My breastfeeding journey with my daughter holds some of my greatest memories. She is currently 21 months old, and we are still at it!
In this blog, you will find some tips that I've learned along the way, products I recommend for all moms, as well as products I recommend specifically to breastfeeding moms.
At the end of this post will be a link to all the products!
I make a percentage of money off the affiliate links provided in this post at no additional cost to you; thank you for your support
My TOP Tips:
Rest your breastfeeding pillow on your headboard so you can easily find it in the dark in the middle of the night.
Keep a hair clip or hair tie close by to keep it out of the way while feeding.
Invest in a nice comfy robe that makes feeding (and doing skin-to-skin) very easy. For clothing, choose tops that zip up, button up, or can easily be lifted up or moved to the side to feed (crop tops were my go-to!)
Have extra pillows available for back, neck, or leg support.
Keep supplies organized next to your bed or breastfeeding chair (or both!) *check out my breastfeeding cart at the end of this post!
Must Haves for Feeding Baby (Nursing or Pumping):
Feeding Pillow & Cover: I can't recommend just one pillow because both of these made SUCH a difference for me.
1. The Boppy pillow is very flexible, and it's GREAT for nursing older babies, propping them up during tummy time, and supporting them as they learn to sit.
2. The My Brest Friend is VERY structured and supportive, which made it easier to nurse my newborn. It also has a clip and attaches around your midsection so you can stand and nurse or even just use it to support the weight while rocking baby.
Bonus: If you travel a lot- the my Brest friend has an inflatable pillow that is JUST AS AMAZING as the normal one. It folds up so small you can fit it in your diaper bag and blow it up in seconds whenever you need it.
If possible, I highly suggest purchasing both (or all) of these pillows. Yes, you could use pillows from around the house, but you spend SO MUCH TIME FEEDING BABY, and these will make it so much easier and put less strain on your body.
Bottles & Nipples: If you plan to solely breastfeed, then you don't need much when it comes to bottles, but you will feel the pressure to add these items "just in case" We used one single bottle that came in a registry completion kit. I also never needed a bottle brush, drying rack, or bottle warmer either. Don't feel like you NEED to have tons of these items right off the bat; wait to see what approach works for you! (Amazon is quick if things don't work out the way you plan- plus, the hospital will send you home with anything you need for those first few days).
Pump & Accessories: On very few occasions (4 times in 7 months, to be exact), I needed to pump. I was gifted a Medela In Style Pump, and it worked great, although I have nothing to compare it to. I definitely could have hand-expressed or used a manual pump, but since I had an electric pump, it WAS easier to do that way. Obviously, if you are strictly pumping, then you'll want to put a LOT more emphasis on choosing these supplies!
Cleaning Supplies: Our dishwasher had a sterilization feature, and that's what we used. It also had a small top rack, so we never needed a dishwasher basket and just used the top rack for small items like pacifiers. When using the dishwasher, we ALWAYS choose a safe, non-toxic dish detergent (these are my current favorite from Puracy).
If we needed to sterilize something that couldn't fit in the dishwasher, we used Force of Nature (as strong as bleach but safe for baby!) I sprayed this on my Haaka after washing to ensure it was sanitized and ready next time I need
Burp Cloths: We used these white cloth diapers as burp cloths because they are SO SOFT and absorbent. I kept them near the bed, on the couch, in the nursery, in the diaper bag, in the car, and really anywhere I ever went. While these are amazing, you can definitely save money and rip up an old T-shirt to use as a burp cloth though it won't be nearly as absorbent. Now that Addy is past the phase of needing burp cloths, we use them as rags, handkerchiefs, washcloths, and anything else- they are SO soft!
Nursing can be a breeze for some and literal torture for others... but there are some items I think everyone will get good use of.
Nursing & Pumping Bras: A few good, comfy nursing bras are a must.. like these ones! When they are itty bitty it's helpful to have everything easily accessible, but as Adalynn got older, I could just pull up a normal sports bra over my boob to feed her or pull my boob up out of a normal bra. My favorites come in a pack of 5, and that was enough for me postpartum.
Nursing Covers: Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, and I'm all for embracing that, so I never used a cover.. but if you are more comfortable WITH a cover, then find a nice big one that allows for some room for baby.
Nursing Pads: Your boobs WILL leak while they figure out the right supply, so you'll need some type of nursing pad (either reusable or disposable). I started with the reusable hoping to love them, but they absorbed less, I had to wash these often, and when they got full of milk, they would get tough and scratch my nipples. Once I figured this out, I switched to these disposable ones, and they were much more gentle (and less work since I could just toss them in the trash).
Nipple Cream: Pick something non-toxic and natural cause your baby WILL be ingesting it while eating. I used Earth Mama's nipple butter the very few times I ever needed it. (I only used it maybe a total of 5 times, but I was glad I had a quality product on hand) All the other times, I would rub the leftover breastmilk into my nipple to soothe any irritation.
Milk Catchers: We used the Haakaa and the Haakaa ladybug, and I liked having both (but I also leaked A LOT in the beginning). Truly... I was leaking the month before even giving birth! When Adalynn was eating from one side, I would have either the ladybug tucked in my bra or the Haakaa attached to the other breast so that I wasn't wasting everything that was leaking out. This is actually how I gathered most of my "freezer supply."
Milk Storage: Speaking of freezer supply, you'll need some type of storage for the freezer. This can be disposable plastic bags, reusable storage bags, or you can freeze your milk in cubes in a silicone tray and then store them in glass containers! It all depends on your feeding/nursing/stash situation and what works best for your family.
Breastfeeding Cart: I loved having this cart next to my bed while my daughter was in my room, ESPECIALLY the first month when I barely left bed because I was too busy starting at my new baby. My cart had almost everything we needed, day or night.
Some supplies on my breastfeeding cart;
BIG water Tumblr (that I could drink out of with one hand)
Tissues- when I say I cried a lot, I don't think you fully comprehend how many happy tears were shed those first few weeks.
Chapstick & Lotions
Snacks; CLIF bars, thatsit bars, popcorn, Chomps meat sticks, applesauce, etc.
Thermometer so I knew what the temperature was while the baby was sleeping (plus this one is magnetic and stuck right on the cart!)
Feeding Supplies: Pump (although since I didn't use this, it was later removed), Haaka & Haaka ladybugs, nipple pads, and nipple cream.
Baby Supplies: Burp cloths, diapers, wipes, lotions, and a changing mat for messy in-the-bed diaper changes
Also - don't only prepare for breastfeeding with all the fun products! Take some time to also prepare in other ways. Educate yourself on the process, check out some amazing social media accounts that dedicate their platforms to educate about breastfeeding, and take the class offered at your local hospital- I promise you that feeling confident going into it will make such a difference. :)
L E T ' S B E F R I E N D S!