Recently I've seen a wave of new Mamas struggling during the early days and if I'm totally honest I had forgotten all about those painful hourly feeds, the cramp in your arm from the weight of their floppy head and of course the cracked bleeding nipples. I have spoken honestly about my struggles in the early days and if you're struggling right now, you can find them here and here.
Casting my mind back got me thinking. I wouldn't have made it this far if it hadn't been for a little helping hand so here are just a few essentials I found invaluable in the early days and still find myself drawn to, even after all this time.
a good nipple creamEveryone will tell you to buy Lanolin cream. "Buy as much as you can fit into your hospital bag, you're going to need it!" They cried. So that's what I did. And I slathered it on for eight long weeks until I realised I had an allergy and that's what had been causing me so much difficultly. So I googled lanolin alternatives and stumbled across Earth Mama Angel Baby. They do lotions and potions for every aspect of motherhood and it's the most luxurious nipple butter I've ever used. Safe to use and no need to wash off before feeding it's a little treat for your nips. Another great tip if you can't get hold of this is to use coconut oil. We're obsessed with Kokoso in our house. We use it for absolutely everything.
reusable breast pads and a heat packMamas, you're going to leak. This is inevitable in the early days. There's is simply no controlling it. Baby sleeps a little bit longer than usual, leak. You hear a baby crying on Eastenders, leak. You're feeding your baby on one boob and the other one feels left out, leak. So you need to make sure you invest in some hardwearing reusable breastpads. I got mine from Little Lamb (the same brand I use for Hedd's bedtime nappies) because they're SUPER DUPER absorbent and always stay nice and fluffy.
massage oilNo ladies this is not for your husband/partner to rub your achy back or feet after a long day Mamming, this is indeed for your boobicles too. A new Mum will feed between 8 - 12 times on average a day for the first few months so give them a little treat. Even get your fella involved. If you can squeeze it in that is. I jest, I jest. Giving them a good rub will improve your milk supply and get everything flowing in the right direction. You really don't want to get blocked ducts, blebs or mastitis. They really are as bad as they sound.
dark chocolate & oatsNow for the enjoyable bit. Food glorious food. During the first few months you will want to eat the world during those long hourly night feeds. Did you know you burn roughly 500 calories a day just feeding! So it's important to replace those calories with high energy foods. Oats are a great milk supply booster and you don't just have porridge for breakfast. If you can find the time you could make a batch of lactation cookies. Throw in handfuls of tasty dried fruit or scrum my chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is another one that improves your supply so go on, you know you want to. If i'd been organised and knew what i know now. I would have made batches of cookie dough and frozen in before Baby Belle arrived. I almost bought shares in McVities the amount of HobNobs I consumed!
What were your breastfeeding essentials? Let me know in the comments below.