Breastfeeding is tough in the early weeks. I was pretty much glued to the sofa with baby H, with previous daily must-haves like showering and hairbrushing a distant memory. We have come through all that now and are going strong still breastfeeding at nine months, but there were a few items that definitely made those early weeks a little easier.
When I was pregnant I was informed of the joys of sore, cracked nipples and even a lactation consultant told me any barrier, such as coconut oil or vaseline, would help. However, I really found Lansinoh Lanolin to be the most soothing. It really helped ease any soreness, stop the cracking getting any worse, and it is safe for baby to consume so I didn’t need to worry about rubbing it off before feeding. You can purchase it from most supermarkets and pharmacies, and it is also available on Amazon.
I really think a feeding pillow is a must have to supporting your back feeding in the first few weeks and months. Also, I was unfortunate enough to contract a sickness bug when H was a few months old, I was so weak from it that the pillow was a lifesaver as it meant I didn’t have to hold all of her weight and meant I could still rest as she fed. We also used our pillow to prop H up in before she could sit. I got our Boppy Pillow second hand, but there are lots available at Mothercare with prices starting around £25. However, a quick Amazon search brought up some starting around £12.
I found large muslins so helpful to use as feeding covers. I absolutely adore my Baby Bow Bow muslin, not only is it huge it is also really thick. I still carry one of these in my changing bag everyday, and occassionally I have used them as a blanket for H when we are out if the weather is chillier than I anticipated. They have been great to use as a little blanket to play on when we are at the park too!
Also, you can never have too many small muslins for moping up baby sick and helping with the inevitable leaky-boob situation that is all too common in the early days. I bulk bought these when I was pregnant from Primark and Asda.
These may not be needed by everyone but quite a few of my friends did use them, and my breastfeeding journey would have ended within the early days had I not used them. They go over your nipple and look a little like the teat of a bottle, making it easier for some babies to latch. H had an undiagnosed tongue tie that meant she physically couldn’t latch without them until it was corrected. Some of my friends used them when their nipples were very sore. HOWEVER, they can cause mastitis if reduce milk supply as they an stop all milk ducts being used, plus baby can get a preference for them as opposed to your actual nipple – therefore I would only recommend their use if it’s really necessary.
In the first 6 months I couldn’t have lived without these to avoid having two wet patches on my shirt all day long. You can buy reusable ones or disposable ones, whatever your preference.
I was so hungry all of the time in the first few months, and I was also exhausted. Having a host of snacks to munch on throughout the day was helpful, especially as breastfeeding exclusively burns 300-500 calories a day. I found flapjacks a personal favourite, and oats are said to increase milk supply so it was a win/win!
Here are some tips added my some lovely mamas on social media:
-@ccornell24 says reusable breastpads
-@sophies.haistyles says a water bottle (breastfeeding is thirsty work!)
-and a number of mamas reminded me of the double top combo: you wear a vest top with another top over it so you can pull one up and one down to feed easily when out and about.
You can read more about our breastfeeding journey here.