Regardless of your journey, breastfeeding is a topic that brings up a lot of thoughts, emotions and memories. Whether you’re strictly breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a mix of both, THAT IS AMAZING! Way to go, Momma – you’re feeding your baby and that’s the main goal!! It’s such a personal experience and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Fed is best and every mom has to make a decision that works for them and their family.
Alright, so here’s what I learned, and the best tips, tools and resources I used. I’m no expert but happy to share my experience of breastfeeding both of mine for 5 months…I hope it’s helpful!
BREASTFEEDING MUST HAVES
When I was pregnant with Navy I had SO many questions about breastfeeding and turned to all my mom friends for answers! A lot of them recommended reading Latch. I read it as a new mom and re-read it with Indie. It’s a really fast, easy read about breastfeeding basics and a great place to start! While my experiences breastfeeding Indie and Navy were not identical, having done it before I knew more of what to expect the second time around. Here are my must haves:
- Nursing bras & tanks: You’ll likely be breastfeeding and/or pumping every couple of hours in the beginning, so easy access with all tops and bras is a necessity. My favorite nursing bras are Bravado and I love Hatch nursing tanks!
- Nursing pads: When you’re nursing you’ll frequently leak milk. These nursing pads are great options to slip into your bra.
- LaVie Lactation Massager: I’ve seen such a difference using this while breastfeeding. It helps improve my milk flow significantly!
- Warm breast pads: INSTANT RELIEF for breastfeeding! They warm sore breasts, help speed up milk flow and loosen blockages + clogged ducts, which can be really painful! If you don’t have these jump in the shower and it has the same effect!
- Nursing pillow: This will be so helpful during feedings to support your little one and make you more comfortable too – this is my absolute favorite nursing pillow… it’s SO soft!
- Milk storage freezer bags: If pumping you’ll want to save as much milk as you can in between feedings. I like these because they can be stored laying flat or standing up. This freezer storage container also helps keep frozen breastmilk organized by date.
- Silverette Silver Nursing Cups: These are amazing to help heal sore nipples. They’re made of natural silver, do wonders for healing/preventing cracked nipples and are meant to heal them in between feedings. Alternate between these and nipple balm.
- Nipple balm: An absolute must! While I have’t announced this yet, for over a year now I’ve been working on developing MY OWN line of nipple balm, stretch, and scar formulas, which I’ve used through my pregnancy with Indie and can testify to the results myself =)) I could talk about it for hours and I can’t wait to share more about it SOON. In the meantime, I’ve been using Everdene’s nipple balm.
With both kiddos I started pumping at 2 weeks and I feel like it helped me put back a lot of milk from the start. Initially I pumped and fed from both sides but around month two my left side stopped producing so I was feeding and pumping only from my right side for the next couple of months. It must be my dominant side because the same thing happened with Navy!
Investing in a really good breast pump makes a huge difference. Choosing a breast pump is really specific to your needs and there are SO many options to consider. This article is a great resource for finding the best pump for you, this site is really helpful to breakdown different types of breast pumps, and this one goes through the pros and cons of popular pumps.
With Navy I used the Medela pump and I really liked it! It gets off a lot of milk and is really effective. If you’re not worried about it being cord free then it’s a great pump. After breastfeeding the first time around I learned that having a hands free, cord free, and travel-friendly pump would’ve been my preference. Since I planned to pump at work with Indie I switched to the Elvie pump and loved how it’s hands free, cordless and silent!! Since it sits in your bra, it definitely takes a bit to find the right one because the fit on everyone is different. I did notice it did leak from time to time but once I figured out what bra worked best for me it was ok.
My biggest recommendation is for sure get the Haakaa – it’s small, portable and really affordable. I’d throw it on after feedings and I frequently fed Indie on one side while using the Haakaa on the opposite. I would get off about 3-4 oz of extra milk, which adds up over time!
I had a similar milk supply with both kids but I was able to start building my breastmilk storage sooner the second time around. I definitely tried a few things to boost my supply with Indie and saw a slight difference:
1. Placenta Encapsulation: I decided to have my placenta encapsulated because I heard that taking placenta pills can increase a mothers’ milk supply. I took about half of them and stopped – I personally couldn’t tell a difference in my supply like I was hoping but I did notice support in my postpartum recovery and healing. It’s hard to say with confidence I saw results because there is no evidence-backed research to fully support eating your placenta during postpartum, but to each their own. I talked to my doctor about it and here’s a great article to reference if you’re interested.
2. Lactation Cookies: I became obsessed with Miracle Milkookies while breastfeeding and found any excuse to eat them! They also have a Klean cookie which is dairy free, gluten free, soy free and vegan – all of their flavors seriously taste amazing!
3. Brewer’s Yeast: I started putting it on everything – smoothies, granola, oatmeal and noticed a slight boost when I was consistent with incorporating it in my diet.
Typically I put back about 25 oz per day outside of Indie’s feedings. I bought a small, deep chest freezer and stored about 800 oz by 3 months. Listening to my body and with work picking up, I started introducing a little bit of formula and from there feedings have been a mix of pulling from the freezer and formula. I feel really great about the HIPP formula we are giving Indie now and it was a really seamless transition for us.
We followed Moms On Call schedules with both kiddos. So many mom friends recommended this program when I was pregnant with Navy and no joke she was sleeping through the night by 4 weeks (and Indie 6 weeks)! The suggested sleep/daytime schedules adjust as your baby grows so it makes following along really easy! We are in the 4-6 month schedule with Indie now but sharing the 0-4 week schedule we followed with him when I started breastfeeding:
0-4 week schedule
Wake between 6 and 7am and feed
9:00am: Feed for 30 minutes regardless when the baby ate last – playtime for the next 20-30 minutes
9:45/10am: Sleep (as close to 2 hours as possible)
12PM: Feed, even if you have to wake the baby – playtime for the next 20-30 minutes
12:45/1pm: Sleep (as close to 2 hours as possible)
3pm: Feed, even if you have to wake the baby – playtime for the next 20-30 minutes
3:45/4pm: Sleep (as close to 2 hours as possible
6:00pm: Feed – playtime for the next 20-30 minutes
9:30pm: Nighttime sleep