the first year
Don’t Miss These 4 Essential Breastfeeding Tips
1. Get a good nursing pillow. One of the biggest challenges that I had with breastfeeding was simply getting comfortable. The half-moon shaped nursing pillow that I bought ahead of time was useless–it sat on my lap, which is a far way down from my breasts, and wobbled all over the place as my baby tried to latch. Once I invested in a nursing pillow that I could strap around my torso at any height (i.e. directly below my breasts) it made nursing so much easier–and more enjoyable. Tip: Extra covers are sold separately and we highly recommend you get one: babies often spit up and have big poops during feedings!
2. Find a comfy chair. When feedings can take up to an hour (and you’re nursing every three) it’s so important to be comfortable. I thought I would use the wooden rocking chair that my mom passed onto me as my nursing chair, but it quickly became apparent that it wouldn’t do: the rigid spindles hurt my back (even with a pillow) and the constant rocking made the whole process challenging. After a couple weeks of trying various chairs in our house, we bought an overstuffed armchair for the nursery. Once your baby has stopped nursing, a comfy armchair or glider is perfect for stories and bedtime cuddles.
3. Invest in a lactation consultant. If you’re a first-time mom, you don’t have experience breastfeeding and, while it might be “natural,” it’s not always easy. If you have a hospital birth, it’s worth hiring a lactation consultant to come into your home when you return. (Moms who have midwives or doulas will likely have this support already.) A consultant will identify any breastfeeding issues between you and your baby and offer solutions. They will answer any questions you have about how often to feed your baby, etc. and if you run into any hurdles, such as clogged ducts or low milk supply, down the road, you’ll have a trusted expert to reach out to. It might cost a couple hundred dollars, but it’s an invaluable resource.
4. Choose the right breast pump. Electric or manual? Single or double? The type of pump you’ll need depends on a variety of factors including budget, milk supply, and how often you need to pump. If you’re on a budget, wait until after baby arrives to determine which pump is right for you–there’s no sense in overspending on an electric pump if a manual one will do. Electric pumps are an investment, for sure, but they do save you time. Consult this useful guide before you purchase a pump.