Breastfeeding Archives - Real Mom Recs

Category

Breastfeeding

The Only Breastfeeding Essentials I Needed To Nurse My Baby For A Year

Wondering what the true breastfeeding essentials are in the endless sea of new baby products?

Truly, not too many things are needed for breastfeeding. I breastfed my baby for a year (twice!) without amassing a large amount of stuff

I wouldn’t consider myself a complete minimalist, but I do have frugal tendencies. During my pregnancies I was never in a rush to run out and by all the baby gear there is. And isn’t one of the perks of breastfeeding that it saves you money you’d be spending on formula?

On the other hand, I knew I had to be as comfortable as possible to help me get to my goal of breastfeeding for a year. So I did spend some money to set myself up for success with some convenient breastfeeding essentials.

Breastfeeding Essentials

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Breastfeeding Essentials

A BREASTFEEDING COURSE

Knowledge and breasts are the only things you actually need in order to breastfeed. Arm yourself with everything you need to know about breastfeeding by taking a local class, or an online breastfeeding course if that’s more convenient for you. 

Remember, the greatest force working against breastfeeding moms is their own doubt. Know what to expect and dive into breastfeeding with confidence.

BOPPY

Some people prefer My Brest Friend, but I stuck with the Boppy Pillow for my babies. This C-shape pillow wraps around your waist. It helps get the baby up to the proper height to nurse. After trying to breastfeed without it in the beginning, I quickly realized how hard it is on your back! When you’re already dealing with all the discomfort of postpartum, a sore back is the last thing you need.

BREAST PUMP

If you’re planning to go back to work after maternity leave, a great pump is crucial. Even if you’re not, you will want a pump if you plan to be away from your baby for any stretch of time, ever.

You should be able to get your pump covered by insurance, and then you’ll just need to buy the accessories like extra parts and milk storage bags. I would recommend either the Medela Pump in Style or the Spectra Baby USA Hospital Strength Pump.

Then just get a convenient cooler bag with some ice packs to store the milk until you can put it in the freezer at home.

HANDS-FREE PUMPING BRA

It’s not exactly essential, but a hands-free pumping bra does make pumping less of a chore. Without it, you have to either pump one side at a time, or sit there with both hands at your breasts unable to do anything. With your hands free you can do work, read a magazine, scroll through Instagram, whatever helps you pass the time.

BOTTLES

I got lucky and my babies took to the Medela bottles without a problem. Some breastfed babies are choosy, so you may need to experiment with different types of bottles and get one that closely resembles the breast. I’d also recommend not waiting too long to introduce the bottle- I offered one as soon as my supply was well-established, around 3 weeks.

NURSING TOPS AND NURSING BRAS

It is so much easier to pop a boob out anytime, anywhere when you’re dressed right for it. But I also didn’t want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe just for breastfeeding.

If you have several nursing tanks, you can wear one under just about any shirt and breastfeed easily. Just pull the top shirt up, and unclip the top of the tank (aka the two shirt method).

Just about any button-front shirt or low V-neck can also work for breastfeeding.

As for bras, you might need to try a few different kinds and see what you like. I found these seamless nursing bras to be the most comfortable. They have a bit of stretch to them which is nice as breast size fluctuates all day when you’re nursing.

SLEEP BRA

When I was pregnant, my mom friends told me I should get some sleep bras and I completely scoffed at the idea. Isn’t taking off your bra at the end of the day one of the best feelings ever?

Of course, they were right. There really is no preparing you for how huge your breasts will get once your milk comes in. It is actually comical, if you’re able to maintain a sense of humor at such a crazy time. Luckily my sister ran over with some comfy sleep bras so I could have a little support and stay in place during the night.

(And if you leak, you’ll need the sleep bra to keep nursing pads in place too.)

Other breastfeeding items moms love

I didn’t use these myself, but I see them come up again and again as items new nursing moms love.

HAAKAA

Everyone in the breastfeeding world seems to be going crazy over this new product the Haakaa

It capitalizes on the fact that when you feed your baby, both sides experience a letdown. The side that the baby isn’t eating from typically just leaks a bit.

