10 Useful Breastfeeding Essentials Every New Mom Should Have
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If you are planning to breastfeed, you need to have these useful breastfeeding essentials on hand to help make life a little bit easier.
In This Guide
When you first attempt to nurse your newborn, you’ll figure moms have been doing this forever, so how hard can it be? But for some moms and babies, it doesn’t come as naturally as you might think.
Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby, but it’s hard work if you don’t know what you’re doing.
To breastfeed successfully, you really don’t need anything more than your breasts and your baby. However, there are plenty of breastfeeding products, supplies, and accessories available to help make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable. Here’s a list of 10 breastfeeding essentials every new mom should have.
10 Useful Breastfeeding Essentials Every New Mom Should Have
1. Nursing Bra
A good nursing bra is one of the many things you’ll need along your breastfeeding journey.
When your baby is hungry the last thing you want to do is fight with your bra. Nursing bras have clips near the shoulders allowing you easy access to your breasts without having to take your bra completely off.
Your nursing breasts will feel full and heavy, especially in the first few weeks after you have your baby when your milk comes in. A good nursing bra will help to support your breasts and relieve strain on your shoulders and back.
When you shop for one, look for a bra without an underwire that’s made with breathable fabric. Make sure that your nursing bra isn’t too tight since wearing a tight bra when breastfeeding could increase your chance of developing a clogged duct or mastitis.
2. Breast Pump
Pumps are not just for working moms. They can help any mom stockpile breast milk, which lets others feed the baby. It’s also a way for moms who experience issues nursing to continue to give their little breast milk.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans are obligated to support breastfeeding moms and cover the cost of a breast pump. The only catch is that it’s your insurance, not you, who gets to decide the brand and type of pump it covers.
You can make the process of getting a pump easier by working with companies such as Aeroflow Breastpumps who will work directly with your insurance on your behalf to get you a pump and ship out your pump prior to your due date.
3. Pumping Bra
A pumping bra is different from a regular nursing bra because it allows for hands-free pumping. The openings are in the front of the bra to allow you to attach the pump to your breasts.
A pumping bra keeps the bottles positioned at your breasts so you have your hands free to do household chores, check social media on your phone or (more likely) hold your baby.
Pumping can take upwards of 20 minutes a session, and it gets really boring and tiring holding the flanges up for that long. When you are hooking up to your pump several times a day, a pumping bra could be a real time-saver.
If you’re pumping, you need somewhere to store the fruits of your labor. Breast milk storage bags and containers are specially made for protecting your breast milk since they are designed to withstand freezing and thawing. There are a wide variety of these available, so buy whatever is compatible with your pump.
Depending on your storage needs, you may choose to use breast milk storage bags, plastic breast milk storage bottles, food-safe glass containers and/or breast milk trays.
The Medela Storage Solution is a great starter pack for a first-time mom. It includes storage bottles and bags and a handy storage tray to keep things organized in your freezer. You’ll also need to have a permanent marker to easily label the bags with the date before storing.
5. Nursing Clothes
Thought you were done buying special clothes after maternity shopping? Wrong.
Your pajamas will work for the first couple of weeks or so, but when you’re planning to return to some sort of normalcy, you will want to be able to nurse any time and anywhere. And if/when you return to work, you will need to be able to pump easily and quickly several times a day and nursing tops will make it much easier to do so.
Unless your closet is stocked with button-down shirts, you’re going to need at least a few nursing items that have handy cutouts for easy access. Nursing clothes are available in a variety of styles from casual tank tops to professional or formal wear. Tops, blouses, and dresses that are designed for breastfeeding women have flaps or slits in the front so that you can breastfeed without having to pull up or remove your clothing.
6. Nursing Pads
Milk can flow at the most inopportune times. Even the cry of someone else’s baby can trigger your flow and within seconds, your bra and shirts will be damp from drips. Leaking is common especially in the first few months of breastfeeding when your milk supply is adjusting but most women will leak less or stop leaking altogether after a few months.
Nursing pads, or breast pads, are absorbent disc-like pads that can be placed inside of your bra to soak up any milk that may leak from your breasts. You can find nursing pads in both disposable or reusable versions.
Reusable nursing pads are better for the environment since they create less waste, but they’re also much softer and won’t stick to your boobs like the paper ones. You can wash them with your regular laundry and since they’re so small, they don’t really add to the already growingly laundry load.
7. Nipple Creams & Lotions
Your nipples may get sore from all that sucking, especially if your baby has trouble latching early on. You can apply nipple creams directly to dry, cracked and sore nipples. It’s non-toxic and safe for baby so you don’t need to worry about cleaning your skin before the next time you breastfeed.
Nipple creams and ointments such as purified medical grade lanolin, Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream, or an all-natural organic herbal product that is safe for nursing mothers, may be useful to moisturize, soothe, and heal your dry, cracked, sore nipples and there’s no need to wipe it off between feedings.
8. Cleaning Products
Keeping your pump parts clean is essential but with so many other things to deal with after having a baby, sterilizing your pump parts and bottles in a pot of boiling water will be the last thing you feel like doing.
The Medela Quick Clean Steamer Bags are an easy and convenient way to clean your breast pump. Wash your pump parts with soap and water, then throw them in the bag with a few ounces of water and microwave for 90 seconds. Done!
If you don’t have access to running water where you pump, you can use cleaning wipes such as Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump Wipes.
9. Nursing Pillow
Sometimes, your little one will want to feed for what seems like forever. If you try to hold your baby in position without any support, your arms are going to get really tired and start to hurt. Use a nursing pillow to help get your baby in position and keep you comfortable.
A Nursing Pillow (aka “boppy pillow”) is super useful during the first few months of breastfeeding and beyond. It is great for positioning your baby especially if he/she is a marathon-feeder and when they get a bit older baby can lounge or sit in/on it.
A comfortable, supportive nursing pillow can also encourage a good latch. It will help to support your baby and lift the baby up to the level of your breast. A nursing pillow can also help reduce strain on your back, neck, shoulders, and arms so that nursing is more comfortable for you.
Technically, you don’t need a cover. Moms can legally breastfeed in public in all 50 states without being asked to cover up or leave a public space. If you want to be discreet when breastfeeding in public — or when visitors come over to meet your new addition — a nursing cover up can provide privacy while you nurse your baby.
You can use a simple baby blanket, or you may opt for a more stylish look with a scarf or nursing cover. There are plenty of options to fit your style and your needs.
A good breastfeeding class is so beneficial. When you start breastfeeding and along the way you will run into problems or questions that you might not know the answer too. Milkology is the perfect breastfeeding class, you can do it right from home.
This class teaches you the benefits, process, techniques (latching and positions), what to expect, finding support, and being prepared. It also includes an e-book and a couple of other free printables to help you out on your breastfeeding journey.
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Whether you’re nursing or pumping exclusively, you’re going to get hungry and thirsty. Breastfeeding burns approximately 500 calories per day. So make sure you have a water bottle and snack handy.
Apples, protein bars, almonds, and lactation cookies are a great choice since they don’t need to be refrigerated and generally hold up well after being tossed around in our bag.
What other useful items did you have (or wish you had) when you were breastfeeding?