Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. It’s what our bodies were designed to do, and so it should just come easy, right? Well, yes and no!
Whilst women have been breastfeeding their babies as long as the human race has existed, our modern lives are demanding in ways that can make it challenging to find the time, space and a comfy spot to sit down and feed on demand. There are all sorts of great products to support feeding mamas and help them to fit breastfeeding into their new lives as a busy parent.
Sunita Boyes, founder of wearable breast pump brand Fraupow, shares her essential accessories to support your breastfeeding journey and make it that little bit easier for you and your baby.
A manual or electric breast pump can help to relieve engorged breasts, help you to build up your supply, or create a stash of milk for later use. The Fraupow Wearable Breast Pump allows you to pump and go as it sits neatly inside your bra with no trailing wires, tubes or clunky power unit. Whilst you multitask and get on with whatever else you need to do, the Fraupow pump collects your milk in its integrated storage pod. With 12 different intensity levels to choose from it’s comfortable and efficient – it’s so simple to use you’ll forget you’re wearing it.
Breasts aren’t like a tap that can be turned on and off when you need milk. You may be surprised and frustrated to find that although it can sometimes feel like you’re hardly producing any milk when your baby feeds, your boobs suddenly spring into life and start leaking milk at random moments – such as when you hear a totally different baby cry on the bus! It is also common to find that whilst feeding on one boob, the other boob lets out anything from a few drops to a full flow of milk. To keep things dry and comfortable, wear nursing pads in your bra between feeds. There are lots of lovely soft, washable and reusable ones on the market that will be gentle and soothing on sore nipples and better for the environment than disposables. One last top tip – if your nips are particularly sore keep your nursing pads in the fridge!
Whilst a good latch should help to fend off sore nipples, once they are sore it’s hard to let them heal when your baby needs to feed up to ten times a day. Using nipple balm can help to prevent and heal sore, cracked nipples. Make sure you use a proper nipple balm rather than a general skin healing cream, so that it is safe to go in baby’s mouth.
When you begin breastfeeding you may find it quite awkward and uncomfortable to remain in position, supporting your baby and holding them to the breast for long periods. As you and your baby find your positions and relax into it, that marvelous milk will work its magic – did you know the average six-month-old baby weighs the same as the heaviest bowling ball?! A good, firm breastfeeding pillow that is ergonomically shaped to fit around your body will support you throughout all those day and night feeds, protecting your back and shoulders and helping to keep baby in the optimum position for feeding.
Whilst you can breastfeed in many ‘normal’ clothes, it’s a good idea to stock up on a few tops or vests designed specifically for breastfeeding whilst you are getting to grips with it all. When you have a crying, hungry baby in the middle of a shopping centre, the last thing you want is to be struggling to access your boob. Tops and bras designed for breastfeeding will allow you to quickly and easily bring your baby to the breast, making it easier for you to feed whenever and wherever they need it.
Milk storage bags
Many women choose to pump milk and feed it to their baby later. This might be because their baby spends some time in the hospital, they might wish to share feeding duty with their partner, they could be returning to work or going away, they might choose to mix feed or they might just feel more comfortable having an emergency stash in the freezer. Having a good supply of specially designed milk storage bags will allow you to express milk and hygienically store it in the fridge or freezer for baby to drink later.
It might seem counterintuitive to buy storage bottles if you’re planning to breastfeed, but if you find yourself with spare precious milk you definitely don’t want to pour that priceless stuff down the sink! Having a few bottles on hand so you are able to feed it to your baby will save you from wasting it. Partners, grandparents and friends can also share the feeding by giving your breastmilk to baby in a bottle.