October 15, 2020 5 min read
I can vividly recall when I was around 15-20 weeks pregnant with Charley and I started to panic, I was like .. googling "breastfeeding for dummies" and "best breastfeeding tools for a new and clueless mother". (spoiler alert: I did not find any of the answers I was looking for) I didn't actually find the answers until she was born and I was forced to figure out what worked best for us. Out there in the world of the internet, there isn't really a roadmap on 'how' to breastfeed exactly. Or, if there is I would love a lactation consultant to reach out to me! So, while I can't tell you pregnant mamas how to nurse your newborns. I CAN tell you what breastfeeding tool can make your life a liiiiittle bit (read: a lot) easier.
I think this may be the number one breastfeeding tool I would recommend to new moms. Haaka is the brand I personally used, but there are plenty out there. The name is a little bit of a misnomer, as it isn't really a pump, but rather a suction cup type thingie that you suction to the opposite boob than the one baby is eating from. Its very comfortable to use, and the milk simply flows into the attached cup using suction. In the beginning days this was a huge way to save a little milk (usually a couple oz from each feeding) while not having to actually pump. We let dad feed a few bottles and did some milk baths.
Wait! One last thing. I found the BEST trick for this is to set it in a mug or something heavy when you're finished so that you're less likely to knock it over. Trust me, you'll thank me!
"But Abby" you might say, "I get plenty of water during the day, how about a warm cup of coffee instead - afterall, I'm sure I'll be tired". Listen to me now. No, no... no. Nope. The nursing thirst is a thirst like you will have never thirsted before. You will be begging to stick your face under Niagara Falls and gulp it down to a stream. And heres the part you haven't thought about. YOU. WILL. BE. TRAPPED. You can't just get up and grab an Aquafina from the fridge, or refill your tumbler from the faucet. You're trapped under the tiniest love of your life and you're beginning to shrivel up like a dehydrated raisin. Just get the water bottle, just do it. Splurge on something cute - you wont regret it. This is seriously a must have tool.
This goes along with the water thing - but I actually have a little bit of kinda scientific info to confirm this one. Basically what I know is that breastfeeding burns a butt-ton of calories. This is why you need snacks. You really will get hungry. And remember from the water discussion? Being trapped? Right - so grab some granola bars, cookies, chocolates, a bagel, a sandwich (ok those last few would be difficult to keep in a breastfeeding basket but you get the idea) or literally anything prepackaged that suits your fancy to keep in a few different places in the house where you may find yourself trapped.
A nurse in the hospital actually told me the breastfed babies don't need to burp. Huh? Totally not true! Breastfed babies will burp like any other baby. Guess what comes with burping...yup, spit-up too. For burp cloths I recommend something big 11" x 18" - this way you can drape it over your shoulder and you get coverage on both the front and the back (babies don't exactly have the best aim, as it turns out). I would also recommend something double sided, since you don't want anything getting through! And something soft, since it will be right there touching your newborns skin, after all. Don't skip this breastfeeding tool! Seriously, your clothes will thank me! And as always, get something machine washable! Our SPILTMILK Signature Burp Cloths fit the bill here, and wash up beautifully - keeping their vibrant prints wash after wash. A definite registry necessity!
Ok this could be a whole post in itself, so we'll just go with the basics. You don't want to be unclipping and removing, or having to take off your clothes to nurse your babe. This is a no brainer. It's a little tough to really choose a specific bra since we don't know what size the girls will end up being - so what I did was grab a few of each and just see how/when they fit best as I go. My favorite were the comfort nursing bras, they reminded me of a sports bra that crossed in the front, allowing me to pull down one side. They were comfortable enough to sleep in, and not too restrictive but provided support. They also offer more traditional cup style bras that clip at the strap, allowing you to pull the cup down for access. Lastly, there are tanks with bras fit in, these are great for sleeping in and lounging around the house. I would recommend a few options on your baby registry.
Another great nursing tool is a breastfeeding pillow. Again, tons of options out there - I think I used the Boppy, but I think I would choose differently next time around. Ok so what you'll find is that its often difficult to find a comfortable position while breastfeeding. So often moms want to lean down towards baby when baby is on their lap. This will totally wreck your back! I made this mistake and I won't make it again. A nursing pillow will prop baby up higher and save you a ton of pain in the end. I probably only used this about half the time, often opting for side laying positions, or more of a tummy time position.... (ok this is going to have to be a future post!)
My last, but very not least breastfeeding tool is nursing pads! They're little round discs that go in your bra to soak up any leakage. I personally used disposable ones, but there are reusable options as well. These were wonderful in the first few weeks, when my body was getting used to the quantity of milk that Charley needed. I found them especially necessary overnight when she slept longer stretches. These are essential for doing a little less laundry. A definite registry must-have!