My sister told me way before that the secret to surviving breastfeeding (and doing it long enough) is to have a comfortable nursing chair.
I believed her, but just really truly believed her now that I am breastfeeding.
My son is only 2 weeks old, and breastfeeding has not been my easiest journey in this thing called motherhood. Now I understand why some mothers say breastfeeding is harder than birth itself. I mean, sure, my pain was intense during my labor, but being a milk machine to a baby who’s on a feeding frenzy every 2-4 hours isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
To be honest, I am so tempted to just pump. But I know that nothing beats the benefits of direct feeding, and because my work is mostly from home, I have the privilege to do direct feeding as often as possible. With all the pain, frustration, and crying episodes in between, I decide to stick with the plan.
They say your breasts shouldn’t hurt when the latch is correct, so I always ensure he’s in a correct latch. I even take a video and send it to my friend who’s a lactation consultant just to double check. Still, my baby, the same one who made a roll at 4 days old, has strong lip muscles that suck vigorously (words from his pedia), hence the pain. My friend is helping me figure out how to solve this (I already have what she suspects to be milk blebs), but as we are still figuring this whole breastfeeding rhythm out, let me tell you the difference a nursing area makes!
My sister is absolutely right – I don’t think I’ll survive without my nursing area. It may sound like I’m overacting (I mean, so many moms breastfeed without this!), but so far, it’s the only spot where both my baby and I find solace and comfort during his feeding.
I’ve tried doing it elsewhere – and so far, since we’re still learning, either he would cry a lot and not latch at all, or he would but I would feel uncomfortable with my position after about 10 minutes. Even the side-lying position in bed is still hard at this point for us. I really can’t wait for the time when breastfeeding would be a breeze for me, and I won’t feel nervous anymore everytime my son starts looking for his food.
So, what can you find in my nursing area?
- A comfortable nursing chair – this is an old Lazboy chair our friend lent us, and it is heaven sent! It’s the only chair in our household so far that truly gives me the comfort I need for breastfeeding. When my baby doesn’t want to latch from a cradle position, it’s so easy to recline and make him latch from an Australian hold, and then I put the seat back up and slowly move him to a cradle position. When we’re done with feeding, this is also where we do skin-to-skin. I pull up the foot rest, recline the seat on the most flat recline possible, and rest with my baby. If you can, invest in a good nursing chair. What you can save on formula (by breastfeeding), you can probably splurge for the chair, haha! Or borrow from friends like we did!
EDIT: When I wrote this, I really believed and thought a comfortable nursing chair was important, and well, especially in the malls or public areas with breastfeeding rooms, I still believe this is a plus. However, after having learned the breastfeeding positions from Nanay Rich of Arugaan, I have to say that — once you master the sidelying position, you’ll probably never need a comfortable nursing chair at home anymore. When our son was a newborn and was still very tiny, I put a pillow beside me and placed him there so we could do the sidelying position.
- A side table with the following: books for reading (I use breastfeeding as a time to catch up on my reading if my baby’s eyes are closed and he’s so relaxed while feeding. Or when he’s asleep during skin-to-skin! When he’s awake, I talk or sing to him!) + water bottle (I get so thirsty at times, esp when he feeds for a long time!) + lip balm (my lips seem to feel dry lately so this is really handy!) + hand sanitizer (in case I feel my hands are dirty and I can’t stand up to wash because I’m nursing!) + hand lotion (not only do my lips feel dry lately, my hands do too because of constant washing!) + nipple cream (brand is Motherlove, available at Hatch and Latch) or virgin coconut oil (I only put these when my breasts feel sooooo sore already!)
- Floor Lamp (love the one we have from Ikea because I can rotate the lamp itself – very useful when you want to redirect the light to protect the baby’s eyes!
- Extension cord (for phone charging!)
- Nursing Pillow and Baby Blanket – I don’t use the nursing pillow all the time. It depends on my baby’s mood and position, but it’s still a VERY helpful piece to have! The cradle position without a nursing pillow can get tiring at times, especially when my De Quervain Syndrome on the left wrist starts acting up (yup, I got one during the third trimester, waaah!). The baby blanket is so useful after feeding, when we do skin-to-skin. I cover his back with a blanket.
I got the nursing pillow (brand: BABYHOOD) and and baby blanket from Baby and Beyond Manila.
I love how this pillow is supposed to be a 4-in-1 pillow: nursing pillow, baby play center (it comes with a detachable mobile which I can replace with my Montessori tools such as the crochet balls in primary colors), sitting support (along with a neck pillow), and well for me, it can even serve as bumper when you take naps with your baby.
This pillow is supposedly made from top quality fibre and is dust and allergen-free! I love how this is so multi-functional, easy to bring (we even use it in the car), and useful for a long time. Definitely a keeper. Definitely a good buy!
Even my husband loves this spot. This is where he and our son bond, too!
So there. I hope this post helps you as you create your own nursing area. I may be loving it now because of the comfort it gives, but later on, I know it will also be useful when my baby and I start to really bond during feedings. Breastfeeding should not be a time for multitasking – where you watch TV or answer emails or talk to someone on the phone — it should be an intimate bonding experience!
As Dr. Silvana Montanarro wrote in the book Understanding The Human Being:
“The nursing mother should be comfortably seated in a quiet place and feed the child while looking at it. Although it is technically possible to offer the breast and read a book, talk to someone or watch television, we must realize that, in this way, we detach psychological nourishment from biological feeding. As Erich Fromm puts it: we only give the milk but not the honey.”
“This is food for the beginning of a human relationship, the foundation of social life. We must remember that because of the need for maternal milk, newborns are provided with the most important and valuable experience: to stay with another human being. If we succeed in helping to establish good bonding from the beginning, then everything in the life of these two people will be different – no matter what happens, it will be “natural” for them to have a relationship of love, care, protection.”
Breastfeeding is our MOMMA AND ME time, a special moment no one else can replace. It’s a unique moment I should savor, because really, it will not last forever, and even with all the pain, I know I will miss it someday!
As of this point, I am one with those moms who say pregnancy and birth combined are easier than breastfeeding, but at the end of the day, no matter how much pain my breasts go through, one satisfied look (oh yes, THIS SMILE) from my baby is all is takes to take that memory of pain away. They say this would take a while, so I am hanging on and looking forward to better days.
Oh breastfeeding, it’s not as easy as I thought…but I also know that this is the best for my child, so I will keep trying, keep learning, and just soldier on.