The journey of being an exclusively breastfeeding mom, is kind of like a roller coaster.
There are highs and lows. Lots of turns. It gets a little crazy. You may want to cry or scream at times.
And then one day is all comes to a complete halt.
For the while you are breastfeeding, it becomes part of who you are. And I say that because of the significant commitment you make to be your baby’s sole source of nutrition. It’s not like you can just take a break and give your baby something else if you are tired.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, there is nothing else.
Exclusively breastfeeding is amazing, but at the same time it can take a toll on us. Let me share with you some life savers while I was exclusively breastfeeding.
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This is a true life saver and must have item.
I know people say it over and over again- “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt”…
But girl, let me tell you something.
In the beginning of breastfeeding, your nipples will be irritated and sensitive because of the constant friction and moisture from your baby. This is normal! I am soo tired of hearing people say breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. You sit on a throne of lies!
What they should say is there are situations when the latch is incorrect and that could be indicated by pinching or similar discomfort.
^^That is a different story.
What I am talking about here is the rawness your nipples will experience. It takes a good 2-3 weeks before your nipples become healed and tougher to withstand nursing. After this initial period of time- it is true… breastfeeding does not hurt.
But please don’t let anyone fool you mama. It is no walk in the park.
Using lanolin cream is like how we use Chapstick on our lips when they are dry, cracking or sensitive. Our nipples are no different!
I applied the lanolin many times throughout the day. It is completely safe to have on while nursing. There is no need to wash it off.
Would you believe me if I told you it can even hurt to take a shower?
The water falling from the shower head on your nipples can feel like torture. But if you put on this lanolin right before you get in the shower, it can make it more tolerable. It doesn’t make it stop hurting 100% but tolerable is far superior to the torture you will feel without it!
Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy
One of my biggest regrets is not knowing about this item sooner.
Maybe I was naïve, but when I first started breastfeeding I did not realize something like this existed. I would use cold cloths or even a frozen bag of vegetables for my nipple discomfort. All the while thinking to myself, wouldn’t it be nice if there were nipple ice packs…
Hello!! Then I found this product.
Not only is it for cold use, but you can also heat it in the microwave.
Cold therapy helps decrease inflammation and pain secondary to engorgement or mastitis.
Warm therapy helps facilitate let down, and can also help with clogged ducts and engorgement.
Each pack comes as a set of two. After you heat or cool the gel inserts, you put them into the cloth covers they come with.
The specific design of this product allows for it to fit around a breast pump flange. The covers have a snap closure for a snug fit. When you heat these and use during pumping, it helps for a faster let down.
When all else fails, you may want to consider using a nipples shield. This is exactly as the name implies. It helps with discomfort by acting as a barrier during nursing.
Some lactation consultants will caution you against using this because it may interfere with breastmilk production and latch. Since there is a barrier between you and baby, I can see the concern.
When your nipples are raw and irritated- that can create a bigger barrier than this product will.
Dealing with pain while nursing causes stress. Your baby can sense that stress. That may lead to tension in your breastfeeding relationship, and your baby may refuse to nurse.
I was naïve, again, at the time I started breastfeeding. I did not know this product existed until I was suffering enough and a lactation consultant suggested this to me. My only response was- Why did you not tell me about this sooner??
Needless to say, I used this nipples shield temporarily and not every nursing session. Just when I really needed to because the pain was too great. It did not interfere with my breastfeeding relationship with my baby. It actually was a huge factor in allowing me to continue breastfeeding.
I can’t say enough about the importance of preparing yourself for breastfeeding before your baby arrives. Most hospitals offer free classes and lactation consultants that can help prepare you in what to expect. It may be the nurse in me, but you can never be too prepared!
What you should learn:
- Basic fundamentals of breastfeeding
- Positions to hold your baby in
- Potential complications and solutions
- Hunger cues
- How and when to pump breastmilk
- Breastmilk storing guidelines
I have tons of resources for you on my blog:
Another excellent option is to take an online course.
Milkology is a great online course you can sign up for with a boat load of information as you are preparing for breastfeeding.
It is only $19 for 90 minutes worth of videos.
There is also a course for the breastfeeding mama planning to return to work. I haven’t reviewed that program yet, so I can only attest to the first one. But the website is full of free information as well! Milkology is worth your time.
Exclusively breastfeeding your baby is a huge accomplishment. It takes a lot of work and tremendous dedication. The beginning of the journey is the hardest time. I hope these tips help you get through the discomforts, and allow you to reach your breastfeeding goals!
What was your absolute lifesaver during breastfeeding? Comment below and share what worked for you!
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