Nobody told me how hard breastfeeding is until I experienced it for myself.
In recent years, there’s such an emphasis on breastfeeding (sorry guys, there will be loads of ‘breasts’ in this post) because breast milk is deemed to be the best food source for babies (if circumstance allows for it). Mamas everywhere are striving to exclusively breastfeed their little humans and that has somewhat become something to aspire to. While I wholeheartedly support breastfeeding (and thankfully I’m able to do so), I don’t enjoy the guilt trip imposed upon new mothers who may need to/choose to offer formulas instead. It took me awhile to come to this but my view is that as long as baby is well-fed and gaining weight, moms should just do what they need to do.
While mini M was still in the oven, I attempted to research on ‘breastfeeding fashion’ but felt rather disconnected from it. Everything seemed boring and too practical. Now that I’m on that boat myself, I realised that practicality actually trumps everything. Breastfeeding itself is such a demanding task so it’s really essential to make the whole process as easy as possible. Admittedly I’m not one of those moms who took to breastfeeding immediately (I’m still learning to enjoy it) but I’ve done enough feeds so far to be able to identify a few tips that may also help encourage your breastfeeding journey.
Tip #1. Wear practical clothing
I know, shock horror isn’t it especially coming from a person who blogs about personal style. Practicality means allowing easy access to the food source so I’m referring to button-down styles, nursing camisoles/tanks (worn here), 2-piece outfits, deep V-necks, and even tights. I haven’t worn tights (other than exercise ones) for a long time as they are so 2010 but ever since the pregnancy, my maternity leggings have become my new best friend. They are super comfortable and I wear them mainly to ‘maintain my modesty’. I also tend to find breastfeeding in public quite uncomfortable (the truth!) but if you gotta do it, you gotta do it so anything that would help speed things up with minimum awkwardness is a plus for me. Unfortunately, all the talk on practicality also means that I’m constantly rotating the same outfits these days, which in the sustainability sense, is awesome. However, I have started getting a little bored with my ultra limited choices. I’m not about to run out and make impulse purchases (though I feel like it) but instead I’m going to try and hang in there. I know this breastfeeding season will pass before I even know it, and I hope that it’s something that I would look back with fondness. Crossing all fingers and toes.
Tip #2. Have your muslin ready
I love muslin cloths. I love their texture and functionality. Best of all, they come in a myriad of beautiful designs and I think babies look super cute when they’re all swaddled up. I like to whip mine out whenever mini M has hunger pangs, even when I’m with a group of ladies. I figure that I would likely breastfeed for a longer period of time if I’m able to find a way to ensure my own comfort as well.
Tip #3. Don’t forget that nappy cloth
Nappy cloths are so handy to have and inexpensive to purchase! I use them as burp cloths and change mats as they absorbent and low maintenance. Mini M tends to have loads of spit-ups and vomits occasionally when he overate so the cloths are perfect for mopping the mess up. Once again, breastfeeding is messy (and smelly) so having something to help with that is invaluable.
Tip #4. Use a breastfeeding app
As breast milk is more easily digestible hence not as long lasting as formulas, it is important to keep track of feeding times to ensure that the baby is adequately fed. I manually recorded the time initially but found it quite tedious. Ever since using this app, it has taken a bit of burden off me, which is great as sleep deprivation really messes with my memory.
Tip #5. Don’t forget those breast pads
One thing that people don’t really talk about is breast leakage. Gross I know. Leaks happen so subtly that you might not even realise it until the damage i.e. embarrassment is done. In order to feel more confident, especially in public, don’t ever forget those breast pads because they are true life-savers. Also, if you need some soothe the raw skin around that area, pop some of these on. They are so so good.
Tip #6. Get the music, podcasts and youtube videos on
Breastfeeding is time consuming. While it’s wonderful to focus on the baby, breastfeeding time can also be relaxing time with some entertainment playing in the background. Do something for yourself I say! Anything to make breastfeeding more enjoyable because it is hard work (and I think guys especially need to acknowledge that).
Tip #7. Have plenty of storage!
Admittedly I don’t have any extra breastmilk lying around yet but I’m planning to look into that real soon. I just need to know that I have the freedom to walk away whenever I need to for sanity’s sake. This will definitely make breastfeeding a lot less tedious. I’m currently eyeing either a spectra of pumpables. Do you have any recommendations?
There you have it, breastfeeding rituals that actually work for me. Do you have anything to add? I would love to hear your experience and thoughts!