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15 Products That Make Breastfeeding Easier
Sore nipples? Painful latch? Leaky breasts? These nursing accessories can help
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- Tara Sgroi
Breastfeeding may be natural, but for many new moms it sure doesn't come naturally. Your baby may easily latch on and start nursing away, but if not, it doesn't mean breastfeeding is a no-go. It might just mean you need a little help. Find a nursing support group or a lactation consultant in your area, and then check out these genius breastfeeding accessories, which may help you work through your feeding challenges.
Issue: It hurts to nurse
They say breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but a lot of moms in the nursing trenches will tell you it can, at least at first. Make sure your baby has a proper latch by checking that he sucks the areola—and not just the nipple—and that both top and bottom lips are turned out. A silicon nipple shield can also give you some relief and create a stronger latch, providing a barrier between you and your babe's mouth.
Issue: You've got inverted nipples
Boobs come in all shapes and sizes, and for some mamas that means flat or inverted nipples, which might be hard for baby's mouth to grab on to. The aforementioned nipple shields can help here, but so can these breast shells. Wear them when you're not nursing—even before you have the baby—to pull nipples out. A word of warning, though; you'll look like, uh, you're very cold when wearing these, so you might want to limit them to home use.
Issue: Your nipples are sore
Junior's been feeding away, and you've got the cracked nipples to prove it. Using a shield will help take some of the ouch out of nursing. Also, applying Lansinoh will help the girls heal faster, and since there are no preservatives or additives in it, you don't have to wash it off before putting your baby back on the breast.
Issue: Your back hurts
It's easy to hunch over when you nurse. Considering you're doing it every two hours (or more), it can really do a number on your back. The Boppy props baby up to your level, so you don't have to bend at all. For lower back aches, you can also try putting a stack of books or a low stool under your feet to help you sit tall.
Issue: You can't tell if it's working
You think you're doing it right, but how can you be sure? Count wet diapers (6 to 8 a day is normal) and check in with your ped at those well-baby visits to make sure your baby's gaining weight. But if you're worried in between appointments, it might make sense to invest in a scale so you can weigh baby as often as your neurotic new mom heart desires. This model also coverts to a toddler scale when you remove the tray.
Issue: You need some sleep
Sleep deprivation can be torture, making it really hard to cope with all the changes in your life. Pumps aren't just for working mamas, they're also for new moms about to lose their sanity. Extract some milk during the day and let Daddy have a turn with a bottle, preferably at 3am.
Issue: You fear nipple confusion
You're dying to get a break by trying a bottle, but won't your babe get nipple confusion? Talk to your pediatrician first, but if you plan to introduce a bottle (conventional wisdom suggests between four and six weeks, although many moms use them from the start), we recommend Adiri's super-soft model with its super-soft, boob knock-off design.
Issue: You're shy about nursing in public
Some women are proud to feed around others without a second thought—good for them! If that just doesn't feel like you, get a little privacy with a nursing cover, which cocoons baby while he eats, but lets you peek in from above.
Issue: Your breasts are leaking
Your cups runneth over—sometimes way over. Avoid an embarrassing wet spot on your shirt by using nursing pads in your bra to absorb any leakage. These cloth ones can be thrown in the wash and used over and over.
- Lily Padz
Issue: You've Got VNPL (Visible Nursing Pad Lines)
You've got a fancy event, and the telltale outline of your nursing pads just won't work in a slinky dress. These silicone pads don't absorb but they do claim to put enough pressure on your nipples to keep them from leaking. They will remain invisible all night, even under something clingy.
Issue: Your supply seems low
If it seems like your body's not making enough milk, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant about ways to build up your supply. You can also ask about trying the herbal supplement fenugreek, which some moms say can stimulate milk production. It's rumored to make you smell like maple syrup—anyone feel like pancakes?
Issue: You're painfully engorged
The good news: baby's sleeping through the night! The bad: your boobs feel painfully full now that you're nursing less. Gel pads, which can be used warm or cold, can be stuck in your bra for relief. Save them for later—they also come in handy when you're weaning baby off the breast.
Issue: You're flashing the postpartum tummy
Not exactly thrilled about constantly lifting up your shirt to nurse and revealing your mummy tummy? Comfy nursing tanks, available in 10 colors, provide support and good cover. Bonus: they can be layered under or over whatever you are wearing.
Issue: You're going back to work
You're going back to work, and you don't want to strip down every time you need to pump. There's a new generation of chic, subtle nursing pieces, like flattering wrap tops and this dress. Invest in a few knockout pieces that you can wear even after you've weaned.