Monday, August 20, 2012

Breastfeeding Mother's Survival Kit

Now that I am experiencing all the joys of caring for a newborn again, I thought would share with you all the things I found that helped me survive the first few weeks nursing a newborn.

First, claim your territory. I personally like our single chair and footstool in the living room since it provides the most support when holding The Good Baby. So I plant my ass in the chair and everyone else can go away. I like to hold my babies, so I fill the DVR with The Walking Dead episodes and settle in for 12 hours of cuddle time with the baby.

Next I have gathered several essentials for the breastfeeding new mom and kept them close in a storage box. Since my ass is planted for a good chunk of the day, I need things I will use within reach, so I don't have to put the baby down and get up or ask The Good Husband and hear him bitch.

So what do I have in the breastfeeding mother's survival kit?

1. Lanolin - ohmygawd does breastfeeding hurt like a motherfucker in the first few weeks. Having a newborn Hoover on your nipples 12 times a day can lead to cracked, sore and bleeding nipples. Remember that time Tara Reid was at a Puff Daddy party and the strap on her dress fell down to reveal a really bad boob job that looked like wolverines had been gnawing on her tit? Yeah, your nipple will look like that. Slather that bitch up with lanolin and it will help.

2. Painkillers - b/c, let's face it, lanolin just won't be enough. If you have pushed your kid out of your vag or through the wall of your abdomen, you will be in pain. And the kind folks at the hospital should give you pain meds. You might worry about taking them and how it will effect your supply but let me just say - TAKE ALL THE MEDS. Seriously. Take them as often as you can until they run out.

3. Snacks - for the next few weeks, most of your meals will consist of things you can eat with one hand. Keep some shit, like this and this on hand.

4. Fenugreek - just to make sure your milk supply is at a healthy level.

5. Vitamin D drops - this is something new to me in the three years since I had The Good Daughter. but since I don't want TGB to get rickets or scurvy or whatever, I give him the drops.

6. Mylicon - your baby will probably be more gassy than your 80 year old uncle Jack and will fart louder than him too. but since you don't want to see your baby in pain with a belly full of gas, give him some drops at each feeding.

7. Spit up rags - the same immature system that causes your baby to have farts and explosive shits that will clear a room will also force stuff out the other end. be prepared to be puked on. it will remind you of college, only this time I hope you don't ruin your favorite shirt.

8. Boob therapy - you know that lanolin you have on hand for your sore nipples, well the rest of your boob will hurt too and you will need something to soothe it. Thera Pearl 3 in 1 Breast Therapy (the purple cloth, next to my phone on the photo) is an amazing product. You can heat it up to help with pumping or you can freeze it for when you are engorged and feel like you have 15 lbs bowling balls on your chest.

9. Nipple helpers - Latch Assist is another great product if you have flat or inverted nipples. I'm sorry you now know too much about my nipples.

10. Smart Phone - nothing sucks more than being up at 3 am and falling asleep while nursing your baby. You wake up in a panic thinking you might have dropped your baby or worse. So keep your phone on hand to keep your ass awake in the wee small hours.

11. Reading Material - for when you have watched all of The Walking Dead. A few breastfeeding books I have are this one, this one and this one. My aunt gave me that Supper Nanny book. I don't know if that is a passive aggressive comment on how we have done with The Good Daughter or not.

12. Snot sucker - you know that bulb syringe they give you in the hospital? Yeah, that ain't sucking shit out. Get this. Seriously.

13. Bink - I know this is controversial for a BFing mom, but I think they are a life saver.

14. Remote - once, while on maternity leave with TGD, I couldn't find the remote and had to sit through a marathon of Rambo movies. It was a horrible experience and whenever I hear Stalone's voice I get PTSD. Don't let that happen to you.

15. Boppy pillow - since both kids were c/s babies, I nursed them in the football hold for the longest time, while my incision healed. The boppy was a huge help in getting everyone comfortable and on the boob.

16. Baby Tracker - to help you keep track of the shit. literally.

Since you are BFing a baby, it is hard to see how many ounces they are eating a day. The best gauge is "output" aka shitty and pissy diapers. You will be told to keep track of how many of each your baby is making and that will tell you if they are getting enough milk.

Now normally you would think you would be able to keep track of that on your own, or remember the last breast you used to nurse, but in the dark haze of sleep deprivation you won't. Trust me. So I have created this tracker to keep track of how often you nurse and which side, when the baby sleeps and yup, how many pissy and shitty diapers you change in a day.

This will help you start to see a pattern over time. When TGS was up every two hours for the first two weeks, I thought he was broken and - holy shit! I don't remember your sister nursing this much - but when I checked her trackers, I saw that she was nursing every hour.

If you are expecting a new baby or just had one - Congrats!! You will get to sleep again sometime. You can also download a copy of this template here.


USA Kiwi (Kylee) said...

I wish I'd seen this 8 months ago - I'm still BF'ing my son, but I bet that thera pearl lansinoh thingy whatsit would have helped a LOT especially early on!

I also thought I'd not need to keep track of anything, and that I'd remember which side I last nursed on, and when he last ate/pooped.

Oh how the mighty have fallen... lol

Jennifer said...

Well look at this! Just what I needed. I'll be you in about two months, so anything I can do to be more prepared (ha!), the better. Thanks for the list1

Marcie said...

Congrats on your new baby!! Boy or girl? Figured you had been busy~havin a baby and all since I had not seen many of your posts (that I look forward to reading) recently! I have a daycare in my home and will be sharing your BF/baby log with some of my new seems really helpful! Take care and post a pic or two when you get time :-}

Marcie said...

OOOPPSSS!!! I just read on to a couple of the older posts~~~sorry I had missed that one introducing your son!!!

Daniel Wescott said...

Hey I just came across your blog while I was searching for some ointments to soothe my wife's sore breasts. She's really complaining about it and BF'ing has been a painful episode since the last 2 weeks. I read your blog and I think it's an awesome idea to give her a survival kit for BF'ing as a gift. I'll even try finding that cloth you've mentioned for her. Thanks a lot.