By Cara Gambill
Breastfeeding was never something I thought about growing up or even in my early twenties. My mom and aunts never breastfed, so I was never exposed to it. When I had my first son, Aedan, I was not prepared for the journey I was about to take in regards to breastfeeding (let’s be honest, in regards to motherhood in general). All I had was one nursing nightgown, a couple of nursing bras, an insurance supplied electric breast pump, and a box of disposable nursing pads. Fast-forward two years to the birth of my second son, Nolan, and I was much more prepared. Although I am no expert and have no credentials other than I successfully nursed my first son for fourteen months, I want to share what I consider to be the top five things I have learned:
- Nursing camisoles are your best friend—seriously! Unless you never leave your house, you WILL have to nurse your baby in public. Nursing bras are great, but nursing camisoles allow you to nurse in public without exposing your back (and in my case my post-prego back fat) to the whole world.
- Nursing nightgowns with built-in bras are the way to go! The nightgowns I used with Aedan were nursing nightgowns, but I still had to wear a bra. Post-partum I get night sweats, which my OB tells me is very common. By wearing nursing nightgowns with built-in bras I can easily nurse my son during sleepy, middle of the night feedings, while wearing as few layers as possible.
- If you chose to wear a nursing cover when nursing in public, have more than one. I keep one cover in the van and one cover in the diaper bag. When I had Aedan I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had my cover, needed to nurse in public, and realized it wasn’t in the diaper bag. Pregnancy brain is real, and in my case it carries over post-partum. I can barely remember to put my phone back in the diaper bag, so I can’t be expected to remember the nursing cover. By keeping one in the van, I have prevented this issue with Nolan.
- Stock up on nursing pads— good nursing pads. I personally prefer disposable, because I have enough laundry as it is. I also prefer being able to throw the pads away if I am out in public and soak through the pads I have on. Make sure you have good nursing pads. Good nursing pads help you avoid embarrassing situations and potentially ruining your top.
- A nursing friendly wardrobe is a must. I’ve already mentioned nursing camisoles. Buy plenty, because they can be layered under sweaters, t-shirts, cardigans, and dresses. Make sure your clothes are easy to lift up, pull down, or button. You can always buy clothes that are specifically made for nursing, but I have learned that’s not necessary. I have bought some items that are, but I usually prefer regular clothing items that are just nursing friendly. I like to wear linen or cotton t-shirts with a nursing camisole underneath, or a dress that buttons down the front. Basically you want to avoid wearing dresses or rompers that you have to completely take off in order to nurse your child! Trust me I have done it, and it’s not worth it. You can still be fashionable and nurse your baby.