It’s breastfeeding awareness month! I’m currently breastfeeding my second baby, who’s seven weeks old and over 14 pounds. He’s gaining a pound a week, and I’m exhausted and hangry most of the time. Before breastfeeding my first I didn’t have much thought about it. I assumed it would be “natural”. Like most things around pregnancy, birth and motherhood it’s not as simple as that. And seriously, enough with that word.
Both times I dealt with engorgement and excruciating bloody nipples (yep, let’s talk about it) the first few weeks. At 7 months my supply was going down with PJ. I was working bottle to bottle of pumped milk, if that, with the nanny. It was so stressful, and embarrassing. Finally I ordered some formula, and once the hormones and emotions settled out a bit I was so happy I did. We did a combination of breastmilk and formula until she was just over 13 months old.
Before Desmond, my second baby, arrived I was more interested in learning about the whole fourth trimester and beyond, rather than fixating on the birth like I did with PJ. Among a lot of other things, I learned what chestfeeding is, and also dug into very real truth that breastfeeding isn’t free. It’s so reductive to continue saying “breast is best” and “breastfeeding is free”. And it all comes back to understanding each other, and supporting one another with true empathy. A few articles I recommend.
Breastfeeding can be really wonderful, it can also be isolating, overwhelming, and depleting. This time I prepared before Desi’s arrival, but baking up Lactation Cookies and Lactation Muffins, and loading my cabinets with easy to grab nourishing foods. In this modern age, postnatal care is usually self-care. Train your support system and/or partner to keep offering you food and water as you breastfeed. And also set yourself up as much as you can to stay nourished and hydrated.
MY BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS
Mother’s Milk Tea
Every morning I steep 3 bags in a mug, then add it to water in a large drinking jar and sip on it all day.
Golden Flax Meal
I add this to my oatmeal every morning. Also make lactation muffins, cookies, smoothies and breads with it.
Add to lactation muffins and cookies.
I eat oatmeal loaded up with flax, chia, almonds, maple syrup, fruit, walnuts… every morning. I try to have the oats ready ahead of time. Whenever I make something, I make about 3 servings and store them for later.
Always grabbing a handful of almonds. I keep them by my bed for late night hunger. Always be eating.
A great fourth trimester grab snack. Heat in a mug and sip. Lots of protein.
Any nursing attire will do, but I specifically like the opening like Latched Mama has. I have a plain black hoodie and tank. And the white scuba style hoodie. I didn't buy nursing apparel for PJ, but this baby was eating hourly and I decided to treat myself. And really love the quality of this brand.
This is a must buy. It's $13 and works better than my double electric. You put it on the side you aren't feeding, squeeze once and let suction do it's job. I feed Des on both sides each feed usually, but even just catching the other side's let down is stocking my freezer with milk. Also, my left side is absolutely trying to quit the game and has been since day one. Anytime I’m feeding on the right, I’m using the Haakaa on the left.
Every night I set up the bedside table with snacks, Haakaa + bottles to put in fridge after pumping, water, and usually a dose of gas drops for Des.
What are your breastfeeding essentials? Tips? Questions?