There are so many products on the market, but breastfeeding shouldn’t require a huge budget.
Here are five breastfeeding essentials that do not cost a thing.
1. Hand Expression
Hand expression is a way to remove milk from the breast without any fancy tools -- just our God-given hands.
Learning how to hand express is helpful if pumps do not work for you or you don’t have access to one.
Why Would A Pump Not Work?
Let down is our body's natural response to a baby suckling, and some moms only respond when an actual baby is attached. Meaning the sound, the plastic, or just the idea of hooking up to a machine, makes their body shut down and refuse to release milk. I've also heard of moms who preferred to hand express versus using a pump. Hand expression doesn't involve baby’s mouth, but at least there's human touch.
In my experience, hand expression definitely takes longer, but I used it occasionally to relieve engorgement. It's more gentle on the breast, because I could adjust the pressure and where to release the milk from.
For example, I could start at the nipple then work my way up towards any clogged ducts.
If baby is having trouble latching or will be away from mom, we can use hand expression to extract milk from the breast then feed baby with a spoon or bottle.
Video Source: Global Health Media Project
2. Walk Routine
This probably will not be possible for the first few weeks, but I strongly recommend a walk routine.
In my experience, breastfeeding can contribute to a sedentary lifestyle full of topless hours at home in comfortable seated or lying positions.
As a mom of multiples, it was difficult for me to get out. This led to a weak body, unused muscles and ultimately weight gain.
I eventually figured out a way to combine my errands with walking. Instead of driving to the grocery store or local library — I now walk. I usually go in the wee hours of the morning when everyone is sleep and I am able to have alone time.
I know it’s hard to suggest a mother of a newborn to relax.
But let me tell you ... a quick 20 minutes of restfulness whether it’s when you first wake up or when you’re lying in bed — works magic.
Just focus on your breath. Observe which nostril you’re breathing out of. And if your breaths are deep or shallow.
Stress greatly decreases milk production, so try to relax.
Ask your pediatrician if they know any local breastfeeding groups. Boston Breastfeeding Coalition offers free support groups and Baby Cafés with CLCs (certified lactation counselors) and IBCLCs (international board-certified lactation consultants).
Definitely consider natural supports like a peer who recently had a baby.
Even if they aren’t breastfeeding now, you may want to spend time around people who support breastfeeding like family or friends.
And if you don't have someone like that in your life, I'm always here.
5. Set Breastfeeding Goals
I recently completed this breastfeeding contract in preparation for our newest child. Goals are definitely flexible and remind me of why I started this journey.
What would you add to this list? If you have spent money on your breastfeeding journey, I’m curious, what did you buy?
Until next time...
Love The Journey,
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