For those that follow me on Twitter, you may recall me asking you today what items you bought for your baby that are absolute must haves and worth their weight in parenting gold to you and likewise which items did you buy that turned out to be completely useless to you. After having three children, my list is fairly epic on this topic and perhaps when The Toddler decides to give me more then a minutes piece without throwing his drawing board at me or begging for another feed I'll enlighten bore you with my ramblings.
For now though I'll just write about one that is always on my must have list to anyone who plans to Breast Feed, seeing as you've probably figured out by now that it is a topic I feel somewhat passionate about (Thing One was bottle fed, Thing Two and The Toddler breastfed).
Lansinoh Nipple cream. When I had my second child, I was determined that this time I was going to breastfeed, even if it was only for a few weeks (turned out I breastfed her until she was two years and nine months!) I went in prepared this time with some nipple cream in my hospital bag. I was quite bamboozled by the choice and despite several people recommending Lansinoh to me, ever trying to cut costs and corners I opted for a cheaper brand, the name evades me it was after all nearly 6 years ago but I think it may have been Magic Cream by Avent?
Nothing and nobody can fully prepare you for the pain in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, even if you're lucky enough like me to not suffer any latch issues, blocked ducts or mastitis it still bloody hurts. It's a learning curve for Mum and for Baby and for your nipples too. Unless you're fantastically kinky on a regular basis, most woman's nipples simply aren't used to being in constant use or 'abuse' as it feels like in the first few weeks. It's no surprise so many people quit breastfeeding before the six weeks. It can be quite literally tear inducing and toe curling with blisters and bleeding making you feel like you have nipple rot or something equally zombie-esque.
Here's the thing though, first you can help the pain and secondly it really genuinely 100% doesn't last. So long as you rule out any latch issues etc, after the first 6 weeks, if you're doing it right it shouldn't hurt hence why a fair few people like myself continue into toddlerhood)
Anyway, I slathered on this magic cream and waited for the'magic' to happen and rescue me from nipple hell, so imagine my panic when nothing happened. Zip. Nada. I think I may have cried. It was only day two, all my good intentions went out the window and I distinctly remember saying to the midwife whilst in hospital that I think I wanted to bottle feed.
Kudos to the Midwife, when I turned to bottle feeding Thing One on day two I was met with guilt trips, lectures and the like, yet with Thing Two the Midwife simply remarked that was fine, it's my baby and my body but could I perhaps just tell her 'why' I wanted to switch and remarked that if i 'want' to breastfeed, generally most breastfeeding problems can be overcome. I bemoaned about the pain etc amongst other issues (None of my babies appear to want to feed much on their first day or two skin side, I think it's perhaps connected to Diamorphine in labour, if only I'd known this with Thing One, I may have persevered) I showed her the cream I was using religiously to no effect and she disappeared and returned with several purple sample sizes sachets of Lansinoh. To say I was sceptical would be an understatement. Yet, I tried it and seriously, it may not say 'magic' in the name but it is in it's effect. I can genuinely say this stuff was one of the major contributing factors to me successfully breastfeeding and I have little doubt that without it, I would have switched to bottles that day which would have been a shame because as the Midwife said, if you want to breastfeed nearly all issues can be fixed. I used it after and sometimes even before every feed for the first few weeks and it became bearable and within weeks I didn't need it anymore.
When I became pregnant with The Toddler it was one of the first things on my elusive 'hospital bag' checklist.
The 'Only' issue is that it is quite expensive and I didn't even need a 5th of the contents in the tube, I just wish they did smaller tubes! It was initially the price that put me off buying it and I do wonder how many others were put off too.
If you have loads left over like me it does have many other uses including the fact you can lanolise shorties/longies with it (if you use wool covers over cloth nappies)
Or you could just be super cheeky and ask your Midwife is she has any samples to give out ;)
I have no doubt I'll return to the topic of all the stuff I've bought over the years for my babies and what I'd buy again and the things that in my experience were a total waste of money (bottle warmer anyone?! that's a whole other post though)
So if you didn't answer my question on Twitter why not do so now....
Granted there's more to successful breastfeeding then cream alone, the most powerful ammunition to attack the early days with is simply knowledge. Arm yourself throughout pregnancy with knowledge and what to expect. Anyone who tells you it was easy from day one is either incredibly lucky (jealous? me?) or else have a selected memory, which is easily done because like I said it improves 100% after the first few weeks. It's now feeding time at the zoo, but i'll return to this post with some, in my opinion, invaluable links for tips, tricks, problems and generally what to expect when breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is your goal, stick at it....I never believed people when they told me it would be relatively easy after the first 6 weeks and yet they were so right. It's not for everyone but for a lazy parent like me, breastfeeding is one of the best tools ever which is probably why I can't be bothered to wean The Toddler yet.