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7 Hospital Bag Essentials to Breastfeed Your Newborn

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7 Hospital Bag Essentials to Breastfeed Your Newborn

Breastfeeding is supposed to be one of the most natural things a mother will do. It’s portrayed on social media -- and by that unicorn mama you met at the park -- as beautiful and effortless. But you may not feel like a breastfeeding goddess those first few days as a new mama. Sometimes the milk doesn’t come out right away, or your breasts may hurt like hell. The truth is that (shocker), even the most “natural” breastfeeding mother often needs some help along the way. Which is why packing the right breastfeeding essentials in your hospital bag is the the only way to get you on the right track to becoming the beautiful breastfeeding goddess you’re meant to be. And if not, well, then that’s OK, too.

Here are 7 breastfeeding essentials you’ll want to put in your hospital bag now.

  1. Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads. Once your milk starts officially coming in, one of the best problems you’ll face is that you’ll leak. Yes it’s true. Constantly. Oops. These Bamboobies washable nursing pads will help prevent you from ruining the going home from outfit you planned to commemorate in your first family photo on Facebook for all to see.
  2. Phone charger. While you may be planning to unplug as soon as baby arrives, chances are you’ll actually want to have your phone closer than ever in those first few days to call for breastfeeding help if necessary. Keep your battery fully charged at all times so you can reach your lactation consultant (now on speed dial) and late-night text with your bestie who just went through the thick of it.
  3. Bamboobies Nursing Shawl. As shocking is it might sound, hospital gowns are not only hideous but they're just about the least convenient thing a nursing mom can wear. Accessing your boobs can mean flashing everyone that walks into the room, whether you mean to or not. And while modesty may not be top mind, for some mamas it's another unneeded stress-trigger. Bringing a shawl like this one from bamboobies gives you the freedom to keep nursing on demand no matter who's husband's friends' sister’s father is in the room.
  4. Nursing Pillow. Nursing a baby helps remind you how much more you should have focused on building your biceps during your prenatal workouts. A nursing pillow will help give you all of the arm support you need as a new breastfeeding mama.
  5. Pen and notebook. “Left side, right side, pee and poop” are about to be your new mantra. While you can definitely download a trusty app for all of your baby activity tracking, a cute notebook and pen is really all you need to keep a record of all of baby's moves.
  6. Bamboobies Nursing Brahhh! OK, preggers. You think your boobs are hitting massive proportions now? They’re about to become unrecognizable. Embrace them! And get the right support. Say so long to constricting underwire and go seamless with an easy-access bra like this one from Bamboobies, made with Bamboo Rayon.
  7. Water bottle and snacks. Even though baby is here, that doesn't mean that your own health gets thrown out the window. You thought that pregnancy demanded more fuel? Prepare to be hungry and thirsty, like, always. Bring a water bottle, preferably one that is bright and hard to miss, so that you don't forget to hydrate regularly, and pack plenty of healthy snacks since your body will be burning up to 500 calories per day!

*We are so grateful when brands support our content and community. This post was sponsored by Bamboobies. Get $7 off any TWO bamboobies products here!

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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."

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We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"

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The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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