HOME

ABOUT

CONTACT

DIY

DECOR

FOOD

WEDDINGS

FINANCE

search
explore

Categories

search

February 23, 2021

Our Baby Feeding Essentials + Adaptable Routine

posted in:

Ellie Joy is officially six months old which means that we’ve put food in her precious little belly for six months. Woof, baby feeding can be tough journey. Ours has been all over the place (and is still changing from time to time) so I’m going to do my best to break it into chunks and share what worked for us during that time. I always hoped that I’d be able to breastfeed but one of the best things I did for myself was I didn’t set an expectation for how I’d feed our baby. I suppose it’s one of those “hope for the best and expect the worst” scenarios that the Air Force is very great at instilling in us. 😉 The way I see it, no matter what you do, as long as your baby is fed, you’re doing a great job.

Weeks 1-10ish

Parts of this chunk of time felt like we were just living in survival mode (you can read all about our fourth trimester essentials HERE!), especially because we were moving when Ellie was six weeks old. My milk had come in like a wrecking ball. I couldn’t get it out of my system fast enough. It’s a great problem to have, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t deny that I had a lot of conversations with God during that time that sounded like, “Umm… God… Why as mamas are we not only learning how to care for a fresh infant, we’re exhausted, we’re dealing with hormones that have gone ballistic, healing ourselves “down there” AND boobs that hurt so dang bad?” I had milk all over the place all the time and breastfeeding was toe curling painful for me.

I don’t know if it was Ellie’s latch or my let down. There was so much pain everywhere it was hard to tell where it was coming from. I definitely recommend getting a lactation consultant if you are having problems. I didn’t and I know I should have. I received a lot of help while at the hospital but since we were moving and I was dealing with a horrible case of PUPPP on top of everything else, it felt too overwhelming for me to look into finding a LC quickly.

I can’t tell you exactly when it happened but I believe it was somewhere around the 2-4 week mark where something just clicked for both Ellie and I. One of the things I’m most proud of us for is that we made it through that time. If I decided to quit breastfeeding, that was okay with me but I refused to do it on a bad day. “You will not quit on a bad day, Jordan.” is what I told myself every session. Every day was bad until it wasn’t… HA! Needless to say, we’re still breastfeeding six months later.

breastfeeding

Essentials

  • Elvie breast pump – I shared in depth on this in this post!
  • Kiinde milk storage bags – If you have TriCare, you can get these completely covered. All of the info on how to do that is here.
  • TWO Haakaa pumps – These were my BFFs. I only had one to start and ended up ordering a second that way if one was dirty, I always had one clean. Sometimes if I had extreme pressure that I needed to relieve, I’d put both on at the same time. I might end up trying THESE next time because they look like they’d be easier to just stick under a bra (which you can’t do with a Haakaa) and less likely to be kicked off by baby. Goodness gracious that was the WORST when that happened!
  • Bottle box – Babies can be picky about bottles so I really didn’t want to get a bunch of one kind and have the Tot hate them and then have to buy more to try out. We put this bottle box on our registry and think it was an AWESOME idea since it allows for the baby to try so many different options. She couldn’t care less about what bottle she has as long as there is milk coming out of it but at least now we know!
  • This manual pump – Highly highly recommend this. I share down below why!
  • This nursing bra – My boobs hurt so bad I could barely have anything touching me. This was the most comfortable for me by far.
  • These heating and cooling breast pads – I bought two sets of these as well. One set I kept in the freezer and another set I kept on the counter next to the microwave. For a while, my let down was extremely painful so one of my best friends (thanks, Rhy!!!) suggested microwaving these pads and wearing them for about five minutes before nursing so that it wasn’t as painful. Then after a nursing session, I’d be in so much pain from Ellie’s latch (which is why I didn’t want anything touching me) so I’d grab the set that was in the freezer, replace it with the set I had used before nursing that I warmed up, stick the cold set in my bra for a while to help relieve the pain, and then put that set next to the microwave to heat up for the next nursing session when I was done. Annnnnnnd repeat.
  • Breast pads – For a while I was trying to make it work with just the pads that I had from bras that I already owned but they didn’t cut it. I changed them out often because well… I leaked often. So I needed quite a few of them.
  • Optional: 5-in-1 nursing cover – At the beginning when we were both still learning so much, it made me feel better to have a cover. Now I could get away with feeding her without anyone knowing but I still prefer to cover up when in public.

A lot of people love the Boppy pillow for during this time but I didn’t use it at all. It only took one time for a Haakaa filled with 3 oz of milk to be knocked off by the pillow for me to never use it again.

Our Routine

The first couple of weeks I nursed and pumped anytime I needed to (usually when she slept for long chunks) since my supply was out of control. I know some lactation consultants suggest not to use a bottle until the baby is great at breastfeeding but I didn’t stress about whether or not she nursed every single session. There were a few reasons for this but the biggest one was my sanity. It was great for my mind (and boobs) to get a break so that someone else could feed her other than me. Around the three week mark we tried to implement the Baby Wise method which basically means they eat every two hours vs baby led nursing. Some babies can hit that method to a T! Not our Ellie girl. Ellie never has eaten for the 30-40 min that the book recommends so we modified the times a bit. If we made it to ten minutes before she screamed bloody murder that she was done it was a quality session! I’ll never know how much she actually consumes (a baby nursing is much more efficient compared to a pump). I do know my milk always has a really thick later of fat at the top, that my let down was no joke and that her weight has always been fine at the doctors.

