Today I am 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant, with a very squirmy little girl who has been head down and giving me contractions for quite some time, ha! I've nested, and I'm attempted to stay rested... Okay, seriously did not mean to get all Dr. Seuss there haha. Anyways, needless to say, I'm READYYYYY for our daughter to make her arrival.
As I've prepared to the best of my ability over the last several months, I've come to the conclusion that I personally have a strong desire to exclusively breastfeed. I know nursing isn't for everyone, and not everyone feels the need to, or are simply unable to, but I so badly want to do this for us.
As a first time mama, I've never breastfed, and have no experience personally (yet) but after lots of research and advice from seasoned mothers, I've compiled a small list of "nursing necessities."
1. Mental Stamina - this one can't be purchased or gifted, but can be learned. From what I've heard and read (and can imagine), breastfeeding can be really really hard at first. In order to really make it happen, you've got to put your mind over matter and push yourself past your comfort zone to see the amazing bond and gift that nursing brings. You've got to really want it in order for you and your baby to "succeed."
*there are of course, times when breastfeeding just isn't able to happen for many reasons, and that's okay. as long as baby is FED, that's important. <3
2. Water - probably the number one thing on any list of "things" for breastfeeding is absolutely water. Mom and baby will both need the hydration... constantly. I have a slight obsession with ICE cold water, so I've purchased an insulated water bottle to keep my water cold all day - and honestly I'm already refilling it constantly. I may need to order another just as backup when I'm nursing, haha.
3. Breast Comfort Pack - Okay... seriously haven't even started nursing yet and I'm in LOVE with these! The smell alone has got me swooning. Made from 100% organic cotton knit (with the sweetest peony pattern), and filled with an all natural flax seed and lavender filling. I'm sure as a first-timer at all this, these will absolutely come in handy in case of soreness, engorgement or relaxing relief.
4. Bamboobies - I'm all for reusing and going green. Husband and I already feel like we fill our trash way too often for just the two of us, and are doing our best to cut back on waste as we welcome our newest addition. These are seriously super soft, washable nursing pads. I have both the regular and overnight pads, and look forward to using these. I also have sensitive skin and didn't want to deal with the potential irritation that disposable nursing pads could have caused.
5. Natural Nipple Butter - Oh, the stories I've heard of painful cracking, chapping and scabbing. I plan on using this constantly! I chose this brand as opposed to others simply because I've used other Earth Mama Angel Baby products and loved them and their all-natural approach.
6. Nipple Shields - My midwife (and fellow moms) have suggested to have these "just in case." You never know how breastfeeding will go initially, and I've heard these can help both baby and mama avoid frustration in the beginning. I've chosen these ones because they were a great price for multiple, and they're non-toxic, bpa and bps free, which were important qualities for me.
7. Coconut & Oat Milk Bath - Do I even need to explain this one? I won't.
8. Basket - I gathered all my nursing necessities in an easily portable basket. This way, whatever room I'm nursing in (primarily for those first couple weeks), I've got all I need and don't have to search around the house, or send hubby searching for little things. I'm sure as time goes on this won't be as necessary, but I enjoy having it for the early stages of breastfeeding.
9. Nursing Pillow (not pictured) - I actually went with the less-popular choice for this one. I've got long legs, a long slender torso, and fairly small chest. The boppy just didn't have enough oomph to get a baby up to my chest while sitting. The one I found is more dense and has higher fluff, which I found perfect for my height. I went with all-white because I love neutrals, and plan to use anything we can for the next bundle of love, so keeping things gender-neutral has been key for us.
10. Breast Pump (not pictured) - I will actually primarily be a SAHM, but still want to have a stash of frozen milk for when I am away shooting weddings, out of town, or date nights without bebe. I don't plan on pumping constantly, but I have also heard it can help with engorgement, when baby is full but you aren't empty yet, causing pain/discomfort. I'll have one on hand, but don't have too much experience with this, yet haha.
11. Grace and patience - we're both new at this; mama and baby. It takes time to learn something so new and intimate. Have grace with yourself as you venture into motherhood. No one's a pro at anything as soon as they begin. Grace and patience. Grace and patience. Grace and patience. You've got this mama!
Seasoned breastfeeding moms: do you have anything else you found helpful or useful? Please feel free to share below. I'd love your input!