I was always set on breastfeeding. I just knew thats what I was going to do. I didn’t take any classes or read any books because I just assumed that it’s natural how hard can it be and what else do you need except baby and boobs? Wellll, the answer is very hard, (there was plenty I didn’t anticipate) and although you technically do only need baby and boobs I have found some products that were extremely helpful in making everything easier so here they are.
1. Earth Mama Natural nipple butter: I tried lanolin like everyone says, but it was sticky, left a residue big time, and I didn’t feel much relief. This stuff goes on smooth (like butter) and felt more effective to me at pain relief. Because lanolin is so thick and sticky you almost have to gob it on with a little more pressure to get it to stay in place which is not fun with sore cracked nipples… this nipple butter has little beads of cocoa butter but a quick rub in between your fingers and they melt away. Bonus – helps with rashy newborn cheeks!
2. All purpose nipple ointment: this requires a prescription and doesn’t fall into the all natural category but sometimes you need more than natural. I was missing half of my left nipple and had the Grand Canyon running down the middle of my right with a hungry hungry hungry little man chomping on them all day and night, and this became a bit of a lifesaver. It has ibuprofen in it for pain relief, and some antifungal and anti bacterial ingredients to help prevent infection while you have open wounds.
3. Lilypadz: These are a silicone material breast pad with a sticky back. They work by putting a constant pressure on your nipple to prevent leaks. I had a niagra falls like let down so I definitely still experienced leaks, but these gave me a fighting chance. They also work great as a barrier between sore nipples and bras/shirt, and were way more comfortable ( and less visible!) than disposable or even cotton pads.
4. Boppy pillow: tiny little newborns get heavy when you’re holding them all day long! This gives your arms some much needed rest and support! Plus the pillow is great later on for propping and learning to sit!
5. Hands free pumping bra: I had to pump exclusively for about two weeks and then did a lot of pumping until about three months. I also started transitioning back to work at two months and this bra was a huge help! (Still is- wearing as I type). Pumping is awful. At least if you have your hands free you can sort of forget about it while you do other things while listening to that machine pump away.
6. Medela breast pump wipes: The pumping room at my work has a chair, table, shelf, and mini fridge. No sink. Which meant to wash parts I had to take my milky parts all the way through the building to the bathroom which was still just and average public bathroom type sink(cleaner at least). No thanks. My cleaning technique is to use these to give them a good wipe and store them in the fridge until I can give them a good cleaning later in the day.
7. Milkies milk saver: Last by not least this product could also be called shirt/onesie/nap saver. It’s a cup that fits in your bra with a hole for the nipple that catches all of the milk that lets down while you’re feeding your baby on the other side. For me, that was like 2-3 oz for a while. Now, just imagine that much milk going through your shirt and also soaking baby’s shirt. Now you both have to change and instead of full and sleepy newborn you have wide awake mad and wet newborn. These milkies are a saver of many things!