If you have the Haakaa attached (it basically suctions to your breast), it will catch that letdown and suction out a bit more. It doesn’t have the force of an actual breast pump, but you will collect a little each feeding and it adds up fast.

NIPPLE SHIELD

Not everyone needs to use a nipple shield, but if your baby has a bad latch this little device can save your nursing relationship. It basically puts your nipple into something like a bottle nipple, which is firmer and easier for baby to latch onto. I

And if a bad latch left you with cracked and bleeding nipples, it will be less painful to breastfeed with one too.

NURSING PADS

I only used these for the first week or so until my supply adjusted, but some people continue to leak and need to use them all the way until weaning. Reusable nursing pads will save you some money in the long run if that’s the case. If you can’t be bothered to wash them in the laundry, disposable nursing pads work well too.

You really don’t need much to comfortably breastfeed for as long as you want!

Prepare yourself with the essential items for breastfeeding and a good dose of patience, and you and your baby will get this nursing thing down pat.

11 Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a very primal thing. It’s something our bodies were made to do, but we forget that even though walking is second nature, we still had to learn how to do it!

Before having a baby, you might think you’ll deliver him, he’ll latch right on, and the feeding shall commence… simple as that!

More often though, there’s a steep learning curve, some pain, and maybe a few tears along the way. Don’t let this scare you! Knowing is half the battle. (And it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is different, so yours may be different from mine, from your sister’s, and from your friend’s.)

Things no one told me about breastfeeding

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click one of the product links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

As with most things, you’ll feel more confident if you’re prepared. Here are 11 things no one told me about breastfeeding:

Yes, breastfeeding hurts.

But the pain won’t last forever! Often it’s said that if it hurts, you’re not doing it right. Statements like these make new moms feel defeated.

Even if your baby is properly latched, breastfeeding is going to hurt in the beginning (think two to three weeks). This is a very sensitive part of the body, after all!

If breastfeeding is unbearably painful, however, don’t try to go it alone. Contact a lactation consultant to help diagnose and correct the problem. 

You might feel a rush of emotions (good or bad) at the start of each session.

The hormone responsible for breast milk let down sends a surge of chemicals to the brain, almost as if you’ve taken drugs. Not every woman feels it. Some feel like they’re falling in love, while others experience really negative feelings.

If you are overcome with negative emotions or visions, make sure your support system knows and talk with your doctor.

The more you prepare ahead of time, the greater your chance of success.

Did you know that the more a pregnant woman is educated about breastfeeding, the more positive her outcome will be?

According to the World Health Organization:

Systematic review of the available evidence suggests that breastfeeding education is effective in increasing both the rate of breastfeeding initiation and breastfeeding duration.

A comprehensive breastfeeding course, whether in person or online, will help prepare you for potential pitfalls in the breastfeeding relationship, help you troubleshoot problems, and boost your confidence in feeding your child.

The best course I’ve found online is the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class from Milkology, which is extremely thorough and comes with some amazing bonuses like the Common Breastfeeding Issues Troubleshooting Guide, and Tips From Pumping Moms in the Trenches.

I love the video format- it feels like you’re learning from a guru in person, while you’re at home and comfy in your PJs. At $19 you can’t beat the price point for what you get.

breastfeeding success

I heard there is a new second class all about how to pump so you can go back to work. This one I haven’t taken myself, but if it’s anything like the first class I’m confident it will cover all the bases with specific plans of action. (If you try it, please come back and let me know how you like it!)

Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you might need to pump.

There are many reasons a new mom might use a pump to express her milk instead of nursing the baby, but it’s rarely discussed before the baby comes. It’s as if pumping is a taboo topic, only brought up if a mom plans to go back to work.

In reality, almost every nursing mother will want to pump now and then for a variety of reasons. You might want Dad to be able to feed the baby, or be able to go out on a date night and have another caregiver feed the baby. Or even just to have some in the freezer in case of emergency.

If you don’t already have a pump, check out this post about how to get one for free.

Pumping is still breastfeeding!

When you feed a baby breast milk out of a bottle, you are still breastfeeding. You and your baby are both still reaping the many benefits of breastfeeding, whether the milk is delivered straight from the tap or via a pump and bottle.

