When I became pregnant with Layla, the first decision as a mother was to breastfeed. With the information we have now about the benefits of breastfeeding, not only healthwise but environmentally; it was an obvious choice to make. Besides how hard could it be? I was lucky to have friends as well as in laws who decided that breast milk was best, so I had examples to follow from. But anyone who has attempted breastfeeding can attest; It is one to to learn about breastfeeding. It is another to actually attempt it.
I didn’t realize how difficult and challenging breastfeeding could be. Although I took breastfeeding class, read tons of books, and even had lactation consultants help me at my hospital stay; it was an uphill battle from the start. I could see why so many women would feel discouraged and give up. From bleeding nipples to engorged breasts; there’s a lot of unpleasantness associated with it in the beginning, but what you don’t realize is that if you keep up with it; It DOES get better. The reward comes when your baby looks up at you with that content smile and knowing that you are giving the best source of nutrient possible. It is truly all worth it.
Here are some of the things I utilized to make breastfeeding easier. Most of the breastfeeding supplies here are not Eco-friendly per se, but the act of breastfeeding is good for the environment, and creates healthy babies which bodes well for the Earth.
So That’s What They’re: Definitive Guide for Breastfeeding by Janet Tamaro: I received this book in my breastfeeding class and have used it ever since. It’s an approachable, conversational style book that offers sage advice. It breaks down all the possible problems you might encounter and offers workable solutions. But what’s better is the encouragement you will get from the author to continue when you feel like quitting.
Great nursing pads: When my milk came in, my breasts started shooting out milk like the old faithful. It was totally demoralizing and after trying out several brand of nursing pads. (Johnson & Johnson stuck painfully to my nipple and Gerber leaked right through) I found the Lansinoh Nursing Pads to be my favorite. It’s slim design is discreet to wear and incredibly absorbent. Their lanolin is pretty great too for those sore nipples in the beginning. (biggest misconception is thinking that you won’t get sore nipples. You will even with a good latch on; it will go away after a week or two) If you are a Vegan or Vegetarian; I recommend the Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Organic Nipple Butter. (I had to include something Green)
Great nursing bra: You should definitely invest in some great nursing bras from the start. I bought three Medela Comfort bra and have been using them every single day. It’s comfortable enough to wear at night, has that pull down cover with clip, (which is a must have) , and incredibly supportive. Which ever nursing bra you choose, it’s imperative that you do not get an underwire bra which can cause clogged ducts and mastitis.
My Breast Friend: Boppy Pillows are all the rage; but I chose Breast friend because it had a soft removable cover. I took this pillow to the hospital and it helped me position my newborn correctly for breastfeeding. You can prop your baby on it and the baby is perfectly aligned to latch on. Very important to learn in the beginning. I don’t use it much now but just for that initial learning stage; this can be invaluable tool.
Breastfeeding Class and Lactaction Consultants: Taking a breastfeeding class from a certified lactaction consultant was such a confidence booster. I felt very prepared and was ready to master the art of breastfeeding. Bring your spouse with you because it has been said one of biggest factor in success of breastfeeding is spousal support. I wish I had brought mine, because when I get discouraged; the first thing he asks me is if I want to try formula. (Well meaning but not helpful) Lactaction consultants are there to help you if you run into any problems but is also there to offer encouragement and support. Even if you have to pay for the consultations; you would save more by sticking with breastfeeding than introducing formula.
The benefits of breastfeeding is astounding. It’s the healthier, more affordable, and Eco-friendly choice in nourishing your baby. I hope with the breastfeeding tools I have suggested; you will overcome the initial obstacles in breastfeeding and find success in this amazing endeavor.
[This post was written by Susie Kim.]