Of course everyone is different but I thought I'd share some of the things that helped me in the beginning while trying to breastfeed. Let me start off by saying I love nursing my baby! It has so many benefits! Of course you're giving your baby the best nourishment possible, and its so much easier in my opinion than having to make sure you have warm water and formula everywhere you go. Also, I feel like its such a bonding experience and I know it's why I've lost all of my pregnancy weight. I actually weigh less than before I became pregnant and though I'd like to say that's from me hitting the gym, let's be real... it's definitely not. If you're thinking "well I don't want my boobs to get saggy" girl, I've heard they get saggy either way so why not do what's best for you and your baby! If you've tried and it didn't work out for you or your baby, that's okay too, like I said, everyone is different. You have to do whats best for you and your little one! So lets get to it...
First let me say that in my experience the first day or two was somewhat painful. Okay, I'm under exagerating, it freakin hurt! I was confused because one nurse would say it's normal for it to be painful in the beginning and then another would say, it shouldn't be too painful but it will be uncomfortable, so I wasn't sure what I should be experiencing. On our last night in the hospital, an angel was sent to us... thats what we call our nurse Daneila. She had a thick Russian accent and was basically a baby whisperer. She noticed that Eden was curling his bottom lip under while feeding and that's what was causing me pain. Once I found that out every time I would nurse him I would gently push his chin down so his bottom lip would pull out. After that nursing felt so much better! I had to do it for a couple of weeks until he learned to do it on his own... So for the record it will be uncomfortable but it shouldn't be excruciating. If you're hurting a lot your baby may not be latched on correctly. Remember, it's a learning experience for you, but also for your baby.
Medela Tender Care Lanolin works great and is probably the most popular thing to use. It soothes sore nipples and you don't have to wipe it off before nursing your baby. I bought a bottle and also got one at my baby shower. I was only sore for a week so I didn't need much.
These Medela Hydrogel Breast Pads were my favorite gel pads because you could run them under cool water to clean them off and refresh and they last 24 hours. They felt really good. Definitely a necessity! You do have to wash off before nursing when you use these.
These Medela Soft Shells were great! They let your nipples breath so they aren't rubbing against your clothing. Just make sure to use the little foam inserts or when you bend over you'll give yourself a milk bath!
I bought one of these Medela Nipple Shields before having the baby just in case so I'd be ready for everything but I didn't really use it. I tried once but couldn't get it on good and gave up. I really shouldn't have even tried, only use this if you're really really raw and sore and need a barrier between your nipples and the baby. It can cause nipple confusion so you want to be careful. I recommend buying after having the baby only if you need it.
Of course you need a cute nursing cover!... Unless you prefer being uncovered! Hey, thats fine with me, I'm just not comfortable doing it myself. I like the one I got from covered goods because it doesn't expose your back when you lift up your shirt and I like that because I don't have to worry about my undies hanging out if I'm wearing low rise pants or anything.
I think that's everything I used to make nursing easier. If nursing is still really painful after the first two weeks postpartum, I would definitely suggest attending a breastfeeding support group, or contacting one of the breastfeeding consultants at the hospital. They're there to help and it's usually free so why not! My last word of advice is don't give up! It may seem like torture for a week or two but that will pass and you'll be so happy you got through it and continued to breastfeed!