Hi ladies! If you are going to be breastfeeding, you will need some products or gear to help you. Make no mistake breastfeeding is tough! Seriously tough! You will want all the help, products, and advice that you can find. Below are my top 10 breastfeeding essentials. These are the items that I feel are going to be your breastfeeding “must haves” to make the task of breastfeeding accomplish-able. By the way, I didn’t list a rocking chair, recliner or nursing chair just because outside of being obvious, everyone has their own ideas on comfort, style, and expense.
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1. Nursing bra or bra with no underwire: A good bra will provide some comfort, and breast pads can be added to help absorb any leaks. While pregnant I went through three different brands of bras and a few different sizes (I kept growing). Then just when I figured out what bra worked for me, it was time to change again. Ugh. An underwire bra was very necessary for me while pregnant. However, after pregnancy and while breastfeeding I couldn’t stand underwire. Loathed it, actually. As a result, I really liked Bravado! Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra. Comfort is the key! Reasonable price, functional and was comfortable!
2. Nursing tank top: During the first month of babies life they are eating every 2-3 hours. Get comfortable! Until I went back to work or even after on the weekends, I loved wearing these nursing tank tops. I even slept in them. Very convenient and made life easier in the comfort of my home. You can’t beat a built-in nursing bra that you can wear as a tank top.
3. Bottles: I took a gamble, and went with Playtex BPA Free Premium Nurser Bottles with Drop-In Liners With these you put your breastmilk or formula in the liner, and when your baby is done feeding you just throw away the liner. This is super helpful and a time-saver. Because the only time spent cleaning regarding the bottles are the nipples. The bottles themselves, you wash as needed. In addition, I followed the rule of not giving a bottle or pacifier until week 4 to avoid nipple confusion. I think this helped her not to have any issues with the bottle system I wanted to use.
You will need 4 oz and 8 oz bottle sizes. Playtex has interchangeable nipples (slow flow, medium, and fast flow). As babies grow they will need a faster flow. Get a few of each.
4. Breast Pump: Your breast pump may be (should be) covered by your insurance. Check with your insurance company! I used Lansinoh® SignaturePro double electric pump. It has three pumping styles and eight adjustable suction levels, and has an LCD screen to keep track of the how long you have been pumping. A closed-system design reduces the number of parts cleaned and prevents bacteria and mold growth. It’s compact, and easy to carry. I took this to work and pumped every day at lunch, at my office. Also, this breast pump also takes batteries, so if you forget to take the plug you can still pump.
5. Breastmilk Storage bags: I used Lansinoh® Breastmilk Storage Bags These are the strongest breast milk storage bags on the market, with reinforced, double sealed side seams for extra protection. In addition, each bag features the patented double Click ‘n’ SecureTM seal to prevent leaks. Here is another tip: before pumping write the date and how many ounces of milk on the outside of the bag. Otherwise, when the bag freezes flat, you won’t be able to tell how much you pumped (unless you actually can remember).
6. Boppy Pillow: The Boppy Pillow supports your baby as they grow and develop. This is a great nursing pillow that lifts the baby to a more ergonomic position for comfortable breastfeeding and bottle feeding; giving relief to your arms and back. The Boppy Pillow is very helpful for different stages of developing; it can be used for propping, tummy time and learning to sit (kind of pre-Bumbo) stage. The slipcovers are removable for easy washing and they come in many colors and patterns. Another use for the Boppy is to put it on the floor when leaning into the bathtub while giving your baby a bath (saves your knees and back).
7. Nursing Cover – Breathable Cotton Breastfeeding Apron I really can’t say if one is better than another? If you are going to breastfeed you will want one. I personally think they are all pretty much the same.
8. Breastmilk storage: I used The First Years Breastflow Milk Storage Organizer Make room in your freezer for this little handy contraption. This storage organizer is nothing fancy or expensive, but it keeps your milk organized and sanitary. Check out my post on guidelines for storing breast milk! Need a reminder on storage guidelines? Head over to My Silly Monkey’s shop and get a magnet for your refrigerator of breast milk storage guidelines. This way you never will forget!
9. Nipple cream– So, I used Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve-HPA Lanolin and to be honest, I really didn’t have to use this nipple cream too much. Actually, I never even used the entire tube. To aid in healing and act as a preventative salve for cracked or sore nipples, try putting a little of your breastmilk on your nipples, after your baby is done nursing. This was a little tip I picked up on in breastfeeding class. (Highly recommend taking a class. Check your local hospital out for classes.)
10. Nursing pads– Either you get disposable or reusable nursing pads. I like going “green” when I can and used BC Washable Nature Organic Cotton Nursing Pads Leakproof Ultra Soft Non Toxic-Hypoallergenic Reusable Breastfeeding Pads. Just in case you start to leak, have some nursing pads in your baby bag and purse. Although, for me, my main leaking times were at night. This was largely due to when her feeding times started to merge and she was able to sleep longer (yay!). As a result, during these times, I would wear the nursing pads to bed in my nursing bra.
11. Burp Cloths– You will use these all the time. My Silly Monkey has burp cloths you can personalize. Or you can grab a pack from Gerber Burp Cloth. You will definitely need a bunch (It is amazing how much fluids will come out of your baby!) So, I would pack at least 2 burp cloths in your diaper bag until your baby is about 6 months old. Also, leave some bibs and burp cloths at your baby’s Grandparents house, trust me they will be used!
Those are my top essential breastfeeding products! I hope you found them helpful. If you are a breastfeeding mom reading this and are overwhelmed please don’t give up. Contact your local hospital, they can put you in touch with a lactation specialist(usually for free). My hospital even had a program where you had a “warm line” that you could call 24/7 and even schedule someone to come to your house if needed, for FREE!
If you are a mom returning to work check out my post on breast pumping tips!
Lastly, if you feel you do not have enough time to take a breastfeeding class, or if you want a refresher, there are two very affordable ($19.00) online classes by Stacey Stewart. Stacey is a lactation expert! One class is the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class and the other online class is the Ultimate Back To Work Pumping Class. Check them out here! She also includes a bonus e-book and which is very informative.
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