I know there are a lot of women who don’t feel the same way as me, and many who don’t understand why I would say this. But I’m so excited and overwhelmingly happy to be breastfeeding a baby again. I completely respect a women’s right to feed her baby however she chooses and think that no matter how a baby is fed as long as the baby is being fed that mama is doing a good job. But I love breastfeeding and the bond it gives me and my baby. Not to even mention all the nutritional benefits breastmilk provides. I nursed Maddie Grace until she was 18 months old and probably would have kept going except she started saying “NO!” when I offered and I was pretty ready to wean by that point (I mean I was over halfway through my second pregnancy) as well.
Breastfeeding isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not always fun. In fact it can be excruciatingly painful and a huge pain. The first week of nursing with both of my babies I felt like there was no way I could continue breastfeeding because the pain was just too much. I got thrush when nursing Maddie Grace and used gentian violet to treat it which dies everything purple. Then there’s when your baby wants to nurse for the fourth time in an hour because they are cluster feeding and all you want to do is get up and get something to eat. Or when you’re running late and trying to get out the door and your baby decides he is hungry and needs to eat right then. And what I’ve faced a lot of now – when you’re nursing your new baby and your toddler needs something that very second or just wants to be held and you feel like a huge jerk when you tell them no because you need to feed the baby. Or do you like sleeping? Because waking up to nurse at 2, 4, 5, and 7 in the morning is really fun.
And now everyone who has never breastfed probably thinks they never want to, we can focus on the amazing things. The bond that breastfeeding has given me with both of my babies is priceless. I can’t even explain it. And the pain you feel at first goes away, I promise. Being able to feed my baby anytime, anywhere without having to worry about whether I have sterilized water to mix formula with? That’s pretty awesome. Being able to lay down while I nurse my baby at 4:00 AM and not even have to leave the bed and fall back asleep while nursing instead of having to walk downstairs to the kitchen and prepare a bottle? Yeah that’s winning in my book. Knowing that my baby has the best nutrition possible? Probably should be what I see as the best thing about breastfeeding but honestly the sleeping and the bonding are my favorite parts. And the money I save not buying formula? Well that justifies extra shopping!
To make the downsides of breastfeeding easier there are products that are essential to have in your life. Let’s go through them:
Boob and Baby Boob Butter – This is hands down the most important thing every nursing mom should have to make their breastfeeding journey more pleasant. The hospital is most likely going to hand you a lanolin based nipple cream. It’s going to be waxy and sticky and gross. It’s also not going to provide you with much relief. You also may start looking into lanolin and be weary of wanting to expose your baby to it. So in other words it’s not the best nipple cream around, and you and your baby both deserve the best, don’t you? That’s why I love Boob and Baby Boob Butter. Boob Butter is a lanolin-free, vegan salve used to treat dry, cracked, and irritated nipples. It’s not sticky at all, it goes on super smoothly. I love that it is in a thin can that is easy to fit in any pocket of my diaper bag, or even a pocket if I’m just wanting to keep it with me around the house. With all the worries of breastfeeding worrying about what’s in your nipple cream doesn’t need to be one of them – that’s why I opt for this all natural and safe boob butter.
Nursing Cover – Or don’t use one, that’s cool too. I just feel more comfortable having a nursing cover when visitors are over or when we are out and about, although I love it when women nurse in public without one because that’s how it really should be. And what I’ve learned work best are lightweight muslin blankets that take up hardly any room in my diaper bag, and can be used as a little blanket for either of my kids if they need one, or even as a burp cloth because spit up does happen. Sometimes I even dab a little water on them and use them as wash clothes. They are pretty handy to have around.
Snacks – If you’re not breastfeeding yet and plan to I have to let you in on a little secret – breastfeeding cravings are way stronger than pregnancy ones. No joke. You’ll want chocolate, your favorite candies, whatever you might crave, on hand at all times. I’ve got to have chocolate around at all times.
Nursing Pillow – I don’t know how people figure out how to nurse without a nursing pillow. Especially in the beginning they really help both mom and baby get comfy during nursing sessions, and can assist a mom in breastfeeding hands free.
Nursing Pads – Life would be a lot messier without these. Finding a good nursing pad is important unless you like leaking through shirts. I recommend starting with disposable nursing pads as the are much more absorbent than reusable/cloth ones. Eventually switching to those is a great, price and environmentally conscious option.