Are you a first-time mom? New to breastfeeding? Every mother wants her baby to be healthy, satisfied, and comfortable and at the same time make the feeding process joyful and easier for mom. There are no shortages of appliances, clothing, accessories, and gadgets to help.
Slings, Wraps, and Pillows
Slings, wraps, and pillows can add to comfort and style and assist in baby’s access to your breast without putting a strain on you. They also keep your hands free. Slings do double duty, acting as both a carrier and breastfeeding aid. So many styles and materials are available.
The material should be cool and comfortable and you should be able to slip baby in and out easily. Some are stretchy; some are made out of woven materials. Some slings have built-in pockets for diapers or your phone and keys. Some slings offer different positioning, but most important is finding one that evenly distributes the weight of your baby from shoulders to hips. A wrap can give you more options because you’re tying it and positioning it where you want it, but it depends on the style.
A nursing pillow is like having a soft doughnut going halfway around your waist. The u-shaped design gives some relief to your back, neck, spine, and arms. It can be a helpful option if you’re recovering from a c-section because it can protect the incision site. A nursing pillow comes in handy even before baby is born. You can use it as a back support. The downside of a pillow is the tendency to lean forward while feeding, so you could end up with backaches.
Even footstools can be an important ergonomic tool to get you in the correct posture. A stool can elevate your lap and bring your baby closer to your breast while at the same time decreasing the strain on your legs, back, neck, shoulders, and arms. An ottoman may not work. They may be too high. Footstools designed specifically for breastfeeding are angled and sometimes adjustable.
A good nursing bra will help to support your breasts and relieve strain on your shoulders and back from the extra weight. They’re designed to support you without an underwire, unlike typical bras and they accommodate to the changes in your breast size.
Nursing bras have cups that can be easily unhooked and pulled down with clips to make access to your breasts easier. Look for ones that have a comfortable cotton underlining to reduce chafing, cover a larger surface area, wide comfortable straps. Seamless nursing bras are great at hiding nipples and breast pads. Today’s nursing bras are designed so that no one can tell you’re wearing one.
Dresses and tops for breastfeeding moms on the go can be functional and fashionable. Crossover necklines and ruffled flaps at chest level are designs you’d never know were for nursing. Clothing accessories, like nursing scarves and covers, run the gamut from practical to chic to fanciful. Soft, comfortable sleeping gowns double as loungewear. Some sleepwear comes with a built-in nursing bra.
Breastfeeding clips are simple and so handy. The clasp variety holds up your top so you have a clear view of baby and her/his positioning. Or for the DIY mom, you can use plastic strap clips to convert your favorite tank or camisole tops into breastfeeding tops. Most fabric stores will carry the clips and the online store Etsy is chock full of artsy and clever bra clips, clasps and top conversions.
Leaking is common, especially in the first few months of breastfeeding when your milk supply is adjusting. Breast pads can absorb and prevent leaks and stains. Materials can get very creative: pads in many shapes and thicknesses, disposable, some with colorful carrying cases, some that adjust to your cup size, and even cup-shaped reusable pads to catch and collect spillage.
We recommend using white organic cotton with multiple layers for absorbency. Cotton pads are washable and reusable. Some have the dual function of keeping you warm in colder weather.
Madeline Woods Boutique is a local artist and seamstress who creates cute custom breast pads. We carry several of her designs.
If baby has difficulty latching on to your breast, if you have sore nipples, or your nipples are too large for baby to feed, an option commonly recommended while in the hospital is a nipple shield.
Nipple shields are a flexible nipple, usually made out of silicone, worn over yours during feeding. We consider them a short-term solution to be used with guidance. Unless there’s an obvious problem, try not to use them during the first week after birth. Some of the disadvantages of nipple shields:
· Baby may get less milk if used incorrectly
· Mom may get plugged ducts and mastitis if the shield causes reduced milk
· A shield may make it difficult to wean your baby
We have chiropractic solutions that can possibly make them unnecessary, or we can give you detailed instructions on the best way to use them. Seek help through us or your lactation consultant before buying.
