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Congratulations to all the New Mommies and pregnant mommies… as you enter one of the most exciting new journey’s of your life I wanted to make some research for my breastfeeding and exclusively pumping moms and moms to be available in one place! If you find it useful; please bookmark and share. While many of us black women do breastfeed it is still a very taboo topic amongst our community due to lack of education!
With my first son I would not have quit after 2 weeks had I known cluster feeding was totally NORMAL!! As a breastfeeding mom of 3 in the last 5 years… I know how important it is to have support throughout this journey which is rewarding but also draining too as you will give so much of yourself to a lil baby depending completely on you to survive. While in beginning this journey or full blown in the midst…please I encourage you to have and read my self care/love routine. If you are a happy, full momma you will have a happy baby!
Along with some background and education; I provide recommendations to tons of quality and comfortable supplies to try while breastfeeding! They are a definite necessity in the beginning when breastfeeding a new baby is an around the clock job and you are ENGORGED needing to get that heavy milk off your chest (and some women it gets stuck in your underarm ducts causing lumps DON’T BE SCARED it can be normal). With my first son 10 years ago when my milk came in it felt like two huge boulders laying on my chest. My husband had to help me roll over! Over time your baby and your body will become one and your milk will regulate (average time is 6 to 8 weeks) as your body knows just how much to make to nourish your baby the best. #perfection
In the beginning it is important to keep baby on the breast as much as possible because their sucking power is better than any pump or product when it comes to draining and relieving engorged breast.
*Breast Shells: For just 10 dollars and some change these food grade silicone shells can save your milk and nipples!! In the beginning days with chapped, chaffed, hurting, tired (sometimes bleeding) nipples the last thing you will want is something touching them. It will be times you don’t even want baby on you!
Nursing Baby Video Collage
Breastfeeding Journey Collage
If for some reason babies latch is extremely painful (tongue tied, prematurity, cleft lip, infection, or delayed breastfeeding on baby or moms part…this list is not inclusive as many things can cause a poor latch) beyond what is normal nursing pain that comes with tender nipples and around the clock nursing. After every nursing session you can express some milk and rub it on your nipples and/or invest in a quality organic nipple cream.
A Support System is all the Rave!
As I have learned from personal experience, other moms I know in my personal life, and great moms I have met online through forums, blogs, vlogs and in groups on FB like “breastfeeding support group for black moms”…that your journey (just like pregnancy and motherhood in general) is going to go every way other then planned. That can be both good and bad! When in need always search FB groups you are bound to find a group of awesome people to build camaraderie with and/or you can also start your own group!
A Lil’ Background
With my first he latched effortlessly and with no pain but wasn’t mentally prepared for a clingy baby so I gave up nursing after two weeks. I felt horrible about it for years! I had mentally prepared that no matter what when I had my next child I would breastfeed no matter what the circumstances. Thankfully, I had that mindset because five years passed and in my head I thought it would be easy! Well it was anything but easy…it was super painful because my son had a tongue tie. His latch was small because he couldn’t open his mouth wide so he attached himself to my nipple verse areola. I had made my mind up that I would breastfeed through whatever the obstacle! Again thankfully I did because he bit a bloody sore through my nipple that I had to continue to painfully nurse through.
What I found to help me better then the pump (in 2014 Medela Pump and Style was a popular insurance giveaway) was too painful on my sore breast to not even be able to pump a lot of milk. I had imagined in my head I would get ounces upon ounces. If you don’t know insurance does give you one free breast pump per pregnancy. Also if you qualify WIC (government assistant agency; women, infants, and children supplemental nutrition program) sometimes has free pumps to give away or borrow.
Before I list the best breast pumps and accessories I first want to throw out something that was a life savor and very near and dear to me as I still use it when needed 20 months into this last breastfeeding journey I am on!
–Hand Expressing– You will literally take your hands and massage/squeeze the ducts around your nipples to express milk. It is great to know during times of normal engorgement when your milk originally comes in, during a growth spurt/cluster feeding, when you are away from baby for extended amount of time, or not near your breast pump. You can also do it in the shower! Below I made a video to show you how.
Not Your Average Hand Pump
** HAAKAA– A silicone hand pump that suctions to and expresses your breast. It is also good at catching the liquid gold that may drop from the opposite breast you are nursing from. No liquid gold to waste and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t spill it. It will literally feel like the end of the world CAUSE IT IS!!
Save a couple coins buying through Walmart and you get a breast pump stopper included.
Top 5 Rated Electric Breast Pumps
You can customize your pump’s settings to your own body’s response and follow your flow to find the best settings FOR YOU with the S1’s completely adjustable suction and 2 phase cycling in let-down and expression mode.
Offers massage mode which stimulates the natural sucking of your own baby. Rave reviewed quietness amongst fellow breast feeding moms with adjustable suctions levels.
