My Top Breastfeeding Resources
I thought that I would end off this month’s breastfeeding theme with a few resources, tools, and sources of support that have been beneficial for me as I’ve navigated breastfeeding for the first time with my month-old little babe. Now I know (and want to acknowledge) that everyone’s experience of breastfeeding is different. I have been incredibly lucky to have a baby who had no trouble latching from day 1 and has been feeding really well, and have had no problems with milk supply myself thus far, but I know that for many women this may not be the case. I can only really share from my own experience at this point, so what I share in this post will include things that helped me prepare for breastfeeding and have been a great support over the last four weeks.
Your journey may look a lot different to mine - perhaps you’re exclusively pumping at the moment, are supplementing with formula, or are really struggling with breastfeeding at the moment - but I hope that no matter where you’re at, at least one or two of these things will be of value to you. Before I get started, I just want to encourage to seek qualified help if you if you are struggling (and are able to afford it) - there are some amazing IBCLC’s (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) out there with expertise and wisdom to help.
I’ll probably keep updating this post as I go, and would love to know if you have anything that you would add to this list - please do pop me an email or leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions! Ok, let’s get started…
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International - This book is a pretty comprehensive guide that provides pretty much everything that there is to know about how to breastfeed your baby, including a range of nursing advice, stories and information spanning from preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy to the world of weaning.
Latch by Robin Kaplan - This book is an amazing, compassionate, judgment-free guide to breastfeeding that will teach you exactly what you need to know to meet your own personal breastfeeding goals. It covers topics at each stage of breastfeeding including how to establish successful breastfeeding early on (including breastfeeding positions, latch, mom's wellbeing, milk supply, supplementation, and pumping), breastfeed through lifestyle changes, and wean your little one when the time comes.
Crystal Karges’ Blog - I have found such value in many of the posts that Crystal shares on her blog (both during pregnancy and as I’ve been navigating the postpartum period). She writes with such wisdom - as a mama herself I think that her experiences add so much depth to what she shares. Hop on over to the Breastfeeding section of her blog when you have time. Here are some of my favourite posts:
Disadvantages of breastfeeding: Why breast isn’t always best - For mamas who are really struggling with breastfeeding, are feeling guilty, and don’t know what to do.
How to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy - Such a worthwhile read to help prepare you for breastfeeding before baby arrives.
Kelly Mom Blog - Probably one of the best and most comprehensive, evidence-based online resources that you’ll find covering the topic of breastfeeding and written by an IBCLC.
Maria Betsworth // Little Peach London (@littlepeachlondon) - Maria is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to breastfeeding, pumping, and just motherhood in general. Each day she shares a daily ‘peach’ on Instagram that aims to support and encourage breastfeeding and pumping mamas. I have learnt a lot from the content that she shares as well as from the comments that others share on her posts. She is a must-follow for any mama who wants to breastfeed.
Lindsey Shipley // Lactation Link (@lactationlink) - Another great resource, both on Instagram and on her website where there are some amazing offerings for mamas including e-consults with qualified lactation consultants, webinars, and courses that cover everything that new parents need to know about breastfeeding and pumping.
Amey Fields (@azbreastfedbabies) - Another wonderful IBCLC who shares great content that I’ve learnt a lot from.
Pump Momma Pump (@pump_momma_pump) - This one is particularly useful for anyone out there who is navigating exclusively pumping for their little one.
Dr Brigid McGaw // Breastfeeding Matters (@breastfeeding_matters)
Jade Shapiro // Boober (@getboober)
Watch & Listen
Australian Birth Stories Podcast - Sophie Walker is the host of this AMAZING podcast which I listened to throughout my pregnancy in preparation for giving birth. Although the main focus of her interviews with a wide range of mamas is their birth stories, she generally covers everything from pregnancies to the births to a mother’s breastfeeding journeys with her little ones. I found it very empowering and educational to listen to diverse stories shared by literally hundreds of mamas - some who found breastfeeding to be a breeze, and others who really struggled - in preparation for diving in to breastfeeding myself.
The First Latch Podcast - This podcast is hosted by Barbara Demske, a paediatric nurse and IBCLC who started The First Latch with the aim of helping mothers find strength, confidence and peace in their breastfeeding journey - no matter how it looks. Her podcast includes informative discussions about many interesting topics related to breastfeeding including breastfeeding in public, weaning, breastmilk donation, and bottle feeding.
Community & Support
La Leche League International Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook - This is a great point of call for mamas who are experiencing difficulties or have questions about breastfeeding, pumping, and everything in between.
There are also some amazing local breastfeeding support groups that you can attend to find community and seek help where it is needed. La Leche League has meet-ups throughout the world (find your nearest one on their website here).
If you are struggling with breastfeeding and don’t know what to do, I would recommend finding a good IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) in your area and scheduling a consultation with them. Word of mouth always holds a lot of value, so if you have any friends who are mamas or even ask your GP for someone that they have used or would recommend, it’s always a good place to start. If you struggle to find someone in your area, I know that there are many IBCLCs who do e-consultations who you could look into scheduling a call with. Obviously this is a luxury that not everyone can afford, but if you really want to breastfeed, are struggling, and it is something that you are able to invest money in, I would recommend seeking professional help instead of struggling on your own.
