Lets talk breastfeeding essentials! Whilst pregnant I figured that I would ‘give it a go‘ when it came to breastfeeding, and literally did not give it any further consideration. I just thought I would whack the baby on the boob, they would feed merrily and I would get on with my life.
Wow, did I get a rude shock! I did not enjoy the experience at all and recall desperately wanting to give it up. Unfortunately for me, my daughter refused to take a bottle, whether it was expressed milk or formula. And whilst I am pro-breastfeeding, I also very strongly believe that fed is best. Because happy mum = happy baby. So if you want or need to stop breastfeeding for WHATEVER reason, that is okay too.
Now that we have that all out of the way, I wanted to share my list of must have breastfeeding essentials for every new mama. As I said, I had no idea what I was in for and I wished that someone had provided me with tips for breastfeeding. I have linked my favorite breastfeeding essentials products to make your life easy and hopefully you can be a little more prepared than I was!
13 Breastfeeding Essentials
#1: Nursing Breast Pads – Disposable or Bamboo
Now, not everyone will experience this problem so you may be one of the lucky ones. But I sported these lovely sanitary products in my bra for 10 months and they were definitely classed as breastfeeding essentials. If I had known that it would go on for such a long time then I would have opted for the washable bamboo ones. It would have been much friendlier on my wallet and the environment.
- Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Breast Pads (I tried a few different brands but these were by far the best)
- Organic Bamboo Reusable Nursing Breast Pads
#2: Breastfeeding Pillow
Personally I did not opt for a breastfeeding pillow as I thought it was just another gimmick. But in hindsight, I can see how beneficial it would have been. Especially for someone who suffers from back pain. Those early days are pretty exhausting, and when bubs is frequently feeding, it would be very useful to be hands free and have the extra support from a breastfeeding pillow. These also make a great gift for mums-to-be.
#3: Easy Access Night Shirt
Chances are, you will be feeding your newborn multiple times a night. At least in the very early days this is true. They only have small tummies and have no concept of day or night, so will wake every couple of hours to be fed. Therefore I believe one of the most important breastfeeding essentials is nightwear which is comfy and practical.
I absolutely love this Bamboo Night Shirt from Pretty You London. The material adapts to your body temperature (which is important during the post-partum night sweats) and the button down front makes for easy access. Plus you will look like a super glam mama when you probably don’t feel it in the slightest.
#4: Breastfeeding Nipple Cream
The Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream will be your best friend whilst breastfeeding to soothe those sore nipples … or at least until your nipples have accustomed to their new job. Wow, it sounds so glamorous doesn’t it? This is a 100% natural product and is completely safe for your baby. Not to mention it also works wonders as a lip gloss, for dry patches of skin or to smooth down those fly away hairs. You may just find that this product becomes a bathroom staple whether you are breastfeeding or not.
#5: Essential Oils
I wish that I had known of the benefits of essential oils whilst I was breastfeeding, as I definitely would have tried the Milky blend from The Cle Collective.
The milky blend has been created to naturally increase your milk supply. It contains Clary Sage (not recommended when pregnant) which is known for supporting the hormonal system and encourages natural lactation. Fennel and Basil will boost your volume and fat content of your milk and geranium not only smells great but it also minimises pain associated with nursing. Did you know geranium also provides an antibacterial benefit preventing infections? The final important ingredient is Fenugreek C02 Extract. It has been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply within 24 to 72 hours!
#6: Herbal Tea
Many new mothers joke about never being able to enjoy a cup of hot tea again. But should you be so lucky, the Milk’s Up blend from HotTea Mama is the perfect solution. The unique, caffeine-free blend of Fennel, Nettle, Fenugreek Seeds, Lemon Verbena and Star Anise is a support to your milk supply … and it helps that it tastes delicious too.
#7: Breastfeeding Bras
It is normally recommended that you are fitted for breastfeeding bras in the final few weeks of your pregnancy. However, personally I found it really difficult to make a decision as I had no idea what size I would be after giving birth. I opted for some basic bras from M&S which came in S, M, L etc. as opposed to a cup size. Once the baby arrived, I also decided that I wanted a softer, easy access bra for night time.
It will be a very personal decision as to what you opt for. However, my recommendation would be that once you find the one you like, buy several. I did not fathom things like sweating, leaking boobs and baby spew. You may end up changing a few times a day and the last thing you want to do is another load of washing. Also you will wear these non-stop until you finish feeding, so it is worth spending money to ensure you are comfortable.
Muslins will soon become your best friend as a new mum – you can use them for just about everything! But they are especially one of the best breastfeeding essentials you can buy. Use them for spit up or as a breastfeeding cover. Perhaps you can even bunch them up as a makeshift pillow if you need some support whilst breastfeeding. Both breathable and versatile, don’t leave home without your muslin!
#9: Plenty of Water
Breastfeeding is tiring and thirsty work and I never realized how dehydrated it would make me. Always make sure you have water on hand when you sit down to feed bubs – there is no denying it is one of the breastfeeding essentials!
#10: Breast Pump
Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding (i.e. no formula), you may still wish to pump milk for your baby. This could be for any number of reasons, such as:
- Whilst feeding on one side, the other side is leaking and you don’t want to waste the milk;
- Baby is unwell or not feeding regularly and you need to express; or
- You will be away from your baby but still want them to have breast milk.
This is why I would say a breast pump should be included in your breastfeeding essentials kit. You have the option of a manual or an electric breast pump, and a single or double pump. It is a personal choice and there are a vast array on the market in varying price ranges. Two noteworthy products to mention are:
- Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump – environmentally friendly, affordable, easy to use when on the go, and great for the let down on the free boob.
Elvie Electric Wearable Smart Breast Pump – hands free, discreet and a revolutionary product in the breast pump world.
#11: Breastfeeding Cover
A breastfeeding cover was literally my life saver and one of my must have breastfeeding essentials. Our family is always on the go and we had an abundance of visitors during those early months, so I was required to feed my daughter wherever and whenever duty called. Personally I wanted to maintain my dignity and not expose my breasts to the world, so I would slip the cover on and feed my daughter discretely. Cover Me offer a range of beautiful designs to suit everyone’s style and taste. I cannot tell you how many people said to me ‘oh, I didn’t even realize you were feeding!‘
#12: Breastfeeding Tops + Easy Access Clothing
This is a very personal choice. And whilst some clothes will work for one person, they will not work for another. I often opted for a maternity singlet / vest and then would wear a loose fitting jumper over the top. Or a button down shirt / dress … which doesn’t have to be specific ‘maternity‘ clothing. Honestly, the options seem to be getting better by the day so do some research and stock up on a few staples. I found that H&M and ASOS provided lots of affordable options.
#13: All the Cake
This is definitely not a time in your life to count calories. Eat all the cake whenever you want, because you deserve it mama! Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories and you need all the energy to look after your little bundle of joy every day (and night). I never had a sweet tooth prior to pregnancy, but 2 years on and I still cannot resist chocolate or cake almost on a daily basis.
Feeding another human is both a rewarding and challenging experience. I hope you have found this list of breastfeeding essentials useful and discovered a few new products to try. Where possible I have included items from small businesses run by women, so please support them. Ultimately, they are just like you and me and every time they make a sale, they do a happy dance.
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