Breastfeeding Essentials Every Nursing Mom Needs
Breastfeeding could be the most natural thing you do as a mom; breastfeeding could also be extremely difficult. Having the right gear could make a world of difference. Whether you have not yet given birth and are still working on your registry, or you already have a newborn in your arms, knowing the tools of the trade could help your breastfeeding journey be much more enjoyable. Some of these items I didn’t know about until I gave birth to my second baby, and even though I successfully nursed my toddler until 2, I still kicked myself hard for not being more knowledgeable about breastfeeding gear the first time around.
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Before we jump into what items you should have in your arsenal, let’s talk about your breastfeeding setup:
- I love, love, love my glider. For the first few months after my son was born, I pretty much nursed, ate, read, and even slept while sitting in the glider with my baby attached to me. While a glider is not necessary for breastfeeding moms, I highly recommend getting one because you will be spending hours breastfeeding and you need a comfortable place to do it. If you do decide to purchase one, be sure to go to the store and personally try them out because they are all different and you want one that is the most fitting for your figure.
- I purchased a small side table so that I have a surface next to my glider to put my water bottles, snacks, books, etc. You can also put your glider next to your baby’s dresser or bookshelf so that you have somewhere to put everything.
- Do keep extra snacks and water bottles around. Breastfeeding makes you hungry and keeping hydrated is essential for good milk supply. Especially during the witching hours when you are stuck cluster feeding, you will be thankful that you stocked up!
- If you are into books, one of my friends used a music stand with fold out extensions to hold her pages in place so she could use one arm to hold the baby, one arm free to eat, scratch her nose, whatever, all the while reading her favorite book. You can also use the music stand for your iPad or iPhone to watch a show. Brilliant!
Now, on to the breastfeeding essentials that I think all breastfeeding moms should have!
I absolutely loved My Brest Friend nursing pillow when my babies were newborns because it provided great back support for me Moreover, it uses a foam insert so that the pillow is firm, thus you don’t need to worry about the baby rolling into you. However, as my babies grew bigger, I found that due to the height of the pillow, my babies were now too high up for me to breastfeed comfortably (I am also fairly large chested). Hence, I switched to the Boppy and found that the Boppy was just the right fit when it comes to nursing my toddlers in my glider.
Funny story…when my son was first born, he nursed so much that my milk came in before I even left the hospital. I was super unprepared for the transition from colostrum to breastmilk and totally forgot to put in nursing pads (heck, I didn’t even wear a bra at the time!) while breastfeeding. The result? A really wet hospital grown. Nowadays, I use a combination of reusable and disposable nursing pads because as much as I want to save money using only washable nursing pads, I leak so much during letdowns at night that I would soak right through them. Therefore, I use washable ones during the day, and disposable ones during the night. It’s also nice to have disposable ones in your purse or diaper bag just in case you experience some leakage while you are out.
I have tried dozens of nursing bras and this one is the most comfortable by far! I now have 3 of them so that I will always have one clean bra to wear while others are in the wash. Tip: Go for a bra fitting while you are still pregnant to determine the size of the nursing bra you should be purchasing. This way, you will have a nursing bra that fits you correctly in your hospital bag that you can use right after delivery.
I personally love the Motherlove Nipple Cream when it comes to healing cracked and sore nipples. I used it after every nursing session to ensure that my nipples stay pain-free after hours of nursing.
5. Nursing Cover:
If you decide to breastfeed in public, as a new mom, you will probably feel more secure with a nursing cover. I love these stretchy multi-purpose nursing covers that shield you and your baby from your shoulder all the way down to your waist and that goes around your whole body so that you don’t have to worry about your baby kicking the cover off. And when you are done, you can even just wear it as a scarf instead of having to fold it and put it in your diaper bag. Super convenient!
I actually do not use these silicone manual breast pumps for pumping – I use them to catch my letdowns on the side that I am not nursing. As opposed to the Milk-Saver, which I used for my first baby, the silicone pump suctions onto your breast and helps suck out the milk. This way, you get a lot more milk (I can usually get 2-3 ounces) from one letdown, which you can store away for later. And when you do need to miss a nursing session because you are out without your baby, you can still use it to pump!
Essentials for pumping moms:
As for breast pumps, I assume that you will go with whatever pump you can get from your insurance for free. That said, I used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump and had no issues with it. If you are not getting great output with your pump, make sure that you are using the correct size flange and that all the parts have been assembled correctly, especially the membrane.
My daughter did not want to use bottles; she only wanted breastmilk from its source. I tried many different bottles with her, and most of them she swatted away after trying it once. Ultimately, I bought the Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle and I was so excited to see that she actually drank from it! I think it’s because the nipple and the wide base imitated a mom’s breast, so for a baby who was super attached to my boob, she needed a bottle that imitated the experience of breastfeeding.
I have tried different storage bags, and I like the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags the best. They are easy to seal, label, and, reopen – everything you can ask for when it comes to storing breastmilk! Tip: When storing breastmilk in the freezer, lay them down flat to freeze so that you can stack the bags on top of each other, saving you precious room in the freezer.
Other Breastfeeding Good-to-Have’s:
If you are using Medela bottles, which I used for my first kid, I highly recommend purchasing the Medela Breastmilk Labeling Lids. You can easily keep track of when you pumped the milk with the days shown right on the lids instead of having to manually write and label the dates on the bottles.
Instead of using a nursing cover, you can wear a nursing tank and a loose shirt on top so that when you need to breastfeed, you just pull the shirt up and unclip the tank to nurse. The Bravado! Designs nursing tanks are made of quality material and provide great support for my breasts. I like wearing these tanks at nights because they are more comfortable than wearing a bra.
8. Nursing Tops/Dresses:
I recently bought a couple of nursing tops and dresses and they are life-changing! I am not talking about the ones that you pull down or unclip that still reveal your breast. These tops/dresses have concealed holes for your nipples that you can open when your baby needs to breastfeed. With these tops/dresses, you don’t need a nursing cover, and it’s a lot cooler than the shirt/nursing tank method. There are a variety of brands and styles to choose from, such as this Smallshow Women’s Maternity Nursing Tank Top!
What breastfeeding item(s) can you not live without?