While pumping comes with its own set of challenges, some mothers find it to be easier, or more convenient, or less painful than nursing.

Stock up on comfortable nursing bras.

about breastfeeding

Your breasts will likely feel heavy and sore at first. They might feel better if they’re supported in stretchy nursing bras or nursing tank tops round the clock.

This also protects the nipples, which might be raw and coated in lanolin or some other cream. These nursing tanks are not only more comfortable, but make breastfeeding really easy. Slip nursing pads in the cups to keep from getting milk (or lanolin, which stains fabric, by the way) on your shirts.

Although I never slept in a bra in my life, when I started nursing I found it much more comfortable to wear a sleep bra. It keeps everything in place while you sleep and stops you from leaking on the sheets!

Supplementing with formula is a thing.

Moms who choose to breastfeed tend to strike the word formula from their vocabularies. In reality, many moms give their babies both breast milk and formula. Your lactation consultant or doctor can help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your baby, but many new moms don’t even know it’s an option.

If your baby isn’t getting enough breast milk, don’t take it as a failure on your part. Any amount of breast milk you can provide gives the baby valuable antibodies. Just remember: fed is best!

Stress will seriously affect your milk supply.

The first year of a baby’s life can be hard for many reasons. Financial stress, career stress, and marital stress only make things more chaotic than they already re. It’s important to make time for self-care, if for no other reason than to keep your supply up.

This post has lots of tips on how to keep your supply up (whether breastfeeding or exclusively pumping).

You will feel hungry and thirsty all the time.

Ok, so maybe someone did tell me this ahead of time. But I didn’t quite get it until I actually lived through the feeling of constant, insatiable hunger that only nursing moms know!

You may have heard about how breastfeeding is a great way to lose the baby weight, and for many people it is. But you should be aware of the possibility that breastfeeding will cause you to eat constantly and can actually keep some pounds on until you eventually wean.

Your baby will want to nurse more when she is sick.

Just expect this. On the bright side, your breasts will produce milk that provides the right antibodies to help your baby fight off the cold or virus it has, based on biological information in the saliva left behind by the baby. Cool, huh?

You can actually catch the milk that leaks during let down.

It used to be that when you start feeding the baby on one side, milk would leak out of the other side during the let down. You would need a pad or towel to stop the milk from dripping and getting on your clothes.

Finally some genius got smart and invented a way to catch this milk so it could be stored and used later, rather than wasted.

The Haakaa Breast Pump works on suction so there are no cords or anything to mess with, and it collects the milk the flows out of the non-nursing breast while you feed. It might not collect many ounces per feeding, but when used consistently the small amount that you get at each feeding can definitely add up!

If you only want to use it occasionally, using it during the first feeding of the morning should give the best results. This is when your breast are most full, so the non-feeding side will have plenty to give.

Breastfeeding is cheaper than using formula, but it isn’t free.

There are plenty of really good reasons to choose breastfeeding over formula feeding, if that option is available to you, but don’t go into it thinking you won’t have to shell out a penny.

When you consider the costs of a pump, a lactation consultant, nursing bras, nipple creams, nursing pads, and pillows, you could end up spending $1,000 in the first year. Of course many of these aren’t likely to be repeat expenses for each baby you have.

Formula feeding can cost up to $1,500 during the baby’s first year. Add bottles, sterilizers, bottle brushes, etc. and the cost can really climb. (You might need some of those items even if you go the breast milk route.)

Basically, if you make the decision to breastfeed for financial reasons, you might end up unpleasantly surprised. 

What did you feel unprepared for when you started breastfeeding? 

Let me know in the comments!

For all things pregnancy, baby, and parenting, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

How To Exclusively Pump and Keep Up Your Supply

“How To Exclusively Pump and Keep Up Your Supply” is a guest post written by Tiffany Thomas. Many thanks to her for sharing her wealth of knowledge on this topic!

How to exclusively pump

This post contains affiliate links, meaning a small commission may be earned at no extra cost to you.

Having a new baby should be a wonderful, joyous time for mothers.  While it is not perfect (how can sleepless nights be anything but?), it can be one of the most rewarding things you do.

