Breastfeeding SOS List

If you have been reading my blog since Wyatt was born, you know that breastfeeding wasn't all sunshine and roses for me at the beginning.

You know how pregnant ladies all research their birth plans, and come up with how they would like things to go, but they keep in mind that things might not go exactly as planned?

Usually when you're pregnant you prepare and expect the best, but you'll also emotionally prepare for the fact that complications may arise during delivery, and you may have to deal with some things that you wanted to avoid. Most women know that though everything might go according to the birth plan, not everyone has an ideal birth story, and you go into it ready for anything.

I firmly believe that breastfeeding should be approached the same way. You should prepare and expect the best, but also be aware that everything may not go as planned. Complications may arise.

This is a list of some of my breastfeeding product recommendations, from someone who had some issues. Hopefully some of you out there will find it helpful!

The Must-Haves:

1. Manual breast pump. Very, very important to have a breastpump on hand. You just never know if breastfeeding is going to go smoothly or not, but at least if you have a manual breast pump your baby can still get breast milk even if it's not directly from you for a while.

2. Hydrogel pads. These were life savers. I had alot of problems with cracking and bleeding, and these made me so much more comfortable until I healed.

3. Lanolin. Also very helpful - it helped me with the soreness for a while.

4. Neosporin. Like I said, I had cracking and bleeding problems, and my doctor recommended using Neosporin to help prevent infection. You just need to wash it off before you feed your baby. While I was using this, I actually liked it even better than lanolin. Of course, check with your own doctor before using anything medicated while breastfeeding, but it helped me.

5. Ice packs. Everything I read said to apply hot compresses if an infection starts to set in, but my doctor said you actually want to apply ice to reduce the inflamation. Hot compresses may feel better, but they can actually make it worse. The inflamation did seem to go down quicker when I used ice packs, so I'd have some handy.

6. A night-time nursing bra. Anna recommended this in a comment on my hospital packing list post, and me being the smart person that I am, I took her advice and went out and got one. So glad I did. I didn't think about it before, but it was good to have this, because it helps with support while sleeping, and it held my hydrogel and nursing pads in place nicely during the night.

The "Of Course" Items:

7. Nursing pads. I like this brand the best - they are contoured to fit nicely into your bra, and they are very absorbent, so they're comfortable to wear all day.

8. A nursing cover. This was one of those items I never actually remembered to get for myself (I think I'm in the minority there - it just didn't occur to me). Thank goodness my aunt made me one, or I would have been out of luck. It's nice to have an actual cover as opposed to a blanket, just because it's easier to keep in place. As your baby gets bigger, they'll start grabbing onto any available fabric while they eat, and you don't want any (*ahem*) incidents to happen.

The Not-Really-Necessary-But-Nice-To-Have Item:

9. A nursing pillow. This is most useful in the first month, when your baby is so tiny. They're not long enough to rest on your lap yet, and your arms can get pretty tired holding them up for 30+ minutes. Once again, I never thought to actually buy this item, but right after Wyatt was born my sister-in-law ran out to buy me one of these, and it was so much nicer than trying to prop multiple pillows under my arms all the time. Plus, I've learned that if you use this pillow while sitting at the table, your baby is pretty well supported, and you can use both hands to do other things . . . like blogging, maybe?

Alot of ladies I know had no problems with breastfeeding at all, but it doesn't always come easily to everyone. If you have problems, it doesn't mean you are a failure! I struggled with feeling guilty because it wasn't easy for me, but that's ridiculous. You shouldn't feel guilty if complications arise that prevent your original birth plan from being fulfilled, and you shouldn't feel guilty if complications arise that prevent your original breastfeeding plan from being fulfilled. But it really does help to be prepared for anything.

And just so I don't scare all you pregnant ladies out there . . . yes, I was pretty miserable in the beginning, but I was determined to stick it out, and after the first month it got so much better. Wyatt and I are old pros now. So if you do have complications with breastfeeding, rest assured that they most likely won't last forever.

Any other "must-haves" that you would add to the list?

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Lyndsey said...

I second the nursing bra pads - there are very necessary!

Also, a good breastfeeding source is I was pretty clueless about BM storage and she has great info on mixing/storing/freezing/thawing your breast milk. I found it very helpful!

