Sunday, August 11, 2013

The "Other" Baby Essentials: part 2

Did you know that it was World Breastfeeding Week 2013 this past week and August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month? Yeah, me neither. But in light of their whole, "I support you" campaign focusing on supporting all mothers no matter how they feed their children, I figured this was a good time for my next installment of Other Baby Essentials since it's all about items I used to help make breastfeeding easier for me and my child.

1) A nursing pillow - Newborn babies are so tiny and weigh so little, until you spend long nursing sessions holding them in your arms, trying to jockey the baby around into the right position. That's where a good nursing pillow comes in handy. The pillow I heard of and saw most at retail shops is the Boppy. My sister-in-law let me borrow hers when K was a baby and it was never quite right for me. The problem with it for me is that it slipped down too far on my waist to keep K in the right spot for breastfeeding. (*Update: Boppy has updated their nursing pillows and they now come with an adjustable strap and feature a firm side for nursing and a soft side for snuggling. I think this is a huge improvement and I'm glad they worked with lactation consultants to improve their product.) After some research online I came across the My Brest Friend nursing pillow. I love this pillow! It has a highly adjustable strap that wraps around your waist (or ribcage, like I did) and really holds the pillow right where you need it. When E was little I used to carry her around on that thing (holding onto her of course so she wouldn't roll off) when she would fall asleep after nursing. That's how well it stayed in place. The pillow itself is firm enough to keep the baby in the correct position but comfortable enough that she often fell asleep on it. Plus it offers a higher back for better support and a pocket to store smaller items.
It comes in other cuter fabrics but this is the one I have

2) A comfortable nursing bra - Here's the scoop - I can't stand underwire. It always seems to dig in or jab me in the armpit but wire-free bras tend to not offer enough support. Like with most things I buy, I turned to the internet to read reviews on basically every nursing bra that's available. I came up with the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra and let me tell you, it's SO comfortable. The cup comes all of the way down which is good for achieving the correct latch, especially in the beginning when you're just trying to figure that out. The fabric is stretchy enough to allow for growth but supportive enough to be comfortable.
I like it so much I have it in 4 different colors

3) Nursing pajamas - In the beginning, when you're feeling sleep deprived and you're up nursing (again), a convenient nursing pajama top is really nice to have instead of fussing with a baggy t-shirt that just ends up getting in the way for you and your baby. I have a few different tops and nightgowns and no particular brand is really any better than another so long as you find one that fits comfortably and is convenient for you.

4) Somewhere comfortable to sit - I've nursed our baby in pretty much any place you can think of but my favorite place is in the girls darkened bedroom sitting in our hand-me-down rocker / recliner from my Grandma. It's highly padded in all of the right spots and it's super comfortable which is great because we all spend a lot of time in it. I use it mostly for breastfeeding E, A uses it when he's putting her to sleep, and K loves to read books in it. I know a bigger chair like ours may seem overwhelming in a nursery, especially if it's a smaller room to begin with and you have to fit a crib and changing area in there as well, but I'm so glad we have our rocker because it gets a ton of use on a daily basis.
This isn't our exact chair but it's similar

5) Nursing cover-up - In the beginning stages of nursing, particularly in public or when guests were over, I used a cover up. I think a cover up makes nursing in public a lot more comfortable for "the other guy", even more so than it may for the mother. I'm incredibly thankful to say that I've never been subjected to any negativity or criticisms toward my nursing in public. Maybe that's because I do try and maintain a certain level of modesty, but it may also be that nursing in public is becoming more common and accepted. Plus, using a cover up can help your baby nurse better because it blocks out all of the other distractions that might be drawing her attention away from the business at hand (or mouth, as the situation may be). The great thing about the particular cover up I have is that it has a RigiFlex neck which means it stands out away from your body so you can look down and see your baby but it's still flexible enough to fold up. Also, with the way the strap attached around your neck, your little one can pull it off when she gets a little older and wants to see everything that's happening around her. And as a bonus, a nursing cover up acts as a great lightweight blanket if you happen to be out and need one but forgot to pack one in your already full diaper bag.
This is the one I have and I love the pattern

6) Lightweight cardigan - I love these lightweight swing cardigans from Meijer (so much so that I have 3 and am looking to buy at least one more). On our recent plane ride to the Pacific Northwest, I wore one of these and was able to use it as a nursing cover up, a blanket for E, and a great layering piece for myself. A lightweight cardigan is so versatile and can really extend your wardrobe into the cooler months. The great thing about wearing something like this is if your diaper bag really is too crowded you can still nurse in public and be completely covered up by just taking it off and draping it over your shoulder and the baby.

I would like to wrap up this post by echoing the World Breastfeeding Week's theme of "I support you". Before K was born, A and I talked about the fact that I really wanted to breastfeed. Unfortunately, I was unable to breastfeed K and I felt like such a failure as a mother. It was the support from my husband who told me that it was more important for K to be eating and healthy than it was for me to be so hard on myself because things weren't going according to my "plan". Before E was born, I stocked up on formula because I didn't want to find myself in the position (again) of wanting to breastfeed but not being able to and being completely unprepared to offer an alternative option. Call it Murphy's Law but E has been exclusively breastfed from day 1. But even though I used different methods of feeding my babies, they are both healthy, happy, intelligent, wonderful little girls. I support you, moms out there, doing the best you can for your children and for yourselves, and I thank you for your support while I do the best I can.

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