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. Post contains affiliate links.
1. A Well educated support system (even if it’s online or one person).
Without a support system, I wouldn’t be writing this article today! Why? My son was given formula in the hospital and I was heavily encouraged by friends and family to stop breastfeeding and use formula to ‘give me a rest.’ This included my own mother.
I googled breastfeeding support, found a local La Leche League meeting and I attended a meeting and it was amazing. Hearing that my newborn was normal and getting instructions to cosleep safely for rest… 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.
The La Leche League; the LLL is an international breastfeeding support group! I discovered them online while struggling to breastfeed my first baby.
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, Target also has tanks that I wear at night too that are amazing. 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
A good double electric 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 (seen below) and Spectra S2, a sealed double electric pump. My favorite is the Spectra S2!
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 make sure you get the right pillow, you need the right thickness 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 that nipple creams with lanolin, like Lansinoh, contain pesticides from the sheep it comes from! I didn’t want to put something on me that wasn’t good for my baby to ingest. My personal favorites are Balm!Baby 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. When I first started I felt exposed, now I’m a pro and wear two shirts. I pull the top shirt up and the tank underneath down. Just enough breast gets out for baby to nurse and unless you look closely you wouldn’t know I was nursing my baby.
However, if a cover helps a Mom to continue breastfeeding, or to gain confidence to nurse in public. 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!
A well-designed baby carrier 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.
Make sure to purchase an ergonomically designed carrier that positions baby correctly, with legs in the M position and not dangling like baby is standing. There are many great carriers out there!
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/Your Mama Bear
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.