While breastfeeding is natural, for many moms, it doesn't always come naturally. With my oldest, it was a hard fought battle. We had several setbacks which led to many tears from both of us. I know I wasn't alone, but it sure felt that way. That's why I make this list of breastfeeding essentials.
Every baby is different. This isn't just for new moms or an exhaustive list.
This is a list of 12 breastfeeding essentials I either used or wish I had during my 8 years of nursing my babies.
12 Breastfeeding Essentials to Make Nursing Easier
1. Nursing Cover. I wish I had the Belly Amor RadiaShield® Fabric nursing cover when we were nursing. While I could have been reading a book or watching my baby nurse, I could usually be found scrolling Facebook or checking email on my phone. This nursing cover would have protected my babies from the harmful radiation that came from my phone. Since we aren't sure what exactly what damage the radiation from our phones may cause, it's best to protect them from the waves.
2. Booby Tubes. Engorgement is painful. These are like warm hugs for your boobs. Every nursing mom needs a pair.
4. Hands-free Pumping Bra. This is a game changer. I was able to get work done, get ready in the morning, hold a book with two hands. I wasn't glued to a chair holding the pump. It was wonderful.
5. Pumpin' Pal Flanges for your breast pump. When your boobs hurt, the last thing you want to attach is a hard plastic cup. These look comfortable. Make sure you look at the sizing. One size does not fit all.
6. Harmony Breast Pump. It's not always possible to bring an electric pump with you while traveling. I tried a battery powered one once, and while it did okay, I prefer the hand pump when traveling. This one is super easy to clean and put back together.
7. Nipple Shield. This was a lifesaver for us. Had we not used a nipple shield, the nursing relationship with my oldest wouldn't have lasted long.
8. Kiinde Breastmilk Storage System. We used this system with our last baby and it was amazing. It made pumping and giving bottles so much easier. There are adapters that work with most breast pumps so you just pump in the bags and freeze. SO easy and no crying over spilled milk!
9. LaVie lactation massager. This is what I wish I had. When you are engorged and your breasts are hard, it's not easy to get the milk out. It can result in plugged milk ducts, which then can then lead to mastitis. Mastitis is AWFUL. Especially when you have a baby to tend to also. It feels similar to the flu, with sore and inflamed breasts. It's not fun. This little massager is worth its weight in gold.
11. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow. By far, this is the best nursing pillow. It keeps baby's back straight while offering mom good support. While nursing without My Brest Friend, I noticed I was getting headaches that started with tension in my neck and shoulders, and my back ached. It all had to do with my posture with nursing. Usually, I would hunch over the baby. Instead, My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow helped me bring the baby to me. The strain was gone and the headaches subsided.
12. A basket of snacks and a water bottle. I kept a small basket of snacks near the chair I always seemed to nurse in and a few snacks near my bed. Two things I usually forgot to do was eat enough during the day and drink enough water. Both can cause your milk supply to drop, leading to more frustration and stress, which also can cause a drop in supply.
Fed is Best
As I said before, this is not an exhaustive list. I'm also not saying that breastfeeding is the only way to feed a baby. Fed is best. Education is also important. As moms, we are all just trying to do our best. Our journeys are all different. The most important things are that baby and mom are healthy. Need help establishing your milk supply? We've got you covered. Here are some simple ways to establish your milk supply.
What are your favorite breastfeeding essentials?