Nothing can ruin those feelings more than the stress of having an inadequate breastmilk supply, especially when you have to pump exclusively.

For both of my children (and for future little ones), I have only been able to pump.  Tongue ties combined with flat nipples, mixed with severe health issues on my part have created a perfect storm of not being able to nurse.

While there is nothing wrong with exclusively pumping at all¸ it definitely has its challenges.  The biggest stress of pumping is ensuring you have an adequate milk supply for your baby.

It can be so disheartening to pump for literally hours every single day and only come away with 3-4 oz – total.  

I’ve put together some tips that can help boost your milk supply.  As you read these, however, please, please, please keep in mind that every woman’s body is different.

No matter how much milk you provide, or how much you need to supplement with formula, what matters most is that your baby is shown your love and affection.  Don’t let the stress of “not enough milk” interfere with that.

If you know you’re going to be pumping (not necessarily exclusively but while you’re at work) I HIGHLY recommend taking Milkology’s Ultimate Back To Work Pumping ClassIt will walk you through step by step how to build a freezer stash, how to talk to your employer, helping your baby go back and forth between bottle and breast, and much more!

How to Exclusively Pump Part 1: What you need

Get a good double breast pump

How to exclusively pump

 

The most important aspect of pumping is to have a good quality breast pump!  There are dozens of posts and reviews out there, so I won’t go into details in this post.  I give a few general guidelines, though:

  • See if your health insurance will provide a breast pump.
  • Try to get a hospital-grade breast pump.  My insurance company provided a rental (since these cost over $1,000) after my OB wrote a prescription.  Some hospitals will also rent them
  • While it is tempting to buy a used one, they are not able to be sterilized since the air circulates through the motor (unless it is hospital-grade)
  • Get a double breast pump.  Not only does this save time, you also don’t lose the milk from the other side when a let-down occurs.

Have the right supplies

There are a few must-haves (for me, at least) when I am pumping:

  • Hands Free Pumping Bra  The person who introduced this allows me to have both hands free while I pump.  I can then multi-task (like work or even play with my children) while pumping.
  • Something that smells/sounds/looks like your baby.  When you can see, smell, or hear your baby while nursing, it encourages more frequent, quicker let-downs.
  • Pumpin’ Pal Flanges  These are amazing.  Because they curve, you can lean back a little when you pump.  It helps my relax and not feel like my back is going to break!
  • Something to do.  Whether it’s work, reading a book, or even just browsing Facebook, you need to be able to do something other than sit and think about how much you could be doing if you weren’t pumping!
  • A comfortable place to sit.  Nothing will make you want to rush pumping more than feeling uncomfortable.

All of these things will help increase your supply because you will be less likely to be stressed and rush your pumping session.  If you are on edge or uptight, then you won’t be able to have as effective let-downs.

How To Exclusively Pump Part 2: Keeping Good Supply

How to exclusively pump

Stay hydrated

If you are not producing enough breast milk, one of the first things you should look at is how much you are drinking.  Water is preferable; you should avoid sodas, sugary drinks, and even sugary fruit juices.  Gatorade might be a bit better than water.

If you’re like me, and plain water makes you feel a bit sick, add some lemons or other flavoring methods.  I will water-down juice or powdered drink mixes, usually ¼ mix and ¾ water.  One thing that helps me is mix up an entire pitcher each morning and then leave it on the counter to drink throughout the day.

The average person should drink 64 oz per day, but that varies for each person. When breastfeeding, you should add an additional 32 oz to what you already drink (so around 100 oz per day).

Eat well

Did you know that you need more calories producing breast milk than you did being pregnant?  The average pregnant mother only needs an extra 300 calories in the second trimester and 400-500 calories in the third trimester.  However, when you are breastfeeding, you need at least an extra 500 calories per day.  (There are about 20-25 calories in each oz of breastmilk.)

So many mothers try to go on a diet to lose the extra baby weight, but what it really does is take away the calories needed to make healthy breastmilk for your baby.  You may also want to take a multivitamin, or continue taking your prenatal vitamin, so your breastmilk is full of nutrients.

Set a schedule that fits your body

Everyone’s bodies are different, so it makes sense that your body will produce and empty milk differently.  A baby will nurse until they are full, no matter how long it takes for the breast to empty.

