As an overly organized and very eager mom-to-be, when I was pregnant I did extensive research on what everyone was buying and what we really needed vs what was more of a luxury. This post is about our experience during the first 8 weeks of life with a newborn – what worked for us may not work for you, and what I deem to be a luxury may end up being a necessity for you!
When Baby E arrived, I had planned on nursing exclusively for 6 weeks and then pumping when I returned to work part-time. As it happened, it was very difficult for her to get a good latch on my right side in the first few days and by the time she would have developed a good habit on the left for it to work on the right, I was so full of milk that it overwhelmed her and she still couldn’t nurse on that side! After a few frustrating days and nights, Chris and I went to see a lactation consultant and we tried pumping on the right side – it was incredible! Since that point, I have been nursing about once or twice a day and she takes a bottle with pumped breastmilk the rest of the time. It’s been like that since she was a week old and I have to say, I do not believe in nipple confusion. Baby E nurses, takes a bottle and has a paci (or ‘dummy’) and has not had any trouble switching between the three. I love that pumping my milk means that other people can feed her (if she wakes up at night I change her diaper, and then Chris feeds her while I pump) and that wherever we are I can just pull out a bottle and feed her in public without having to fuss with a nursing cover or feel self-conscious. I do believe that if I had nursed exclusively for 6 weeks like I was planning and only introduced the bottle when I went back to work, it would have been a lot more difficult for her to be away from me and feel settled with whoever is keeping her in the mornings. She would have been so used to that time with me and not familiar with the bottle at all – very difficult! I have to say that if I was a stay-at-home mom, things may have been different. With our current setup though I do feel like I have the best of both worlds – I get to work and pump but I still get the bonding experience of nursing.
Medela Hand Pump – I think everyone is so different, it’s hard to recommend things like this for others but what works for the absolute best is the hand pump instead of the electric one. I have an electric one that I used for a while in the beginning but I have more control with a hand pump and I feel like I get more faster. It is also helpful that if we’re going on a long car ride I can just take my pump and use it in the car if I need to. One particular day that this was handy was when we went to Pigeon Forge, TN for a day of shopping – I pumped on the drive there and halfway through our shopping trip too! Here’s a tip: I forgot the little white ‘membrane’ thing that goes on the inside on that trip and found out that Walmart sells them, thank goodness! So don’t panic if that happens to you, just find a nearby Walmart (they were only $7 too!).
Boppy Pillow – Whenever I do nurse, this comes in handy like you wouldn’t believe! It provides just the right amount of cushioning and support that Baby E needs. Since I can only do the ‘football position’ on my right side, I love that I don’t need to fool with a bunch of pillows – all I need is my trusty Boppy! This is a must-have for everyone. I have three different pillow cases for it – I would definitely recommend having at least 2.
Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic Cream – Here’s the thing, everybody swears by Lanolin ointment for sore nipples (I have some by Lansinoh) and I have to go against the grain here and say that I am not a fan. It is pretty thick and gloopy, you have to wipe your fingers after you apply it and it rubs off on your bra/clothes (I still have an oily looking stain on one of my nursing bras)! It’s also pretty pricey. After struggling to get a good latch, especially on my right side, it really made me quite tender and I was so worried that I would crack and bleed like all the horror stories I read when I was pregnant so my lactation consultant actually recommended Neosporin (or any generic brand of triple antibiotic cream) which I never would have thought of! It soaks into the skin really quickly so you don’t have to wipe it off or wash up before you nurse, and it took the tenderness away immediately! I got a couple tubes for a dollar a piece at Dollar Tree and never looked back.
Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags – If you are blessed and have enough of a supply to store milk, these are by far the best storage bags to freeze with. I have never, ever had one break on me and have recently been storing up to 6.5oz per bag! They are reasonably priced and easy to defrost too.
Dr. Brown’s Newborn Natural Flow Feeding Set – These are the only bottles we have ever used, so I don’t have anything to compare them with but they have worked wonderfully for us. Since my baby is a true guzzler (she eats very quickly and greedily!) the insert that slows everything down helps so much. At the moment she feeds from the 4oz bottles and I pump into the 8oz bottles.
Muslins – I don’t know if Americans call them muslins, but that’s what I grew up calling these light, airy, breathable blankets. They are perfect for soaking spit up, wiping dribble and pretty much anything else! We have a set of 4 Aden + Anais muslins, a Laura Ashley one and a couple from Chicca Chicca Boom Boom. The Aden + Anais ones are larger and we also use them to lay over Baby E when it’s cool enough for some kind of covering, but too hot for an actual blanket. I can never have too many since they’re completely multi-use items. I’ve also used the Aden + Anais ones for nursing/pumping covers on occasion (for example, in the car!)
Let me know what your feeding/nursing must-haves are, whether you’re a new mom or have children that are all grown up, I’d love to hear from you! Comment on this post or send me a message.