So this is def a topic specific article that won’t fit everyone’s interest, but I wanted to share a little about my experience with breastfeeding and pumping. I was totally determined to make it work, and wanted to hit on a few main points that have really helped me so far…
Have a Resource – I went to a multiples breastfeeding class, and although the teacher had the best intentions, I didn’t learn much. At the time I thought it was useful, but in actuality it didn’t prepare me at all (insert crying laugh emoji)….. When I was in the NICU there was a full team of lactation specialists at my disposal. They were incredibly helpful and gave me real-time advice. That is why I’d recommend finding a lactation specialist before your baby arrives in case you run into issues. Your hospital or doctor can probably provide some great recommendations. I don’t think I would have been as successful with pumping/breastfeeding if it hadn’t been for the personalized advice I received. Everyone is different, so it’s wonderful to have someone knowledgable to advise you based on your own specific needs.
Buy the Best Supplies – When I was in the NICU one of the things the lactation specialist told me was that my flange was too big for my nipple. If you would have told me a year ago I’d be writing about flanges and nipples on my blog I wouldn’t have believed you… bahhhhhh… who have I become?! But in all seriousness I’m only sharing this because for me this made a huge difference. I was basically ripping my boob off with a flange that was too big until the lactation specialist corrected me. Here are some of my favorite pumping/lactation supplies that I couldn’t live without:
- For Pumping – My biggest word of advice is buy extras! You don’t want to be cleaning pump parts at 3am, trust me. I have a few of each part and wash everything in batches. Here are the products I use multiple times a day and couldn’t live with out. Please note the gloves… cleaning bottles/pump parts with super hot water will crush your hands, treat yourself and wear some gloves!
- Nursing Bras – I’ve tried a few and my favorites are made by Natori. Here I the ones I wear, from least to most supportive.
It’s Difficult, but Stay Positive! – Despite my best efforts to pump/breastfeed successfully, I’ve had mastitis multiple times already. This is an ongoing issue for me because it keeps coming back, but at least I’m better at identifying it now and able to start antibiotics earlier. Mastitis is an infection in the breast from a clogged duct that causes your boob to be hard and red in a specific place and can cause you to feel like you have the flu. The first time I had it I was probably a week postpartum. I ended up running around with mastitis for over a week before I knew what it was. I confused the flu like symptoms with my expectation that I’d generally feel terrible physically postpartum, so I had no idea it was related to breastfeeding. I would sweat when I slept, get the chills, and had a ton of pain in my legs and back (like when you have the flu) to the point where I didn’t want to walk much. So yah… mastitis is a bitch, but your doctor can help. Ultimately dealing with mastitis has been difficult but manageable now that I’m aware of the initial symptoms.
Hope you enjoyed my tips, and “breast” of luck 😉