Breastfeeding must haves all moms should look into. We all know that breastfeeding is the most natural and beneficial way to provide nourishment for your baby. “Breast is Best” is engrained into our heads and most women at least try breastfeeding when their baby is born. Unfortunately, the reality of nursing your baby is anything but natural and many of us need as much help as we can get. Here are the products that I’ve found to be the most essential to a successful breast feeding relationship with each of my babies.
1. This is not just a milk saver, it is a LIFE saver if you have excess milk. I am still using milk that I saved with this thing 8 months ago. If I had to pick one item that I have used more than any other it would be this. Get it, now!
2. These are the only pacifiers that Ari has liked and actually keeps in his mouth. Babies want to suck ALL THE TIME but trust me, your nipples will not appreciate it. Pacifiers are essential in my opinion and the sooner you can get baby to take one the better. Obviously don’t deny him milk when its time to eat but rarely does a baby continue to get milk after about 10 minutes on each side. Anything after that is just recreational sucking.
3. Nursing Pillow. With Adelaide I had the Boppy and while it is still a really useful product, I discovered the My Brest Friend pillow this time around and while it has the dumbest name ever, it is SO useful. I love that it stays in place, is way more supportive than the Boppy, and has a pocket where I kept chapstick, nipple cream and secret stashes of chocolate.
4. Speaking of nipple cream – this one is the best. You should put it on before and after you nurse and before you shower. You can’t overuse this product so feel free to apply any time that your nipples seem dry. This process of protecting your nipples is called wet healing and the concept is that by keeping your nipples moistened with the cream you keep them from drying out and cracking. You will probably only need it for a few weeks and then your nipples will be ‘broken in’ and not hurt so much. Hang in there, mama’s.
5. These reusable breast pads are awesome. You have to get used to the idea of how wool works but once you do they are amazing. You will want two pairs so when one is drying you will have a second pair to use. I used these with both kids and never had thrush or any bleeding nipples. They keep you warm and dry which is important in all climates. Trust me.
6. Snacks! Keep them in a box by your nursing chair and put a DO NOT TOUCH sign on them so your husband doesn’t help himself. Generally, I keep single serving packets of nuts, homemade trail mix and protein bars on hand.
7. As far as bras go, these are my all time favorite (especially for big busted girls like myself). Nursing bras without wires are not ideal if you are bigger than an A cup. They just give you uni-boob and not nearly enough support considering how much heavier your breasts are when you’re nursing. Wireless bras can be useful for the first few weeks while your milk levels balance out but after that you definitely want underwires if you wore an underwire prior to having a baby.
8. Water! You thought you were thirsty all the time when you were pregnant? Just wait until you are having to produce nourishment for another human. These cups have been so essential for me. if you know me personally, you know that I don’t go ANYWHERE without my water cup. In fact, I get a little panicky when I forget it. Go ahead and get it while your pregnant and you will get tons of use out of it then as well. These are nice because if they get knocked over they don’t spill much but I hear the hospital gives free cups when you have your baby too. As a home birther I can’t attest to the quality of those.
Now if you are going to have to pump at all there are a few more things you need:
9. This pump is the best one out there. The best part is that it is able to be shared so you can pass it on to your friend when you are done which is a no-no for most other pump brands. This whole company is awesome and supportive of nursing mom’s. The pump even comes with a cooler and a battery pack so you don’t have to have access to an outlet to use it.
10. These bottles have been great for both of my kids. They do have several parts to keep up with but the air-flow system seems to work really well. Ari has more gas after nursing than he does after being fed with these bottles if that tells you anything. The set is nice because you get different size bottles and nipples all in one place. Buy this and be done with the bottle hunt.
11. These are my favorite bags for storing milk. Minimal leakage after freezing (just don’t overfill) and easy enough to store, label etc.