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What Essentials Do I Need in Order to Successfully Breastfeed?

Updated on January 27, 2013

Breastfeeding is one of the most challenging, rewarding, frustrating, yet gratifying “jobs” there are. Or so I hear from my wife. This article is based off of the experiences that I have first hand witnessed with my wife during her and my son’s journey with breastfeeding. While I have not been the one completing the task, I have been with my wife during the long nights of constant feeding and have been able to first-hand witness the items that have made this process that much easier for her. There have been several items that my wife has said are “must-haves” during this whole process. My hope is that this article will be useful in your endeavor to make breastfeeding a success. Using the items that are listed in this article does not necessarily mean that your breastfeeding experience will be successful, as there are many extenuating circumstances such as latching difficulties and milk production issues that can interfere, but my hope is that the items will help your transition into the breastfeeding world that much easier.

My wife started off using throw pillows, blankets, basically anything around the house that would help to prop my son up when breastfeeding him. This became very aggravating fast. Proper support is key in order to provide a comfortable and relaxing nursing experience. Newborns can sometimes eat up to an hour and you want to make sure that you are in a relaxed position where you can settle in for awhile. A family member gave us a Boppy nursing pillow and it honestly made a world of difference. We have a newborn who loves to move around while eating and the Boppy pillow provides excellent support and allows my wife to have a better grip on him. It is a nice, light-weight pillow and we are constantly moving it around from room to room. You can easily slip off the cover and wash it to keep it nice and clean.

Breastfeeding exclusively with no bottle feeding is very time consuming and can make it difficult when needing to leave the house. If you are a Mom heading back to work is it nearly impossible to not use a bottle. My wife found that using a breastfeeding pump helped to provide her with some much-needed “me” time. If she needed to run out to the grocery store or even just to go out and get a break, using the pump allowed her to still provide the nourishing breast milk to our baby but to allow another individual to feed it to him. It also allows for the support person such as myself to give the baby a bottle of breast milk during the night to let Mom get some extra sleep. It is amazing how just an extra hour or two of sleep each night can improve your emotional state of mind. My wife had several recommendations from friends to try the Ameda Purely Yours Double pump.

It has proven to be very dependable, durable, and is easy to use. So far my wife has had no complaints and highly recommends this pump. You have the option to purchase the pump alone, or you can purchase the pump along with an ultra suede/fauz leather tote and dual hygiene kit milk collection system. My wife decided to get the whole kit to allow for easy transportation of the pump. Breast pumps can be very expensive, from what I have researched; the price of this pump is about middle of the line and is a very powerful, well run piece of equipment.

From the start my wife had latching difficulties with our son. My wife, who whole-heartedly wanted to breastfeed our son exclusively, was becoming very discouraged. The lactation consultant that we worked with recommended trying a nipple shield. At first we were hesitant to try one as it just seemed like an extra step and more of a hassle. However, once my wife decided to try it the results were amazing and it was remarkable how our son responded to the shield and latched on successfully. It is very important that you work with a lactation consultant when using the nipple shield. The shields are recommended for short term use, however in some situations as our own, you can use it on more of a permanent basis.

The shield that worked the best for my wife was the Medela Nipple Shield Regular, 24mm. My one complaint about these shields is since they are clear and made of pure silicone they are very difficult to lose. My wife has about four or five of them, one she keeps in the diaper bag, two or three for around the house, and one tucked away as an “emergency back up.” My wife is hoping to slowly wean our son off of the shield, but in the meantime they have proven very very useful. Again, it is very important to use the nipple shields under professional advice.

The next product, which is a bit awkward discussing as a man, my wife said is one of her top “must-haves.” It is called Motherlove nipple cream. I have been told by my wife that dry/cracked nipples are very sore and a nuisance. The Motherlove cream is organic and can be ingested. It is a very soothing salve that my wife said works instantly. It is fragrance free and not greasy. After trying a couple of different brands my wife said this cream ranks much higher than the others. She applies this once a day and has had no further issues with dry/cracked nipples. It is relatively inexpensive and you just need a small amount each day. I would highly recommend to stock up on this before the baby arrives.

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