I had a friend ask me some nursing questions the other day and it reminded me how clueless I was about the whole nursing and pumping thing when I became a mom. I was extremely fortunate that Wyatt took to nursing so easily! We had no latch issues, it never really hurt me, and I had a great supply with milk that came in the day I went home from the hospital. Here are just a few tips of things I’ve run into in the last six months with nursing and pumping and nursing:
- Your boobs will be out all the time – like I don’t even know what I expected before I had a baby and thought about breastfeeding. but especially those first few weeks. Your boobs are out ALL. THE. TIME. You get used to it but at first it kind of threw me off when you’ve never had them out ever.
- Don’t use the cloth nursing pads the first month – My awesome husband was so sweet and one day that first week when I have him getting me another nursing cami, he picked up some cloth nursing pads. I was so excited to not have to use the disposable and have reusable ones. Until I used them within that first week and I leaked through 3 times. I thought they were just not as good as disposable and stopped using them, disappointed and confused as to how anyone used them. Then as the months went on and I didn’t have random let downs and my supply regulated, they became perfect. So I totally recommend getting a few pairs, but realize that you need to use the disposables for the first month or two while your body is figuring out your milk supply.
- Wear nursing camis those first 2 months then switch to nursing bras – I am so glad that I had a nursing cami when Wyatt was born. I brought the nursing bra figuring I would wear that, but with people coming into your hospital room so often I was nice to just whip down the side you needed and have your stomach covered. then when you get home it was so nice that you could just wear that and a cardigan and not have to worry about lifting up shirts or taking off shirts and could easily access. Now that I am back at work it feels so nice to wear the nursing bras and feel like a normal person again. And since I pump there, I am in a room where no one sees me so the bra works great. And I just got sick of wearing the cami’s all the time to be honest.
- Pump after the baby eats in those first two months – it is so vital for a great supply to do this. I had read about it and would try to do it as much as I could convince myself. when it takes the baby 30+ minutes to nurse and then you have to go sit on that pump for another 15 it is daunting and takes so much time. But from doing this, I got a pretty large supply and a great freezer stock. Looking back on it I will work so hard on that supply right away and make myself sit on that pump because around 4 months my supply started to dip and I wish I had done better to establish a huge one(and have an even bigger freezer stash).
- own multiple pumping parts – I own two sets of pumping parts, 14 pumping bottles, and I still swear it is not enough. I was lucky to get 3 pumps and a lot of the bottles from my sister in law and aunt. I bought the shields and stuff but otherwise I didn’t have to buy much which was a blessing
- Figure out the fastest cleaning process for yourself – This is one that took me a while to figure out what was fast and worked for me. Since I didn’t have much time to pump at work, I would use my double parts and use the first set the first pump and the other set for the 2nd. I’d go through 4 bottles then too. It worked great and was fast during, but I’d always have tons of cleaning to do at home. When I was at home and pumping I always just put the parts in the fridge and could reuse them for the next session without cleaning. And then when my supply got smaller I started to use a microwave bag to clean them quick between sessions and then I would use the parts again and pump into the same bottles a second time and then there wasn’t a need to wash at home. Pretty much what I am getting at here is there are so many different options and ways to do this, just figure out what works best for you and know it could change be the month!
Hopefully a few of these tips were interesting or helpful. I plan to look back on them when I have another baby and hopefully be able to be not have to go through the learning curve as much as you do the second time. I really enjoy nursing and can stand pumping so I hope to do it with all my babies.