By having the proper breastfeeding essentials you’ll be able to start your breastfeeding journey off on the right foot and increase the possibility of you being able to nurse for your goal amount of time.
I’m currently six months into my breastfeeding journey and I feel like it’s thanks to having the breastfeeding essentials that I’ll be covering today.
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During the first couple of weeks, a breastfeeding pillow will make things so much easier for you as you recover.
I used the Boppy Pillow with my boys and decided to stick with them this time with my daughter as well.
However, for about the first month, I did find that my pregnancy pillow worked best as we were first getting acquainted with breastfeeding. Plus, it doubled as a barrier in the event that I ended up falling asleep during a nursing session.
Even if you plan to nurse directly exclusively, investing in a breast pump may still come in handy.
In the first couple of weeks, my supply seemed slow, so I had to jump-start things, which then resulted in an oversupply that was super painful.
I had a manual pump that I purchased when pregnant, but between nursing every 1-2 hours, only having 72 hours off of work, and being overly sleep deprived, it just wasn’t cutting it.
Therefore, I decided to invest in Dr. Brown’s Customflow Double Electric Quiet Breast Pump to relieve some of the pain from the oversupply, AND it’s still holding up six months later.
I recommend this one because it’s budget-friendly, allows you to pump both breasts at the same time, and is compatible with most pumping bras so it can be hands-free.
Overall, even if you think you’re not going to pump, definitely get one as you’ll never know if you’ll need it and you don’t want to be stuck in the position of needing one and not having it only to be stuck having to settle for whatever pump is in stock at your local store.
Breast Milk Storage Bags
When you make the decision to breastfeed you never know if you’re going to be an over-supplier or not.
Breast milk storage bags make it so that you don’t have to have milk go to waste and instead can build a freezer stash.
However, what I’ve learned the hard way is that not all breast milk storage bags are the same. I’ve tried somewhere between 5-10 brands at this point and my favorite storage bags are the ones from Nanobebe.
I recommend these because they have a double zipper on them and are made of a thicker material than most to lower the chances of you experiencing leaks. Plus, when you do unthaw to use there’s no funkiness going on at the top to cause you to spill when pouring the milk out.
They do have a storage organizer that comes with their storage bag kit, however, that is a pain in the butt, so I don’t recommend that, but when it comes to breast milk storage bags no other brands can compete.
During the early weeks of breastfeeding, you’re going to be tired. To maximize the chances of you continuing to breastfeed, it’s important to try to make things as easy as possible for yourself.
For me, this included purchasing the Frida Mom Instant Heat Breast Warmers.
These heat warmers helped to encourage letdown, which was great when first starting out with pumping, and they help soothe your breasts when you’re engorged.
The reason I recommend these ones are because they don’t require a microwave (I got rid of ours about a year ago) and I can let them warm up while doing a diaper change or other task.
Sure, you could use a warm washcloth, but who needs more laundry during the first few weeks?
Plus, in my opinion, they stay hotter longer than using the washcloth method.
Nursing and/or Pumping Bras
Nursing and/or pumping bras are definitely breastfeeding essentials that you need for a successful breastfeeding journey.
While it is true that you could get two in one bras that can be used for nursing and pumping, since I don’t pump on a set schedule I decided to get specific bras for nursing and then two bras for pumping.
I already had a good amount of nursing bras from pregnancy anyways so adding in two pumping bras wasn’t a big deal. Plus, cost-wise, I found that nursing bras were cheaper than the nursing + pumping bras.
Since you won’t need to wear these bras for your entire breastfeeding journey, if you don’t want to, I wouldn’t get too crazy when shopping though. Now, at the six-month mark in my journey, I’ve been able to switch over mostly to cute bralettes, which has given me a sense of feeling more like myself back.
Reusable Breast Pads
Disposable breast pads may seem cheaper initially, however, in the long run, it’s best to just invest in a set of reusable breast pads to save money in the long run.
Yes, breastfeeding does come with some expenses, but it’s not supposed to be as expensive as formula feeding – disposable pads can definitely bump up your breastfeeding expenses.
When I was pregnant I created a care caddy for myself to make sure I had all of the essentials to make my recovery period go as smoothly as possible AND reusable breast pads were a part of this kit.
