Motherhood, Postpartum

Breastfeeding Essentials for Nursing Moms

If you read this post, then you likely know Wyatt and I had a rough start to breastfeeding. I had a much easier time with his big sister, and therefore didn’t invest in too many nursing products. Because of our struggles, I truly found some great products that I relied heavily on. Hopefully this list gives you an idea of what you may want for your own breastfeeding journey.

Nursing bra – or bralette

I purchased nursing bras while pregnant with H. I needed bigger bras and decided to invest in a few that would fit for pregnancy and could be used after, as well. I found the underwired ones to be uncomfortable after a while (especially as everthing changed sizes), so this time around I invested in a few bralettes. They’re pretty easy to find at stores like Aerie, Target, and Motherhood Maternity. This was my go-to. Note: I was also nursing most heavily in the summer months, so wanted something I could easily throw on under a tank and still look somewhat “fashionable”.

Lanolin cream

Definitely stock up on this stuff. Not only does it help prevent chaffing/cracking, but also keeps your nipples from sticking to your clothing (yes, that’s a thing… and the worst!). Most hospitals will give you a tube or two after delivery, but always good to have a full sized bottle on hand – and one in every bag/area of your house you may nurse in.

A large water bottle

You will have a thirst like no other. Honestly, I remember feeling like I was in the Sahara Desert in the middle of the night sometimes. I’d highly recommend getting a large, insulated bottle/tumbler that stays cool a while. Hubs would fill it up for me before he came to bed that way I’d have a large container of water in the middle of the night. There are so many great, affordable options these days, but here’s my favorite. So many pretty colors – of course, I went with ombre.

Soothing gel pads

I had no idea these existed until this time around with Wyatt. My doula actually mentioned these to me – and wow, were they a lifesaver! I would take one pad, cut it into quarters and stick in the freezer for a bit. I’d put two cold ones on after nursing (and still have two in the freezer for next time). I could place the backing back on (much like a sticker) and use the pads a few days before needing to switch to a new one. The instructions don’t specify this, but they lasted way longer and this method worked well for me!

A Haakaa breast pump

I had a really strong letdown this time around (again, something that was different between nursing both babies). I also had a bit of an oversupply at first. So, after nursing Wy on one side, I’d move the Haakaa to that side and collect any extra. That helped begin my freezer stash for down the road.

Speaking of that freezer stash…

Invest in good quality freezer bags. I prefer the Lansinoh bags, but also hear great things about Medela bags. The only downside is they’re kind of a mess to pour out of the zipper part. I recently stumbled upon a tip stating to cut the bottom of the bag and pour that way – genius!

Also, if you tend to have a heavy letdown, you may want to invest in milk catchers. I purchased these (but also hear these are good because they’re more flexible vs hard shelled like mine) and was able to catch a little extra milk each nursing session. These fit right into your bra and are discreet. Bonus: baby can’t knock them off like the Haakaa. I used these up until a month or so ago, honestly. The little bit I collected went into building out my freezer stash.

Brestfriend nursing pillow

The Boppy was nice for propping babies on (we actually LOVED the Boppy Lounger with Wyatt), but I found the Brestfriend to be much more comfortable for nursing. It’s flat, straps on, and even has a little storage pocket. Most lactation consultants I’ve met with highly recommend it, as well.

Oh, and while you’re at it – invest in a few muslin swaddles. They’re great for swaddling baby, but also wonderful to use as a breathable cover if you’d like to cover up while nursing. After I was comfortable nursing both kids, I’d generally just wear a tank under my shirt and use my top shirt as a bit of a “sheild” over me and baby so we weren’t totally exposed. Neither of my kids liked being covered up while eating. And personally, I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either!

Skip the bottle warmer

This may sound silly, but bottle warmers kind of gross me out. The risk of mold build up freaks me out, and I’ve found that heating pumped breastmilk in a glass of water does the trick just as well. I honestly use a 4 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup to heat water in the microwave, then stick the bottle in the heated water. It’s worked great for both babies, saves us the cost of a warmer, and is dual purpose – you can always use a liquid measuring cup!

While this is a list of a few of my fave items, this is in no way everything you need or everything you should buy. Based on your own preferences, the items you love will differ. However, I think it’s a good start to your registry or gift-giving!

Breastfeeding mommas – if you could only have ONE nursing essential, what would it be? Drop it in the comments below.

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