breastfeeding 101...essentials and a giveaway!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

For most of yall that have followed my blog since I had Caroline, it was pretty evident that I didn't enjoy the nursing/breastfeeding component of motherhood the first time around.
To be completely honest (for those that may be new readers or may not know), I loathed the whole process. Here I was, a brand new mommy who felt like she knew nothing about caring for a newborn baby, sleep deprived, hormones raging and battling the baby blues, wanting to kill my husband because he wasn't being much help in the baby department, and yet I still had this little one needing to latch on 8-10 times a day to eat...not to mention she had colic, was an extremely fussy baby, and wanted to be held ALL.THE.TIME. Have I painted a pretty enough picture for you yet? ;) 
After beating myself up and praying about it, I threw in the towel on breastfeeding when Caroline was 2 months old...I had had enough and knew formula was going to be the best for both of us. Once we found the right formula, it was a night and day difference. She was more content, a happier baby, and I was able to be a better mom as well. It just worked and I never looked back.
During my 2nd pregnancy, people would ask if I planned to breastfeed and I told them I was going to see how it goes...if it works, great. If not, no big deal. I know Caroline did well on formula and I was confident Carson would too if we ended up going that route. I just didn't put any unnecessary pressure on myself to make it work, yet low and behold it's been a lot easier this time. We have been successful so far, nursing about 8 times a day and pumping a few sessions as well to boost my supply and put some in the freezer for those rainy days or when I am away for a bit. Carson is so laid back that it makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable and I don't dread feeding time. She is exclusively on breast milk and we will continue to do it as long as it's suiting both our needs.
With that, I have found some items to be extremely helpful in the breastfeeding department, and wanted to post a little guide on some necessities to make the whole experience as easy as possible.
1. The Pillow: If there was one single item to purchase or register for when it comes to feeding, hands down it has to be a supportive pillow so that your arms and back don't give out I couldn't imagine not having one! My favorite go-to pillows are the Dr. Brown's Gia Pillow as well as the My Brest Friend Pillow. Another hint that I swear by is to have two in your house...especially if you have two floors, that way you can have one on each floor without having to constantly take it up and down the stairs-I assure you this makes life so much easier!!

2. A Breast Pump: I ordered the Medela Pump in Style Advanced version and haven't looked back! It's easy to use, powerful, comes in a convenient tote so I can carry it around, and it's a must have for most other mommas I know...a bit pricier than some, but WELL worth the money. (Some insurance carriers will cover this purchase as well so be sure to do your research!)
3. Hands Free Nursing Bra: After investigating a few, I ended up ordering the Simple Wishes Hands Free variety and have nothing but AMAZING things to say about it. It's comfortable, expands to fit well, is easy to get on and off, and I love the color.
4. Breastmilk Storage Bags: There are tons of options out there to choose from and I have used a few different brands, but I have found that the Medela Pump and Save Bags works great for me, just because I know they are made to go with my pump, so prepping milk for storage is WAY easier.
5. Milkscreen Alcohol Testing Strips: Now I haven't used this personally (yet), but for those ladies put there who like to indulge in a drink or two every now and then, I have heard these are great...they are testing strips, so you can test your milk to make sure it's baby safe to drink. They are a bit pricey, but I think these would offer peace of mind just to make sure your wee one isn't getting a little tipsy after your morning mimosa ;).
6. Lanisoh Lanolin Cream: Just like the bags, there are all sorts of creams and potions to help ease the pain your ladies might encounter while you're nursing. I haven't had any terrible issues (thank gosh because I have heard my fair share of horror stories), but lanolin cream is a great way to keep your "friends" protected.
7. The Bottles: This is one area where I learned my lesson the first time, and finally got the bottles EVERY.OTHER.MAMA told me to get, and then realized it was well worth washing those extra parts and such. In our house, we got rid of all the other bottles and only have Dr. Browns. Seriously, we tried every bottle out there and by far these are the best...they help to eliminate gas, offer the closest style of breastfeeding, and reduce the chances of colic and spit-up.
8. Disposable Nursing Pads: Last but not least comes the nursing pads...to help prevent that lovely leakage that sometimes accompanies breastfeeding. My friend Cami got me the Lansinoh kind when I was pregnant with Caroline and I am so glad I kept them to use again because they are great. Discreet so you can keep them in your purse, and comfortable to wear with any bra.
There you have it ladies... all my go-to goodies to make the world of breastfeeding far more enjoyable! And with that, the kind friends over at Dr. Brown's have graciously offered to let me host a giveaway for five (yes, I said five) Gia Breastfeeding Pillows!! Today marks the start of the World Breastfeeding Week so this is the perfect opportunity to help other mommas, too...all you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below--good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- 91 Comments