Haakaa silicone breast pump - This handy tool is compact, made of safe materials, and makes expressing breastmilk super simple and easy. All you need to do is place the suction cup onto your breast and let the pump slowly draw milk from the breast for you. It’s also really useful for helping to catch the let down that would otherwise be lost whilst your little one is feeding from your other breast (I haven’t quite mastered this yet, but definitely need to give it a try). Oh, and the best part is that it’s really easy to clean as it’s dishwasher safe and can be sterilised using any sterilising system or boiling water.
Elvie pump - I was lucky enough to get one of these amazing hands-free pumps as a gift from my work colleagues before heading off on maternity leave. This is the world’s first silent wearable breast pump that fits in your bra with ease - no tubes, wires, or noise - and works pretty well. Now I’m not an exclusively pumping mama, so can’t comment on its effectiveness when you need to pump multiple times a day to feed your little one, but I do know that it’s such a treat to be able to pump
Medela breastmilk storage bags - These pump and save bags are great for safe freezer storage of breastmilk. They are BPA free, won’t tear, crack, or leak with double zip protection and heat sealed seams, and they can easily be labelled before freezing so that you know when and how much milk they contain. The best part is that you can also easily warm up defrosted milk whilst in the bags before feeding it to bub.
Disposable breast pads - I had very noble intentions of using washable, reusable bamboo breast pads in an effort to do my part for the environment BUT almost four weeks in and my boobs are still leaking milk right through them in no time at all. Needless to say, I’ve been using disposable ones that do a better job of preventing leaks and stains on all of my clothes. I got a free box of these with my Haakaa order, and ended up buying a whole lot more when they were on special last week. Hopefully in time things will regulate and I’ll be able to use my bamboo ones, but for now these ones will do!
Nipple balm - This is particularly important in the early days when your nipples go from being soft, sensitive, and largely untouched to being sucked on multiple times a day by a ravenous newborn. I purchased this No Harm Nipple Balm from My Expert Midwife and found that it worked really well. It is made from simple, natural ingredients, doesn’t need to be removed before feeding, and is safe to use from day one to help reduce soreness, promote healing and repair cracked nipples and skin.
Muslin cloths - Maybe I still need to get the hang of things, but things sometimes get a bit messy when my bub is busy feeding. SO MESSY! Having a big stash of muslin cloths - including a couple in our nappy bag - is great because I can tuck one into my nursing bra under my boob to prevent any leakage on my clothing. It’s also great to have in hand mid-feed and at the end of a feed when burping my baby, and to wipe away any spit-up that manages to make its way out of her mouth.
Nursing Momsy - This is an amazing brand that puts a lot of love and care into the beautiful items that they make. I purchased one of their Ash Rose sweaters (which I lived in for a couple of weeks whilst stuck at home recovering) and a White Linen Babydoll dress, which my mom brought over to the UK for me earlier this month. As a bonus, I won a competition that included another item from their collection, so I also have an Oatmeal Linen Babydoll dress now.
Breastfeeding scarf - Ok, this isn’t really a ‘must-have’, but it is handy to keep in your changing bag if you’re out in public and your little babe needs a feed (although I’ve been A OK with feeding little Rylee in public without any issues, there have been a few occasions where she’s been a bit wriggly and messy and this cover would have made life a bit less chaotic haha).
A good multivitamin (especially if you’re living up North and need a vitamin D supplement) - I’ve been using Pregnacare Breastfeeding multivitamin with Omega 3 just because it seems like the most comprehensive one on the market here in the UK. I can’t really comment on others throughout the world, but it’s probably worthwhile talking to your GP or midwife to find out what they’d recommend.
Eat ENOUGH food. This can be tricky to do in the first couple of weeks as you’re starting to navigate life with a newborn and are trying to find your feet when it comes to feeding, changing, cuddling them, and managing the things that your life would normally entail. But it’s really important because breastfeeding is hard work. Seriously, this isn’t the time to be restricting your food intake. Here are some handy blogposts that might be helpful if you don’t know where to start when it comes to knowing what to eat when breastfeeding.
Apples Under My Bed - some of the most delicious, yet simple recipes that can prepared with ease (even better if you can get your significant other, friends, or family members to help with the preparation.
Increasing / protecting milk supply
I found it helpful to:
Ask my husband to make sure that I had three meals a day or enough smaller snacks throughout the day to be adequately fuelled
Have a stash of freezer meals handy for the first week back home
Do a big online shop after a couple of days back home to re-stock the fridge and pantry and make life easier for both my husband and I so that neither of us had to head off to the shops
Have some awesome people in our community who organised cooked meals for us for the 2nd and 3rd week we were back home with our little one (not having to think about what to make for dinner each evening was such a blessing)