If you’ve already had your baby and have started breastfeeding, then I’m sure you’ve figured out how much is involved with it. If you haven’t given birth yet, just wait, it gets very interesting.
During the first few weeks you’re trying to figure out how to be a mom and your baby is trying to figure out how to be a person. It makes feeding said baby kind of tough. Not to mention the fact that your boobs are going to freak out because now someone, or something, is gnawing on them all day every day.
Thankfully there are a few things out there that can help make the whole process a little bit easier. So here are the products for both nursing and pumping that I would simply not have survived without.
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Even if you are planning on nursing, at some point you may need a breast pump. A breast pump can be used to increase milk supply, when you go back to work, or just to collect some milk to freeze for a rainy day. Either way, getting a good breast pump is essential.
I personally have the Medela Pump in Style Advance and I love it. I’ve been exclusively pumping with it for a year and it has been amazing. The only downside to it is that it isn’t portable.
It’s also worth checking to see if you can get a breast pump through your insurance company. Most companies will provide one, you just have to get a prescription from your doctor.
Aeroflow can take care of the whole insurance process for you. Just fill out the form and they will work everything out with your insurance company and send you your breast pump totally free of charge. Definitely check with them first!
Extra Pump Supplies
Along with your pump, you will definitely want to have some backups available for your pump supplies. Since you have to pump so much in the beginning to build your supply, having to wash everything 8 times a day will get really old really quickly. Go ahead and pick up a few extra sets of everything to save yourself the hassle.
There are a TON of designs out there, and they really do make nursing and/or pumping so much easier. I love THESE bras for sleeping. I live in them!
It’s been proven that having more support while breastfeeding can help your boobs bounce back when you’re finished breastfeeding. I also don’t like the tugging sensation that I get when I’m full. These bras really help with that without feeling too restrictive. The only time I take them off is to shower. They’re so comfortable! THIS nursing/pumping bra from Simple Wishes is amazing for everyday use for when you want a bit more support. I use it when I’m planning on leaving my house for the day. So much simpler to pump with this rather than a typical pumping bra.
In the beginning you’re going to leak, a lot. You’re going to want to use some nipple pads to keep your shirt from getting completely soaked. I’m an exclusive pumper and stopped sporadically leaking around 4 months postpartum, but if you are directly nursing, I’ve heard that that can happen until you wean. It all depends on you and your body though.
I personally loved having reusable pads that I could just throw in the washing machine. I hated the idea of having to keep buying them. I used the Bamboobies reusable ones. They’re great. They even have two different sizes, the regular ones for during the day when you’ll theoretically leak less, and the overnights for when you’ll definitely leak more.
Once they’re dirty I just toss them in the wash. I would wash them with the baby clothes since I had to wash those so often anyway. That way I always had a clean pair. I also kept some disposable ones in my pump bag as a just in case, but never ended up using them.
Remember when I talked about leaking? Yeah, it’s a thing. One suggestion that was given to me was to wear some kind of milk saver to catch the milk. They’re the most helpful if you’re nursing for during your let downs, but you can also just wear them around during the day in your bra to catch any leakage. I would empty them out about every hour and collect the milk. You’d be surprised how much you’ll leak during the day.I also found the shells to be EXTREMELY helpful in the early days of breastfeeding since my nipples were so raw. Since my kid couldn’t figure out nursing, my nipples were just chewed up! These things helped let air get to my nipples as well as keep the fabric of my bra from rubbing on them. So amazing!
If you’re anything like me, you’re going to leak a lot during letdowns. For nursing sessions, or single pumps, I would use a Haakaa silicone pump. I can normally get an ounce or 2 of just free milk during each session that I can then just put it in the fridge. You can either bottle feed the milk, or collect enough to freeze for future use. Either way it is amazingly useful. You’ve worked hard for that milk. No sense in wasting it.
Whether you are planning on nursing or pumping, a nursing pillow is so much easier than trying to arrange regular pillows. I have a Boppy nursing pillow and I love it! I used it when we were attempting to nurse, and now I use it while pumping as a place to set him. It’s also great for tummy time, as well as for sitting support when your little one gets there. It has been totally worth the money for me. I wish I had bought two. Related: Tummy Time: What, Why, and How
Pumping mamas, get a bottle warmer! You will hate, I mean HATE night time feedings if you have to wait for the water to heat up. I love the travel warmer by Tommee Tippee. I use it all the time, even for those night time feedings. So freaking useful! We bought ours in one of THESE cool sets and have loved it. That’s kind of how we picked our bottles. 11 months in and we’re still happy with it.
We also have the electric Tommee Tippee warmer that I like well enough, but I think it could be better. It has some great features and I like the different settings, but it can be a little slow. It requires a little forethought and a bit of planning to make sure that the milk is heated before the baby is screaming his head off. Just a forewarning. You might get lucky and have a baby that is willing to take cold milk. Just be careful with trying when your little one is really young. Cold milk can cause an upset stomach. Once they’re a bit older though it’s definitely worth trying if you’re bottle feeding.
Like I said, I have the Tommee Tippee warmer, but I have heard AMAZING things about the Munchkin Electric Bottle Warmer. I wish I had known about it before I bought mine. From what I understand it is insanely fast to heat up water. That can be SO useful when you have a hungry baby to deal with. Check it out!
What items have you found to make your breastfeeding journey easier? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!