Did you all know that August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month?!
First of all, if you’ve never had kids, you probably don’t care about this post and that’s TOTALLY ok. That was me over a year ago.
(But you might want to bookmark this post for a day later in the future…just sayin’).
If you have had kids & at least attempted to breastfeed, you are for sure thinking HECK YES THIS SHOULD BE SUPPORTED ALL MONTH.
Because it’s dang hard.
Like REALLY hard.
To be honest, I actually think that breastfeeding for the first two months was harder than actually giving birth to Eloise. (Don’t get me wrong, I had an epidural and couldn’t feel much but you get my point). Maybe it’s because you hear all of the horror stories of the birth and then no one talks about breastfeeding? And you get through the birth and then the breastfeeding hurts SO MUCH and you’re not ready for it?! I’m not sure, but that’s how I felt. I remember trying to feed Eloise for the first time and just crying. I thought it was suppose to be this beautiful thing and for me, it didn’t start off like that.
It hurt. It wasn’t comfortable. I’d never done it before. I had no idea what to expect. Everyday that went by, breastfeeding was the hardest part. I could change diapers multiple times, deal with no sleep and cuddle with a colicy baby all day, but feeding every 3 hours. Ugh. I dreaded it.
I’ve done it now for almost 6 months and I finally thought it was about time I shared what really worked for me, little tips that helped me along the way and the most popular question of all…..how I still drink wine and breastfeed!
Now remember, I’m not a pro and I might be doing it totally wrong BUT my baby is getting fed, gaining weight, we are happy and it’s working for us. I thought I would share about it on here in case any other mamas out there wanted some other ideas or could relate.
I was so excited to see how many of you guys LOVED my post two weeks ago on nursing friendly wardrobe pieces and your messages brought me to tears. I get it. It’s hard to try and look cute while you are feeding. You want to stay in your pajamas all day and wear the comfiest bra imaginable. Well, you can still look cute, stylish and presentable while you are breastfeeding, you just have to try a teenie tiny bit.
I’m so excited to be partnering today with Motherhood Maternity in honor of Breast Feeding Awareness month and styling this cute little number for you! You would have no idea that this was a nursing friendly dress and that’s what I love about it! Motherhood Maternity has so many different options for breastfeeding mamas who need work attire, loungewear or everyday casual pieces. The dress I’m styling here is extremely comfortable, lifts right up for easy feeding access and you can style it up with wedges or down with sneakers and a denim jacket.
It’s a winner!
Ok, so let’s dive into some of the things that have worked best for me in the last 6 months!
*** BREAST PUMP ***
I have a lot of friends that have this breast pump and swear by it. It’s suppose to be the top of the line, and works the best BUT it’s expensive. (TIP: Depending on your insurance, your doctor could write you a prescription for a breast pump so that you don’t have to buy one – make sure you check before coming home from the hospital). I have been using this one for the past 6 months and absolutely love it as it’s small and PERFECT for travel. It’s also under $60 and works SO well! I’ve had no complaints and highly recommend it if you need a more affordable pump.
*** PUMPING SCHEDULE ***
When my milk first came in, I had an overwhelming supply. I felt extremely lucky, but it was also a little overwhelming at first. Looking back, I’m so thankful that I was able to make so much milk that I can use now and in the next couple of months. What I did in the beginning and still do now if I need to have fresh milk on hand throughout the day is that I feed Eloise on one side and then pump the other. That way she gets a full belly and I get an extra bottle for later in the day (or to freeze). There was also a week where she was not wanting to feed on me but would gladly take a bottle, so for that week, I would wake up a little early, pump a fresh bottle for her and then throughout the day, I just pumped about 30-45 minutes before she was suppose to eat so that I could stay on top of her feedings.
*** MILK STORAGE ***
My doctor explained to me the “Rule of 6” when Eloise was born and it’s honestly the easiest thing to remember (thank goodness because it’s hard to remember anything in the beginning!) Milk can stay out at room temperature for 6 hours, for 6 days in the fridge and for 6 months in the freezer. Simple and easy! So if I have plans later in the day and Bryan is going to be staying home with Eloise, I feed her at 8 am when she wakes up on one side, pump the other side and leave the milk that I pumped in a bottle out on the counter at room temperature. Then it makes it easier for Bryan to just grab that bottle at her next feeding (11 am or 12) and everyone is happy as there is no waiting to heat up a bottle and no prep work needed.
