*This article contains affiliate links, but I wanted to let you know that I wouldn’t recommend any products to you that I have not used and loved myself.
From the moment I got pregnant with my first son, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I had read all about the amazing benefits that breast milk has and how some even consider it to be “liquid gold.” My grandmother told me that the doctor had given her a pill to dry up her milk supply because breast feeding to her in the 1960’s, “seemed like a pain.” My mom in turn was not able to breastfeed my sister or me. She said that she didn’t make a drop of milk. The future seemed dim as far as breastfeeding goes, but I was still determined. I was blessed and able to breastfeed my first son until he was 4 months old, until I ran out of milk. From my first experience I learned a lot and I used it to my advantage. I was able to breastfeed my second son for his entire first year and then some. Well…actually we are still breastfeeding today and he is 15 months old.
Look, I am not saying I know all of the secrets to making sure you have a never ending milk supply and everything comes easy, because I for sure don’t! Breastfeeding is HARD. Everyone’s experience is different. Genes play a role, your body, your baby, and so many other things are huge factors into your milk supply and weather or not breastfeeding will be easy for you. However, there are a few things that can help you breeze through this beast that is breastfeeding. (Wonderful, beautiful, and life giving beast by the way!)
1.How to keep every drop of breast milk possible and stop the pain of engorgement
I remember waking up in the middle of the night and my son was still asleep. Because of the major sleep exhaustion I was going through I didn’t want to get out of bed and go pump. One, because I just wanted to sleep, but also I didn’t want to make any noise to risk my son waking up. But my breasts were so engorged I could have screamed from the pain, not to mention I had soaked both breast pads and my entire bed. The day my Haaka arrived was seriously the best day ever. I would leave my Haaka and a breast milk storage bag right next to my bed so in the middle of the night I could just roll over, attach it, and let it help collect all of my milk and make me less engorged. A few minutes later I could poor the milk into the breast milk storage bag, go quickly to the kitchen and place it in the fridge, and hop back into bed. The Haaka can also help save milk if you use it to catch your letdown on one side, while you feed your baby on the other, rather than your milk just dripping into a breast pad and getting wasted. I have also used the Haaka when I went on a no-kids camping date with my husband, because I wasn’t going to have electricity in the woods. I don’t know how I would have done that trip without it!
A few days after birth and you will begin to get engorged. Your breasts will have no schedule or idea of when exactly the baby will be hungry, so honestly you are going to leak A LOT of milk. Which is why the need for breast pads is also so great during this period of time. Naturally you are going to want to save as much milk as possible, which is where the Haaka comes in. The Haaka is a food grade silicon breast pump. It’s one piece and doesn’t require electricity, batteries, wires, etc. which makes it super portable! It’s completely quiet so you can use it super discreetly and pretty much anywhere. The Haaka works by suctioning to your breast and slowly pumping/pulling your milk out. It is dishwasher safe and super easy to clean and sanitize.
If you are about to be a new mommy, or maybe a second or third time mommy, but have never tried the Haaka… now is your time! I promise it will save you more milk, help boost supply, provide convenience, and possibly save you from the pain of engorgement!
Every Breastfeeding mother needs a breast pump and here’s how to get one covered by insurance
For boosting supply and getting large amounts of milk saved in small periods of time, you are going to want a double electric breast pump! My favorite breast pump that I used for both of my kids was the Medela Pump in Style; however, there are so many amazing breast pumps on the market. I used a website called Aerflow to get my breast pump covered by my insurance company. Aerflow Breastpumps is amazing because they do almost all the work for you of communicating with your doctor and insurance company and has your breast pump delivered straight to your door.
The must-have bra for pumping
This feels a bit “If you give a mouse a cookie”-ish, but if you have a double electric breast pump, you are going to need a built-in hands free pumping bra with an adjustable back clasp! There are tons of pumping bras on the market, but most are designed specifically to just zip around you to hold the pump bottles in place on your breasts, but this one is different. This bra is super comfortable and fits just like a cozy sports bra, plus it fits nursing pads perfectly and can quickly be used to hold pumps in place. You can wear it all day and it actually provides support, unlike other pumping bras.
Also if you are a brand new mommy and don’t get the If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” reference, you will soon!