  1. These are all great items! My must have is my cell phone. Feeding can get boring, especially in the middle of the night so I like to have my phone to scroll through facebook, pinterest, or twitter:) Keeps my eyes open! Thanks for a great giveaway:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your advice! I am happy that I have most of the items you recommended. I am due any day, being induced Monday if our baby girl doesn't arrive before! Would love this nursing pillow! I got the boppy pillow from one of my showers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love my boppy and would love to try the Dr. Brown's version!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We love the Dr. Brown bottles too! And your story makes me good about our chose to switch to formula! It is such a hard experience physically and emotionally, I wish there was more info and awareness before you have a baby because I was not prepared for how stressful it would be! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Not holding a baby in my arms quite yet but I have heard AMAZING things about the Dr. Browns bottles!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post!! I felt the same way about nursing the first time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the advice! I'm a FTM due in a month & can use all the help I can get in this department!
    I think the pump is going to be my must have, just so I can get out of the house once in a while. But the breastfeeding pillow sounds like a lifesafer too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My nursing must have is the nursing sports bra from Motherhood. Seriously so comfy while still being supportive

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dr. Brown's bottles are really the best. Those alcohol testing strips are a marketing gimmick though, if you are okay to drive, then you are okay to BF. just go off how you feel. If a little tipsy then just wait to nurse until you are more sober, you don't have to pump and dump.
    Very happy for you that things are going much better this time, it's so healthy for you and Carson! Have you considered giving Caroline your pumped milk? She could benefit from it also. My 14 month old still nurses.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I only had a boppy and sometimes didn't find it good enough. My must was my cell phone with a breastfeeding app. To tell me which side I left off with. I will be trying again with baby #2.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for the tips!!! I am due in January and already so confused about everything!! Saving this post for sure!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Due in November with my first baby girl! Not breastfeeding YET, but my must have would probably be a good nursing bra and I've heard the Medela pumping bra is great.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Okay so I'm not yet with bebe, but of all of my BFing girlfriends, I have heard that a must-have is the hands-free nursing bra!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Definitely must have nursing pads! I was not prepared to leak!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great giveaway! I'll NEED this pillow for sure :) My must have were the nursing pads! Kept the girls dry :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lots of water, oatmeal and Gatorade was a must for my supply :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am due on 9/7 with my first baby. I think that my must haves are going to be the nursing pillow, nursing bra, and my cell phone for entertainment!

    ReplyDelete
  19. plenty of burp clothes are a must for me!
    oh, and a cute nursing cover ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. great post & so glad to hear that this time around is a bit easier. i had a hard time the first time too & ended up giving my son formula after about 3 1/2 months. in the end everyone was happier & all that mattered was that he was full & happy :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a great giveaway! This is something that every mommy or mommy to be will need! I loved all of your advice especially when you said if it works great and if not its no big deal. That is something I need to really take in because I give myself a hard time when things don't go the way I intended them to. I have been looking for a great breastfeeding products review and when it comes time I will definitely give all of these products a try.

