I’ve been parenting for a little over four years now and almost every single day of my parenting experience has been trial and error, trying different things to see what sticks and winging it to make things work. This has been true for everything from favorite diaper brands to potty training to discipline to feeding my kids. And this has definitely been the case for all things breastfeeding, from dealing with nipple pain, to maintaining a healthy milk supply.
Some days, I feel like I might be figuring things out and finally getting the hang of it, but most days I feel clueless, like I am a brand-new mom at home with a newborn all over again. Everyday I face the same reality, only everyday is different and each baby comes with their own unique set of challenges. Just as soon as I learn how I am going to survive a phase, a new one begins and I'm left searching for a solution all over again. So, when I stumble on a sure thing, something that perfectly solves a problem or challenge I'm dealing with as mom of three, I’m pretty darn excited. And when a solutions seems too good to be true, I just can’t keep quiet about it. When I used gel pads to relieve breastfeeding pain for the first time, I knew they were going to be one of those breastfeeding products I would be talking about a whole lot.
When we left the hospital I sent my husband to the store right away to pick up several sets to keep in the fridge so I could use a cool pair after every feeding. They were lifesavers.
After my first daughter was born, it wasn’t 24 hours before my nipples were cracking and bleeding. Every time my daughter latched on, my toes would curl in pain. It took weeks of slathering on Lanolin between each feeding before I was offered a prescription nipple cream that finally healed the scabbing and cracking on my nipples.
When my second daughter was born, it was pretty much the same story. I had nipple pain each time I fed my daughter, but this time around, a nurse offered me a set of gel pads called Soothies as soon as she saw just how beat up my nipples were. I was told to put the gel pads in my bra between feedings. They have a cool, gel surface that is applied directly on your nipples. Since they'd been chilled in the fridge before I put them on, they provided instant relief. As a matter of fact, when we left the hospital I sent my husband to the store right away to pick up several sets to keep in the fridge so I could use a cool pair after every feeding. They were lifesavers.
Though I know motherhood is hard, I'm also pretty clear now that it should never be any harder than it has to be.
Because of the relief Soothies gave me, I can honestly say they changed my breastfeeding experience for the better. I didn’t dread each feeding during the first week because I knew I had gel pads on hand for pain relief afterward. It didn't make the pain any less unbearable, but they were a light at the end of the tunnel. They offered me the relief my body and my breasts so desperately needed. Of course, breastfeeding was still uncomfortable for a short time, but the soothing gel pads made the whole experience less painful, which allowed me to find more enjoyment during those first few days with my new baby.
Being a mom is hard work. During the earliest days of motherhood I fought through the pain of childbirth and then settled into a new routine of sleepless nights and around-the-clock feedings. Those of us who have multiple young children at home spend years of our life putting our needs on the back burner to care for young children who can’t care for themselves. It's a natural part of being a mom, and though I know motherhood is hard, I'm also pretty clear now that it should never be any harder than it has to be. So, if there's a simple way to make things easier, I'm all for it. Whether it's a breastfeeding product like Soothies that provides pain relief or opting for an epidural or hiring a mother’s helper, women should feel free to take advantage of the resources available to simplify their life as a mom without feeling guilty. I know I did.