DRINK MORE WATER and don’t you forget…
When you are breastfeeding it is absolutely imperative that you stay hydrated. Not only is staying healthy and hydrated important, but drinking water helps keep up your breastfeeding supply. In my own personal experience I can see the boost in my supply, the more water I drink. I know that drinking water can be hard to remember and accomplish, but there is a water bottle that can help out. The Hydrate Spark 2.0 is the coolest water bottle I have ever seen. It tracks how much water you drink, glows to remind you to drink water, and it connects to Fitbits, Apple Watches, and other fitness trackers. It also comes in teal, purple, and white and holds 24 ounces of water. I’m not sure why but this water bottle just makes drinking water really fun and I couldn’t live without it.
The way to safer co-seeping and easier breastfeeding
We have all heard the dangers of co-sleeping. And we have also all heard how breastfeeding moms find it easiest to co-sleep. In my experience babies do not like to be too far away from mom, otherwise they can’t smell your milk and tend to not sleep as well as they could. It’s a natural thing for newborn babies to want to be near their mothers at all times. And it’s a natural thing for any mother to need as much sleep as they can get. Having a DockATot is a lifesaver! The DockAtot makes it safe for the baby to lay in bed next to you because of it’s rounded edges that act as a barrier between you and the baby. The material is also temperature controlled so the baby won’t totally sweat it out or get too cold. And my favorite part, it helps reinvent the feeling of being in the womb for the baby, which we all know helps the baby sleep better. Disclaimer: If you are going to use the DockATot to co-sleep make sure you read the full description and instructions of the product and use it properly. I am not a doctor or professional. I am offering my own personal experiences I am not liable for anyone else’s actions based off of my blog.
6. My Brest Friend….LITERALLY your best friend.
Breastfeeding can put you in some really uncomfortable positions sometimes and you will probably find that out in the hospital. I remember trying to figure out exactly how to hold my son while breastfeeding and the only position I could find that seemed the most comfortable for him and helped him latched the best, hurt my back and made my arm feel like it was going to fall off. I always had to have multiple nurses or my husband trying to fix pillows behind my back or under my arm and it seemed as if I could never get into the same position as before or even remotely comfortable. Once I got home and tried the My Brest Friend pillow that I had received from my baby shower I felt like I became a breastfeeding pro. This wrap around cushion is kind of like a Boppy Pillow, except better. It’s super soft and helps support your back and your arm and allows you to have a comfortable relaxed position. It’s soft, yet firm and flat to prevent the baby from rolling and keeping them in a stable position. It also has an adjustable strap to fit your body and clicks into place. In my personal experience I was able to stand up and walk around (of course with one hand on the baby and one on the pillow) but it was strong enough to support the baby while standing. My absolute favorite part of the pillow that separates it from all other breastfeeding pillows, is it has a deep pocket attached to the pillow. Long gone are the days where you have to try and grab your snacks or phone with your toes (if you are a breastfeeding mama you have been there!( I put breastfeeding snacks, my water bottle, and even my phone in the pocket! And trust me, you are going to be breastfeeding A LOT, especially during the cluster feeding times, and you will want your phone!
Eat every two to four hours
Eating sounds like a breeze doesn’t it? I mean who doesn’t love to eat and I mean A LOT. The more fuel you get the more “food” you will make for your baby. Just make sure you are eating the right types of food. Great ideas of snacks to constantly be reaching for are nuts, eggs, whole grain crackers, carrots, greek yogurt, oatmeal, granola, cheese, apples, peanut butter, avocadoes, dark chocolate, cottage cheese, popcorn, tuna, and hummus. However, I am not a doctor or professional l so please consult your doctor or lactation consultant for nutritional advice.
What you SHOULD NOT be eating: fast food, processed sugar/carbohydrates, soda, etc.
There are snacks created for breastfeeding mamas and these Boobie Bars are hands down my favorite. In my experience they work to boost supply the best and they taste amazing!
Seriously, just relax mama. Let’s talk about my own breastfeeding journey for a second. I was a worried mess with my first son. I was worried just about my whole pregnancy that I wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed him or that something would happen. I even shortened my breastfeeding goal to 6 months from a year because I was so worried I wasn’t going to make it. Well, I only made it 4 months. There were a lot of factors that came into play of our breastfeeding journey being so short, but I do personally believe that my supply ran out in large part due to stress, DO NOT STRESS. Just know that whatever happens, your baby being fed is what is most important. So breastfeed, do all the things, try hard, feed yourself, drink water, and give life to your baby. But if your supply runs out, or your baby doesn’t latch, or anything else. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, give life to your baby. Give them formula. So if both situations end in you giving your child life, why will it matter so much what path you take to do that. Don’t stress mama, you are going to do great. #fedisbest