For me, it takes forever to empty.  I do best pumping 5 times per day for an hour at a time. 

Yes, you read that right – an hour at a time.

It takes forever, I know, but I get 75% of my milk during that last 10 minutes of the hour.  I try to set a schedule that works, and my body gets used to producing the milk at that time.  In fact, if I am running late, I will still have let-downs during my scheduled pumping time, even if I am not actually pumping!

(Although I will point out that for the first month or so of my baby’s life, I just pump every time she eats, which is usually 10-12 times per day, for about 30 minutes each time.  Then I adjust to the 5 times per day.)

Try power-pumping

How to exclusively pump

When babies go through growth-spurts, they tend to nurse almost constantly, for short periods of time, for a couple of days.  The mother’s body will increase the amount of milk because of the high demand.

In order to mimic this in your own body, you can do “power-pumping” for a few days.  This will take more time, so it might be good to do this over a weekend (instead of trying to pump during breaks at work).

The way power-pumping works is that for each session you pump, you pump for 10 minutes, take a 10  minute break, pump another 10 minutes, take another 10 minute break, and pump for a final 10 minutes.  Repeat this 6-7 times  each day for 2-3 days.

This should increase your overall supply.  Nursing mothers will have full, uncomfortable breasts for a few days after a growth spurt.  Their body will then naturally lower the milk supply to match the baby.  However, since you pump, you should be able to maintain this increase!  When you need more milk, just power-pump again!

I tried to power-pump at least once a month when I had babies.

How to Exclusively Pump Part 3: Mental and Emotional Support

How to exclusively pump

Find a support system

Lastly, what you really need to have a good supply is a good support system.  If you are stressed about pumping and want to throw in the towel, having support is vital.

One of the best places I found support was through Facebook groups.  There are several different Facebook groups that are devoted to women who are exclusively pumping.  It’s a great place to ask questions, get advice, and interact with other women who are in the same place you are.  Odds are, they’ll also be up at 2 am pumping when you are, so you can have someone to talk to!

Keeping things in perspective

This may be a difficult journey, and exclusively pumping may not be what you had planned.  It definitely wasn’t how I envisioned I would feed my baby.  But I ended up loving it so much more than nursing, and it was the best fit for my family.

Just remember, every ounce of that liquid gold is worth it.

If you have to supplement with formula, you are not a failure.

Even if you do every one of these tips and only get 5 oz per day, you are not a failure.

Each ounce of breastmilk that comes from your body goes towards helping your child grow and builds their immune system.  But more important, fed is best.  If it just isn’t working out at all and is damaging how you feel about your worth as a mother, then let it go.  Purchase some formula, and enjoy snuggling your baby.

In the end, those snuggles and love will help your child more than anything.

Do you have any questions about exclusively pumping?

Leave me your question in the comments and I will answer!

And if you’re just starting out on your breastfeeding journey, don’t miss the 5 must-dos for breastfeeding success.

ABOUT THE GUEST POSTER

Tiffany Thomas is a former math teacher and SAHM who loves finding good deals!  She and her husband, who is an engineer, work together on The Crazy Shopping Cart.  They enjoy spending time with their family, geeking out over sci-fi together, and saving money.

Follow her here:

 

 

Breastfeeding Benefits For Mom And Baby

It’s no secret that breastfeeding offers many benefits for your baby, including nutrients, immunity, and attachment. But have you heard about all the breastfeeding benefits for Mom?

It turns out, the nursing relationship is mutually beneficial for mother and child for not only physical health, but emotional well-being and bonding as well.

Here are 14 of the breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby.

Breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby

Benefit for Baby: Physical and Emotional Connection

Skin-to-skin contact is essential for an infant’s development, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In fact, a study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that breastfeeding leads to improved maternal-infant bonding.

A baby who does not immediately bond with another individual is at risk for significant stress that can lead to both physical and emotional challenges throughout life. Breastfeeding helps to reduce this risk and gives mom and baby a chance to connect right away.

Benefit for Mom: Faster Recovery from Childbirth

Even though the release of good hormones is often reward enough for breastfeeding, mothers also benefit physically each time an infant feeds.

