I was really fortunate to exclusively nurse Hattie during our 15-month nursing journey. When I got pregnant, nursing her was something I really wanted to do, but I was realistic in the fact that it is a very steep learning curve at first! We hurdled forceful letdowns, a lip tie, revision, and reflux, and we wouldn't have been as successful as we were if it weren't for my beloved lactation consultant, Tanja. She was a GODSEND, and a knowledgable, empathetic lactation consultant is always the first thing I recommend to mamas who want to nurse. Once we got over our hurdles and into our groove, nursing was a breeze.
- A good pump- if you didn't already know, you can get a free pump through your insurance. I used this website, and they were easy with fantastic customer service. I opted for the Spectra S2, and it worked just fine for me, BUT I am not the person to ask about pumping. I only pumped once a day when Jake was home because he liked giving Hattie a bottle. For me, pumping really felt like a chore when it was a lot easier to just nurse Hattie, and I was fortunate to be able to do that since I was home with her. I actually loved to use this manual handpump when we were dealing with forceful letdowns. It was so convenient and worked faster than a Haakaa. I did, however, use these off-brand haakaas. They specifically work really well in the shower– I could pull 4oz. from one side after nursing with the massage of the hot water hitting my back! Also, don't ask for a pumping bra recommendation because I didn't use one! Amy Schumer had her son right before Hattie was born and she posted a picture of a sports bra she cut holes in for her flanges, and I figured if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me! AND it worked like a charm.
- Home visits from a lactation consultant- did you know that your insurance will pay for a lactation consultant to come and visit YOU? This was a game-changer for us. Before Hattie's lip tie was diagnosed, I was trying to troubleshoot over the phone with our LC from the hospital, but we really needed hands-on help. I was referred to The Lactation Network and they had Tanja to me within 24 hours, and I am very honest that she alone saved me from quitting around week 6. My insurance covered 3 visits but I had a girlfriend whose insurance covered 7! Amazing! Take advantage of this.
- My Breast Friend nursing pillow- this was my breast friend, indeed. You guys– I had to use this thing for so long. Hattie was really little and I just could not get her positioned right unless she was on this, so finally, I just gave in. I can't even tell you how long I used this thing, but I remember texting my best girlfriend that I "graduated" multiple times, only to need it the next day! I think I had to use it for at least the first three months.
- Nursing stations- I used this caddy and had one set up in our room, the couch, and in Hattie's nursery. I always had it stocked with some diapers and wipes, lanolin, nursing pads, burp cloth, a bottle of water, and snacks. While breastfeeding didn't make me overly hungry like some, I was always extremely thirsty. Also- a note on lanolin. I'm a little crunchy and tried to use coconut oil instead of lanolin, but, because of Hattie's tie, I had extremely large and painful craters, and lanolin along with polysporin and salt water rinses were the only things that worked to heal those. I had never even heard of polysporin until my LC told me to use it!
- Lansinoh soothies- put them in the fridge and apply after nursing in those early days/weeks– game. changer. My hospital sent me home with handfuls of these and I ended up ordering more because they were the only thing that brought me relief! And this specific brand– not the Medela– worked best for me.
- Sunflower Lecithin- I was terrified about getting mastitis. I followed a lot of breastfeeding accounts on Instagram when I was pregnant, and time and time again I kept seeing people sing the praises of sunflower lecithin. So, I started taking one each day for preventative purposes when my milk came in and would up my dose the few times I felt a clog, and I never had any issues. However, as a disclaimer, you should most certainly talk to your health care providers to see if this supplement is right for you and your baby.
- My favorite nursing bras and my favorite nursing tanks– I lived in these Target finds until Hattie completely weaned!
More than anything, I hope you have support. I have a ton of family and girlfriends with babies, and it was very eye-opening to me that only three had extended nursing journeys. I was thankful to have my lactation consultant, two cousins, and one of my best friends in my corner cheering me on, and, more importantly, reminding me it was okay if we needed to change routes.
The best nursing advice I ever received was: "if you ever feel like nursing is negatively affecting your relationship with Hattie, then quit" and I took that to heart! While I set small goals for us, I ultimately knew that as long as Hattie was loved and fed no matter the method, we would be just fine!
And that is exactly what I preach to all of my friends and clients, too! I don't care how you choose to feed your baby, and it seems really silly that I even have to say that in 2022. But, people are so opinionated. You do you, mama, and know that whether you are nursing, bottle, or hybrid feeding, I have everything you need at the studio– including snacks.. always snacks! 🥰
Know I'm cheering for you– Meredith
Meredith Maag Photography is a Kansas City newborn photographer and specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography in the Kansas City area, including Mission, Westwood, Brookside, Waldo, Country Club Plaza, Crossroads, Westport, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Prairie Village, Leawood, Independence, Lenexa, Olathe, and The Northland.
Meredith has a passion for connecting and helping moms through community, support, friendship, and kindness. In addition to using her blog to showcase glimpses and full sessions, she also enjoys writing and sharing products she loves. Some posts may contain affiliate links.
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