Here was the key for us – at night I’d wake up from being so engorged (I never set an alarm) and I would immediately put a Haakaa on one side and then use this manual pump on the other. I started doing it this way because after a couple of weeks of dealing with the Elvie while half awake and not getting it to latch correctly, while also in somewhat of a panic because I was in so much pain and needed to get the milk out, etc. I was over it. I needed something I could do while practically sleeping and this pump was the answer to that. I’d pump about 7-8 minutes on each side (always had the Haakaa on the opposite side), put 3-4 ounces in a clean bottle, put the remaining milk into a storage bag, labeled, and into the freezer, and then I’d bring the bottle filled with milk into our bedroom and leave it on Stephen’s nightstand. Whenever she woke up ready to eat, Stephen would see the milk on his nightstand, and feed her without needing to wake me up. Not only did it give me time to sleep but it also was a really special and tender time Stephen got to spend with Ellie.

baby feeding essentials

I was concerned about thrush so I showered every single night. That part of the routine was also really great for my sanity. Even if I looked like a wreck, at least I was clean.

We also ran the dishwasher every night with all of my pump parts, the Haakaas, bottles, etc. That way everything was clean and sanitized before I needed to pump in the middle of the night and for the next day.

Months 3-5

Essentials

  • Elvie breast pump – I shared in depth on this in this post!
  • This manual pump
  • Nursing bras – These are the most comfortable and supportive. I’ve actually even worked out in them a couple of times.
  • Seamless bras – These are not nursing specific but I’ve worn them for years (the brand I used to wear actually isn’t sold at Target anymore but these look identical to what I have) and are still my go-to. I just lift it up to nurse.
  • Optional: Nursing cami – This is great to do the “cami trick” with. Wear a cami underneath your normal shirt. When you lift up your shirt to nurse, your breast will be covered by the shirt and your stomach will be covered by the cami! Most people will not even have a clue you’re feeding your babe.

Routine

Not much changed routine wise during this time except for my milk really started to regulate as we got better at feeding Ellie at consistent times around every 2ish hours. Since Stephen was back to work, pumping felt like more work to me versus just breastfeeding her so we went to pretty much 100% BF at that time. Stephen was more than happy to keep feeding her at night but I felt bad especially if he was flying the next day so I started pushing myself to wait to pump until she woke up so I could nurse her.

Since my supply had calmed down significantly, I didn’t need to use the Haakaa anymore. I’d sometimes have leakage on the opposite side Ellie was feeding on so what I’d do is always have a burp cloth next to me and stick one end of the cloth in my bra on the side she wasn’t feeding off of. That way it would catch any leakage and the remainder of the cloth could be used if she spit up (which was constantly) or if she unlatched and milk was going everywhere…

baby feeding must haves

Months 5-Current

We started sleep training at the beginning of January using this sleep course. We love it. Once we got into a rhythm with that, it changed Ellie’s eating routine a bit so we adapted once again! I hadn’t really pumped at all for months but now I’m back to pumping once a day right before I go to sleep. We feed that pumped milk the following night to her before she goes to sleep.

Essentials

  • Elvie breast pump – I shared in depth on this in this post!
  • 8 oz bottle – Ellie will take any bottle but we had the most of these so we ordered two of the 8 ounce size to accommodate more milk for her bedtime feeds.
  • Nursing bras – These are the most comfortable and supportive. I’ve actually even worked out in them a couple of times.
  • Seamless bras – These are not nursing specific but I’ve worn them for years (the brand I used to wear actually isn’t sold at Target anymore but these look identical to what I have) and are still my go-to. I just lift it up to nurse.

How I Keep my Supply Up

It could’ve been the more consistent routine or my hormones (spoiler alert: my cycle has NOT returned if that is what you’re thinking) but my supply dropped drastically. I went from having an oversupply to feeling like I barely had enough for Ellie. Her weight was still great according to the doctor! One day though I tried to pump because I felt like I had completely dried up and I didn’t have a single drop. I started doing the following to try to get my supply back up and it has worked well for me since:

Essentials

  • Milk Maker roll on – 10 drops Fennel essential oil, 10 drops Basil essential oil, top with a carrier oil (in a couple of small studies, fennel has demonstrated that it promotes the creation of prolactin which increases milk supply)
  • Ningxia Red – This is an antioxidant drink from Young Living that we drink every day. Look into the benefits of antioxidants! It’s great for me and great for Ellie. There’s no research to say whether or not it impacts supply but I do notice if I miss a day or two, there is a difference. Could be the Ningxia, could be just less fluid in general. Either way, we feel a lot of other amazing benefits from it so Stephen and I drink it daily.
  • Lactation bites/cookies – There are plenty of recipes for this on Pinterest! I’ll share my favorite of the two here soon!

Routine

  1. Apply the milk maker roll on every night (you can also do this multiple times throughout the day).
  2. Drink Ningxia daily.
  3. Continue drinking a lot of water (I have to be very conscious of this!).
  4. Eat lactation bites/cookies (this is also great for me to have as a snack on hand in case I haven’t eaten in a while).

Goodness gracious that was a plethora of information! I hope it’s helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or by messaging me here! Just know that as long as you’re feeding your baby, you’re doing an amazing job.


I sincerely appreciate you all shopping through my affiliate links like the ones included in this post. I make a small commission when you purchase through these links at no extra cost to you. These funds help support my family and allow for us to produce better content for you all. I can’t thank you enough for supporting all that we do!

Pin this image to save the post for later:

with joy
jordan jean

SHARE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

explore

Categories

search

JJ posts

SIGN UP

+ join us