Even though I had so much trouble breastfeeding. When things were going well, I really enjoyed it! I think it is pretty cool that most woman can nourish their babies for the first year of their lives with only their own bodies!
Things I loved about breastfeeding:
- Soothing my crying baby and watching his expression turn from panic to relaxed joy.
- This was great when he got immunizations because he would cry, I would offer him food and all was right with the world again.
- Night time feedings. I loved pulling my little guy in bed with me laying him on his side and me on my side and then going back to sleep while he nursed. In a few hours if he woke up I would put him on my other side (with a bed rail) and let him nurse again and go back to sleep.
- Of course this does not work for everyone and many experts strongly advise against it, but it worked for us and I attribute it to helping us nurse as long as we did.
- Any feedings... It was warm, pre-mixed and didn't require any bottle washings afterward!
- It's free!
If you never need or want to leave your baby for more than a couple of hours at a time, you can skip the bottles and the pump and save a lot of money!
For the rest of us, you many need to lay out a nice chunk of change. If you are working or need to spend a significant amount of time pumping, I would HIGHLY recommend a double pump. I couldn't imagine trying to use a single manual pump.. The double pumps are quite pricey, but I and many other moms I know were able to get their insurance to pay for most or all of the cost of a pump. I think I paid about $21 for mine. It was however quite hard to find. My insurance gave me a list of approved stores to buy one from and not one of those stores carried the approved pump. I ended up asking a co-worker where she got hers, called the insurance company back to make sure I could indeed purchase it there and finally got the pump. You will need a prescription for it however. You many also want to get extra cones if you are pumping a lot.
Bottles - I never had more than 4 or so "extra" bottles saved up, but we still needed a ton of bottles.
- I had to take 4 to work for pumping
- He had 4 at daycare
- Add a night or two where we were just too tired to do dishes
- That is about 30 bottles right there.
Milk storage bags - I never had enough to use them. Anyone have anything they want to share?
Steamer bags - We have hard water, so we would hand wash all of our bottles and nipples. Occasionally and when he had thrush, we would use steam bags. They also worked great for sanitizing the pump cones and tubes when we first got it. They are a really good deal because you can use each bag about 20 times and they even have a place to check off every time you use it so you know how many uses you have left!
Udder Cover - If you want/are willing to nurse in public you may want to get an uddercover or something similar. I tried to use a blanket and he would just pull it off and give everyone a free show.
Nursing Bra/Shirts - I got a great deal on nursing bras at walmart when I was pregnant. Meijer also had some clearance nursing tanks that I got, but they were all too short, especially right after birth, which made me feel like this. There are a ton of nursing tops out there, but I would just lift up my shirt while wearing a tank.
Nursing Pillow - Boppy pillows can be great for many things and are super easy to find cheap used. I was not however crazy about it for nursing. A normal bed pillow worked better for me. I also like the my breast friend nursing pillow when I used it at the breastfeeding center, but it was not something so awesome that I was willing to pay for or find a place to store.
Pumping Bra - Some women do not need these, but other do need something to hold the pump on while they do other work. There are a bunch of different hands free bras out there.
Lanolin -The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be painful until you are used to all the extra attention. Lanolin is great to help irritation. Hydro gel pads are also great, but expensive, so make sure you ask for them at the hospital because you might get a stash for free.
Our childbirth educator also suggested these books: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding. Most areas have a La Leche League meetings that can be visited before and after giving birth. Some woman I have talked to have found their local group to be over the top, however, many have been been greatly helped by their advice and support. I had both experiences. Some groups were super helpful and others, even after listing everything I had done, made me feel like I had not tried hard enough.
If you breastfed, why did you choose to do so? How long did you/do you plan to breastfeed? Did you find it easy or hard? What did you love about breastfeeding? Do you have any advice for moms trying to decide if they should breastfeed or not?