This is the second post in my Newborns Essentials series. Missed the first post? Here it is Newborn Essentials – Sleeping.
Newborns eat, sleep, poop and then repeat.
So let’s dive into that first one – eating. I breastfeed Baby Chloe and I’ll be honest at the start it was a real struggle, as she wouldn’t latch for days… It was a very stressful and worrying time for me and I wished that I’d known earlier that many women struggle with getting started breastfeeding. In the early days it is really tough but if you can stick it out, it does usually get better and the benefits for baby are amazing. However if it’s not getting better by week 2 you should definitely see a specialist lactation consultant. They are available at most hospitals and if you ask around you should be able to get a recommendation for a good one. Also in Australia we are super lucky to have a dedicated 24/7 hotline for Breastfeeding mama’s – 1800 686 268. So don’t be afraid to use this service, I called it once or twice and it was really helpful and I highly recommend it. The advice was good and it helped me to get through and continue my breastfeeding journey.
As Baby Chloe took a while to get going with breastfeeding I was super glad that I had a breast pump.I wasn’t going to get one initially but a friend of mine had received two as a gift. So I brought if off them for $40 or $50 (I can’t quite remember). The one I got was the Miomee from Tommee Tippee but it doesn’t look like they make that one anymore. I’m pretty sure that most hospitals and breastfeeding associations also have some that you can hire, if you just want to wait and see how you go.
If you need to pump with a newborn the nurses at the hospital will take you through the process but it goes basically like this:
- offer baby both breasts and try to feed
- drip feed baby using a syringe
- use your breast pump for however many minutes they tell you too (I think for me it was 20 mins each side).
Hilariously by the time you’ve done all that, it’s generally time to start again… Anyway jokes aside, Baby Chloe figured it out by about Day 5 or 6 and got good at it towards the end of the second week. So then I didn’t need to pump anymore, hooray!!
Breast cooling options
During the first few days, of feeding your baby is drinking colostrum. Somewhere between day 3 – 5 your milk will come in and when it does you’ll want a way to cool and soothe your swollen breasts. I used the Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs that you can buy from Chemist Warehouse. Lansinoh also do a reusable one that looks fab too! If you want to try the old-fashioned way, you could use cooled cabbage leaves 😉
For me personally with the fact that Baby Chloe wasn’t feeding properly and then the fact that my boobs were on fire for a few days, on top of little sleep – it was the toughest thing I’ve done ever but it truly was only for a few days and then it got better. Now nearly 9 months on, it seems like it never really happened. Bahaha… That’s so you forget and have a second baby 🙂
Unfortunately you might also end up with sore cracked nipples. Which totally sucks (pun intended). I used both pure lanolin and also the Gaia Nipple balm. I liked the Gaia one better in the end as you don’t have to remember to wipe it off before feeding and as a tired new mama, the less to remember the better.
You’ll also want to grab some breastfeeding (nursing) pads, so you don’t leak milk on your clothes. If you are going to go cloth, get a stash of them and plan to wash them together in a little washbag, so they stay together. I wish I had this thought in the early days. I was always trying to hunt for them amongst the mountain of washing. FYI – when you are a tired new mama ideas like this don’t seem to magically occur to you for some time…
Due to the above mentioned washing nightmare I ended up trying some disposable ones too. I really loved the Natracare Nursing Pads but they only stock them at an eco grocer not close to my house, so then I switched to the Lansinoh ones from the chemist. Once I got back into the swing of things I started using the cloth pads again, with the Lansinoh ones as a back-up or when an outfit requires the pads to be stuck on to the bra. The disposable ones have little sticky pads that adhere to your bra and stop them from moving around.
You will probably find that breastfeeding makes you ravenously hungry. There is science to this hunger as breastfeeding Mama’s need more calories than pregnant Mama’s!! So plan ahead and have a stash of healthy snacks ready to go. I ordered the Love with Food Deluxe subscription (I started deliveries the month before I was due) and I ate a tonne of nut bars. A friend of mine told me they make your breastmilk more fatty (good fats) for baby. I’m not sure if it is true or not but at the time I thought why not? Also they were delicious!
What to wear
I recommend purchasing three breastfeeding bras – one to wear, one in the wash and one in your drawer. I actually have four; two cheaper ones from Asos and two more expensive ones from Cake Maternity. This tactic has worked out ok for me. The Cake Maternity ones are my favourite.
You’ll need to have some breastfeeding outfits. At home I sometimes just wear loose fitting tees that I can lift up. For going out I have button up tops and dresses. I brought two shirts with zippered fronts but they didn’t seem to work well for me. I think it had to do with my body shape and my baby’s feeding style.
I really like the tube like access tops but I haven’t been able to find any reasonable priced ones. I have one dress in that style from Pea in a Pod and it works great. However I wore it to death during my pregnancy, so it looks a bit loved…
Don’t buy too much to start with just enough for you to experiment with what works. I started with:
- 2 zipper front tops from Angel Maternity (similar to this one but with zips)
- 1 shirt dress from Angel Maternity
- 1 button access shirt from Angel Maternity
- 1 tube style access dress from Pea in a Pod
- 1 silk top from Pea in a Pod (I love this but it is not milk stain friendly)
- 1 skirt from Pea in a Pod
- Stretchy gym shorts that I already had from Lorna Jane and Lululemon
Then at about the 5 months mark I brought two cute dresses from Breastfeeding Wear Australia.
Want everything in a neat little list?
Breastfeeding Essentials Newborn
- Soothing/cooling pads (for when your milk comes in)
- Nursing pads (to stop milk leaks)
- Yummy snacks
- Breastfeeding bras x 3
- Breastfeeding friendly outfits x 5
- Breastfeeding pump (optional)
Did I miss anything? Let me know what is on your Breastfeeding Newborn Essentials list.