August 1st-7th is World Breastfeeding Week and I wanted to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the products I have loved while experiencing breastfeeding three times over. Before I dive into all things nipple cream and nursing bras: what I am about to share is purely my personal experience. If you have questions or are curious if a product recommendation is for you, seek out a lactation consultant or your doctor.
With my first baby, I knew ideally I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. I read blog posts, articles and books, and attended the breastfeeding class offered by our hospital in preparation for this new adventure. The first few weeks were filled with sore nipples and engorgement but once my milk supply calmed down and my baby settled into a predictable schedule I really enjoyed nursing. With each of our babies we have used the Baby Connect App to track feedings and sleep schedules – it was a life-saver during those early days! My first time around I struggled to find a comfortable nursing bra to wear during the day. I could never find anything quite supportive enough and my back seemed to hurt all the time. I wore the Medela Comfort Nursing Bras at night for extra support and have worn them with my subsequent children as well. As for pumping and bottles, I hated my pump. It was uncomfortable, loud, and I never seemed to get much from my pumping sessions. My daughter was also not a fan of bottles. I felt like I would forever be searching for the perfect bottle that she would actually take! We ended up weaning around her first birthday and overall I felt that it was a good first experience for all of us.
My second experience was different from day one. My daughter made a clicking sound when she would suck and her latch was painful. We fortunately identified this as a tongue tie within the first 24 hours and had it clipped. Her latch corrected itself immediately and again, breastfeeding seemed to start off on an easy foot (not without those sore nipples though! I learned that that was a part of the deal, no matter how many times you’ve breastfed and the Medela Soothing Gel Pads for Breastfeeding were lifegiving). Then I experienced an oversupply of milk. For the first 3-4 months I would pump a little bit after feeding my baby to completely drain my breasts. It was like feeling engorged all the time and it seemed like I was always experiencing a let down (the Bamboobies Overnight Nursing Pads were extremely helpful with this and didn’t look like I was stuffing my bra!). Thankfully my production slowed down after we started solid foods but those first few months were hard! Nursing a newborn with a toddler at home was tough to juggle, add pumping after nursing and there was a lot of chaos and Daniel Tiger happening during that phase of life. The silver lining in all of the nursing and pumping was that I came to not despise the experience so much. I found the Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Sanitizer Spray made travel and quick cleaning more manageable. The second time around we weaned around 14 months.
My third baby is 5 months old and I am breastfeeding once again. This has been my most challenging nursing relationship yet. We had latching issues in the hospital and I experienced my first case of mastitis when my son was 6 weeks old. Once again I have dealt with overproduction but the Haaka Silicone Breastpump helped me tremendously in the early days of my milk supply coming in rapidly and started to build a good freezer stash. I feel like we are currently in the sweet spot of breastfeeding. We have settled into a routine during the day and the length of time spent nursing is somewhat predictable. One of my greatest breastfeeding hacks was finding out about converting regular bras to nursing bras at Nordstrom. With my second and my third I went into Nordstrom around 37 weeks and got measured, found some comfortable wireless bras and had them converted and shipped to my house! I have also always taken advantage of getting a pump from my insurance each time I have had a baby. The pump I picked out this time around has been incredible the Spectra S1 Pump is quiet, comfortable, and easy to clean. The Nanobebe Breastfeeding Bottle has been a hit with my son as well – it heats up the milk safely, quickly, and evenly.
While this week recognizes breastfeeding relationships worldwide no matter how you choose to feed your baby – breastmilk, formula, donor milk, etc. – fed is best and fed, happy, healthy babies are always a thing worth celebrating.