10 Breastfeeding Essentials You Need to Succeed
When The Munchkin was born it was never a question of whether I would breastfeed or not. Breastfeeding was the norm for me. My cousins did it, my aunts did it, my friends did it – that’s just how babies were fed.
I was quite surprised to learn that it wasn’t like this for everyone but c’est la vie and each to her own. I’ve done both so I have no opinion if you breast or formula feed from the beginning. The Munchkin eventually went over to formula at 6 months when I went back to work and I just wasn’t producing enough milk for his needs.
Anyway, going in the first time I had no real idea what to expect. I mean, working for Parent24 for 5 years meant that I had a wealth of book knowledge but something like breastfeeding and parenting in general, you kinda only really learn on the job.
So when the nurses told me I needed nipple shields right from the start, I believed them. When they pressurised me into topping up with formula because he wasn’t getting enough, I believed them. One nurse said he was getting enough, the next one on shift said he wasn’t. And what did I know? So I just did what they advised thinking they had far more experience with this whole thing than I did.
This time around I’m a bit more prepared. I’m still concerned about getting the latch right because it’s been 2 and a half years since I’ve last had to do this breastfeeding thing.
Breastfeeding is such a subjective experience, I think. What works for me or what makes it easier for me, might not work for you. But here’s what I’ve gathered to make my breastfeeding journey a bit easier this time around:
Join La Leche League SA on FB
When The Munchkin was born Facebook Groups were not a big thing. All I had was the Baby Centre forums but they were UK based. Things have changed so much in 3 years and now there are so many great support groups on Facebook.
The La Leche League SA Facebook Group is a good place to get help if you’re having any breastfeeding woes and also encouragement on those days when it’s hard. Because it really isn’t easy in the beginning. Lots of moms tend to give up in those first few weeks because it’s not as easy as we’re led to believe, but with the right support and information you can make it happen!
And if not, at least you know you tried your best. Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like less of a mother because you decided to formula feed – happy mommy means happy baby.
Peek-a-Moo Breastfeeding Tops
Firstly… lol at udderccino. I am easily amused. Anyway!
The one thing that made things hella awkward when going out with a baby that was breastfeeding, and trying to find breastfeeding friendly clothes. Even when home, I HATE button down tops because they eventually tend to unbutton themselves when you didn’t ask them to. And also, it’s just a las.
So I got a couple of these breastfeeding tops from Peek-a-Moo. Just lift the flap for easy access. What I like about t-shirts is that you can dress them up or down, easy peasy.
You can check out the Peek-a-Moo website for the prices on all their breastfeeding friendly clothing.
Speaking of easy access, nursing bras are an obvious thing to be on this list. I really liked the look and idea of the Carriwell Seamless Gelwire nursing bras, they look really nice (which nursing bras often lack) and they give support without having the underwire having the potential to block your milk ducts (not lekker).
But y’all, I can’t justify paying R630 for ONE bra. I need more than just one! I mean leaky boobs, milk stains and also well, bras need washing don’t they?
So I’ve gotten a few nursing bras from good old Woolies because they’re the best I’ve found at a reasonable price.
Reusable Breast Pads
And speaking of leaky boobs, you’re going to need some breast pads. With The Munchkin I bought copious amounts of disposable breast pads but that was before I crossed over to cloth nappies and discovered that other cloth mamas were using reusable breast pads.
I’m getting some from Pokkelokkie because while you do get pretty ones (like the gorgeous ones from LuLi&Co), no one’s going to see them but me.
You can get them on the Pokkelokkie store:it’s R60 for one pair and a set of 3 with a bag for R190. Check out the site to see all the options.
Purelan or Lasinoh Nipple Cream:
These two nipple creams are pure lanolin which really helps cracked and sore nipples. I find either one of these work well so whichever one is cheapest in store or whichever one they have available is fine. And while it is a bit pricey, a little goes a long way and the big Purelan lasted me for my entire (albeit very short) 6 month breastfeeding journey. I would apply after every feed and in between when needed. Another reason you’d need breast pads because you don’t want your bras getting sticky. It’s also safe for baby so you don’t need to wipe it off before feeding.
Aside from getting ridiculously thirsty when breastfeeding, drinking water will actually help keep up your milk supply.
I find that I drink more water when I have a straw so I got this 1 Litre bottle from Typo with a Z on in case I forget who I am which is 100% likely to happen.
Nummies for Mummies and Carmién Nursing Tea
So I haven’t tried these yet but I’m adding them to my arsenal in the hopes that it will help with my supply this time around.
Nummies for Mummies is a granola snack that’s not only healthy but claims to help with milk production. Aside from getting really thirsty, breastfeeding makes you so ravenously hungry.
So having healthy snacks on hand is a big must have for me because otherwise I end up eating all the chips, biscuits and anything I can get hands on to be honest. Just stuffing my face constantly. It’s not pretty. Ingredients include: organic coconut oil, wheat free rolled oats, dates, honey, assorted seeds, assorted nuts, Brewer’s yeast and flaxseed.
You can buy Lactation Granola from The Mummary: R60 for 300g, R115 for 600g and R190 for 1kg.
I struck it lucky when I came across Carmién’s nursing tea. I had been eyeing the nursing tea from Secrets of Tea but that was too damn expensive at R350 a tin. Guys, Carmién’s nursing tea is R26 for 20 tea bags.
I was really glad I came across this tea because I was not a great fan of Jungle Juice. It was unnecessarily sweet, I had to buy a bunch of ingredients and make it in large batches. Not only is it easier to just pour water on a tea bag but I can just make one cup at a time and it won’t go to waste. Will it probably get cold because I’ll have a newborn to contend with? Very likely. But that’s what microwaves are for or I can just pretend it’s iced tea.
Bonus, it has fennel in it which helps with baby’s burping. it also has a vanilla flavouring so it shouldn’t taste like ass.
In the early newborn days a feeding pillow was any essential for me while recovering from a C-section. Now you don’t NEED this. Many moms are able to breastfeed without one. I just found it more comfortable. Eventually I just used any normal pillow that was in my vicinity instead of my feeding one. And then once I became more comfortable with the whole thing, I ditched it completely. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t other uses for it. We used it to prop up The Munchkin when he was small and it’s great for tummy time.
The Mummary Nursing Cover
I was sent this nursing cover from The Mummary and I’m very grateful to have it as part of my breastfeeding kit. Going out with a newborn and trying to cover up with a muslin blanket was a bit awkward because it would slip down and I’d need to readjust it. The Munchkin didn’t like his face being covered so it was just not an easy time.
The three things I like most about the Nursing Cover (aside from the fact that’s it’s made of a light weight material that’s great for got summer days) is that it has:
- A rigid neckline for mother-baby view
- An adjustable strap with metal buckle
- A lined towelling pocket for dummy or breastpad storage and to wipe milk spills
I’ll be doing a full review on this once I get some use out of it.
What did you have as part of your breastfeeding kit? Am I missing anything? Do you have any advice that could help make my journey this time around easier?