Breastfeeding Essentials: things you need to make breastfeeding easy

Breastfeeding Essentials: Things you need to make breastfeeding easy

These seven tips helped me have an easier breastfeeding journey the second time around. Here are my breastfeeding essentials as well as the things you need to make breastfeeding easy.

This post may contain affiliate links which may mean I receive a commission when you click on a link, at no extra cost to you. I only link to things I love.

It is different with each baby you have and it is always a bit of an unknown adventure. However, there are things you can do to better prepare for whatever ends up happening in your breastfeeding journey. 

When I was pregnant with my first child, I spent so much time reading about pregnancy and preparing for birth and I  assumed breastfeeding would be a simple thing to do when the baby arrived. 

I was very wrong. 

Nursing my first child did not come easy and it ended up being a 13-month adventure with ups and downs until my supply eventually dried up.

Originally, I wanted to be able to nurse for two years, so I did ended this time feeling a bit like a failure. 

When we were preparing for our second child, my husband and I had conversations about what we wanted to do differently this time around.

The one thing I wanted to handle better was being more prepared for breastfeeding. 

There were several things I did wrong the first time that would have made the difficult experience of breastfeeding so much better. Here are the things I wish I had prepared for the first time around:

1. I was expecting to enjoy breastfeeding as this magical time of bonding between me and my new baby. 

You hear all sorts of comments about how it is such a special time and I was expecting to feel all warm and fuzzy as I started on my own breastfeeding experience. That is not how I felt. I actually did not like breastfeeding at all! 

Since I wasn’t expecting to feel this way I spent a lot of time feeling so guilty about loathing the breastfeeding process. I knew how important it was to breastfeed, but my attitude about having to do it was making me feel like I was a terrible mother for feeling that way. 

I wish I had realized how NORMAL what I was feeling was. 

It is OK to NOT like breastfeeding! It doesn’t mean you have to stop, that you are a bad mom, or that you aren’t bonding well with your child. If you planned on breastfeeding, keep going! It is OK not to like it. 

There is a great documentary on Netflix called, The Milky Way, about the importance of breastfeeding and I recommend watching that to prepare for your journey and to remind you of all the wonderful benefits of sticking with what you are doing when it gets hard. 

That is NOT to say that if you end up using formula or decide not to breastfeed, for whatever reason, that you are a bad mother. Don’t let anyone tell you that. Feel informed and empowered in the decisions you make for your family. 

There is an excellent formula comparison chart on the Organic Start website you can check out here if you are looking into the best formula options. 

We ended up having to supplement with my first baby when my supply started decreasing before he was ready to eat more solid foods.

If you are going to use formula, I highly recommend doing your research on the ingredients that are in them all. Unfortunately, they don’t always have the best ingredients. 

Generally speaking, European formula brands have higher ingredient standards for baby formula and they are produced with cleaner products. You can get those formulas at the Organic Start website. 

2. Having larger breasts made nursing more complicated because I swear it took three hands to hold everything in just the right position to breastfeed my baby. 

This meant I couldn’t do much else while I was nursing. I wish I had thought to prepare my space for that time so that I wasn’t going nuts just sitting there. 

The second time around I got a pair of wireless earbuds so I could listen to audible books or podcasts on my phone while I was nursing. 

3. FIND A COMFORTABLE CHAIR TO SIT IN WHILE NURSING! 

This is so important. 

The first time around we were trying to be minimalist about the big furniture we were purchasing for baby and I decided that a nursing chair was not necessary.

I had a comfortable bed I could sit in so I didn’t need to spend extra money on a nursing chair. This was the biggest decision I regretted. 

While my bed is super comfortable to sleep in, sitting up in it for hours a day hurt my back and helped contribute to incredibly painful hemorrhoids because of how I was sinking into the soft bed when I was sitting up. 

For my second baby, I got a large chair and a half-sized nursing chair so I could sit with my legs up on the chair and take some of the pressure off my tailbone while nursing. 

This had made a HUGE difference the second time around. It is also large enough to allow my toddler to sit with me while I feed his new baby brother. Everyone is happy!

4. If you are having ANY issues nursing do NOT hesitate to meet with a lactation consultant (or several!) until your issues are resolved. 

There are things that good lactation consultants are trained to look for that Doctors and Midwives are NOT trained to look for.  

When my second baby was born he would not latch after birth to nurse. The initial reaction from others is to say that it is just because of the size of my breasts or the shape of my nipples. 

I would have been sent home to struggle it out and maybe even eventually give up thinking I was a failure. 

Fortunately, my Midwife’s assistant was a trained lactation consultant and she checked his tongue instead of just blaming it on my breasts. She saw he had a tongue tie that she immediately corrected. 

He was able to nurse for 30min on each side at his next feeding less than 24 hours after birth. Your breasts are not defective mama!

Find someone that can help and don’t stop until you have a solution. My second son nurses like a dream and it has been SO different this time around because of it.

Ask your Doctor or Midwife about lactation resources in your area. You can also contact someone from the La Leche League for tips on breastfeeding and finding a lactation consultant. 

5. Prepare for breastfeeding by understanding what we know about it.

The two books I recommend reading are Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding and Michel Odent’s Birth & Breastfeeding book

You should also watch The Milky Way Documentary on Netflix or here if you don’t have a Netflix account

6. Don’t listen to what other people think about YOUR nursing journey with YOUR child. 

If you prefer pumping, then pump. If you have tried and tried and just cannot nurse for whatever reason, then find the best formula you can and fed your baby that. There is no shame in taking care of your child however you end up deciding to do that. 

7. Equip yourself for breastfeeding success. Here are some of my favorite breastfeeding aids:

I wish I had all of these items on hand so that if I needed them I could use them right away instead of having to order them and wait for them to arrive. 

Get a hands free pump or a regular pump.

The hands-free Willow Pump is on my wishlist and I currently use the Medela Pump in Style. You can check them out by clicking below but also check with your insurance to see if they cover the cost of a pump.

Even if you don’t plan to pump, having on hand to help with clogged ducts or emergencies is something to consider. 

Check out the hands free Willow pump

Check out the Medela Pump in Style pump

 
You may need organic nursing pads

Not everyone has issues with leaking, but you won’t know until your milk starts coming in. I was glad I had these on hand for the few times I ended up needing them. 

Get organic nursing pads

You may need a nipple shield

If your baby is having issues latching you may benefit from a nipple shield. It also helps with any soreness or bleeding that might occur when you are first nursing.

Get a nipple shield

This is NOT something you want to have to wait for or go out to the store to get if you think you need it. I suggest having it on hand before it comes time to nurse. 

You may want a bottle at the ready just in case you decide to pump a little or need to use a formula for some reason.

I have used a bottle and a pacifier from birth with both of my babies and neither of them ever had issues with nipple confusion.

Get the breastfeeding-friendly bottle we use: Como Tomo bottle

Get the breastfeeding-friendly pacifier we use: Eco Pacifier

It is my hope that you feel informed and empowered in your breastfeeding journey. Let me know what is working to make breastfeeding easy for you in the comments below. 

This post may contain affiliate links which may mean I receive a commission when you click on a link, at no extra cost to you. I only link to things I love.

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