Breastfeeding is its own kind of monster. I was more prepared for the birthing part than I was for the aftermath. That is, swollen boobs, plugged armpit nodes, spilled milk, sore nips, and a whole lot of tears. TMI? I spared you the more painful bits. Let’s just say I walked around the house like Quasimodo until I figured out how to relieve the pressure. Physically, emotionally and mentally. Every midnight melt-down I had was related to breastfeeding somehow. That being said, there are a number of sanity-saving, breastfeeding essentials that I can’t imagine surviving without. Previous mamas paved the way, as did my lactation consultant who is absolutely heaven sent. Here are a few necessary items that I suggest you get BEFORE the arrival of your newborn. Trust me, every item is an investment for your breastfeeding future – and your serenity.
Breastfeeding Essentials for Nursing Moms
+ A very good ALL-IN-ONE nursing and pumping bra. This bra from Kindred Bravely is a work horse. It is an absolute favorite of mine. I can pump on one side and nurse on the other. I can also pump on both sides and the bra holds my Spectra S2 pump parts in place while I read a book or scroll through Insta (guilty!). Without the bra, I would have to hold both pump parts in place. If you also use a Haakaa and hand-express or manually pump, this bra will ensure it stays in place even if the suction comes lose while breastfeeding on the opposite side. Anything that avoids uselessly spilled milk is a blessing in my book! (I also own Kindred Bravely’s French Terry Nursing Sleep Bra and it is the softest material ever! So COZY! I use it exclusively at night time.)
+ Silverette Nursing Cups. Another mama gifted me nursing cups from Silverette USA when she heard I was expecting. “Nothing else gave my boobs relief except these bad boys,” she wrote candidly in the card. Alas, I can attest that these silver dollars are a life-saver. It protects nips from chafing and provides relief during off hours. It holds the breastmilk intact in case of leaky boobs and protects nipple cream being wiped away by your cotton bra. Lastly, it covers nips completely from drafts and wind. Nothing is worse than cold air on sore, aching nipples. Since I use these, I haven’t yet had to use a single disposable nursing pad insert!
+ Lanolin Nipple Cream. I bought this even before I gave birth and I am so glad I did! This product is soothing. I apply it right after each feeding. Then I cover up with the Silverette cups which I hold in place with my Kindred Bravely bra. It’s an entire production!
+My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow. I have tried multiple nursing pillows but this one worked the best for me. I even tried the larger, deluxe version of this pillow but the original size fits my small frame best. It literally acts as a “workstation” for breast-feeding. The pillow prevents spilled milk and messes from getting on the couch, bed, or chair. The pocket can store bibs, baby bottles, and even my cell phone. On either side of the pillow are two bumps which support the baby’s head during feeding. It is comfortable for me to wear despite having a C-section, and the back support is absolute clutch! My husband also loves this boppy and wears it when he is bottle feeding Casey.
+ Mother’s Milk Tea. My best friend gifted me Mother’s Milk Tea when I was still expecting. I saved them until now. I drink one every day, which is supposed to help with milk production. In general, though, any tea that relaxes me also helps with breastfeeding. Nursing success highly depends on mom’s stress levels (hence why it’s important to invest in these essentials!). A cup of calm chamomile definitely does the trick!
+ Comfortable Robes. Look. During this time, I am nothing but a milk machine. It may sound dramatic, but I feel like I just set the baby down when he is already ready for another feeding. We feed every 1.5 to 3 hours, and some feedings take an hour. Soooooo, yes the math adds up. That being said, I have to be ever ready to feed and robes are just so much more comfortable than getting dressed. When we are at home all day, I will opt for a robe instead of a button down shirt. My favorite place to source robes are Coyuchi and Parachute Home.
+ Haakaa – The Haakaa is great for catching let-down. Which happens both while feeding baby on one side, or randomly after hearing baby’s cries. It also happens right after a warm shower! All that feel-good vibes really spikes the oxytocin, which promotes milk flow. I own two just so can catch let-down from both sides while I get ready after a good shower. These babies are so easy to use, too! Simply suction it onto the non-latched boob and it’ll ensure not a single drop of milk is wasted. Just be careful baby doesn’t pop it off with one mighty kick.
+ A Hassle-Free Night-Time Nursing PJ Set – I started out wearing my husband’s oversized T-Shirts as my C-section scar healed, but they immediately were ruined by the third day when my milk supply came in. So my mom brought me robes to wear all day long, but at night-time, I couldn’t hop into bed with a tangly robe! So I turned to button down tops that I had in stock. Flannels worked until it got too hot (I blame the hormones). As summer nears, a short-sleeve night-time nursing PJ set like the ones from Hatch are a must-have! These are my favorite!
Of course, there are other things that would be nice to have but we did not end up buying. A glider would be life-changing, but our tiny home cannot permit much more baby items, let alone a furniture piece. I’ve also considered reusable wool nursing pads. Two should do the trick, but I am making do with the nipple shields for now. And it seems like no matter how often we launder, there could never be too many bras. If you have any other must-haves, feel free to share with the community! Mamas helping mamas are my favorite thing.
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