Statistics show that many moms who breastfeed recover faster and more easily from childbirth as the hormone oxytocin releases. As a result, the release of this hormone can help to minimize postpartum bleeding and help return your uterus to its normal size.

In fact, research suggests that mothers who breastfeed and cuddle their infants within 30 minutes of childbirth can help to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

Got childbirth questions? I’ve got answers. Read All Your Not-So Stupid Birth Questions: Answered!

Benefit for Baby: Protection Against Potential Illnesses

One of the primary benefits of breastfeeding for your baby is the potential to ward off infections, illnesses and diseases. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports that infants are at less risk for developing respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and type 1 and type 2 diabetes if they are breastfed.

It is well worth all your effort to know that nursing is providing your little one with daily nourishment as well as protecting him or her from future infections. 

Benefit for Mom: Natural Form of Contraception

breastfeeding benefits for mom

If you choose to exclusively breastfeed your baby, the process delays your menstrual period from returning after birth. Since you are not ovulating, breastfeeding your child serves as a natural form of contraception, which extends the time between pregnancies.

However, use this method with caution! The effect only applies if your child is less than six months, your period has not returned and you are breastfeeding both day and night. If you supplement with formula or start weaning, your fertility is likely to return.

Benefit for Baby: Improved Maturation

While all babies benefit from the nutrition and bonding that results from breastfeeding, pre-term babies especially reap the benefits of skin-to-skin contact with mom.

The American Academy of Pediatrics found that skin-to-skin contact from breastfeeding can improve neurobehavioral maturation, autonomic maturation and gastrointestinal adaption.

In addition, pre-term infants who are breast fed have more restful sleep patterns and cry less, which ultimately constitutes better growth.

Once you’re aware of the benefits, make sure you have the knowledge to achieve your breastfeeding goals. 

I always recommend a breastfeeding class for expectant moms who have their hearts set on breastfeeding. It makes a world of difference to go in prepared for any challenges you might encounter. Have the solutions already ready so you don’t need to search for answers when you’re stressed and exhausted with a newborn!

The best online breastfeeding class I’ve found out there is this one by Milkology. It is extremely thorough and the video format makes it feel like you’re really taking a class, but on your own schedule and at your convenience.

breastfeeding success

Benefit for Mom: Release of Hormones that Promote Love and Nurturing

For mom, the closeness of connecting with baby is the most rewarding part of breastfeeding, but there is scientific evidence from the AAP that explains why you feel good during nursing sessions.

These feelings are often attributed to the release of hormones that are released when feeding your baby. For instance, prolactin is released while breastfeeding, which gives mothers a nurturing sensation. It is also known to help moms to relax and improve focus.

In addition, oxytocin is released during breastfeeding, which promotes a sense of attachment and love.

Benefit for Baby: Reduced Pain

Breastfeeding benefits for mom

Infants who are born with medical conditions benefit significantly from breastfeeding, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The agency’s research found that skin-to-skin contact from breastfeeding can neutralize the newborn’s body temperature and help prevent hypothermia. In addition, when a child is held by a parent during breastfeeding, the act can help reduce pain, decrease crying, offer cardiorespiratory stability and stabilize blood glucose concentrations.

Not only are you offering your child comfort physically, you are also providing nutrition and emotional support each time you breastfeed and cuddle with your infant.

Benefit for Mom: Cost-Effective Feeding Method

breastfeeding benefits for mom

Like everything related to babies, feeding your infant can get expensive. Baby formula costs about $15 per can, which may only last 3-4 days if your baby is a good eater. If your baby has allergies or difficulties digesting formula, special hypoallergenic formula can cost double that.

Depending on the formula you choose and how much your baby eats, a year of formula feeding will cost around $2,000. With breastfeeding, you are providing all your baby’s food- free of charge!

Benefit for Baby: Reduces the Risk of Childhood Obesity

Choosing to breastfeed your child as an infant can have significant effects on his or her development later in life. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of childhood obesity, a condition that affects three in 10 kids according to a 2016 study.

The balanced diet your infant receives from breastfeeding not only gives him or her a healthy boost early on in life, it also sets the tone for a healthy lifestyle in the future.

