Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buying for Baby: Nursing Essentials

When I was pregnant with Noah, I knew I wanted to breastfeed.  In my mind, it just made sense.  Healthy, instant, ... cheap.  I also knew that it was going to be a challenge.  I've grown up seeing both extremes: parents that nurse for extended periods of time and parents who choose the bottle from day one.  I knew I'd fall somewhere in the middle, but I just wasn't sure where that would be.

I went into it saying that I'd nurse for at least six months and try to hold out for a full year.  As it turns out, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Nursing Noah started to be a challenge around 5 months.  Several infections, clogged ducts, and flashing instances later, I was nearing that golden one year mark.  So slowly and surely I started weaning him.  He didn't seem to mind one way or another so we were dropping on feeding at a time and enjoying the others.

Funny thing happened as I got closer to that one year mark, I was the one who started to miss nursing.  Here I was at the finish line and not so sure I was ready to be done.  I began to more and more value that time that we sat down and were still with each other.  Those moments when all the world stopped and his little body snuggled up against mine.  There's nothing quite like those times.

As it turns out, through all the frustrations of no breaks, neither baby willing to take a bottle EVER, and my own health issues, those were some of the sweetest moments with both of my children.  In the end, I breastfed Noah 15 months and Lydia 16 months.  So much for my "trying" to make it to a year.

While I know that breastfeeding isn't a possibility in everyone's situation, these are some of the things that made it easier in my experience:

The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding--  My OB/Gyn gave me this book in my first pregnancy and I loved it.  Smart, no non-sense guide with easy to use index.

The First Years Nursing Cover-- This is a basic nursing cover and you can find fancier ones online.  But for getting the job done, this one works just fine.  And we would that a nursing cover was great as the baby got older and wanted to pull the blanket off my shoulder.  Noah was too social and always sticking his head out, but at least it provided some modesty for me.

Nursing pads-- I love these by Lansinoh.  They are super absorbent and very easy to place.  You can also buy washable pads if you're looking to save money in the long run and be green.  However, I found that I produced so much milk that they couldn't absorb it all.  They were worthless in my case so it just depends on your body.

Lanolin--This is so nice in those first couple of months where you're getting into the rhythm of breastfeeding.  It's great for cracks, sores and those inevitable bites.

And while not an essential, I loved my Boppy Nursing Pillow for the first couple of months while I got the hang of breastfeeding.  It provided just enough support to get the baby in place while we both got the hang of what we were doing.

Of course, depending on your circumstances, there are a multitude of other wonderful products on the market to support your endeavours in breastfeeding.  If you're returning to work, a breast pump is a wonderful tool to have.  I'd suggest an electric one as they're so efficient.  However, I wouldn't worry about going for a super high end one unless you can afford it.  I know two sisters who split the cost of a high end one and it's lasted their their 4 babies plus my two so they are a good investment if that's where you're at in life.

Either way I hope you'll enjoy those first few months with your little one.  If you have the option to breastfeed, I'd encourage you to do so.  It may be a challenge, but you're likely to not regret it.  If you don't have the opportunity to nurse for whatever reason, be open to letting go of your expectations and instead embrace the happy giggly little one you've been given.  Happy parenting!

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1 comment:

Dem said...

Just stopped by from WFMW. Those are some great suggestions. I totally understand the feeling of missing nursing. I nursed my son for 18 months and weaned him as soon as I found I was pregnant. I was glad to be done nursing (for a while) but I also missed it, especially when he was upset!

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