    ReplyDelete
  22. LOVE all your helpful advice! I am due with my 1st baby on 9/28 and I will definitely be adding your breastfeeding must haves to my registry :) Thanks so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. My must have for breastfeeding is the brestfriend pillow and my ipad! Also couldn't live without Motherlove nipple cream.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good for you mama!!! I always worried the second one would be harder so it's great to hear that you've had a better experience. I definitely think I'll approach the whole thing different the next time around as well. I'm sure you just feel so much more prepared and aware.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I don't have a baby to breastfeed quite yet, but plan to when the time comes. I would love to have a breastfeeding pillow to start off on the right foot! Thank you for the advice!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I was worried that bf would be hard for me, but as a new mom of 3 weeks it has been an awesome experience so far. If anyone is looking for a book, "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" is a great buy. It has soo much great information in it

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm due in March and thankful for any insight I can get! Thank you for being honest about how overwhelming everything can be, especially for baby number one - you make me feel like it'll be ok if bf doesn't work out the best for us.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Love this giveaway! I love hearing about breastfeeding success stories also! I am about to have my 3rd baby and hoping all goes as well with her as it did my son!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for sharing! Always appreciate your honest posts!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is a great giveaway. I am 35 weeks pregnant with my first so I don't know what I will really love just yet but I have all of the medela products ready to go. Now I just have to wait for my pump to show up. I was lucky and my insurance is sending me mine. I've heard it is the best!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you as a soon to be new mom this was super helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am pregnant with my first, so I don't know what my essential item for feeding will be, but thank you for sharing this list!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I always had to have WATER! I've always been a big water drinker but nursing made me soooo so thirsty!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I always loved dr. Brown bottles. I was also very dependent on having a pillow, but used the boppy. I'd love to try something different though. I was never able to relax while breastfeeding and couldnt

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm due next month with my first and registered for most of the items you have listed so hopefully that means they'll work with our little one. I'm guessing a phone or my ipad will come in handy too during those late night feedings! :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. for the first couple of weeks the nipple sheild was a life savor for me!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. The Medela Pump is awesome and Nipple Cream seriously saved me!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm pregnant with my first so I don't have a breast feeding must have yet but hopefully come January I will! :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I hope my second experience is as good as yours. I loved my Medela pump.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Definitely a breast feeding pillow and lanolin. Those first weeks/months can be brutal.

    ReplyDelete
  41. As a working Mama, the Medela pump was a lifesaver for both of us. I am not breastfeeding currently (or prego) but those pillows look great. Would love to have one for when we have #2!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Nursing pillow and lanolin for those early days...I also found a carrier to be an essential for nursing on the go at least!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Nursing pillow for me! I have only tried a boppy but would love to try these. :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Natasha! Thank you for this post!! I'm due at in about 2 weeks and I've already purchased most of the items you listed. I have the Boppy pillow, but would like to try the Gia pillow!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Would love to give the nursing pillow as a gift to a very close friend who is pregnant. I didn't find the Boppy to be all that helpful with nursing.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I am pregnant with baby #1 but I hear that the nursing pillow is a life saver. We are going with the boppy. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm so glad to hear it's easier the second time around. I wasn't able to breastfeed Mac either and would love to try again but I'm so nervous about it working out. I want it to, but I don't want to put the added pressure on myself if it doesn't. Well, guess I have to get pregnant with #2 first...one step at a time! :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. What a great giveaway! I think an iPad or eReader is great to have on hand while feeding, especially during some of the off hours of the day.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I dont' have any kids yet but hopefully soon. I'm guessing one of these pillows would probably be one of my favorite things. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. I haven't got to start breastfeeding yet, so I don't really have any essentials. I thing the nursing pillow sounds great and I'm guessing a good nipple cream would help too!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I too had a bit of a rough go the first time around- started supplementing at 4 months and completely switched to formula at 6 months. We were both happier after the switch. With baby 2 coming in 13 days I am hoping this time is easier!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I too had a bit of a rough go the first time around- started supplementing at 4 months and completely switched to formula at 6 months. We were both happier after the switch. With baby 2 coming in 13 days I am hoping this time is easier!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Oh, my daughter would agree with you on everyone of those on your list. She nursed her first and only, thus far, for 9 months and wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm so glad it's going so well for you the second time around. Blessings to you and BTW, I love your girls names. So, so cute!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm expecting my first in October so I have nooo idea what my must-haves will be, but I am very grateful for your tips in this post! Reading all the comments now for more help. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  55. I need this so bad! I registered for the boppy but hear these are way better! I need all the help I can get!

