As a new breastfeeding mum, I had absolutely no idea what I needed apart from my boob and the baby. But unfortunately breastfeeding isn’t all that simple for some people and we’ve had a few problems ourselves. So I wanted to share my story with you so far and the products that have helped us the most.
The first few days are hard, I won’t lie. Your milk doesn’t come in until day 3 and you’re trying your best to feed a baby with next to nothing in your boob. Your boobs get sore, so so sore and if your anything like me you’ll find yourself gritting your teeth at every feed. The initial latch really is toe curling and looking back, I’m surprised we got through it as well as we did. Lanolin was the only thing saving my boobs at this moment in time. Day 3 arrived and oh boy did my milk come in, my boobs had tripled in size and I couldn’t touch them without nearly crying. I kept saying to my partner “I need to empty them” but from my experience with my first baby I knew that pumping wasn’t the answer as it would only encourage more milk to be produced.
I fed Isabelle and could feel that she was definetely getting something and it felt like such an achievement despite the pain. I got really excited. By day 5 even though my milk had come in, I started to dread every feed as my boobs were so sore, so full and the lanolin just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t the latch because she latched pretty well but she was just so hungry all of the time and suckling so hard that it was making me really sore and I wanted to give up. It doesn’t help that the first week postpartum your hormones are through the roof and you feel all over the place anyway without the added pressure of breastfeeding. Someone told me that if you’re going to give up, don’t give up on a bad day. So I powered through. I got some nipple shields as a whim not thinking that they would do anything but oh my god they have saved our whole breastfeeding journey and I couldn’t be happier. However things took a turn for the worse and…
I got mastitis..
I was worried that using the shields would cause nipple confusion but we tried again at week 2 without the shields and just as I thought we had got this whole breastfeeding thing down to a T, I was struck with the dreaded mastitis in one side. Damn. This nearly threw me off the edge, I very nearly gave up feeding but I knew I needed to persist. I can do this, I kept telling myself. It was 10 oclock at night and I was desperate, I had felt a little under the weather all day and had developed a horrible fever. My body felt like a pure car crash. I’ve never felt so rough. I googled like I had never googled before and sent my partner to the shop for cabbage leaves, bottled water and paracetamol.
I spent the next 24 hours doing everything that I could to make myself comfortable. Isabelle wanted to do nothing but cuddle and I needed nothing but cuddles so we did what was best and kept feeding through it. I ordered a naturebond pump on Amazon next day delivery and it’s one of the best things I could have ever purchased. It catches your let down on the other side whilst feeding meaning that you are more comfortable and can collect milk all at the same time. Amazing invention.
We’re now 5 weeks in and doing better than ever, I finally feel like I’ve got the hang of it and Isabelle is putting on the weight well. We’re still using the shields and they are working really well for us. Every baby and every breastfeeding journey is different. Not only that, products that work for me might not work for everyone. However, for me one of the most important things was to find myself a decent nursing bra this time round. With my first daughter I just bought bigger bras but it was a real faff when it came to feeding and expressing and there’s nothing worse than faffing around with bra straps when your baby is crying for milk, trust me.
Invest in decent nursing bras
When I was approached by the brand Bravado to try out their new bra collection, I jumped at the chance knowing that investing in a good nursing bra would make my breastfeeding journey that little bit easier and boy was I right..
The bravado bras are my absolute go to’s and I would really reccomend them, not only for the convenience but for the comfort too. I love the clips on the buttercup nursing bras. The bra itself is a lovely material and really comfortable making it suitable for breastfeeding and pregnant women.
The second bra I recieved was the ballet nursing bra, at first I wasn’t so sure. I knew I really liked the easy access clips on the buttercup bras and didn’t think any other bra would win me over but the ballet bra in dusted peony pink (a beautiful colour) has done just that. It is super comfortable and easily accessible making it one of my absolute favourite bras so far. I have found that the ballet bra is really good for wearing at bedtime and makes night time feeds that little bit easier.
At 5 weeks old we’re still in a little bit of a bubble, some weeks all the days roll into one and before you know it the week is over and my baby is one week older. We finally seem to be getting into a little bit of a routine, though colic has struck and infacol seems to be Isabelles new best mate. In regards to feeding, I feel like she is on my boob 24/7 but some days are better than others. On a “normal” day she will wake up around 6.30 am for a feed, I’ll also use my naturebond pump at this time to collect milk for my fridge/freezer stash.
She will then usually go back to sleep until around 9.30 when she’ll want another feed. She nearly always wants a feed just as it hits lunchtime and I start eating my lunch, you know what it’s like. She will then feed at around 2/3pm and again just as I’m starting dinner.. in the evenings whilst I’m cooking, Rob gives her an expressed 4oz bottle of my milk which she guzzles. Again she will want a feed just as my dinner hits my mouth, but sometimes she will settle with a dummy and feed at around 7pm where I get her ready for bed.
In the evenings she likes to have both boobs and that usually settles her for the evening, after cuddles I put her down in her moses basket in the living room and she sleeps until around 11pm if we’re lucky but sometimes needs a little feed at around 9 give or take. I stay in the living room until about 11pm every night, I then take her to bed with me.. feed her, change her etc but quite often she will then be wide awake. Typical when it’s just as I want to go to sleep but what can you do.. I cuddle her and then at around midnight if she’s still awake I give her a 5oz bottle of expressed milk and she then sleeps until around 6.30am which is amazing. All in all she’s a good sleeper really, not waking me up too much.. I just need to get myself into a routine of going to bed a little earlier so I can get a few hours in before the 11/12oclock night feed.
Smart Cells have a brilliant article on breastfeeding essentials so I thought I would also share my own:
My top breastfeeding essentials so far:
- Lanolin Nipple Cream
- Decent Nursing bras (Bravado)
- Tommee Tippee Breastpads
- Naturebond pump (Absolute game changer!)
- Medela Nipple Shields