Benefit for Mom: Reduced Risk of Illnesses

As a mother, your primary goal is to provide nourishment for your children through breastfeeding, but you are also safeguarding your own future too. Studies released by the American Academy of Pediatrics have revealed that women who breastfeed have lower rates of ovarian and breast cancer later in life.

Women who breastfeed also have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes. As a result, your blood pressure and cholesterol are often lower during and after breastfeeding.

While breastfeeding does not guarantee a healthy future for mom, nursing can help you to reduce your risks for prominent illnesses and diseases. 

Benefit for Baby: Fewer Ear Infections

breastfeeding benefits for mom

It’s common for babies and toddlers to experience painful ear infections. Breastfeeding helps to ward off this physical condition. The U.S. Office on Women’s Health reports that infants who are breastfeed are less likely to contract as many ear infections as children who are not breastfed.

While your child is likely to suffer from common colds or illnesses throughout his or her life, reducing the risk of ear pain is a definite benefit for both your child’s and your well-being. 

Benefit for Mom: More Convenience and Less Rush

When an infant is ready to eat, he or she often gets fussy while parents rush to prepare bottles and formula. Breastfeeding eliminates this process and allows you to put your baby to your breast immediately.

The convenience also extends to travel or trips to the store. When your child is hungry, you can simply feed him or her while out and about when choosing to breastfeed.

Concerned about privacy? Many stores and businesses provide a private area for mothers to breastfeed. You can also invest in shawls or breastfeeding blankets to increase your privacy when feeding in public. You can even make your own nursing cover if you have basic sewing skills, by following this DIY breastfeeding cover tutorial.

The act is natural, and thankfully, much more accepted in private venues because individuals acknowledge the importance of breastfeeding.

Benefit for Baby: Increased Antibodies and Nutrients

Breastfeeding is the ultimate way to fuel your child’s body with what is often dubbed as liquid gold.

During pregnancy, mothers make colostrum, which is a thick milk your infant receive during the first few feedings. Colostrum is rich in antibodies and nutrients, which can ultimately ward off infections that affect newborns.

In addition, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health reports that colostrum can aid a newborn’s digestive system, even though he or she only receives a tiny amount of colostrum with each feeding.

As your baby grows, your milk matures, offering just the right amount of protein, sugar, water and fat your child needs. Breastmilk is constantly changing to provide exactly what your child needs at that particular stage of development. 

Benefit for Mom: Sense of Fulfillment as a Mother

One of the most beneficial reasons mothers choose to breastfeed is the accomplishment of singlehandedly giving your baby all the nutrients he or she needs directly from your own body.

Breastfeeding ultimately will provide you with a sense of pride. Your love for your child often surmounts when you are holding him or her in your arms and creating an emotional and physical connection with each feeding.

It is well known that breastfeeding is a commitment and it can be difficult, but the feeling of nourishing your baby from your own body is an amazingly rewarding experience.

For more on breastfeeding, pregnancy, baby names and all things parenting, make sure to follow me on Pinterest!

Resources: 

American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Breastfeeding/Pages/Benefits-of-Breastfeeding.aspx

American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Benefits-of-Breastfeeding-for-Mom.aspx

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/breastfeeding/conditioninfo/benefits

U.S. Office on Women’s Health

https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/making-decision-breastfeed

How To Sew A Breastfeeding Cover

A huge thank you to Diana of Sew Very Crafty for sharing this DIY Breastfeeding Cover tutorial with us! I know all my nursing mamas who sew will love to try this one out.

How To Sew A Breastfeeding Cover

Ever looked at a breastfeeding cover and thought “why buy this when I could make one myself?”  This nursing mom essential can be made in an afternoon from a wide variety of fabrics that you can find at Fabric.com and Hobby Lobby.  I created this project so that the new mother can have a breastfeeding cover that is beautiful, sturdy and functional.

This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This is a simple sewing project that only requires beginner sewing skills, a yard of fabric, parachute clips and some boning.  Don’t stress about the boning it is very easy to work with and is readily available at any fabric store.

