Despite my son latching like a pro in the hospital, breastfeeding has not been an easy task. My nipples are sore, cracked and bleeding; I’m barely producing enough to satisfy him; getting him in the correct feeding position is borderline impossible; and I’m leaking 24/7. If it weren’t for my survival kit, I’m not sure I’d be able to continue with breastfeeding much longer. Here are my must-have items for breastfeeding baby boy.
1. Lansinoh Lanolin
The greatest gift to chapped nipples. Lanolin is a waxy substance produced by sheep and other wool-bearing animals that protects wool and skin against the climate. I use a small amount on each nipple after every feeding or pumping session to help with the soreness. Since I started using this, I haven’t been chapped at all. I do still experience some tenderness, but that’s to be expected when you are feeding and/or pumping every two hours throughout the day.
2. Lansinoh Nursing Pads
I wear these 24/7, because if I didn’t, I would ruin a lot of shirts. I leak when I’m laying down, feeding, showering, eating, and doing anything else. These pads protect my clothes and can hold quite a bit of fluid. I have not had a pad leak yet and I only change them out each morning.
3. Medela Contact Nipple Shields
Even though my son latched well at first, he had more difficulty once we got home. He would latch perfectly only a handful of times, and most often wouldn’t keep a grip. Couple this with being chapped and extremely sensitive, and I was ready to give up breastfeeding altogether. These shields are fantastic at alleviating 95 percent of the pain that comes with breastfeeding and my son latches with ease. The reason he latches easier than before is because the shield provides a large contact area for him. He doesn’t have to open his mouth as wide as he would have to without one because the shield does that for him in the way that it attaches to the breast. Because these also come with a carrier, you can breastfeeding away from the house without frustration as well.
4. Medela Breast Pump
During night-time feeds, Zaylen eats more than I can produce in a single sitting. If I didn’t pump, my son wouldn’t be satisfied and I would have to deal with a hungry fussy baby during my peak fatigue time. I’m still getting used to pumping on a schedule, and managing pumping with feedings, but I make sure to at least pump enough to get us through that first night feeding and then pump right after he is bottle-fed for the next feeding. This breast pump is a little bulky for the nightstand next to my glider, but the quality is fantastic and the let-down function allows me to manage the pumping process according to my body’s rhythm. My only suggestion would be to buy a few more pump accessories so you don’t have to clean after every feeding.
5. Similac Breastfeeding Supplements
I take one every morning. I have trouble meeting my son’s demands, and I truly believe this problem would be worse without these supplements. They are vitamins specifically designed to increase and maintain your supply. It could be all in my head, but I’m not willing to risk it to find out.
6. Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer
I refrigerate my breast milk after pumping and you can’t feed a baby cold milk. At night, it is so simple for me to prepare a bottle and pop it in the bottle warmer. It uses steam to warm the bottle on a timer and beeps when it is complete. By the time I finish changing Zaylen’s diaper, the bottle is warmed up and all I have to do is wipe down the condensation and give it a good swirl to make sure the temperature is evenly distributed. Also, the bottle warmer uses a water reservoir that I only have to fill up once every couple of days at most, making my life even easier. I can’t imagine boiling a pot of water for every feed and then having to monitor it so the milk doesn’t get too hot. This bottle warmer has saved me from countless headaches and frustrations.
To use the Boppy or not to use the Boppy; that is not the question. In the hospital, the nurses advised me against using it. They said it’s difficult to get baby in the right position, he may not latch well, it’s large and awkward. Well I’m here to tell you that without it, my son and I wouldn’t be a breastfeeding duo. I had a ton of trouble getting pillows into place at the hospital and my son would only latch with the football hold even when I did. I always had to have someone help me maneuver him, the pillows and myself. In case you forgot, I’m by myself now that we’re home and I don’t have anyone to help me get into position. Even if I did have someone, I wouldn’t want to need them for every single feeding. That is just ridiculous. With the Boppy, I can hold Zaylen and wrap the pillow around my waist at the same time. I can even manage that with a bottle in my hand too. I am also able to switch sides and alternate between different holds without readjusting anything. So for me and Zaylen, we use the Boppy; we need the Boppy.
This is my breastfeeding survival kit so I can continue on my breastfeeding and pumping journey well past my son’s 6-month mark. You may find you don’t need all of these items, or that you need a few extras too. Let me know how your kit differs in the comments below.