I spent 15 months nursing Roman and have been on my nursing journey with Aria for over 7 months. So now that I feel like I have some experience, I wanted to share all of the things that have worked for us.
First off, nursing can be HARD, especially in the beginning. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of patience. It's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but maybe I'm not. It's different for everyone! So do what is best for YOU. I'm just sharing tips if this is what you choose for you and your little one!
I'll take it back to the beginning. If you want a successful journey, work with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Even if it's just once in the hospital after delivery. Ask for a consult. Roman had lost about 9% weight at his first weight check. That was the first time I met with an IBCLC, and he gained perfectly afterwards. Roman was 2 years old when I had Aria. Even though it wasn't that long ago that I was nursing him, nursing a newborn was long forgotten. Even at 2-3 weeks old babies have already adapted to nursing, but as a newborn, you have to teach them. So let someone teach you how to make it easier on yourself. Once you've done that, you're off to a great start!
Here are the essentials that made my nursing life a whole lot easier:
Support pillow (Boppy or My Brest Friend) I used and liked both
Nursing bras (sports and regular so you can choose your level of comfort)
Nursing cover (you can also use muslin swaddles as covers)
Caddy for your nursing station (diapers, wipes, onesie, burp cloth, snacks, water, hair tie)
Spectra pump (for the working mom or if you plan to ever go anywhere without your baby)
Pump replacement parts
Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags (I never had an issue with leaky bags)
Cute lounge set (not necessary, but makes you feel better)
Sunflower lecithin (I had an oversupply with Roman and this helped prevent clogged ducts)
Co-Sleeper (dockatot, snuggle me organic, and Arm's Reach are all good)
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You can use your own breastmilk on sore nipples and let it air dry. You don't need ointment.
Spectra pump: I start on letdown mode level 4 for about 2 minutes until I have a let down or milk flow slows, then change it to pump mode beginning at level 7 or 8 (whatever you're comfortable with). Increase one level about every 2 minutes or as milk flow slows. Continue to pump 2-3 minutes after milk flow has stopped and you'll likely have another let down.
Nursing cover: Tie 2 corners on the same side of a muslin swaddle, put it around your neck, and you have a breathable nursing cover.
The most efficient way to increase supply is to latch, latch, latch baby. Also, stay hydrated.
Don't know if they're eating enough? At least 6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period
**This is not medical advice. These are the things I have found to work for me. As recommended, consult with an IBCLC if needed.