If you’re a first time mom and have chosen to breastfeed your baby, it’s often hard to know how to get started.
When I had my first son, I had so many questions and no idea where to begin. I also didn’t have any tools or supplies to help me. I didn’t have a pump, bottles, nursing bras, or any of the other essentials that make nursing so much more convenient and enjoyable.
Along with that, I made so many mistakes, and because of them, I ended up running out of milk at three weeks postpartum and being forced to put my baby on formula.
Sometimes you get lucky and your baby knows how to breastfeed as soon as they’re born, other times it takes a bit for him/her to learn.
You might think you don’t need anything extra because your body does all the work making the milk, but in reality there are several essentials that will make breastfeeding a much better experience for both you and your baby.
Though you’ve chosen to breastfeed, it’s likely there will be times when you need to be able to feed your baby through a bottle (something always comes up). Having a good pump allows you to do this and still keep your baby on your milk.
I’ve been through quite a few pumps myself and found that if you don’t get a good quality one, the pump is either extremely painful to use or worthless and unable to pull more than an ounce per side.
My favorite pump, by far, is the Pump In Style from Medela. They do cost more than I’d hoped to spend on a pump but you can get them at a discount from Amazon. Also, if you’re going to be having more kids, you can use the pump for each of them. If not, you can sell the pump once you’re done using it and get a lot of what you paid back.
Medela sells great sets of bottles and milk bags to go with their pumps that I loved using for my youngest son.
When you’re breastfeeding, your body is always making milk and sometimes it leaks. Especially at nights if the time in between feedings is longer, you may wake up to find yourself soaked in breastmilk.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than walking around with two wet spots on your shirt right where breasts are.
Nursing pads are meant to absorb any milk that does leak out so that it doesn’t ruin your clothes. I’ve tried a variety of pads and some I loved, others not so much. I’d recommend these ones if you’re looking for some good pads that won’t leak.
Whether you’re pumping or breastfeeding, if you’ve chosen to feed your baby your milk, you’ll probably find that your breasts start to ache or crack at some point. This can be quite painful and make it difficult to feed your baby.
Nursing pads can also stick to your nipples if you don’t use some type of nipple cream and it hurts quite a bit to pull them off. You don’t want to use just any cream because if your breastfeeding you want to make sure whatever you use isn’t going to harm your baby.
I’d recommend this cream as it works great to prevent your nipples from drying out and cracking or offering relief if they already are. It’s also safe to use even if you’re breastfeeding your baby.
Breastfeeding is so much easier and more convenient when you have a good set of nursing bras. It gets old really fast to have to keep taking off your bra every time you feed your baby and sometimes when you’re in public you really can’t just take it off.
Not to mention, it’s uncomfortable for both you and your baby to have your bra pushed up or down. It gets in the way and can make it hard for your baby to breathe if you aren’t careful. I often ended up having to take off both my shirt and my bra to feed my son the first time around because without a nursing bra it’s just too hard and unsafe to do it any other way.
With a good nursing bra you can easily unclip the front every time you need to feed your baby. It’s safer for both of you and it’s convenient!
If you’re nursing your baby and there are people around, you’re going to want something to cover up you and your baby as you breastfeed. A blanket does work but it is much harder to work with and there will always be times when something pops out that you’d rather not have on display for the world. It’s embarrassing to say the least.
A nursing apron is made specifically for nursing moms and is designed to fit around you and your baby as you breastfeed to give you both the privacy you need. Best of all, you can find good ones for under $10!
I recently worked with a young mom who had a set of twins and she told me about the Freemie pump. It’s an excellent pumping attachment that will work Medela pumps and a few other brands that allows you to pump while you’re doing just about anything.
The young mom I worked with spoke very highly of it stating she could actually pump at the same time she was feeding both twins a bottle with one twin in each arm. It’s completely hands free as it pumps leaving you free to care for your baby or do whatever you need to while you pump instead of holding the suction cups to your breasts the entire time.
The freemie has two cups that go inside each side of your bra and suction hoses that will attach from these cups to your pump. You simply turn it on and it pumps both sides simultaneously for as long as you want!
I wish I’d known about this when I had my sons because it would have saved me so much time and made pumping much more convenient the times that I used my pump. Nobody likes having to sit and hold suction cups to your breasts while they pump and when your baby starts crying in the middle of pumping, it’s just frustrating and hard to not be able to do anything!
What do you think of these breastfeeding essentials? Do you have others you think should be included? Let me know by leaving a comment below!