Breastfeeding and pumping require time, creativity and lots of trial and error. As moms with MS, it’s imperative to find what works for you while conserving energy, reducing muscle strain and maintaining your sanity. Every mother’s journey is different and remember a fed baby is a happy baby; doesn’t matter how.
Here are some tips to help with your breastfeeding or pumping journey:
Invest in the right clothing that is easy and light. Cocoon is an absolute favorite with many colors and ways to don your poncho (It’s in the picture above!). It’s breathable and super lightweight. It can also be used as a scarf or to put over the stroller to keep it dark for your sleeping baby. Moms can also pump discreetly while wearing this. It’s one of the most versatile pieces out there! Boobs, Kindred Braverly and Bellybandit have amazing clothing options, too. Look for organic bamboo, cotton, hemp, lyocell and jersey material.
Keep lightweight organic nipple pads on standby. The ones from Kindred Braverly are great and easy to use. They come with a cute storage bag that can easily be thrown into your baby backpack or purse. They work well too if you are pumping.
Use Booby Tubes for comforting your breasts. Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable and painful at times due to latching or suctioning issues, clogged ducts or positioning. These tubes can be heated or cooled depending on your needs and easy to pack. The brand Earth Mama and Angel Baby has one of the best ones out there and it’s organic too.
Invest in a good feeding pillow. This is a great way to reduce overall fatigue, muscle strain and help especially if you have upper extremity or core weakness. It works great with bottle feeds as well. My Brest Friend is often recommended by moms who have MS because of its wraparound design and it includes a back support too.
Purchase a great all around baby bag or backpack. You’re going to be hauling a lot of things around with your little ones. Finding the right bag can be tricky. Look for one with thicker straps, many pockets that are easy to rummage through and zippers so nothing can fly out at the most inopportune moment. Some great bags are Herschel Baby Strand Sprout Shoulder Bag, Caraa Baby Bag and the Skip Hoper Bag (this one attaches perfectly to luggage too!). Some backpacks are Honest City Backpack and Product of the North x Sustainable Elkin Diaper Backpack.
Protect your breasts. Latching and suctioning can create dryness and cracking around your nipples causing pain, clogged ducts and discomfort. Applying nipple cream to your breasts or suctioning device can make a big difference in your feeding journey.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Breastfeeding and pumping require a lot of calories and energy, so drinking lots of water is key. Large, stainless steel and BPA free options are ideal such as YETI or Hydro Flask; they have different opening options depending on your needs. They also do a wonderful job keeping water cool. Staying hydrated helps remove toxins, decrease fatigue and so much more! A good rule of thumb many moms stand by is drinking an 8 oz glass before and after feeding or pumping. If you have difficulty with grasping objects, wider containers and suction versus twist off caps work really well. The days and nights can be very busy, so some moms put alarm reminders to help stay on track or have a couple glasses or water containers throughout the house.