Breastfeeding Must-Haves + Preventing Plugged Ducts
Breastfeeding? Here are ten items that I consider must-haves for breastfeeding moms, including a few things that help with common breastfeeding issues like plugged ducts, mastitis, and sore nipples.
Today I want to chat with you guys about how things have been going since giving birth to my son Caleb about four months ago. I decided to breastfeed, as you may know if you follow me on social, and it has been quite the challenge.
It’s actually really surprised me just how difficult it has been considering that breastfeeding is something that is supposed to be so natural!
First off, my son had a bad latch due to a tongue-tie, which we had revised, but then it grew back and our pediatrician didn’t think we should perform another revision. Next, I experienced over a month of him crying and screaming every time he nursed, which – even with the help of two lactation consultants — we never determined the cause. One thought it was a fast letdown, one thought it was a slow letdown – thankfully, it eventually improved on its own.
On top of that, over the past four months, I’ve gotten mastitis twice and plugged ducts multiple times every week. There was one week where I actually had a plugged duct every single say and plugs in both sides one day. It was seriously a nightmare.
Despite all of this, we’re still chugging along!
For my moms to be out there, I’m telling you this not to scare you, but to give you an honest look at what breastfeeding is really like. I know it helped me to know that these complications are common.
But it’s not all gloom and doom! Being a mom is such a blessing and breastfeeding can be great when things are going well, so today I want to share with you some of the things that have made my breastfeeding journey a little easier along the way.
Here are my 10 must-haves for breastfeeding moms, including a few items to help with issues like plugged ducts, mastitis, and nipple pain.
Not all breastfeeding moms are going to need these but if you suffer from plugged ducts, I highly recommend supplementing with sunflower lecithin. Research shows they may help reduce the frequency of plugged ducts. I know they’ve helped me! Start with 1-2 pills per day and if it’s not helping, you can safely take up to 4800 mg/day usually 4 pills.
2. Nipple cream
Whoever said that breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt when it’s done right was totally wrong. I know we didn’t get the best start due to his latch but every mom I’ve talked to – even those who didn’t have complications – said it hurt a lot the first month. I used this organic nipple cream from Motherlove and it helped ease the pain a little. Despite the latch issue, I never got cracked or bloody nipples like I’ve heard other moms get. It’s made with natural ingredients that are safe for baby, so you don’t have to wipe it off before feedings.
3. A pretty nursing scarf
I like this one from Native Wilds and Yumi called the Yumi Nest. It also works as a car seat cover and a grocery cart cover. It’s hand-dyed and made with hypoallergenic material from sustainably sourced Eucalyptus trees. And when you buy it you also get a week of fresh organic baby food from Yumi.
4. Healthy Snacks
It’s amazing how little time you have in baby’s first few months. I know with my son the entire first month he was either eating on me or sleeping on me and many days, it was all I could do to stumble into the kitchen and grab an easy snack. One of my favorites is these new Veggie Pops Supersnacks from Made In Nature. They’re made of organic vegetables, seeds, chickpeas, and spices. And what’s pretty amazing about these little pops is they have 8 grams of plant-protein per serving – which is awesome because when all you’re eating is snacks all day. You really want to make sure you’re eating balanced snacks and these give you a great mix of complex carbs, healthy fat, and protein. They also taste fantastic – this broccoli cheddar flavor is my favorite!
When you’re getting used to breastfeeding positions, this thing is so handy. It helps you position baby so that you can get the best latch possible. I love it because it also doubles as something you can sit your baby in to prop him up as well. Even though I don’t need it, I still use the pillow now because it just makes it so much easier.
Again, I was lucky and didn’t get cracked nipples. But if this happens to you, you’re going to want to get a nipple shield. These silicone ones are safe for baby – no nasty plastic chemicals.
7. Comfy nursing bras
My favorite are the sleep bras from Bravado. I have two that I rotate and I wear them pretty much nonstop because they’re so comfy. And what I love about sleep bras is that you just pull them to the side instead of having to unclip them. Although they don’t really cut it when you need something full coverage for work or going out.
8. A heavy duty sports bra
The first time I tried to run after having Caleb, I almost cried. My boobs hurt so bad! That’s probably because I went up about 4 cup sizes. So anyway, I had to get a really intense sports bra and I asked my Instagram followers for their suggestions and they recommended the Fiona from Brooks Running. It is amazing. It keeps everything in place and the straps detach, so it’s easy to nurse in too.
9. Easy-access nursing tops
This one from Belly Bandit, the “Mother Tucker,” is great because you don’t have to detach the straps, you just pull the fabric to the side. It is also amazing because it provides a ton of tummy support which is great in the few weeks postpartum. It’s a nice basic for wearing under sweaters and cardigans.
10. Vitamin D drops
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfed babies get 400 IU of vitamin D drops every day from about two weeks on since they won’t be getting enough sun exposure to generate it on their own. Moms can alternatively supplement 6400 IU themselves to get a comparable amount transferred in the breast milk.
And those are my must-have for breastfeeding moms. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, share your must-haves below!
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Weigh In: What surprised you most about breastfeeding? Do you have any breastfeeding must-haves that I missed?
*This post is sponsored by Made in Nature but all opinons are my own. I thank you for your support of Whitney E. RD-approved partnerships that make this website possible.