3.) Medela Pump and Style $154.99
*You may never need replacement parts, but this price is a really good for bundle you get! Being as though when you are constantly washing and sanitizing your parts after each session it may be good to have a set on the go or even at home in the case that life happens and you don’t get a chance to wash right away BECAUSE IN THAT MOMENT HELL A NAP WAS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT! No shame 10 years and 4 kids later and I still cherish all my NAPS!!
4.) Willow is an awesome looking Hands Free Pump you insert in your bra and go but it is PRICEY at $499.00 but if they work with your insurance then definitely check them out!! https://shop.willowpump.com/
But don’t fret with this Momcozy nursing bra every pump can become handsfree for under $20.
Hospital grade pump with a variety of settings and a rechargeable battery.
Some Breastfeeding Must Haves in addition to your Perfect Pump…
For all the organizers out there (or individuals like myself who have small, limited storage space in you freezer) who want to prepare ahead they have these cool milk storage trays that allow you to store you milk in 1 ounce. It’s two trays for $19.99. I mean if you are on a budget regular ice cube trays work as well…but one benefit I do like about these trays is that you know exactly how much you are freezing and thawing when the time comes.
I talk about pace feeding below for more information. But make note that exclusively breastfed babies only need 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of milk per hour that you are gone. Anything beyond that is overfeeding! Learning that tidbit of information saved my life because I knew I didn’t need to stress about a huge stash when I needed to leave my baby. I left my 4 month old Mari’ with a sitter to go to a wedding. I was gone for about 6 hours with exactly 6 ounces that I worked hard for over two longs days to express. Homegirl had not even finished the bottle when I picked her up that evening!!
I used nursing bras that are super soft and shirt like because I hate bras in general so if you need more support then these wouldn’t be for you. But a wire and all that jazz is the last thing I wanted especially during engorgement and getting used to breastfeeding. Plus, many days I wore and still wear them by themselves when we were/are just lounging around the house. This is a 3-pack similar to what I used.
One of my good friends put me on to two life savor products indeed!! The hospital pads are the first nursing pads that I used after having the baby. They are super thick and absorbent. Honestly, they are more comfortable on the breast then the bottom and long enough that you only need one.
Once I ran out of the hospital pads, I then used reusuable pads until my milk regulated and I no longer leaked. Leaking will vary from woman to woman; some won’t leak some will their entire nursing journey. No matter how long you do leak I recommend reusable nursing pads. They are just PLAIN SOFTER AND MORE COMFORTABLE. It is only breastmilk so you can hand wash with soap and water as you swap them out, air dry, and reuse until wash day.
Best Bottles for Nursing Babies…
While bottles and pacifiers are not recommended if you don’t have to leave baby for 6 to 8 weeks then it’s absolutely fine not to attempt to use them. Nipple confusion can be a THING! I didn’t worry too much about it because I went through different phases of each breastfeeding journey. I wanted my kids to take a pacifier!! So I HAVE try a range of pacifiers!
My kids honestly didn’t need a bottle a lot because I was always around. I found success with the NUK bottle and honestly the $.89 cent great value brand…(I absolutely love those cheapie bottles and if you don’t have a preference then I definitely recommend them). I always went and did registries (buybuybaby, Walmart, any place baby related etc) because they will give you a bottle and pacifier. For me those were enough!
Below I will list bottles that are popular amongst us melanated breastfeeding moms; if you do have a preference.
These are convenient if you are stickler for organization and space saving!
I love these and would use these if I had to buy bottle today!!
Walmart is my favorite store so I always compare prices! Get these bottles at Walmart and get a free gift card with purchase!!
Starter Kit (Teal) 39.99 with a free $20 Walmart Giftcard. So, really the kid comes to 19.99.
3 Bottle Pack (Teal) 19.99 with a free $5 Wamart Giftcard making your total $14.99.
These bottles have nipples that can be similar to some women’s nipples which your baby is already familiar with.
These bottles offer plastic and a glass series. My best sisterfriend who just had a baby almost a year ago swears by her glass bottles and feels that they last and sanitize better then the plastic bottles! My house is far from drop proof so I stuck with plastic bottles. Glass bottles are made with a thicker glass though that helps make them (almost cause it is not guaranteed) shatter resistant!
5.) Como Tomo
These bottles are anti colic (assist in baby getting less air which upsets babies stomach) due to dual air vent system. They also are similar to some breastfeeding moms nipple and breast shape!
6.) Nuk Naturals
I love the prints that Nuk uses on their bottles. This was the only bottle I used with Mari’.
Pacifiers…because yes sometimes baby is HUNGRY and needs moms comfort but SOMETIMES BABY JUST WANTS TO SUCK OUT OF HABIT!!
Same thing goes for pacifiers as with bottles. Some people will recommend and prefer to wait until 6 to 8 weeks.
I am not one of them moms and loved a variety of pacifiers but none of my 3 breastfed babies were interested AT ALL. And I tried the whole range because I wanted them to take a pacifier so bad because sometimes babies just want to suck for comfort! When your nipples are sore and you are tired walking around like a zombie; it is nice to be able to pop a pacifier in your babies mouth if baby takes one. So below I will now list pacifiers.
