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Breastfeeding. That magical time for a mum and her baby; beautiful bonding, peaceful cuddles and quiet snuggly night feeds… sore nipples, not being able to leave the sofa for hours on end, that wonderful feeling of warmth spreading through their nappy, combined with the sound of a baby poosplosion while they’re laying on your naked chest…
In all seriousness, I love breastfeeding. I loved breastfeeding the twins when they were newborns and I love breastfeeding them now… although, if I’m honest, I get “touched out” a bit more quickly now and we’re heading towards weaning. But even though I loved it, it wasn’t easy for me. Don’t get me wrong, I had all the good stuff – the magical moments, the bond and cuddles etc.. but I also had the other, less fun, stuff. My most important breastfeeding lifesaver has been the support of Mr Becca and my family and friends. But since there’s also a lot of “stuff” that you can use to make the journey easier, here’s a few breastfeeding lifesavers that money can buy…
I actually had several breastfeeding pillows. It took me a while to find the right one. Well, right ones. I found that different pillows worked for different situations. The My Brest Friend Twin Deluxe Nursing Pillow was a breastfeeding lifesaver for daytime feeds on the sofa. It’s supportive and I found it to be the perfect height for me. I was able to feed both babies, at the same time, completely hands free, without having to worry about them falling off the pillow. This meant that I was able to eat, drink, use my mobile and search Netflix for my next binge-watching series. All very important things, when you’re stuck in the middle of a cluster feed. It even had a handy pocket to keep the remote in! They have a smaller version for singletons, too!
Unfortunately, I found My Brest Friend less comfortable for night feeds. It was very bulky (to be expected of a twin nursing pillow, really – the singleton version is smaller, so might not have the same problem) and I found the support – that I loved during the day – restrictive when I was trying to get comfy in bed.
So, for night feeds, I had the Cuddles Collection Twin Nursing Pillow. It’s a lot softer than the My Brest Friend, which made it more comfy for snuggling up in bed. We also kept it for longer than the Mr Brest Friend (which I sold on after the twins got too big to feed on a pillow at all), because it was handy to use as a support for the twins when they were learning to sit up on their own. There’s also a singleton version, too.
Lansinoh Nipple Cream
This was an absolute lifesaver. I tried several different nipple creams, but Lansinoh Nipple Cream was my favourite. It makes a great lip balm, too – I found my lips got really dry when the twins were feeding lots in the early days. Stay hydrated, ladies!
Washable Breast Pads
We’ve all been there – you’re out shopping, you hear a baby crying and suddenly you’re leaking milk. Enter, breast pads. I used Nature Bond Washable Nursing Pads, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, they were a lot softer and more comfortable on my sore nipples than disposable pads were. They also work out cheaper. Although the disposable pads appear less expensive, I went through so many of them, it was a false economy. Just pop the washable pads in their little laundry bag and put them in the wash. They dry quickly and they’re very absorbant, so you don’t have to replace them too often. Definitely breastfeeding lifesavers, especially when you’re out in public!!
Spectra S1 Double Breast Pump
Breast pumps might not really sound like breastfeeding lifesavers – lots of women don’t have one and they breastfeed just fine. After all, all you really need to breastfeed is your breasts. But the Spectra S1 Double Breast Pump was a lifesaver for me. It’s a hospital grade double electric pump, with a rechargeable battery, which is just brilliant, because it means it doesn’t have to be plugged in all the time. I’ve even used this pump in the car (as a passenger, not while driving). The Spectra S2 is pretty much identical, except it doesn’t have a rechargable battery, so it has to be plugged in when in use.
I used to pump just once or twice a day, so that I could build up a small stash of breastmilk in the freezer. Mr Becca would then give the twins a bottle every now and then, so that I could have a few luxuries… like a long bubble bath, an hour’s nap, or a hot meal that wasn’t eaten over the heads of two small babies! It was really handy when the twins got a bit older, too. I didn’t go out very often, but if I did, expressing meant that my mum (our only babysitter in the early days) had plenty of breast milk to feed them while I wasn’t home.
I tried manual pumps, but they just didn’t work as well for me. It was a lot more effort, for a lot less output. And single pumps just didn’t make sense for me – I had two babies to express for, so it was just quickly to express from both breasts at the same time. It is possible to use the Spectra as a single pump, though, so if you needed to express from one side while feeding baby from the other, you can do that. It’s a relatively quiet pump, too – I often expressed with both babies sleeping nearby and it didn’t disturb them.
In a list of breastfeeding lifesavers, Netflix should really go right at the top! In the first 6 months, Jack and Alice didn’t let me sleep for more than an hour at a time (they’ve always hated sleep) and I felt like I spent all night breastfeeding. There were a few months where one or the other refused to sleep unless they were on me, which meant very little sleep for me. How did I survive those months? Netfix. I binge watched all the series I hadn’t found the time for before the twins were born and rewatched some that I hadn’t watched in years.
Cereal bars, oaty biscuits, chocolate – I made sure I had a stash of snacks nearby whenever I sat down to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is hungry business. Sure, healthy snacks are probably the way to go, but sometimes, only chocolate would do. And that’s OK. Your body is feeding your baby, keeping your baby alive. If you want the chocolate, eat the chocolate.
I touched on this before, but it’s really important. It’s so easy to become dehydrated when you’re breastfeeding. Breastmilk is about 90% water, so you need to make sure that you’re drinking enough to keep you hydrated and to keep your supply up for your baby. Get yourself a good water bottle – something that doesn’t leak and is easy to open. I used a simple sports bottle, because it was inexpensive, easy to open with my teeth if I only had one hand free and I could keep it next to be in bed without having to worry about it leaking everywhere in the middle of the night.
So there you have it – my breastfeeding lifesavers that I couldn’t do without. I hope you’ve found this list useful. If you can think of anything I’ve missed, please leave a comment to let me know!