Breastfeeding isn’t easy. It isn’t always a natural gift. It isn’t something everyone is interested in doing.
But for those of us who are, we’re often left with the feeling of sitting alone in a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean.
The support just isn’t there. The resources just aren’t there. Doctors aren’t always helpful. Nurses aren’t always helpful. You may only have a handful of friends with experience (and each experience is different. Likewise for your family members.
How to feed babies is somewhat of a mystery sometimes. How to care for a body that feeds babies might be even more mysterious.
So how does one prepare?
For me, I didn’t. I didn’t have a single nursing bra/tank/shirt when I gave birth. I had hope, and that’s it. You can’t really blame me, though, considering I was only six months pregnant.
But what would I have done to prepare? I had never heard a book recommendation that would help with breastfeeding. I’ve had the title for “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” drilled into my head for years, but I honestly can’t think of one commonly known title of a breastfeeding book. How would I know what’s good and what’s junk?
And the paraphernalia? Forget it. I picked up somewhere that the Target nursing tanks were nice, so I got those. I had no idea, though, that pump parts come in different sizes (same as nipple shields), I didn’t know about nipple care and prevention of yeast growth (yeast? on my boobs? what?), and I certainly had no clue I could get blood blisters from breastfeeding.
Wow. I’ll stop there before I frighten somebody.
My point is this: The commonly talked about resources suck when it comes to breastfeeding education.
I wish someone had pointed me to a list of must-have items to help me on my breastfeeding journey.
I need your help, readers. My first two months were spent with a team of lactation consultants at my beck and call (one perk of our NICU stay), so I’ve only had three months on my own. I learned just today that gentian violet, used to treat thrush/candida infections (which are apparently quite common) is a pain in the ass to track down. Had I know that, I would have bought some to have on hand just in case.
So what are your suggestions to help future breastfeeding mothers be prepared? Do you have a favorite book you learned from? Odd tips like keeping a vinegar-water solution nearby when pumping/nursing to wash off with? Do you know of any specialty items that are hard to find but awesome to have? Do you have a favorite clothing item that helped ease your efforts? Or did you fall in love with a giant water bottle that helped you stay well hydrated?
Help me out, readers, and I’ll put together a list to help future breastfeeding mothers who want to be prepared. Let’s try to kill that alone feeling for a few people, at least.