Some mothers find they only need the bare minimum when it comes to breastfeeding – I’ve had three completely different experiences, so I’ve compiled this list to inspire and/or prepare for multiple different situations.
MY BREASTFEEDING MUST-HAVES
Nursing bras: I really like the Medela seamless nursing bra – especially for the first few months when it’s not advised to wear an underwire bra. Another nursing bra that comes in handy is the Simple Wishes Hands-free Breast Pump Bra. This supportive, adjustable and extremely comfortable bra allows you to multi-task while using an electric breast pump. This is amazing for working moms, moms of multiple children and first time moms. Finally there’s freedom from holding your pump! (This is my biggest pet peeve of pumping).
Breast pads: There are three kids of breast pads – disposable, silicone and washable. But I’ve been known to stick a burp cloth in my nursing bra when out of breast pads or while feeding on the first side (leaking on a burp cloth saves the amount of breast pads you go through as it’s way easier to wash a burp cloth).
Breast pump: Even if it’s a hand pump, it’s always a good idea to have one on hand. You never know when you’ll need it!
Nursing pillow: The Boppy nursing pillow works wonders for nursing in the glider – or anywhere in the house, for that matter. The Boppy Travel Pillow is perfect for keeping with your diaper bag by the front door or in the car for nursing on the go. You can really maximize your travel Boppy by using it downstairs or in another area of the house, but don’t forget to take it with you when you walk out the door.
Nursing stool: The Medela nursing stool is angled for comfort and easy to take with you around the house. When nursing in the seated position, you’ll need a place to elevate and rest your feet. This helps you concentrate on positioning your baby (bringing your baby to the breast) instead of you slouching and bring your breast to your baby. Your back, breasts, legs and butt will thank you.
Burp cloths: The Little Giraffe Mess With This burp cloths are, by far, my favorite burp cloths, ever. The quilted design soaks up messes better than any other cloths, the size is perfect for over-the-shoulder coverage and the blankety-soft center feels (and looks) good and can even double as an emergency travel blankie for an older infant or toddler.
All-in-one nursery and feeding accessory: Finally there’s a feeding diary, sound machine, temperature indicator, night light and digital clock all in one! For years I marked my feeding times in a notepad and guesses which breast I last fed on… Stumbled across the room when I forgot to turn the sound machine on… And had three separate items to display the room temperature, provide a soft glow and display the time of day/night. With the aden and anais Serenity Star, everything is built-in and in one place. Plus, it can plug in or can be used with batteries and taken all around the house — or with you while on the go.
Nursing cover: Nurse anywhere in style, comfort and privacy with the Bebé au Lait Nursing Cover. I’m a “whip it out” kind of mom and have no modesty whatsoever when it comes to feeding my baby (clearly), but I always have a nursing cover on me. A nursing cover has many uses – and not just for modest moms. (There’s nothing wrong with modesty, by the way). I’ve found it to be helpful to shield against the wind when nursing outdoors (your baby will unlatch/pop-off your breast if the wind is directly in his or her face), it provides shade from the sun, helps to prevent distractions, helps to calm a fussy baby and with the ridged neckline and adsorbent terry cloth pockets, you can see your baby, store breast pads and wipe small messes all at the same time. Oh, and it’s washable.
Sterilizer: The Munchkin Steam Guard Electric Sterilizer has one of the largest capacities I’ve seen (without being too bulky and ugly to look at) and is safe and easy to use. A sterilizer is an essential part of breastfeeding for all your washable breast pump parts and bottles. Even if you don’t end up using or plan to use a breast pump or bottles, it’s important to have a steam sterilizer to naturally, safely and quickly sterilize toys, pacifiers and other baby necessities as your baby grows.
The Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer Bags are another must-have for nursing moms. Each bag can be used up to 20 times and are great for travel, pumping at work and on the go. I always keep one in my diaper bag… Just in case.
Drying rack: The Boon Grass drying rack is my go-to for everything that gets washed. For breastfeeding it’s great for drying pump parts and bottles and then continues to be useful as baby grows and starts eating solid foods. Plus, it looks nice in a kitchen.
BREASTFEEDING MUST-HAVES FOR BOTTLE FEEDING
Natural flow bottles: The Born Free Natural Feeding Bottles have an ActiveFlow venting technology designed to reduce colic, gas and allows baby to control the flow of milk — similar to breastfeeding. Personally, I introduced two of my babies to a bottle after they turned three months old, but that was by choice. I did, however, always have bottles on hand, sterilized and ready. My first son was extremely jaundiced and we needed to feed him as mush as possible. I breastfed him often and then pumped to increase my milk while feeding him with a bottle of breast milk to get small breaks in between.
If you have any questions about if you should or can introduce your breastfed baby to a bottle, talk to your lactation specialist or pediatrician.
Bottle bag: The Skip Hop Triple Bottle and Lunch Bag is essential for travel, in the car and on the go. You can safely and easily transport breast milk bottles and breast milk storage bags to and from the house with baby – or if you pump at work. Then, later on, it can be used as a lunch and snack bag for baby.
Warmer: The Kozii breast milk and bottle warmer by Kiinde is the only warmer with a steam-free technology. It also has a low temperature warming system to preserve breast milk nutrients, consecutive heating for fast and consistent results, an on-board water reservoir, an automatic shut off and is universal for thawing and warming breast milk in glass, metal, plastic, bags or bottles. (It can also warm formula and baby food).
MY BREASTFEEDING TIPS
- Keep extra burp cloths and breast pads near your glider or feeding spot. You never know when you’ll need some extras and it’s helpful when you forget to grab some before settling in for a long feeding.
- Place a small table next to your glider or rocking chair. This helps to keep items close by, which makes it easier and more comfortable for you. I like to keep a digital clock, my feeding log, a soft light, breastfeeding books, a coaster and a water bottle on my side table at all times.
- Keep a throw blanket on the back of the glider. There were so many times – usually in the middle of the night – that I got cold while feeding my babies. Having a blanket to cover my shoulders or legs helped to keep me comfortable. A tense mama can make breastfeeding harder and baby can sense your moods and anxiety.
- Once your baby gets a little older, practice nursing your baby at home in a baby carrier. That way, when you’re out and about, you’ll have an easy and comfortable way to feed your baby while on-the-go – literally.
- Tank tops are your best friend. You can easily get away with not wearing nursing tops if you layer your clothes with a semi-loose tank top under your shirt. Pull up your shirt, pull down your tank top and your can easily and discretely feed your baby without a nursing top.
- If you have older kids, stock your car with fun things for them to do. No matter how much you plan ahead, you’ll inevitably find yourself feeding your baby in a parking lot with older kids in tow.
What are your breastfeeding must-haves and tips?