As a proud Mom, tandem nursing and breastfeeding my 4th baby, I want to share my top 10 breastfeeding essentials with you. I strongly believe that if you can make it the first 6 weeks, time spent breastfeeding afterwards gets easier and easier! A combination of personal struggles, a poor support system and terrible advice from the hospital nearly cost me my nursing relationship the first time around. Without an incredible support community and some great products I made it and hope you can too. Here is a list of 10 items that have really helped me, in no particular order.
- Mama Banana’s Top 10 Breastfeeding Must Have’s for Nursing Moms
1. A Well educated support system (even if it’s one person). The La Leche League; the LLL is an international breastfeeding support group! I discovered them online while struggling to breastfeed my first baby. My son was given formula in the hospital and I was encouraged by friends and family to stop breastfeeding and use formula to ‘give me a rest.’ I attended a meeting and our lives changed. I highly recommend finding your local chapter and getting to a meeting and/or finding the group on FB or through old fashioned phone calls.
2. A good natural fiber night-time nursing bra. My personal favorites come from Target! A night time bra is wireless and offers easy access to the girls for night-time feedings. Natural fibers help with air flow and allow breasts to dry faster and helps prevent moisture which can lead to rashes. Although these are ‘night time’ bras, I wear mine around the house too. Target has a great selection.
4. A good double electric breast pump like the Spectra S2 with a hands-free bra. Even if you have no intention of pumping, you may find that using a pump is necessary and or helpful. A pump can be used to help build a supply in your freezer, alleviate some discomfort from engorgement (pumping just enough, not to aggravate oversupply) and to increase supply and keep your breast fed baby on Mama Milk if you also work outside of the home. I was lucky enough to have one covered by my insurance company this year and all together have used the Medela Advanced, Ameda Purely Yours and Spectra S2, a sealed double electric pump. Pumping is so easy with a hands-free bra which allows you to type, fold laundry or simply hang out without holding your pump up to your breasts.
5. A good breastfeeding Pillow to keep baby at a nipple-level for comfortable nursing. I’m currently crushing on my Dr. Brown’s Gia angled pillow (thicker on one side and thinner on the other), but your pillow preference may vary. I suggest placing it on your lap and testing out for good nipple-baby height while shopping for a match. When my first baby was born, I felt like I needed an extra arm to position him. His little head didn’t hold itself in place, and I didn’t know about side-lying. The right nursing pillow is so helpful and can mean the difference between a sore back/sore nipples and a much easier take off to your nursing relationship.
6. Natural Nipple cream. I remember the label on cream I was given in the hospital said ‘wipe off before nursing.’ I was shocked to learn the the La Leche League broke ties with Lansinoh because of chemicals in their lanolin!! I didn’t want to put something on me that wasn’t good for my baby to ingest. My personal favorites are Mother Love Herbal nipple cream and Earth Mama Angel Baby. 100% safe for baby and Mama, also may double as great balm for chapped hands and elbows.
7. A Nursing Cover such as a swaddle blanket or actual cover. Now, I’m all for nursing in public. It’s totally normal and I will never understand any negative criticism towards it. However, if a cover helps a Mom to continue breastfeeding, or to gain confidence then go for it!!! My Balboa cover is going 3+ years strong. I don’t always use it, but it’s nice to have around as a confidence booster to know it’s available if needed. With my first son I was a bit awkward getting a breast out for nursing and this really helped me with my confidence. It’s mostly used as a sun-shade for our stroller or careseat as now and is great for that!
8. BabyWearing; A baby carrier (not the kind you see in articles warning about hip-dysplasia in what are known as ‘crotch danglers’) to help your little one (and you) through fussy times. I get a lot of use out of my Boba Stardust, and our Moby stretchy wraps, however a woven wrap will go the distance and can be used from birth through toddlerhood! Soft structured carriers are great too, like an Ergo or Tula. Choosing the right carrier, or carriers is definitely a fun journey. The patterns and prints are amazing and something new is always coming out.
9. Healthy Diet. Be prepared! Nursing Moms can get very hungry and thirsty especially the first few weeks when baby nurses all the time. Calories that are burned to make milk and need to be properly fueled and replaced. I love the extra calories I get to take in. Many nursing Moms help milk production with whole oatmeal (not the instant) and my favorite breast milk making breakfast is Whole organic oatmeal, 1 sliced banana, organic cinnamon and two heaping tablespoons of organic peanut butter with amazing good fat.
10. Gall; Some people love breastfeeding, other people don’t. Either way, you’re going to hear about it. Since becoming a Mom, I regularly receive unsolicited advice from strangers. There will be times when your Mama Bear needs to come out to tell others just where they can stick it. If you’re in the middle of Lowes and your baby suddenly becomes very hungry and your instinct is to grab a folding chair from the next aisle, sit down and nurse….then that’s what you do (I have absolutely done this!). Breastmilk has so many amazing properties including everything from providing antibodies to help fight diseases and infections to releasing oxytocin in baby and Mama which is a feel-good hormone that helps with decreasing post-partum depression and creates strong bonds that it should be openly encouraged by everyone, and someday I hope we get there.
I hope this list helps you! I’m always open for discussion and to offer support. If you’re nursing, then Thank you for breastfeeding your baby, and if you’re planning on breastfeeding congratulations and you are about to start an amazing journey!
Disclosure; This is not a sponsored post. This information is derived from my personal experience. As always please seek out the advice of a certified lactation consultant with nursing issues (the certified part is important). I have some affiliate links.