    ReplyDelete
  56. This would have been SO helpful with Griffin!! I used my phone more than anything when nursing..ha! That's when I read all my favorite blogs!

    ReplyDelete
  57. I'm currently pregnant so I don't have any must have items for feeding yet! Thanks for posting all the tips though, and awesome giveaway!!

    ReplyDelete
  58. A soothing all natural nipple cream...:)

    ReplyDelete
  59. A comfortable chair and ottoman. I have to be able to,prop my feet up while I'm nursing. So much more comfortable that way!

    ReplyDelete
  60. iPhone! To browse the web and stay in contact with everyone when I'm nursing

    ReplyDelete
  61. I'm with you on the Brest friend. I got the boppy at first and hated it. The Brest friend was a night and day difference. Also, have you tried olive oil instead of lanolin cream? The nurses at our hospital gave us that instead of creams and it was amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  62. I agree with all of those recommendations. I'm using my pump right now in fact.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Thank you for this post! I am due in a week and a half and want to breast feed so bad! With these essentials, it should help immensely!

    ReplyDelete
  64. My pump was my best friend (still is) since I exclusively pump for my daughter. But while pumping an iPad and/or phone for entertainment is essential!

    Lindsey

    ReplyDelete
  65. I'm not sure yet because I am due in a month.....but this list helps a LOT! :)

    ReplyDelete
  66. I am having my first baby in Dec and this really helps. It can be overwhelming with all the products out there.. I would love to win :)

    ReplyDelete
  67. My must have our nursing bras and tanks!

    ReplyDelete
  68. I'm due in October with my first, so I can't really speak as to what my favorite accessory is yet - but I have a feeling it will be my breast pump, seeing as I have to head back to work 5 weeks after the baby arrives.

    ReplyDelete
  69. my must have is a comfy nursing tank a nice nursing pillow and plenty of water :)

    ReplyDelete
  70. my must have is a comfy nursing tank a nice nursing pillow and plenty of water :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. My little man is almost 10 months and the two things that have helped during those crazy growth spurts is Soothies Gel Pads and Earth Angel Mother Butter

    ReplyDelete
  72. I'm not nursing yet, but maybe nursing pads?

    ReplyDelete
  73. would love a new pillow! I've had the same one for 11 years & 6 kids!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I'm not nursing yet either, but I'm guessing my pump will be the most essential since I have to return to work full time after maternity leave is up.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I am 24 weeks, 4 days pregnant today with our first baby (a boy!), and I loved reading this post! Thank you so much for all of the helpful tips. While I don't have a must-have feeding accessory yet, I have heard nothing but great things about the Dr. Brown bottles, and I am excited to use these alongside breastfeeding.

    ReplyDelete
  76. my pump was with the first. hopefully i wont have to rely on it so much next time

    ReplyDelete
  77. put any unnecessary pressure on myself to make it work, yet low and behold it's been a lot easier this time. We have been successful so far, nursing about 8 times a day and pumping a few sessions as well to boost my supplyBuy LOL Elo Boost
    League of Legends Boost

    ReplyDelete
  78. Agreed! I use all of those except Dr Browns and now I want to try them! ha Those test strips for alcohol totally work! I used them when tailgating all day ( I had to pump and dump , at a tailgate, it was totally glamorous! ha ) So glad it is going well for your this time around!

    ReplyDelete