Breastfeeding can be challenging, even with all the amazing benefits that come with nursing your baby. I remember the first time I tried to breastfeed my baby and there was nothing coming out. It was frustrating. I didn’t know it then, but it turns out, that it is pretty normal.
Having the right support and products will go a long way. The breastfeeding items I am sharing with you here will definitely make your journey easier. I also created a breastfeeding guide covering all the key things you should know as a breastfeeding mama.
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Because of all the ups and downs that come with breastfeeding, it is important for you to be prepared. The most important thing you have to remember is that the first few days will be challenging. However, it gets better. Once you overcome the learning curve, breastfeeding is a beautiful experience.
There are plenty of products in the market designed to help make this journey a little easier. Some are absolute must-haves, others are just nice-to-have and others maybe not very necessary.
These are the nursing products that are essential to have in order to make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable. They are your must-have items.
The Must-Have Breastfeeding Products
1. Nipple cream
Nipple cream is a must-have, especially in the first 2 weeks. In those early days after the baby is born, you may have to deal with dry, sore or cracked nipples. These are pretty common issues that nursing moms have to deal with but it can be quite painful. I know, I cried a couple of times.
The nipple cream moisturizes your nipples and soothes them before, during and even after breastfeeding. I’d suggest that you pack your nipple cream in your hospital bag for delivery and start using it from the very first day.
When choosing the best nipple cream, make sure to pay attention to the ingredients. Remember that when you apply this cream on your nipples, your baby will inevitably ingest a small amount.
My personal favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. It is organic and does not need to be wiped off before feeding the baby which was awesome because mama’s got no time to be wiping off when the baby is hungry. I love that I can also use it as a lip balm and diaper cream. You bet it is stuck in my diaper bag
2. Nursing bras
If you didn’t get a nursing bra already during pregnancy you will definitely need one for breastfeeding. Your breasts increase in size during pregnancy and maternity bras come in handy. But I usually feel like you can get away with your normal bra until probably the third trimester.
After the baby comes and the milk starts coming in, your breasts become much bigger and extra convenience is needed for breastfeeding. This is where nursing bras come in.
Nursing bras are designed specifically to make it easy to access your breasts for breastfeeding. Most of them don’t have an underwire which can be quite uncomfortable for a nursing mama.
Whether you want a sports bra, padded or non-padded bra, you can find a nursing bra for you. You can even get a pumping bra so that you can keep your hands free during pumping. And they can be pretty stylish, just see. 🙂
3. Nursing pads
Once you get the breastmilk kicks in, it’s hard to keep your top from being soaking wet without nursing pads. Now if you end up with an oversupply, like I did, you better have some of these at hand 😀
You can either use disposable or reusable/washable nursing pads depending on your preference. Personally, I prefer disposable nursing pads and these have been the most reliable ones I have used.
As for washable nursing pads, these ones come highly rated on Amazon so you can check them out.
4. Nursing/Breastfeeding pillow
When it comes to latching, positioning the baby is everything. I had no idea how much of a difference a nursing pillow would make until I tried it.
The nursing pillow props the baby up closer to you for feeding. This ensures that your hands don’t get too tired. It also helps to reduce strain on your back from holding the baby.
5. Breast Pump:
Breast pumps allow you to express milk and have it available in case you need to run errands and someone else has to feed your baby. Even if you don’t plan on bottle feeding much, a breast pump can help you drain your breasts in case they become engorged to prevent you from developing mastitis.
The Spectra S1 and S2 pumps are perhaps the most popular electric pumps among moms. Spectra S1 is my personal favorite. It’s very powerful (hospital grade) and allows you to adjust the pump’s settings for your comfort.
The pump also has a closed system which means that I don’t have to clean the tubing as there is a valve separating it from the expressed milk. This is an awesome feature because your breast milk cannot be contaminated.
The spectra S2 is very similar to the S1 but it does not have a rechargeable battery. It is a good option if you don’t really need the portability of the S1. It costs less and most of the time it is fully covered by insurance.
If you pump quite often, a pumping bra may be a worthy investment. It will allow you to pump both sides at the same time while keeping your hands free for other important things, like scrolling on your phone 😀
Suction Pump – Haakaa
The Haakaa is the easiest to use breast pump you will ever use. It uses natural suction to express milk. The Haakaa is also really good at capturing let-down from the other breast when you are breastfeeding.
It is also amazingly cheap. This little silicone cup uses suction to express milk from your breasts with little to no effort from you. The Haakaa’s flange is designed to fit all breast sizes and is comfortable and gentle enough even for sensitive skin.
How to use the Haakaa
Watch this video by Holistic Lactation to see how to use the Haakaa:
6. Milk storage bags/ bottles
For your expressed milk you will need some storage bottles or bags. According to the CDC guidelines breast milk can be stored in room temperature for up to 4 hours, in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months. I usually use these bags for storing my breastmilk.
7. Nursing Chair
A good nursing chair is very important to ensure your comfort. If you can get a chair that glides and rocks that would be great as it will help you when you want to rock baby to sleep.
You need a chair that has great back support, comfortable arm support, and footrest. These will ensure that you enjoy the lovely bonding time with your little one.
If you already have a comfortable armchair or recliner seat that you can use, you don’t have to buy a new nursing chair. Just repurpose what you already have. The rocking, gliding, and swiveling that some breastfeeding chairs have is pretty great though, especially when you have hardly got any sleep but have to feed the little one.
If you haven’t setup your baby registry, I have a step by step guide on how to do it here.
8. Breastfeeding Essentials- Nursing Outfits
One thing about breastfeeding is that accessibility is key. You need outfits that look good but also make it easy for you to feed the baby without having to lift your whole shirt up. You can find a wide range of outfits from dresses, hoodies, tops and even tank tops.
I like having a bunch of nursing tank tops because then I can just wear my normal tops on top of them as I wish.
Here are some of my favorite outfits:
One Last Breastfeeding Essential
Breastfeeding is a journey and while all these nursing items are going to make it easier,the most important part is you mama. Give yourself some grace, get help when you need to.
Ask for a lactation consultant in your hospital and give them a call whenever you have a question. You can also engage the services of a lactation specialist online or take a course in advance. Being mentally prepared for the journey is more important than anything else.
I hope you benefited from this post and found some of the items you may have been looking for. Let me know in the comments.
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