Nursing was my son’s and is my daughter’s favorite activity, hands down! Speaking of hands, the fact that I only have one presents certain challenges during breastfeeding. I totally encourage others who are able and interested to breastfeed – it sure beats fixing a bottle in the middle of the night! That said, formula feeding is a great choice as well and may be easier or better for some parents.
We’ve used several products to assist us. First, we used the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (mini). This makes it so I can reach baby easily at night, but not share the bed (although, many times baby has managed to weasel into the big bed)! Generally this has been a good product, but we’ve had trouble finding sheets for it, and it doesn’t fold/unfold or move easily AT ALL, so we’ve mostly just left it set up in the bedroom.
Another big help for breastfeeding has been nursing pillows! That’s right – plural. I use two different types of pillows. Mainly at home, we use the ever-popular Boppy. It’s great on the couch or in an armchair. It works in the wheelchair only if there is a table in front of us. I use an additional pillow to put under which ever side we’re on, though, because it’s meant to go on a lap, and well, technically, I don’t have a lap!
I keep other pillow in the car – it’s called My Brest Friend (I know, right?). This is a much firmer pillow that actually straps around my back and has back support. The one we have has a buckle, and I wonder if the one pictured here with velcro would be simpler… uh, faster (when baby is hungry, baby is hungry)! Anyway, it’s great for nursing in the back seat of the car (which happens more than I care to admit). And it’s ideal to use from a wheelchair. These pillows are essential to prevent my one arm from getting very tired and numb from holding a heavy baby.
Finally, there’s breast pumping. I pump milk every day at work so I have bottles ready for the next day. I have used both the Medela Pump in Style and the Ameda Purely Yours. The pump and supplies are pretty standard, but I found the need for a hands-free mechanism to be essential! Soooo, I have to wear the silliest contraption EVER called a hands free pumping bra! Makes me look like a dairy cow/clown. But it gets the job done. There are several different types and brands. Now, if that janitor at the hospital would just figure out that “session in progress” could mean a breast pumping session!!!
Probably the toughest thing has been working on my coordination to stay covered up in public. My babies prefer to nurse without a cover in all locations across America, so whenever possible they squirm and thrash to try to reveal those beautiful fountains to the entire world!