In this project I used two different fabrics but you could use one or more if you like.  For the top and the straps, I used a home decorator weight fabric for sturdiness and a lightweight quilting cotton for the rest of the body.

Breastfeeding Cover Supplies

  • 26″ x 32″ for the bottom of the cover (you can make larger for older and bigger babies as well)
  • 32″ x 6 1/2″ coordinating or contrasting fabric for the top of the cover if doing a contrasting strip.
  • 20″ x 4″ for one side of the strap using coordinating or contrasting fabric
  • 9″ x 4″ for the other side of the strap using coordinating or contrasting fabric
  • Boning 14″ long
  • 1 parachute clip or 2 D-rings.  I chose to use a parachute clip for mine.
  • Standard sewing supplies including wonder clips

Step 1: How to Sew a Breastfeeding Cover

With right sides together, sew the coordinating fabric with the main fabric along the short ends.  This should give you one long piece of fabric that measures 26″ x 38″. Press the seam toward the darker fabric and top stitch along the seam for a professional look.

Breastfeeding cover
Place the top to the bottom right sides together.

 

Breastfeeding Cover
Top stitch along the seam

Step 2: Create the Straps

Fold each strap piece in half lengthwise and press.  Open the straps then fold the raw edges to the center fold and press.  Fold in half along the original fold line and press.  Fold the short raw edges inside the straps and press then clip.  Top stitch along each long edge for a finished look.

breastfeeding cover
Create the straps

 

breastfeeding cover
Sew the straps

Step 3: Add the parachute clip or the D-rings

If you are adding a parachute clip, unclip the pieces and fold through the end of the long strap through one of the pieces and the end of the short strap through the other.  Sew the straps using a box to firmly secure them.  If using the D-rings, place both of the D-rings trough the short strap and sew in the same manner.

Breastfeeding Cover
Add the parachute clip or D -rings

 

breastfeeding cover
Sew the parachute clips

Step 4: Sew the Hem

On the bottom long edge of the cover piece fold over 1/2″ and press, then another 1/2″ and press.  Sew along the turned edge.  This is the hem of the breastfeeding cover.

Breastfeeding cover
Sew a hem along the bottom of the cover

Repeat this step for the shorter sides of the cover.

Breastfeeding cover
Create a hem along the sides

Step 5: Make a Channel for the Boning

On the top of the cover fold the raw edge 1/2″ and press.  Fold again another 1″ and press.  Find the center of the long top edge of the cover and mark with a pin or erasable pen.  Measure 7″ toward the side from the center and mark with a pin pr pen on both sides. Sew along the folded edge from one 7″ mark to the other 7″ mark.  You will be inserting the boning into the channel you just made.

Breast cover
Measure 7 inches from the center on each side

 

Breastfeeding cover
Sew a channel for the boning between the two 7 inch marks

Step 6: Sew In the Boning

Boning is a curved polyester strip that is used to create a bowed effect to the front of the cover.  Insert your boning into the channel that you just created with the curve facing toward you.  Sew perpendicular to the hem next to the ends of the boning to secure.

Breastfeeding cover
Insert the boning

Step 7: Add the straps

Add the straps by inserting them right side up under the hem next to the boning.  Fold over the hem and press.  Sew the straps to the cover using a box to make sure that they are totally secure.

Breastfeeding cover
Sew on the straps

Step 8: Complete the Top Hem

Sew the remainder of the top hem from the straps to the corners and you have completed your DIY  nursing cover. I hope you enjoy making this simple breastfeeding cover.

Check out your finished product:

Breastfeeding cover

Breastfeeding Cover

Diana

About the Guest Poster

Diana Sew Very Crafty

I am a lifelong learner, sewing enthusiast, parent, spouse, lawyer, and die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan. I live in California with my husband and one fat dog. My kids come to visit occasionally from college, especially when it is time for laundry or they have run out of food whichever comes first. I love God and my country but am proud of my Irish heritage. I enjoy sharing my creativity and the things that I love with others. In my spare time, what little there is, I make and sell handbags and write my blog.

Be sure to follow Sew Very Crafty on Pinterest  for more awesome craft tutorials! You can also find her on Facebook page at here.

Shopping cart

Subtotal
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.
Checkout