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Scroll motherhood Instagram accounts, and you’ll inevitably see posts equating breastfeeding to a full time job. Considering how often newborns eat, that description isn’t an exaggeration! Throw pumping and cluster feeding into the mix, and things get even more exhausting. And just because breastfeeding is a “natural process,” does not mean it’s easy.
Technically, all you need to breastfeed is your breasts and your baby, but I quickly learned that extra support and advice can make your journey much more manageable. Both mama and baby learn how to breastfeed; and for expectant or new mothers, the learning process can look daunting or even impossible. Plus, there are tons of breastfeeding products out there! While every mother’s feeding choices are unique, there are some products I have found especially helpful.
Here are some nursing items I’ve appreciated these last six months. They’ve been sooooo useful to me, and I hope they will help other expectant or nursing mamas out there!
My Breastfeeding Essentials:
Prenatal vitamins. Continuing my prenatal vitamin regime beyond delivery was crucial! Prenatals are great for maintaining your nutrition during breastfeeding.
Nursing Bras. These are my absolute favorite. Yes, a little pricey but the fit, quality and functionality is unmatched compared to other brands I’ve tried.
Breastfeeding-friendly pajamas and tanks. Trust me, no one wants to be struggling in and out of their pj’s at two in the morning. You might end up like Phoebe from Friends, trapped in the sweater! Comfortable nursing-friendly clothes are a must.
Willow wearable breast pump. Hands-free, wearable pumping machines are revolutionary. You can discreetely tuck them into your bra and still move around the house rather than being tethered to one spot while pumping.
LaVie lactation massager. Lactation massagers are great for improving milk flow and relieving clogged ducts. Clogged cuts can be so painful; so I am so grateful for my Lavie massager!
Bamboobies nursing pads. No one enjoys leakstains on their shirt; so nursing pads are going to be part of your wardrobe for awhile. According to friend of mine, they’re handy during weaning as well. Simply dampen and freeze them for a little relief. I love these pads from Bamboobies because they are washable.
Haakaa breastmilk collector. These collectors are excellent for catching letdown during nursing sessions. Sometimes I’m amazed at how much milk these save!
Nipple shields. Although some people advise against these, I have really appreciated and gotten alot of use out of nipple shields! Every baby and mother’s breastfeeding journey is different.
Nipple butter and nipple cream. Be sure to pack these in your hospital bag as well! You’ll be especially grateful for nipple butter/cream during the first weeks of breastfeeding. That’s something no one warns you about! How sore and cracked your nipples can get. Definitely stock up on this right away!
Breast therapy packs. These packs help with relief from engorgement and plugged ducts. They’re also helpful to encourage flow during pumping.
Reusable breastmilk storage bags. Of course, this is a bit of a no-brainer. If you plan to pump and breastfeed, you will need storage bags. These bags from Lansinoh are reusable, which is great!
Haakaa manual pump. As much as I love my Willow, I also have gotten alot of use out of my manual pump. These are a little easier to pack if you are traveling or on the go!
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Breastfeeding may seem like a huge task, but it is also rewarding. I’m so grateful for this experience with Ryan, even while admitting to the hard days. That being said, every mother and every baby is unique. If you cannot or decide not to breastfeed, that’s okay! However, I hope this list will be helpful for other mamas on this same journey.
What items, programs, or people helped you feel empowered to breastfeed your baby?