FAVORITE BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS:
In honor of National Breastfeeding week I wanted to share with you some of my favorite essentials that I feel will be helpful for your breastfeeding journey.
Disclaimer: I am not a lactation consultant, doctor, or specialist. Please consult with your doctor before trying any of the recommended items to see if they’re right for you. Links provided in this post may be affiliate links, which mean I may earn a small commission when you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you! Thank you.
Breastfeeding is a FULL TIME JOB, scratch that, its TWO full time jobs. Our journey was not easy in the slightest ; with a lot of hard work, support, and encouragement from some amazing breastfeeding mama’s we made it to 2 years of breastfeeding. Crazy right? I never thought I’d make it to 6 months.
TOP 15 BREASTFEEDING MUST-HAVES :
1) Nipple Cream!
Those poor nipples will be dry, chapped, sore, and maybe even bleeding. BUT DO NOT FRET, it all calms down after you and baby get the hang of things. I went through so many tubes of nipple cream during our breastfeeding journey, I narrowed it down to my TOP 2. In no particular order, Lansinoh and Earth Mama.
2) Breast therapy packs!
These wonderful therapy packs also help care for your nips. Let me tell you, the first few weeks you want to make sure your nips and breasts are being well taken care of. You can use these packs cold or warm. They help reduce soreness, engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, and help promote let down.
3) Nipple Shields!
I lost our shields before I could use them, but SO many mamas recommended these when I first started breastfeeding. They come in different sizes so make sure you measure for the right fit for you. Or, you can just get a few and try them out. It’s not uncommon for your breast and nips to fluctuate in size during your breastfeeding journey.
What the heck is a Haakaa? This little bad boy is made directly from the hands of the breastfeeding angels. Simply attach it to your breast while the baby is nursing from the other, and this little contraption will catch your let down(leaks)! I seriously wish I had this sooner when I discovered it. So much liquid gold wasted at the beginning, but when our haakaa came in it was a GAME CHANGER. Plus, I didn’t have to take the pump out during every breastfeeding session.
5) Re-Usable Nursing Pads!
Now, you can always get disposable ones but I like saving money. So, I bought a huge pack of re-usable nursing pads. They’re super soft and comfortable, they don’t stick to your nips like most disposable ones, and you can throw them right in to your baby’s laundry on wash day.
6) LACTATION COOKIES!
Ok, so many people think lactation cookies are a sham…I’ll admit I even did too, at first. Until I found these. They’re SO good, I honestly don’t even like oatmeal cookies but I ate like 5 in one sitting and let me warn you. DO NOT DO THAT. I could have fed an army of babies. I pumped so much milk that day.
7) BREASTFEEDING BRAS!
Initially I wasn’t going to invest in nursing bras. Why are undergarments so expensive? (or maybe I’m just cheap!) After a day or two into our breastfeeding journey I QUICKLY took to amazon and purchased some super comfy nursing bras. I thought I could get away with using sports bras but they were simply too tight, I really underestimated how much breasts grow when breastfeeding. Nursing bras are typically made of super soft stretchy material with clasps to help with easy access.
8) A PUMP!
At first I really didn’t think I would even use a pump. I was SO determined to exclusively breastfeed. However, like everything in life, that really didn’t go as planned. Days after my baby was born I developed sepsis and was re-hospitalized ; and unfortunately I was not able to nurse my baby for the first few weeks while in recovery. Having a pump is great for those days where you maybe want to give your girls a break, want to build your milk supply, or if you’re returning back to work. This was the pump I absolutely LOVED! Check with your insurance to see if they cover the cost of a breast pump. Don’t forget Breast milk Bags to go with your pump, and make sure you are replacing and cleaning the parts as directed by your pump manual.
If you read number 8, you’ll know why you need bottles! Bottles are great to have, even if its just a small pack. Our Lactation Consultant recommended using preemie nipples for breastfed babies, yes even if they’re not preemies. Preemie nipples closely mimic what it’s like for a typical breatsfeeding let down, ensuring that you don’t over feed your breastfed baby. These were the bottles our picky baby liked.
I’m all for openly breastfeeding, if that is what YOU are comfortable with. Absolutely do not feel embarrassed or let anyone shame you for how you nurse your hungry baby. And truthfully after a few months your baby will start fighting even going under a nursing cover, or at least mine did. I opted for using a Muslin Blanket when she reached that age, they’re super light weight, breathable, and you can use them in multiple ways.
11) BREASTFEEDING PILLOW!
I suffered with HORRIBLE back and body pains after having Olivia. It made it so hard for me to hold her up when she was breastfeeding. I’ve also heard breastfeeding pillows are super helpful for mamas who are recovering from having a c-section. There are several nursing pillows on the market, but we loved the Boppy Pillow.
12) WATER BOTTLE!
Hello extreme thirst…I got extremely thirsty during the first few months of breastfeeding. Keeping a HUGE water bottle by the bed, nightstand, and coffee table was a MUST HAVE. I don’t know about you but i’m more prone to drinking water if its in a cute cup. Plus staying hydrated is essential for a successful breastfeeding journey! I loved this one, but really you can use anything!
Along with the thirst, being ravenous seemed to hit when ever I was breastfeeding my baby. I bought some of my favorite snacks in bulk and portioned them out into little baggies or containers to have on hand for whenever hunger striked!
14) A BREASTFEEDING STATION!
What is a breastfeeding station? Basically I got a small basket that fit on the coffee table and beside table filled with water, snacks, some headphones, the current book I was reading, and my phone charger! Having a breastfeeding station was super helpful in those moments where my baby was cluster-feeding and I’d be glued to the bed or couch. My common nursing spots were on the couch and on my bed, which is why I chose those two locations. Feel free to use anywhere in your home to set up your nursing station.
I know moms, we feel like we can or have to do it all. But let me tell you, breastfeeding is no walk in the park. I made so many awesome friends in breastfeeding groups. Whether in person or online, I can guarantee there is a breastfeeding support group near you. Attending a physical group is super helpful, in my opinion. I was able to meet and connect with other moms. However, with the whole Covid situation going on, Online support may be a better fit for you. I found the online groups that leaned more towards “gentle” parenting were most helpful and way less judgemental than your average online “mommy group”, in my experience.
BONUS: If your hospital, midwife, or birthing center offers a breastfeeding class, TAKE IT! I promise you it is worth every penny!
And there you have it, My Top breastfeeding essentials for nursing moms! Have any recommendations? Share them down below!