I’m about to get super real and I hope I don’t tick anybody off. I’ve breastfed both of my babes — Henry until 11 months and Maggie exclusively thus far. But the reason we chose to breastfeed? Because it’s free. Breast milk is free, guys, and formula is spendy. Yes, obviously I love the health benefits and everything that nursing does for a baby. I love the bonding and all of that jazz. But I also believe that formula fed babies turn out just as great as breastfed babies. This just happened to work well for us. That being said, breastfeeding is truly hard work. Both physically and mentally, it’s a major challenge. Just the fact that your body is singlehandedly sustaining another body is incredible, and enough to blow your mind/totally exhaust you.
Nursing has gone relatively well with both of my little ones, but this time around I did have some knowledge going into it that has made it easier on my body and better for our family. Read on for a few tips and how they’ve been working for us.
Stock Your Supplies Right from the get-go, make it easy on yourself. There are so many tools available to address breastfeeding issues, and using them can make the time so much more enjoyable. When we brought Maggie home I identified a few places around the house where I’d most likely be feeding her and stocked them each with burp rags, lanolin (so helpful if you’re in some pain while nursing early on!), water bottles, and snacks. Breastfeeding makes you hungry, yo!
Let Dad Help With Henry I had this weird notion that I had to do it all myself if I wanted him to be exclusively breastfed. Henry had plenty of bottles but I didn’t really get into the swing of that until he was a few months old. This time around, the plan is to let Ryan help with bottles much more frequently. We started Maggie at one month with Munchkin’s Latch bottles and she took to them right away. Lots of moms worry about whether bottles will confuse the baby and hurt their ability to nurse, but these particular bottles are perfect for going back and forth because they’re so similar to the breastfeeding experience. The baby is really in control of the flow because of the bottle nipple, which moves and reacts just like the breast. I also love the little valve on the bottom that eliminates air bubbles — Maggie’s reflux sometimes means we deal with lots of spit up and barf but there hasn’t been one bit with these bottles. (They’ve even got their own special bottle brush, which makes cleaning way easy.)
So we’ve been letting Ryan do more bottles, which not only helps me avoid burning out, but gives dad a chance to get some good baby time in. I love watching him give her bottles — there’s something special that happens at feeding time and I want him to experience that too. And whenever she comes back for the next nursing session, it’s been a super easy transition thanks to the Latch bottles.
Dress for Success Do yourself a favor, ya’ll, and get a few killer nursing bras. Ugh, there’s nothing less comfortable than a bad nursing bra. I prefer them without underwire (this one still has a nice structure to it and doesn’t give you the uniboob look), with a little padding.
One Day at a Time When in doubt, take a step back. Breastfeeding is hard, gang. It’s not a sprint, it’s definitely a marathon. So if you’re having a tough day or even a tough single feeding, take heart and know that the next one will be totally different. Give yourself and your baby some grace and understand that it’s a huge learning curve for the both of you, even if you’ve done it before. Maggie is definitely a different animal than Henry was, and we’re still figuring it out. But don’t beat yourself up if you hit some bumps.