10 Breastfeeding Essentials That Take the Pain out of Nursing
One of the perks of breastfeeding is that you don't need a whole slew of accessories to get the job done. Simply whip out a boob, and you're golden! But you know what makes it all extra accommodating, time saving, and FUN? Breastfeeding baby gear! Improve your breastfeeding experience with these 10 nifty essentials:
Remember all those pillows you hoarded to elevate your feet during pregnancy? Don't toss them just yet — they'll be getting a ton of use once your little one arrives!
Pillows are great for propping up your arm, side, and back to support various feeding positions. They're also wonderfully multipurpose, providing a barrier on the bed during nighttime feedings, and as a bumper when the bed is flush against the wall for co-sleeping.
You could buy a dedicated nursing pillow such as My Breast Friend with a nifty buckle on the back, or the Honest Nursing Pillow (pictured) that comes with a built-in nursing cover. But your own pillows work just as well, if not better… less to fuss with!
2. A Watch
As a new mom, you'll be b-u-s-y. Whether you're tackling an endless amount of chores at home or running errands all around town, there will be times when you just forget about the feeding schedule. You'll only realize this when it's too late and baby's starving, inconsolable, and screaming at the top of their lungs! A watch will help you keep track of time and plan ahead. We love this men’s gold Nixon watch for its bold yet timeless look.
3. Nipple Cream
The beginning of your breastfeeding journey can be pretty painful… literally! Babies who need to eat round the clock + a latch that needs a ton of work = sore, cracked, possibly bleeding nipples. While you're still getting the hang of nursing, nipple cream is your best friend.
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (pictured) is made out of 100% all-natural lanolin (wool wax) and is safe for breastfeeding babies. If you prefer something lanolin-free, try Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, made with olive oil, cocoa, shea and mango butters, and calendula extracts. The best part? Everything's organic!
4. Nursing Bra
Whether you're the type to go braless or you already have an extensive collection of underpinnings, there's no way around it — you'll need to invest in a nursing bra for proper support, and the ease of unhooking when feeding in public.
It's crucial that you get measured for a proper-fitting bra. A good maternity boutique will help you find your correct size, and provide you with options that allow for expansion when your milk comes in.
The days of frumpy and hideous nursing bras are long gone. This nude lacy number by Elle Macpherson looks oh-so-sweet and feminine. Want something a bit sexier? This black bra by Cache Couer (pictured) won't disappoint.
5. Stretchy Camisoles
A stretchy camisole will be an indispensable part of your nursing wardrobe. At home, use it on its own sans bra for the ultimate freedom and comfort. Simply pull down from the neckline, and voila— no exposed tummies! When out and about, wear it under any top, breastfeeding-friendly or not. Now you can fulfill your dreams of nursing in a turtleneck!
These stretchy camisoles by American Apparel stand up to a million washes. Buy them in bulk — you're sure to wear one every day of the week!
6. Burp Cloth
Breastfeeding can be a pretty messy experience. Clean up leaking milk, spit up, and other miscellaneous spills with a handy burp cloth.
Let's be honest here — burp cloths are essentially washcloths with an exclusive new name, and possibly a baby-related image slapped on the packaging. So if the motif doesn’t matter, stock up on washcloths, or better yet, use what you already have at home. (If you seriously want to splurge on the good stuff, check out aden + anais washcloths made out of 100% cotton muslin.)
7. Nursing Cover
If you plan on leaving the house with baby, you'll want something that will cover you up during feedings. Nursing covers are essentially aprons with a structured opening up top—this prevents your baby from suffocating under swaths of cloth, and allows you to make eye contact with your little one.
Bebe au Lait (pictured) makes lovely nursing covers in the daintiest floral prints. Prefer something a bit more bold? Check out Udder Cover's gorgeous graphic prints ("Andy" and "Liam" are absolutely stunning!).
8. Nipple Pads
In the early stages of breastfeeding, your boobs are going to be totally wonky while you're still establishing your milk supply. Expect a lot of drenched, musky smelling shirts. Nipple pads are an absolute must have, as they protect your clothes from unexpected leaks.
These Lansinoh Disposable Pads are ultra-thin, super absorbent, and have a non-slip tape to keep them in place. For an eco-friendly and cost-effective option, try washable pads, such as these ones by Philips AVENT. For a total game changer, try Lily Padz (pictured). They technically aren't "pads"—they stick onto your nipples, preventing milk from leaking! They're convenient (Go braless! Wear them in the pool!), discreet, and with proper care, reusable for many months.
9. An Extra Shirt
For when your nipple pads fail you.
10. Breast Pump
Planning on returning to work? Perhaps you just need the occasional day off from diaper duty. Investing in a good breast pump combines the benefits of breastmilk with the flexibility of bottle-feeding.
Make sure to choose a pump that best suits your needs. An electric pump like the Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced is extremely efficient, and allows you to store huge quantities of milk at a time. The downside? $$$. If you only plan on pumping once in a while, a handheld manual pump such as the Medela Harmony may suffice. Note: this route will require a ton of patience and elbow grease!
What are some of your nursing essentials? Share the products you love in the comments below!
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