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Aids to Enhance the Beautiful Experience of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the most intimate experience every mother enjoys with her newborn baby. It marks the beginning of a woman’s maternity experience. All mothers are advised to begin breastfeeding the newborn right after birth and continue with exclusive breastfeeding till six (6) months of age. Needless to say, breast milk is extremely crucial for the baby’s overall health. It meets baby’s nutritional requirements and helps develop his/her immune system.

Though it is a natural phenomenon, some mothers (especially first-time mothers) may experience teething difficulties. Breastfeeding aids can easily overcome these and make the initial days of breastfeeding a relaxing experience for the mother. A lactation expert can be consulted to understand about the breastfeeding aids and choose the one that suits your requirement.

Some of the most commonly available breastfeeding aids are mentioned below:

1. Nipple cream

Incase of sore, cracked, dry and grazed nipples, nipple cream can be applied. It soothes the nipples by replenishing the natural oils depleted by frequent sucking. Since, it has no preservatives or additives, it need not be removed before putting the baby on the breast.

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2. Nursing pillow

The U-shaped nursing pillows are very lightweight and easy to mold around the body while supporting the baby. A commonly used nursing aid, their use is extremely comforting to the back, spine, neck and arms. Most of them have adjustable straps so as to ensure the pillow fits the mother snugly. This position helps the baby acquire a good latch. A little later when the baby is 4 to 6 months of age, feeding pillows can be used for helping the baby learn sit-up.

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3. Nursing pads

Nipple leakage can happen to pregnant women and during the early weeks after delivering the baby. It can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing for the woman. Nursing pads can be placed inside the bra to absorb any nipple leakage. One can choose between disposable and reusable ones. They are made of cotton and thus keep the nipple and surrounding area breathable. Certain nursing pads have multiple layers for added absorbency.

The Hollister Contoured Reusable Nursing Pads, have multiple absorption layers made of cotton fabric. The layers are contoured and easily take to the shape of the breast and thus give a natural appearance under the clothing.

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4. Breast pump

Pumping or expressing breast milk gives the mother a greater degree of flexibility of being away from the baby while ensuring the baby gets breast milk. It is also known to stimulate milk production. Breast pumps as a nursing aid are commonly used by mothers. One can choose between manual or electric pumps.

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5. Pumping bras

Pumping bras have slits in the fabric over the nipples that are designed to hold the breast shields of the pump securely against the skin. Most of them are hands-free, enabling the mother to do other things while expressing milk.

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6. Treating breast engorgement

During the initial days of breastfeeding, the breasts may become hard, swollen, throbbing, lumpy, or painful. The swelling may extend up to the armpit along with rise in body temperature. Engorgement can make it difficult for the baby to breastfeed effectively. This is because the hardened areola makes latching difficult causing swollen nipples and a low milk supply. Using appropriate remedies can soothe the breasts and improve feeding.

  • Thermo gel pads can be used to soothe engorged breasts. It also stimulates milk production.
  • Massage oils which are anti-inflammatory and de-congestive in nature can be rubbed on the breasts just before feeding the baby. They also stimulate milk secretion.
  • Breast discs can be used to soothe sore and cracked nipples.
  • Heat pack can be placed around the breast. This will relieve engorgement, open milk ducts, and provide comfort from any infection.
  • Breast shells can also be used to protect sore or cracked nipples. Comfortably placed inside the bra, they are an easy snugly fit due to their soft silicone material. They keep the nipples from rubbing against the clothing, thereby helping in healing sore nipples.

7. Nipple shields

For persistent latch-on problems, a useful aid is the nipple shield. Holes at the tip allow the milk to flow to the baby. It is particularly useful when the baby is born pre-term or the mother has flat or inverted nipples.

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8. Herbal supplements

Supplements which contain fenugreek can be taken by mothers facing low milk supply. Fenugreek is known for increasing milk production.

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The initial hiccups while breastfeeding especially incase of first-time mothers, can easily be managed through the various breastfeeding aids. These are required only in the initial days post-delivery. Once the milk supply pattern is established, the mother will realize that breastfeeding is the first step towards mother-child bonding. It is one of the most cherished aspects of motherhood. Comforting maternity wear is also available for pregnant women to suit their bodily changes. At the same time, it can be fashionable and appealing.