – awful latch so slow weight gain. We ended up supplementing and then I moved to pumping because his latch never improved. I ended up pumping until about 5 months and then moved completely over to formula.

    My daughter has been a completely different situation. She latched by herself right away and we’re still going strong at 8 months. Not to say it wasn’t ever a struggle, but just wanted to let you know that every baby is different so I hope you have the experience you’re hoping for! I went in with the same attitude that if this didn’t work again, I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it. I really believe that putting less stress on myself did wonders.

  15. Don’t forget, call your insurance company and ask if you qualify for a free breast pump. Many, many insurance plans are required to offer free rental pumps or a free pump to keep under the Affordable Care Act.

    It’s totally worth giving it a shot-mine covered a Medela!

  16. Love this. I am still nursing my 15 month old and he obviously doesn’t need much equipment anymore. but I DID get these awesome big circles that you put in the freezer and on to your boobs when you’re engorged. There’s a circle in the middle to let out your nipple so it doesn’t freeze off, but htey were awesome that first week when everything was setting. With my next I definitely want to try a different nursing pillow since my son slipped through the middle too – I ended up having to use the Boppy on top of another pillow.

  17. I am definitely hoping for a smooth breastfeeding experience, but I know one way or another it will work out.

  18. Along the lines of nipple cream (a sentence I never thought I would type) if you have nipple damage again you should ask for a prescription for APNO cream. It’s a miracle! Healed mine in less than 24 hours and is safe for baby. It was the only reason I could get off the nipple shield. Best of luck!

  19. Are you going to drink Shakeology while you are breastfeeding?

  20. How do you know if you have flat nipples?! Ha. I really love your perspective on this and I hope I can be as forgiving to myself if I have trouble breastfeeding my gal next month! Is pumping really that horrible or mostly just time consuming?

    • Fitnessista says:

      it’s horrible and time consuming haha. (it’s really not that bad, but since i had to do it so often i was just over it)
      as far as the flat nipple thing goes.. there’s always google images 😉 (i’m too afraid to look)

  21. Like you I’m hoping to breastfeed some day but if it doesn’t work I’m not going to stress myself about it. A fed baby is a happy baby!

  22. Dominique says:

    I had supply issues with my first one but no problems with my second. Good luck.

  23. Nowadays you can get a free Bewb pump through your insurance….for each pregnancy! Yay!

    Had my 1st baby in March and so grateful that breastfeeding is still going strong! But we all have to do what’s best for our little humans and our lifestyles! Great attitude and so happy for your growing familia!

  24. Thanks for this! I really hope your nursing experience will be better with #2!

    Breastfeeding is something I worry about too as so many moms struggle with it. I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my first baby, and I just went to my first La Leche League meeting today (they welcome pregnant women too!) and loved it. l will definitely keep going to their meetings after giving birth as well. It was wonderful to see so many moms sharing their issues, supporting each other and giving each other tips. Many of them highly recommended using lactation consultants as an invaluable resource. My doula also recommended the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”, and I have that waiting on the bookshelf 🙂

    And remember to call your insurance for a breast pump. I have Cigna and it’s 100% covered!

  25. With my second he had severe reflux and couldn’t feed well but I pumped for 6 months. HIGHLY recommend renting a hospital grade pump. It makes pumping so much easier. I rented two — one for work and one from home and it was money well spent. I am pregnant with my third baby now and even though I didn’t have any supply issues the first two times, I am still nervous. I breastfeed my first for almost 10 months and only made it 6 months for my second. We all do the best we can!

  26. #1 breastfeeding tip – follow the milk meg on Facebook.

  27. Your posts about your struggles with breastfeeding really helped me when I had to supplement. It’s so easy when your a new mom to get obsessed with only doing the thing that’s the absolute best thing and sometimes that involves giving formula whether because you just can’t make enough milk or for everyone’s sanity.
    Hope it’s much easier for you this time around!

  28. As I commented above, I did not succeed with breastfeeding but exclusively pumped until my daughter was 8-weeks old. I made more than twice what she ate a day (I froze an additional 40oz every day). It was nuts! I had enough to get her mixed bottles until she was 5-months old. Anyway, I obviously don’t know what contributed to my supply but the one thing I did besides just eat and drink water was having my placenta encapsulated. I read about it on HTP [http://www.healthytippingpoint.com/ ] and learned about all the positive benefits.. so I gave it a whirl.
    Best of luck to you!

    • Fitnessista says:

      do you know if they mixed any herbs with your placenta when they encapsulated it? i’m researching that now. i had mine done with liv, but i’m pretty sure it was plain

      • No herbs as she does not have a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I read on her website: *Please note – unless the encapsulationist has a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is the proper name for most placenta preparation methods using steam (The Basic Heated Method)! Be wary of anyone that is adding things to the placenta! This includes herbs, teas, and food such as lemon, pepper, and ginger (which they should not be handling without a legal catering license and formal training in herbal interactions/preparations!!!)
        I’m sure you have much more options in SD than we do in Iowa 🙂

  29. Hi Gina,
    My son was two weeks early so it took about 4 full days before my milk came in. I had an awesome Lactation Nurse and she recommended the Herb Fenugreek to help bring in my milk supply. It helped quite immensely along with Pumping after each feeding. (the more you pump the more milk comes in). She is part of the La Leche League as well. She hosts a Nursing group every week and I am so happy she encouraged me to go. It was so helpful and I also met 6 wonderful girl friends there. Our babies (now Toddlers) are all within a week apart and we still keep in touch on a regular basis thru phone chats.
    I hope this time around goes well for you.

  30. For those that don’t know. Per obamacare (ACA), breast pumps are free through your insurance. 100% paid but can’t be purchased retail — must call your insurance co. A great benefit! Save your money and share the news!

  31. I swear…I miss a few days of your blog and I feel like I missed all the fun (including the giveaway..bummer!)

    You have such a lovely spirit…I love your honesty and positivity! I just forwarded this post to my friend who’s prego with her first..! It’s nice to hear your perspective on this topic with your second….it’s tough when mamas beat up on themselves for things that are beyond their control.

    Hopefully, things will be better this time…and if not…your plan B is just as awesome!

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