I found out about these teething ring pacifier clips 6 years ago when I was pregnant with my 2nd and doing a random pacifier clip search on amazon. I have bought one with each child since. They didn’t like pacifiers but I offered anyway and babies love to chew on EVERYTHING these silicone chew clips got the job done and I got my monies worth in their usage!!
Top 4 Highly Rated!
I SWEAR by Glow in the Dark Pacifiers just because at night and in the car on the go; the last thing you want to have to stress about if you have a screaming baby that a pacifier calms; IS FINDING THE PACIFIER!!
1.) Soothie (pacifier you get at most hospitals for free but some babies really like them)
2.) Mam (I love these, used them with all my kiddos, and they are cute)
4.) Dr. Browns
Babywearing is LITERALLY a life saver at home or on the go especially during cluster feeding. You cannot spoil a baby who has been in your warm, safe womb. Hold your baby for your peace of mind and DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT!
Black Women Do Babywear– It is a private group so only members can see what is inside but ANY BLACK WOMAN can REQUEST to join!
I loved the ergo and cheapie one alike for each of my kids. But as a momma on a budget I went with the Infantino version below.
Dads are Special Too!
They even have carriers especially made for DADS so he can get one too; feel special, carry, and BOND with baby boo too while you sleep!! They offer MILITARY and 1st RESPONDER discounts!!
Boppy, Brest Friend Pillow, and Accessories…
I liked the boppy that was just my preference I had 4 over the span of kids! They definitely got their fair share because I used them all time! but the breastfriend pillow is a hit amongst breastfeeding moms too.
3.) Car Seat Cover
Resources and Websites: All Things Breastfeeding (and Pregnancy)
Ditch The Stash Stress!
Pace Feeding! Don’t Overfeed your Exclusively Breastfed Baby!
This information above was a relief for me to find out because I had difficulty pumping with baby son 2. I started to hand express as I was unable to remove milk painlessly with the pump. So, when I found out about the size of baby’s stomach and pace feeding an exclusively breastfed baby, I was so happy. Seeing women with huge stashes stressed me out! I commend them from the donating point of view as I would love to be able to donate but outside of that I am grateful that did not have to be my life to sufficiently and successfully breastfeed my children. As, I type we are on month 21 with no end in sight. I get tired and frustrated when Mari’ is attached to my breast for hours on end at night and I can’t get comfortable to save my life. But I am not in any rush because SHE WILL NOT BREASTFEED FOREVER and I will miss out bond!!!
Tongue Tie Link
Breastfeeding around the world
Wonder Weeks…Why is my Baby Fussy?!
Wonder weeks are developmental stages that effect each baby at a variety of stages throughout their first year plus of life. Each wonder week will affect a baby at a different day/week, but it is not too far off and the symptoms are the same. Knowing about the wonder weeks have helped other mothers and I know that we are not alone with inconsolable babies and just to show a lot of extra patient because they are not sleeping, crying, clingy for no reason.
A good friend (and doula &lactation consultant need to be, crunchy mom, editor and MY PERSONAL SOURCE OF ALL THINGS PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING) of mine pointed me in the direction of the MUST KNOW WEBSITE…
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere…
A community initiative improving access to breastfeeding support in African American Communities. Reclaiming our breastfeeding experience.
Reforming healthcare through breastfeeding.
Upon a quick search of their website they help people of the community to access breastfeeding counselors and friends, they have babycafe meetings held on Mondays in Atlanta where mothers come together for resources and an open forum, and I found a blue print:
Saving Tomorrow Today: An African American Breastfeeding Blueprint!
My heart goes out to pump exclusive moms. I know its not easy to be attached to a pump around the clock. But for some it is a way of life to give their babies the best! Rather it be a choice or only option I absolutely salute this heroic act. While it may not be ideal for some it is the ABSOLUTE ONLY WAY and here is an informative guide to bookmark.
Doulas to Follow, Hire and/or be Referred From…
I highly recommend a doula so you and your support person can focus on your comfort during labor and delivery while your doula advocates your needs and wants to your healthcare providers and staff. It is pertinent that you educate yourself on your hospitals policy and state laws when you step foot in a hospital to have a baby! Even then due to institutional racism it can be a matter of life and death if you don’t have a support team to step in and advocate on your behalf!
These women are encouraging and having thought provoking conversations on their page daily…opening up their hearts and passions to the public they service with information, inspiration, and some sarcastic shade as icing on the cake!!
Brittany Curry on fb
Scihonor Ruiz on fb
Hakima Tafunzi Payne on fb
Post Partum Doula Extraordinaire in all her Southern Charm, Spunk, and Sass at Calvis Jones Williamson on fb
What are your breastfeeding Tips and Tricks? If you have any additional questions please leave them below!