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So you’ve decided you want to breastfeed your baby. That’s great! Not everyone can or wants to. It’s not always an easy journey but it can be a very rewarding one for you and your baby. You have probably heard all the benefits of breastfeeding such as giving your baby immunities, being able to bond with your baby, the convenience (no late night bottle making or while out and about) and its FREE! I am a firm believer in “Fed is Best” because as much as it is ideal to breastfeed your baby it is not always possible and its more important that your baby is fed.
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Just feed the baby
I was able to breastfeed all 3 of my boys for about 10-12 months each but I did end up supplementing with formula as well because I never had that great of a supply. With my first son, I tried holding off on giving him formula as long as I could mostly because I felt like a failure not being able to give him as much as he needed. This perception of “if you don’t exclusively breastfeed then you are failing your child” has got to change. I definitely agree with encouraging breastfeeding but when it comes down to it, just make sure the baby gets fed so it can grow.
I will let the lactation consultants give the advice on physically how to breastfeed but instead I will let you know about some things I felt to be helpful during my years of breastfeeding.
Make it flow
With my 3rd baby, I started scouting out possible ways to increase my breastmilk supply. I tried the lactation cookies that are mass-produced and sold in stores and was not a fan. Also, I tried teas, supplements and more. I didn’t notice that much of a difference with any of them until I tried some fresh, handmade lactation cookies.
Vital Bites are made by a local (to me) mom that wanted to create something for other moms with all fresh ingredients. Her most popular cookie is oatmeal peanut butter with chocolate chips but she can make other variations. Krista can ship them anywhere in the US (they come frozen and then you can bake them however many you want at a time) or if you are local she will often arrange pick-ups. I would order a couple dozen every 6 weeks or so and would usually bake about 8-10 at a time. These are AWESOME! They tasted great, was a quick and easy breakfast on the go for me, and helped keep the milk coming. They are even great as a nutrient-rich snack if you aren’t breastfeeding!
Surprise Coupon Code!
Surprise time! Krista has graciously set up a 10% off discount code just for my readers! If you would like to order from Vital Bites use the code Lalatomama and you get 10% off your order! Thanks Krista!
Making breastfeeding easier
With my 1st
My other must-have was a Boppy. It provided support so I didn’t feel that I had to be slumped over when feeding or had to hold my baby up for 15-20 minutes. I tried the breastfriend but just didn’t feel it was very comfortable for me. I ended up getting 2 Boppys so I could have one upstairs and one downstairs. They are also great for tummy time and to prop baby up when they can’t sit up yet.
In order to make nursing easier when I was out and about, I got a variety of nursing tops and nursing bras. Kindred Bravely was a brand I ended up falling in love with! Here are some of the ones I liked best.
I also found it necessary to wear nursing bra pads night and day. Our bodies truly are amazing. Hearing a baby cry (even not your own) can often trigger milk to release.
Making breastfeeding work
As a full-time working mom, I needed to pump while I was at work to make sure that daycare could give my baby bottles of breastmilk while I was away. I haven’t tried other pumps but I did like the Medela Pump in Style. My health insurance let me get a free motor for it each time I had a baby, so I just reused the travel bag and got fresh tubing for each baby. For tips about how to return to work after maternity leave, see my blog post here.
I actually enjoyed doing this at work because thankfully I had a quiet, private place (although I did get walked in on a few times) to pump 3 times a day. Although I tried multi-tasking and checking email on my phone, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t get as much milk until I fully relaxed. I had to force myself to not think about work and distract myself. Instead, I started bringing fun fiction books, like the Sisterchick series, with me and it was great! I had 15 minutes, 3 times a day to let my mind wander and relax. Some of my favorite books were by Robin Jones Gunn. Audible books are great to listen to also! Here are my top 15 Audible book recommendations.
My fellow blogger gives great tips here for pumping at work.
Breastfeeding is definitely not easy for everyone so as much help as you can get in a variety of areas will increase your chances of being able to do it and for longer.
As your baby grows you will want to find ways to communicate with them. Since they aren’t old enough to form words yet try baby sign language. You both will be a lot less frustrated with these 5 simple signs.