Sore and Cracked Nipples
Plenty of creams, ointments, lotions, and balms are on store shelves for sore and cracked nipples. Since your baby will probably be getting small amounts of cream with their milk, make sure the ingredients in the cream are safe. Look for organic, allergy-free products with no synthetics. Organic olive oil and mango butters are good choices.
Lanolin cream, a common remedy for soreness and cracking, is made from sheep. Just be advised that in removing contaminants, there may be pesticide residue or allergic components to lanolin products. Ask us for a list of our favorite nipple creams and lotions.
Whether your breast pump is manual or electric, make sure it’s BPA-free (most today are). Dishwasher safe is also convenient, giving you a thorough way to sterilize.
Electric double pumps save time, emptying both breasts at the same time. They can be pricey; so can hospital-grade electric pumps, but they get the job done quickly and quietly. Some pumps also come with storage containers saving you from having to purchase a separate product.
With manual pumps, you create suction yourself by squeezing. A word about manual pumps: They’re slow and may give your hands a workout but they come in handy when you’re traveling. We have several moms that respond better to a hand-pump such as the Haakaa brand.
Breast Milk Storage
For the times when you have to be away from baby for travel or work or when breastfeeding isn’t possible, put serious thought into how best to store your breast milk.
Our advice: avoid plastic. It may contain BPA and other types of chemicals called phthalates. Although breakable, glass is the safest. Glass won’t react with milk, and it’s reusable and recyclable.
If you do opt for plastic, use polypropylene and polyethylene plastic, which are BPA-free and recyclable. They’re marked as #1, #2, or #5.
Baby Bottle Components
Bottle nipples are commonly made from latex. Many babies have allergies to latex and this material can cause anaphylactic reactions, eczema, and hypersensitivity. Silicone is a good nipple non-allergenic alternative. Silicone is also less porous so will resist bacteria more readily. Look for ones that are clear, not colored.
Plastic bottle liners are not a good choice. The soft plastic in liners can let chemicals seep into your breast milk.
Polyvinylchloride (PVC) nipples and #3 plastic bottles. Avoid these! PVC creates dioxins which cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal health problems.
Other bottle tips:
· Contaminants may be in your water that can be harmful to your baby, including fluoride. If you’re mixing formula with water, use filtered water. A reverse osmosis filter is a good choice.
· Heat milk on the stove, not in the microwave.
· Call our office or visit a trusted baby resource for a list of recommended manufacturers and products.
Experts in Pregnancy Prep
Dr. Michelle Parker and Dr. Darcy Goode have specific chiropractic expertise in working on muscles and tendons that cause pain, discomfort, and a lack of range of motion. They are both certified in myofascial release which helps balance the muscles as well as the bones for optimal pelvis balance for any pregnant mother. This makes us a great choice for pregnant moms who have questions about breastfeeding accessories.
Doctors Parker and Goode also both certified in Webster Technique, a chiropractic-specific analysis and treatment for pregnant mothers to help ensure a balanced pelvis and musculature. Dr. Parker is certified by the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatric Association in pediatric chiropractic for pre- and postnatal specialties. She is the only chiropractor with the C.A.C.C.P certification in Parker County. Dr. Parker is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Centrally Located near Fort Worth
Our office is in Aledo, Texas, just 15 minutes west of downtown Fort Worth or 10 minutes east of Weatherford, Hudson Oaks, and Willow Park. We serve these counties: East Parker County, Tarrant, Parker, Erath, Palo Pinto, Hood, Wise, Denton, Dallas, and Johnson.
The Chiropractic Place for Mommy and Me also partners with Dewlene Broyles, RN, IBCLC for “mom support” to bring The Nursing Tribe of Parker County, a free breastfeeding community group, to Parker County. Join us on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to meet local families and gain more knowledge about your breastfeeding adventure.