The ultimate list of breastfeeding essentials every mom should have
Proper breastfeeding is just one among a long list of things that new moms have to learn when it comes to caring for their newborns.
When it comes to breastfeeding, it is not uncommon for some moms to find it exciting while others find it overwhelming. If you are struggling through the early stages of breastfeeding, you are not alone. There are a lot of resources that will help make your journey a little easier. When in doubt, you can always seek out the help of a lactation consultant or other healthcare professional.
That said, whether you are excited about it or dreading it, there are a few breastfeeding essentials that you can buy to make your life easier. This guide is going to take a deep dive into them and hopefully help make your breastfeeding journey a little easier.
So, what are some of the most important things that every breastfeeding mom should have?
1. Good nursing bras
Pregnancy and delivery bring with them lots of changes to your body. One of the areas that go through lots of changes is the breasts. Over the nine months of your pregnancy and up to 6 months after delivery, your bra size will change drastically because of this.
As your breasts start to produce milk, they will become bigger and heavier. A good nursing bra will help provide the extra support you need when these changes happen, providing some much-needed comfort. At the same time, good nursing bras also help make the task of breastfeeding more convenient for you. This means no more fumbling and struggling every time your little one needs to feed!
2. Breast pump
A good breast pump is essential when it comes to breastfeeding. It will help you reduce the engorgement that comes with milk production when your little one can’t feed directly for one reason or another. With a breast pump, you’ll get near-instant relief while also maintaining your breast milk production and supply.
There are manual and electric breast pumps. You can choose between the two options or take both. There are pros and cons to each option: a manual breast pump requires some effort on your part to work when expressing the milk, but you don’t have to rely on electricity to use it. This means you can bring it with you almost anywhere. On the other hand, an electric breast pump is quicker, requiring less effort when expressing milk. However, it needs electricity to function.
3. Nursing pillow
Positioning the baby to latch well can be quite a challenge for new moms. A nursing pillow helps provide comfort and support for both the new mom and baby by better positioning them in relation to each other.
In this way, a nursing pillow makes it easier to breastfeed or bottle-feed a baby while also reducing the risk of reflux and gas.
4. Breast pads
Nursing pads assist in the absorption of leaking breast milk. They also help protect your clothes from wetness and staining. There are reusable and disposable nursing pads. Both these options come in lots of different shapes, thicknesses, and sizes depending on your unique set of needs. To use them, all you have to do is tuck them in the bra between your nipple and the bra’s internal lining.
Alternatively, you can also go for padded bras that offer more milk leak protection than regular bras and are ideal for everyday use
5. A comfortable nursing chair
Next up are nursing chairs. Nursing chairs make breastfeeding sessions more comfortable, allowing you to sit back, relax, and be stress-free. Having a comfortable nursing chair means you can focus on feeding your little one without worrying about fatigue setting in.
6. Sling/ nursing cover
A nursing sling or nursing cover makes it more fun, easy, private, and comfortable to nurse in public. Plus, with a nursing cover, new moms can be confident enough to head out with their little ones knowing that they will be able to breastfeed with ease should the need arise.
7. Milk storage bags
Once you’re done pumping, you are going to need a place to store all that precious breastmilk. The storage of pumped breast milk is done in special milk storage bags that are ready to use, designed to withstand the freezing-thawing process, and convenient.
Milk storage bags are a must-have especially if you are planning to leave the baby at home with a caregiver. All they will have to do is get a bag from the freezer and warm the milk when the baby is hungry.
8. Cooler bags
Next, you also want to be able to transport pumped breast milk from place to place without it going bad. For example, you can pump at work early in the day, store it throughout the day, and bring it home to your little one while it is still completely fresh. Or you can travel with a bunch of milk storage bags conveniently in the cooler bag and not have to worry about pumping for a few days.
Cooler bags are like portable fridges that help increase breast milk storage time. They are lined with ice panels present and have compartments that allow you to hold as many milk bottles or milk storage bags as you need.
9. Milk bottles
Whether you are exclusively breastfeeding or formula feeding, you are going to need a few milk bottles. We’ve covered everything you need to know about how to select the right bottle for your little one in our guide to bottle-feeding. However, the gist of it is that you want to make the transition from breast to bottle as smooth as possible.
You can do this in a number of ways. For example, you can use bottles that mimic the size and shape of the nipple. Or you can invest in a bottle that comes with an infiltration system that will slow down your little one’s milk intake while stopping them from taking gulps of air that can lead to gas issues.
Try to go for easy-to-clean bottles that have firmly-fitted nipples. With the right milk bottles, you’ll get some convenience in your life back as you will be able to leave your little one with a caregiver and not have to worry about them being properly fed.
Lanolin is basically a nipple cream that helps with the soothing and relieving of sore nipples. If you are planning to breastfeed your little one, you need to make peace with the fact that your nipples are going to get quite sore at some point.
Lanolin is a nipple cream brand that is preferred by most moms because it is all-natural, extracted from sheep’s wool. It works like magic for sore nipples and you can easily wipe it off before the next breastfeeding session.
11. Lactation Aids
Sometimes, you are going to have a low milk supply. Some women naturally have a constant undersupply of breast milk. If this is what you are dealing with, talk to a lactation consultant.
However, sometimes, when you haven’t eaten or hydrated yourself properly, you may notice that your milk supply will drop. In such instances, having lactations aids will really help.
Lactation Aids come in many forms; from teas to hears to cookies to supplements. However, before you can start using any of them, it is wise to talk to your lactation consultant or doctor first.
12. Water Bottle
It may look simple, but a water bottle is a must-have item for any breastfeeding mom. It will help keep you hydrated throughout the day, keeping your milk supply constant. Breast milk is 90% water. This means you need to drink enough fluids throughout the day. Having a water bottle by your side will be a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
Also, not many people will tell you this, but did you know that you are going to get thirsty as your little one breastfeeds? I mean, they are literally draining you, so it’s no surprise, really. However, what this means is that you have to figure out a way to replace those lost fluids on the go. With a water bottle, you’ll be able to do exactly this.
While breastfeeding is a completely natural thing, it can be quite a challenge to some women. However, you just have to approach it with the patience of someone learning a new skill and you should do just fine. And with the essentials and accessories listed in this guide, this journey should end up being a whole lot easier. You’ve got this!
Angelia Smith - Feb. 11 2022
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