Leen said...

hey callie, I am not sure how i happened upon your blog but i have been reading for a little while. my little one is just over 10 months old and I had an awful start to breastfeeding! no one prepares you, they all make it look so easy. i agree with all your must haves- but i would add nursing tanks to that list! i lived in mine for the first 3 months.

Anna said...

I agree with all of these (although I hadn't thought about Neosporin, and I wasn't sore enough to need Lanolin). I thought I didn't need a pump, actually, but I ended up getting one when Christian was about 6 months old, and it made things so much easier. He never took a bottle because I tried to introduce it so late, but I was able to pump in situations where I was engorged, or when he went on a nursing strike at 11 months, or when he was being cranky and didn't feel like eating, I'd pump to let down and then nurse him. And it helped a lot with weaning - I was still full a couple mornings after we stopped nursing and I pumped just enough to take the edge off. I plan to introduce bottles much sooner this time around.

I also really liked having a nursing pillow. And it doubles as a little prop, and helps with tummy time. I would even eat supper while nursing because I had my nursing pillow... haha.

Amanda said...

i'm not gonna lie....i'm very afraid of breastfeeding! lol! i want to try it i think when i have a baby someday....but i am VERY afraid!

Melanie said...

I totally agree w/your list..especially the pump, boppy pillow, and lanolin! Can't think of anything else I would personally add to the list..but something nobody told me was that babies will fuss at you for a couple minutes before you can get them to latch on sometimes. I had no idea until I had Makayla!

Amber said...

Great idea on making this list. I thought it was ver complete. I used the lanolin a lot the first 3 weeks or so. Even though I didn't have issues with cracking and bleeding, I still got sore while I got used to having a baby suck on me all the time. The manual pump and ice packs are also a MUST if you get severely engorged like I did! Those were the only things (other than nursing) that brought relief!

Shay said...

Callie this post was sooo helpful. I was wondering what items I may need but never really thought about because a lot of people put the usual stuff up but this helps so much!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the info! I know I still have a little bit before I get here but it is good to start thinking about it!

Natalie said...

This is SOOOO helpful, thank you! there were a lot of things I would have never thought to get. One question-how did you know what size nursing bra to get? I had a friend who grew 2 cup sizes after her milk came in so I don't want to get one and then have it not fir in a few weeks. What do you think??

The Barker's said...

Thanks for posting this and being honest!!! Vi'm so tired of people not being truthful so when it does hurt or doesn't go as planned, you feel you have failed! It does hurt and it is hard but there is so much support and products out there to keep you going!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great list! One thing you could add to your list is cabbage. I was severely engorged with my first....she was unable to nurse at first so I was exclusively pumping and when my milk came in, it was excruciatingly painful. Put cabbage leaves inside your bra twice a day (no more than that, it'll dry you up) and it works miracles. When you are ready to wean, put them in as much as you like for an easy time of it. I also had no idea when i started out how difficult breastfeeding would be, but totally worth it if you stick at it!

Anonymous said...

So true! It might be rough at first, but it does get better!

Unknown said...

ohhh taking note of all of this!

Kara @ Just1Step said...

Good list, Callie. :) I guess I'd say any breast pump, not just a manual one. Cuz mine was electric but served the same purpose.

I also recommend Lily Padz for after your milk flow has slowed down. They are reusable breast pads that seal your nipples instead of soaking in the extra milk. I still wear them sometimes for extra protection. :)

Jessica and Stephan said...

My cousin also had the same problem breast-feeding as you, so you are not alone! So nice to hear you stuck it out and that it got better for you :)

chloë. said...

Amen to the nursing cover! There have been times where I have had to nurse in the middle of Target! When a baby has to eat, they've gotta eat no matter where they are, haha...

LeAnna said...

Loved those nursing pads, as well. I can't agree more with, and also is another excellent resource. They had a facebook page that other Mom's would offer advice on, it was great and helped me come up with some ideas for when I had a plugged duct. Another of my favorite nursing accessories is the Undercover Mama ( which can turn any bra into a nursing cami. I have one in every color, they are so thin, and long, and easy to use. Less bulk than the nursing cami's and you have the support of your good nursing bra. LOVE mine.
Anyway, great advice!

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