*** DRINKING & FEEDING ***
Ahhhh….my most popular question! And I know why….mama needs a glass of wine! No joke, about 5 minutes after I gave birth to Eloise, my doctor looked at me and said “You can drink now mama!” BEST NEWS EVER.
This can be a touchy topic because I think that everyone has their own opinion on drinking and breastfeeding as some people think it’s fine and other people think it’s not. Such is life, not everyone is going to agree. But I’ve been breastfeeding now for about 6 months and enjoying drinks here and there and have had no issues. I used Kelly Mom website as a great tool when I first started and it was so helpful.
So, here’s what I do if I know that I’m going out to dinner with girlfriends or out on a date night and want to enjoy more than one glass of wine.
That morning, I’ll feed Eloise on one side and pump the other. I’ll do that throughout the day, which gives me anywhere from 2-3 fresh bottles to have on hand for that night. Then when I go out, I’ll indulge in some great drinks, she’ll be drinking fresh milk from that morning and I’ll pump and dump when I get home. My doctor explained to me that I only had to pump and dump if I was having more than 2 drinks, so that’s what I’ve done. I’m sure every doctor will tell you different, but that’s what has worked well for us! I’ve never bought or used those alcohol test strips but if you are super paranoid, you can grab those to have on hand.
I’ve also heard people talk about losing their supply when they drink, but I’ve never had that issue.
*** NURSING BRAS ***
I hated nursing bras in the beginning, but to be honest, it was because I hadn’t found the right one. If I had to pick one bra for everyday wear that looks great with all of your clothes AND gives you support, it’s this one from Motherhood Maternity. (And I’m not just saying that because they are sponsoring this post. It really is my FAVORITE). It fits well, giving you full coverage without giving you those weird lines, lifts those puppies up and is comfortable! I also love wearing these ones for sleep as they are super comfortable but they don’t give you that much support so I don’t wear them out & about. I also would highly recommend these sports like bras as they are extremely comfortable as well (they just criss cross in the back like a sports bra, so they don’t go with EVERY top as the straps will show sometimes).
*** BOOB FIRST AID ***
I know that sounds super funny, but in the beginning, my ta-tas HURT. So here are some things that really helped them heal and made it a little bit more comfortable for me:
1.) Soothie Gel Pads
I used these in the way beginning as they were cool and felt so great after feeding. They also created a barrier between my nipple and my bra so that they weren’t rubbing.
2.) Nipple Cream
This cream was LIFE for about the first month. I put this on after every feeding and it helped greatly!
3.) Booby Tubes
My friend actually Amazon Primed these to my house a couple of weeks after I had Eloise and I still feel like I owe her big time (Thanks Becca!) I would put these booby tubes in the microwave to make them warm and then wrap them around by boob after feedings. Sometimes I would put them in the fridge too, but no matter what, they ALWAYS helped. They give you great relief and help prevent clogged ducts.
4.) Nursing Pads
I don’t need these anymore, but let me tell you something….in the beginning, milk is EVERYWHERE. Haha…not joking. These pads really helped to prevent milk from soaking through my clothes.
There you have it! In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness month starting tomorrow, those are my tips and tricks and answers to most of the questions you guys have asked me over the past couple of months! If I forgot anything, please leave me a comment and I’ll add it in after the fact!
If you are just starting out on your breastfeeding journey, don’t give up. Keep trying. One day at a time. It gets easier….promise!
Whether you breastfed your baby for a day, a week or a year, you’re AMAZING. And if you couldn’t breastfeed for certain reasons and your baby had to use formula, you are still JUST AS AMAZING.
We are all just doing our best and for that I think all mamas are pretty incredible!
::: OUTFIT DETAILS :::
Dress (runs true to size – I’m in a small)
Watch (Get $15 off with code “ashdonielle15”)
*** Photos by MayLily Photography ***
Thank you to Motherhood Maternity for sponsoring this post.