This month we're bringing you posts on how to save (more) money while breastfeeding. Be sure to check out the other bloggers' posts at the bottom of this one.
My contribution is a list of cheap items you can use as home remedies for common breastfeeding problems - many of which you'll find in your kitchen. Here's my list:
Cabbage: Cabbage can be used to alleviate engorgement, or to reduce fullness during weaning. Use green cabbage, peel off a few leaves, cut out the middle vein, wash thoroughly, and place inside your bra. Kellymom.com advises use for no more than 20 minutes, 3 times a day, as cabbage can reduce milk supply. Do not use if you have a sulfa allergy. Comprehensive information on engorgement is here.
Frozen vegetables: Frozen peas, corn (why not a 'medley?') can be used in between feedings to relieve the swelling of engorgement. They mold nicely to the shape of your breasts, too. Again, comprehensive information on engorgement is here.
Salt: You can use salt to make a saline solution to speed healing of broken skin on the nipple. First, of course, get good help to fix a bad latch or other cause of broken skin. While you're healing, use these instructions on kellymom.com to make a saline solution. You can also use an Epsom salt soak to help resolve a milk blister. Comprehensive information on sore nipples is here.
Vinegar: If you have thrush, you can use a vinegar rinse in addition to medical treatment. Follow instructions on this La Leche League page. Note that this is an addition to, not a replacement for, medical treatment of thrush. Comprehensive information on thrush treatment is here.
Rice: Have a plugged duct? Suffering from Raynaud's vasospasm of the nipple? Make a 'rice sock' warm compress by putting a cup of uncooked rice in a clean sock, tying it up, and heating it in your microwave (heating times vary; make sure it's not so hot that it could burn your skin). It'll stay warm for a while, and you can use it before or during nursing to help open up a plugged area, or on your nipples right after nursing to prevent a vasospasm. Comprehensive information on plugged ducts is here, on Raynaud's vasospam here.
Oatmeal, barley, brown rice: These are not at the top of the list of things to do to increase milk supply, but oatmeal (the old fashioned, slow cooking kind), barley, and brown rice have been used traditionally to increase milk supply. More "lactogenic" foods are listed on the MOBI Motherhood website. Comprehensive information on increasing milk supply is here.
Washcloth: Large breasted and having trouble with positioning? You can roll up a washcloth and place it under your breast to help elevate your breast, if that helps with positioning.
Spoon or medicine cup: Need to feed your baby in addition to the breast, but he/she is too young for a bottle, or is refusing one? It's not necessarily easy, but in a pinch and for the short term, you can cup or spoon feed him with expressed milk.
Warm water: To help move milk out an engorged breast, you can take a warm bath or put your breasts in a basin of warm water. Using a warm, wet compress before nursing can help to break open a milk blister (sometimes called "blebs"). Again, comprehensive information on engorgement is here, information on milk blisters is here.
Juice jar: This is decidedly old school, but in a pinch you can make a breastpump using a jelly jar and some hot water. See kellymom.com for instructions.
Be sure to check out these posts from other bloggers (updated throughout the day):
- Hobo Mama shares some tongue-in-cheek tips for saving money
- Blacktating shares money-saving breastfeeding tips
- Milk Act shares how breastfeeding made her more frugal
- Mamas Worldwide shares instructions on turning a regular bra into a nursing bra
- Breastfeeding 1-2-3 shares a recipe for homemade Pedialyte
- Zen Mommy writes about how she saves money while breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding Mums shares money-saving alternative uses for breastmilk