I breastfed Emma for nearly two years, and it was one of the hardest but best things I did as a mother. We had many struggles early on, and pushed through to have a really wonderful breastfeeding relationship and journey. Those struggles and the following joys of nursing actually inspired me to become a CLEC – certified lactation educator and counselor. This time around, I felt more prepared to breastfeed Audrey, but even so, there have been hurdles. We are pushing through though, and we will see how long breastfeeding works for both Audrey and myself. I compiled my breastfeeding must-haves for you today!
These are my favorite disposable nursing pads. Disposable pads are a necessity for me, as the washable ones do not absorb enough for me. In the far later months of nursing, I am able to use the washable ones, but for now – disposable it is, and this mama goes through these like crazy. Note: the last time I needed to buy these, Amazon did not seem to have any available for Prime shipping, so I bought these, but I have yet to try them.
Double Electric Breast Pump
This is a necessity for me because pumping is a part of my breastfeeding journey. Both when I return to work, but also before, as I like to establish a frozen stash of milk. Even without establishing a stash of milk, some kind of pump is almost required if you’d like to give your baby bottles (I suppose you could hand express for bottles but my hand hurts just thinking of that much hand expression). I am currently using a Spectra S2, which is available at a fantastic price via Amazon. If you are pregnant and would like to nurse, please check with your insurance company before purchasing a pump, because almost all plans cover them, so you can receive a breast pump free! For those that do not need to pump as much, or in addition to double electric pumps, these silicone hands-free pumps are raved about in the breastfeeding and lactation community. I’ll be honest and say it hasn’t been awesome for myself (I don’t think they are the best for larger chested women), but it might be awesome for you!
Nipple Butter or Cream
I have had great luck with everything I have used for this – the idea is moist healing. Keeping your nipples lubricated will promote the best healing, and therefore the least pain for you as a nursing mama! I have tried this in past, and am currently using this. Lanolin is very popular, but I found it a bit too thick and sticky. Coconut oil is also very popular, but I have yet to try it myself.
I actually use Gerber cloth diaper prefolds and they are so absorbent. I own one legit marketed burp cloth and ironically it is my least favorite. Like, it’s the last one used when it’s been way too long since we’ve done laundry (so all the time). We are still using the same set of Gerber refolds that I purchased over three years ago when I was pregnant with Emma, and they have held up so amazingly. My mom and I actually sewed pretty fabric on a handful of them years ago for decoration, but to be honest I prefer the completely plain ones, as the decorated ones are not as absorbent.
I love to use muslin swaddle blankets as nursing covers – I don’t actually own a legit nursing cover. I also use swaddle or receiving blankets during the engorgement OMG THERE IS SO MUCH MILK phase to keep between baby and myself to protect my clothes and/or baby’s clothes. As I discussed in my baby must-haves post, I also use swaddle and receiving blankets as incredibly ineffective burp cloths when I have none available (likely because they are all dirty, see above re: always being behind on laundry).
Water Bottle or Tumbler with a Straw
I have many tumblers and and water bottles that I use, but the ones I use most frequently were actually given to me in the hospital while giving birth. They are very very large, and I actually keep two filled on my nightstand at night, because when the clock hits 10pm, I turn into a camel. I think I drink more overnight than I do the majority of the day. Funny story about the hospital water cups – I was given one when I had Emma, and I used it nearly every night after coming home. Like, every night for three years. Shane was always jealous of it, because it’s so big, has a straw and a handle, and it’s just a really great water cup (how #marriage is this story of my husband being jealous of a water cup by the way). So, when we were in the hospital having Audrey, Shane made friends with one of our pre-op nursing telling her how much he hoped we could get an extra water cup this time around, and this was the nurse to befriend because what do you know – we left the hospital with a total of four hospital tumblers. If your hospital isn’t as generous as ours (bummer for you), you can find a cute large tumbler on Amazon (what can’t you find on Amazon?).
The BEST ever comfy nursing bras are from Cake Lingerie, and I wore them even between pregnancies/nursing. They are supportive enough, and so comfortable. I also have a few sleep bras from Target but hardly reach for them because they are not quite supportive enough for me. I am currently looking for a molded cup, supportive, likely underwire (though the use of underwire while lactating is not for everyone) nursing bra – do you have one you love?
I cannot live without this for the first few months of nursing. I actually made sure I had two for our new house, so I could have one in bedroom and one in living room. When baby gets older, this becomes less necessary, but for little tiny babies, a Boppy or other breastfeeding positional pillow is a must for me. You can get yourself super cute covers from Etsy, and Boppy makes some cute ones themselves. I actually have just the plain white waterproof one on one of my boppys because this mama is cheap AF (do I sound hip when I say “AF”?).
What do you consider breastfeeding must-haves? Are there things on my list that didn’t work for you?
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