August is National and World Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Though my breastfeeding and pumping days are now behind me, I have gathered many tips and tricks over the years and want to share them with all the new mamas out there in case they can help someone else!
I nursed/pumped for my son for 16 months. It wasn’t an easy start, but we got the hang of it after a little while. In fact, I felt like a pro after a while! I went back to work when he was three months old and practiced pumping at home before that in order to prepare. Also, I had quite an overproduction problem which caused a lot of mastitis and chapped nipples for me and a lot of crying and an upset stomach for him. My breastfeeding experience with my daughter was very different from my experience the first time around. She latched on like a pro from the beginning, and I was well-prepared for the chance of overproduction that I had with my son. I nursed/pumped for her for 18 months, most of which I only nursed. I had a six-month maternity leave and, thanks to COVID-19, I didn’t return to the office for another year after returning to work. To say the experiences were different would be an understatement, so I have quite the collection of random tips and tricks to share. Below are my top five breastfeeding and pumping tips…
When I feel overwhelmed or not in control, I ALWAYS turn to organization. As a new mom, there is never any time to do anything, and everything feels overwhelming. So, this trick to organize all of your pumping or breastfeeding accessories will help keep things running quickly and smoothly. With a Sterilite storage drawer set and some cute labels, everything has a place! You’ll always know where everything is, even when your partner helps with the washing 😉
- DIY All-Purpose Nipple Ointment
It can happen to the best of us. Those organic balms are great until your nipple is actually bleeding so much during nursing that baby’s spit up is orange (been there!). My doctor offered to send me in a prescription for a special compound cream, but it was way too expensive, so I found my own DIY version of All Purpose Nipple Ointment with OTC creams. This worked wonders for me!
This magical little tool is so great! I wish I had known about the Haakaa with my son because I felt like I lost so much extra breastmilk in a nursing pad or cloth diaper. I never used it as an actual manual pump, as the name suggests, but I did latch it on to one breast while the baby nursed on the other side. I got nearly an extra bottle out of each feeding just by using it!
- Sarah Wells Pump Bag
When you have to carry your pump or even just your accessories and filled bottles too, from, and around your office each day, these Sarah Wells bags help you remain discreet. They have little hidden pockets in the bottom and still have plenty of room for your work essentials.
- Cover-Up (Or Don’t) & Whip It Out
If you choose to breastfeed or pump, don’t let anyone let you feel ashamed when it is time to feed your baby! Over time and after two babies, I became more and more confident with nursing in public (even if that “public” was just a family gathering or spending time at a friend’s house). I wish I had been more confident initially, but I finally realized that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. If I can pass along any advice to you, it would be to know that you are doing what is best for you and your baby and don’t let anyone make you feel like it is something you have to hide.