Technically you only need two things to breastfeed, breasts and a baby, it really is that simple. But there are lots of products out there to make nursing sessions more comfortable for mom and baby.
Between breastfeeding two children and being a Certified Lactation Counselor, I’ve tried lots of different “must have” products, and these are my favorites.
A Good Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is SO important for postpartum healing and making milk. Taking care of yourself should always come first, and our bodies need water. Even more so, when we are making milk to feed a little human.
Probably the number one tip I give to moms I work with, is to drink a glass of water every time you feed your baby, that’s an easy way to remember to get all the water you need in. If you aren’t crazy about plain water or have a hard time drinking it, try putting fruit in for some added flavor. I like adding lemon, grapefruit, berries, and mint. Having a cute and fun water bottle helps a lot too!! I have been using this stainless steel tumbler, along with the big mug I got from the hospital. I keep one in the living room and one on my nightstand for late night sessions.
I HAD to have my nursing pillow, when I was nursing Kallen. We used it for every single session at home, especially in the beginning when we were working through our latch issues. We did lots of the football hold, and my pillow saved my arms.
With my daughter, I didn’t need it so much for positioning, but it was still great to use to prop her up and give my arms a break, especially during marathon cluster feeds.
It also makes a great support when holding a sleeping baby who won’t be put down, for tummy time support, and when unsteady hands want to hold a baby. I use a Mombo from Comfort and Harmony, but I am also a big fan of the My Breastfriend pillow
Washable Nursing Pads
My first time breastfeeding, I had pretty severe oversupply from all the extra pumping I was doing in the early days. I’m not sure if it was because of that oversupply or just being a first timer, but I leaked like crazy. If Kallen went even 1 minute past his feeding time, I leaked, if I put too much pressure on my breast, I leaked, If Kallen so much as whimpered, I leaked…Oh, and when I was nursing the opposite side always poured out too, I wish I would’ve known about Milky’s milk savers back then!
This time I haven’t leaked nearly as much, in fact, it has been surprising and unexpected. But I have still been using my washable nursing pads, most days, and especially overnight. It is so nice to be able to just throw them in with my laundry and not feel like I “wasted” a pair, if I didn’t have any leaking that day. My two favorites have been Bamboobies (seriously SO soft) and Milk Daze, but there are TONS of options out there. You can even DIY a pair fairly quickly and easily, if thats your thing
Motherlove Nipple Cream
When I first started nursing, the only nipple cream I knew about was lanolin. I used it for a while with my son, and it was okay, but I never loved it. When he was 9 months old, I was introduced to Motherlove products. This nipple cream has seriously saved my skin. Its lanolin free and full of all sorts of good stuff. Its not sticky at all, and super hydrating. It does great things for chapped lips, too!
You can learn more about Motherlove’s products here
Closed System Breastpump
Pumping is one of the most frustrating parts of breastfeeding for me, it’s just not all that fun. And, you can successfully breastfeed without ever pumping, that is totally up to the mom. But many of us will be away from our baby at one point or another, and it’s nice to have a way to provide breastmilk during that time.
A quality pump, that fits well, can make a huge difference. With my son, I used a popular pump that was handed down from my sister. And while it worked well, I would get frustrated that I couldn’t control the suction like I wanted and sometimes milk would back up into the tubes. I didn’t even know there was a difference between open and closed systems or why that was important.
Shortly after becoming a CLC, I learned about Ardo and the amazing products they make. Their pump is one of the smallest and is the quietest pump I have ever used. It is also very customizable, with multiple settings for suction and speed. Its closed system insures cleanliness and you’ll never have milk back up into your pump.
I have used this pump exclusively this time, and I have fallen in love with it. I don’t totally hate my pump sessions anymore
If you’re having a hard time with pumping, you can read some of my tips here
My last must have, is my favorite nursing tank.
I wear a nursing tank under everything. They have some built in support, which is great for lazy days at home and overnight. When I am out in public, a nursing tank gives me coverage and keeps me feeling comfortable, if I need to nurse.
My favorite tank is my Rumina Nursingwear tank. It has support built in, so I don’t have to deal with 2 sets of straps. It also is nice and form fitting, but comfortable, which helps keep everything supported and where its supposed to be. It also can be used to pump hands free.
And one last thing, its not really a product, but it is so crucial, and that is a Good Support System. Surround yourself with friends and family who will help and support you. If need be, educate those around you, so they know what to expect as well. Get yourself in touch with a Lactation Professional, for when questions pop up and if possible, an in person support group. Good support will go a long way, and will be more beneficial than any product you could every try.
There are many other products I use and like, but these are my top 5 and what I would recommend when a mom asks “what should I ask for or purchase”.
Did I leave your favorite off my list? If so, tell me, I’d love to hear about it!!