One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that you don’t need a lot of gadgets and gizmos to help you do it. For the most part, if you’ve got at least one breast, you’re pretty much set. It’s why a lot of people like breastfeeding so much… it saves a ton of money.
That being said, there are some things out there that can make breastfeeding a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience for all of us moms.
Things every breastfeeding mom should have.
I say this all of the time…nursing pillows are where it’s at! They help to support the baby so that your back and arms don’t get worn out and will help you to achieve better holds for your nursing baby. They can also be a great source of back support in those first few weeks when your core muscles are like jelly and you find yourself slouching every time you sit down. Plus, once the baby gets a little older and you no longer have to use it to support them, they turn into a perfect laptop table! WIN WIN WIN!!!
Nipple creams will be your best friend those first few months while you breastfeed your new baby. There are a ton of different options out there. My personal favorites are the ol’ reliable Lansinoh hpa Lanolin that you can find pretty much everywhere. It’s been around for a long time and is pretty much the go to remedy for chapped irritated nipples. I also really like Boobease 100% organic healing nipple balm. I’ve found this on both Amazon and at Target stores. It’s a thick balm that helped heal irritation really quickly and a small jar lasted for a long time. Both of these also make a great dry skin cure too. I love using them on my hands and lips during the winter time instead of lotions of lip balms.
Even if you don’t find yourself leaking like a faucet every time you see your baby, it’s still nice to have some decent breast pads around. They help to protect your nipples from getting more irritated from your clothing in the beginning and will also keep the above mentioned balms from ruining your dress.
Breast Therapy Gel Pads
Cold therapy can help to relieve pan and swelling from engorgement while heat therapy can help reduce tenderness and help relieve clogged ducts. You can get good quality gel therapy pads from pretty much any retailer now.
Comfortable Nursing Station
It’s essential to have one or two places around your house where you can comfortably sit and feed your baby. Either a comfortable sofa or chair placed in the nursery or bedroom and someplace out in the central area of the house. You’re going to find yourself sitting and feeding your baby a lot, especially in those first few months, so you want to make sure that you are comfortable. So set yourself up a little nursing area with everything that you’re going to need for the next few hours and get comfy.
This isn’t for the baby… this is for you. Get a small bin or caddy and fill it with snacks, water, your phone and charger, a diaper or two for the baby, wipes, breast pads, a towel or small swaddle blanket, nipple cream and put it next to your nursing station. That way you have everything you may need, right at your finger tips, when those feeding sessions run a little longer than expected.
Snacks and a Proper Water Bottle
Breastfeeding will make you extraordinarily thirsty and pretty hungry. So I love having a good water bottle filled with ice water and a couple of different options for snacks stored away in my caddy for when I’m stuck nursing.
We all love looking down at our babies while they eat but after a while you may find yourself getting a little bored. That’s why I recommend having either your phone or an ipad handy with games or books or Hulu/Netflix on it. This way you have something to do while you’re sitting up feeding the baby at 3 in the morning.
Milk collection options
No, I am not talking about pumping. In those first few months, before your body regulates itself (or if you’re one of those amazing women with an over supply) you tend to leak… bad. The baby is only able to eat off of one side at a time and the team that is not in use at the time may flood everything that’s near it. So I always like to have clean rags or swaddle blankets around to help cover the side not being nursed on. There are also milk-savers that you can get to place over the unused breast that will collect the leaking breast milk for you to store or use later.
A good Bra
Most women can expect their breast to grow 1-2 bra sizes while they are nursing and your actual breast size can change throughout the day based on when you may have nursed last. So having a good supportive bra is key. You want to make sure that you’re wearing a bra that is not too tight and preferably does not have an underwire in it as this can lead to clogged ducts and constricted milk flow. I personally do not wear nursing bras any long, as I found them to not be the most comfortable option in the world for me. I just always look for a bra with a nice thick band around the ribs that fits comfortably and that has supportive cups that are easy to fold or bend down. The Bras at Torrid are perfect if you happen to be like me and be a little on the busty side.
The Right Clothing
Shirts are a big issue when you breastfeed. Do you want to layer and wear tank tops under other shirts so you can pull up the top shirt and pull down the tank top or do you want to just be able to pull down the neck of a single shirt and nursing. I personally do not like layering. Mainly because I live in Florida and it’s too damn hot for more than one shirt and a bra but I also just find it easier to just pull down the neck of the shirt and be able to nurse. This can pose an issue with limiting the types of shirts I am able to wear though. All of my shirts must have stretchy necks that can be pulled down easily without pulling on my neck or being tight under the breast. Layering does give you more options since you don’t have to worry as much about having a lower stretchy neck. You just have to make sure that whatever tank top you wear can be pulled down easily.
A Nice Cover
For those moms that may be a little more modest or feel a little more insecure nursing out in public a good quality nursing cover can make life much easier. There are a ton of options out there now for nursing covers. Everything from the apron style covers that have been around for ages to fashion covers that start out as neck scarfs, ponchos, and even car seat covers that convert to breastfeeding covers. So there are options out there for everyone.
Learning to navigate through those first few months of breastfeeding can be difficult, especially for first time moms, so I hope that this helps you to prepare for breastfeeding your new little one. Make sure that you check out Mistakes to Avoid While Breastfeeding and my Breastfeeding Pinterest board for more information on breastfeeding.