A one-time investment of less than $20 can be reused for my entire breastfeeding journey AND considering that I’m six months in and still have to use them at times I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.
Reusable breast pads are great to have, but you’ll also want to invest in some milk catchers too to avoid losing out on some milk, especially during the first six weeks.
What I did for the first six weeks was wear the milk catchers during my awake times and wear the breast pads when I slept.
The milk catchers typically hold about 2 to 3 ounces of milk, which is a lot of milk to miss out on right?
Therefore, during the first weeks while your milk is regulating you’ll want to have them on to catch the milk, which will help you build up your freezer stash or have milk available if your partner wants to help with feedings without you having to be tied to the pump.
In my experience when my daughter would be eating I’d collect about 2 ounces of milk from the side she wasn’t eating from. However, maybe it’s just the brand that I purchased, but if I was doing a lot of moving around they would leak, so my suggestion is to wear these when you’re not going to be doing a lot of moving AND check them frequently so they don’t overfill and spill.
Breastfeeding Bottles and Pacifiers
Some doctors will recommend not using pacifiers and/or bottles during the early weeks because it’ll cause nipple confusion.
However, during my daughters the first week we tried the Flexy pacifier and a MAM pacifier, which was designed for breastfeeding babies and didn’t have any issues.
We also introduced the Nanobebe bottle shortly after so dad could help out with feedings once I returned to working and didn’t have any problems there either.
Yes, I’m aware there is a lot of controversial feelings about Nanobebe products, however, I’ve been using them for six months and they have worked great for baby girl. Yes, they aren’t like traditional bottles where you twist them on, but I haven’t experienced any leaks when they are assembled correctly. (I have had a couple of leaks when making bottles when tired and they weren’t assembled correctly – user error on my part -, which is why now I always make bottles in advance and not as they are needed).
The first couple of weeks you may find it hard to eat healthy (or eat at all for that matter), so it’s important to make sure that you’re taking vitamins.
I personally take prenatal gummies still, but some nursing mothers prefer to go to other vitamins such as a women’s multi.
I will be honest and admit that I don’t take the prenatal gummies faithfully daily like I did when I was pregnant, due to not remembering mostly, however, I’m taking them about five times per week, which is better than not at all.
Nursing Friendly Clothing
Whether you’re planning to be out and about or staying at home, it’s super important to make sure that you have nursing-friendly clothing.
You want to be comfortable, look nice, and be able to feed the baby easily.
This could consist of wearing tank tops that you can pull up or specific nursing clothing. The choice is up to you.
For me, I did invest in a few nursing-specific items, however, now these days I pretty much just wear sleeveless shirts, zippered dresses, etc that allow me to still be me, but give me easy access for nursing sessions too.
Read Also: Postpartum Clothing Must Haves
Who knew nursing could make you so darn thirsty (and possibly hungry) all of the time?
Your supply is a direct correlation to how hydrated you are. If you’re feeling thirsty you’ll probably notice your supply decreasing. If you’re hydrated, you’ll notice your pumping sessions are shorter, but producing more.
So make sure you have plenty of hydration drinks whether it’s water, fruit juice, etc. If you do experience supply issues I’d recommend some milk tea. Most brands don’t taste so well plain, however, I add a tad of lemon juice and honey to mine for flavoring.
If you have two or more floors in your home, investing in a mini-fridge will be a great investment.
It’ll allow you to keep your drinks in your room for easy access when your tongue is about to crumble from thirst and you’ll easily be able to put babies milk in the fridge once your pumping session ends.
Plus, you can keep milk readily available upstairs for those late-night bottle feedings too.
My partner probably thought I was crazy when I added this to my want list when pregnant, however, once baby girl arrived and he saw how convenient it was to avoid stumbling downstairs late night/early morning, he saw just how beneficial this investment was.
These are the breastfeeding essentials for success
If you’re set on giving breastfeeding your all, these are the breastfeeding essentials that I recommend investing in. My breastfeeding journey is six months in now, and I’m planning to make it to a year before weaning, and I credit my being able to do so to these products.
They each have helped me at different stages of my breastfeeding journey and some I’m even using now.