As I mentioned before, I didn’t have the easiest start breastfeeding Prim. However, I’m now a fairly competent (and confident!) breastfeeder, so I thought it might be helpful to share the things that helped me when I was starting to breastfeed.
A lot of these items I still use (though there are a couple things which were really just for the first weeks when I was still getting the hang of breastfeeding). So if you’re planning on breastfeeding and are wondering what you might want to add to your baby registry, here’s what I recommend:
- My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: The name is horrendous and most of the patterns look like some middle schooler obsessed with Lisa Frank designed them, but the pillow itself is so, so helpful when breastfeeding a newborn. The fact that you can actually secure the pillow around you is key, because it means it won’t slip around while you’re feeding, resulting in the baby slipping between you and the pillow. I stopped using the pillow after about 2 weeks, when I finally got comfortable with feeding and Prim got a little less… floppy. So if you don’t want to shell out the $45 for the pillow, see if you can borrow a friend’s for the first few weeks.
- Breast Pump: You should be able to get a pump for free through your insurance now (which is awesome because the good ones are not cheap). I got the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, which works great and I totally recommend. Also, know that you can request a breast pump to use while in the hospital — it’s great for getting your milk production up, or supplementing if you’re having latch issues. Plus, most hospitals use Medela pumps, so take home all the extra pieces when you leave the hospital if you have a Medela pump at home, because the hospital can’t re-use them (extra breast shields, collection containers, etc.)
- Medela Tender Care Lanolin: There are a lot of creams out there to aid in breastfeeding, but most doctors recommend 100% lanolin. I use the Medela cream religiously and it really helps to keep things comfortable. (And no, you don’t have to wipe it off before each feeding — it’s totally safe for the baby.)
- Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads: These are weirdly pricey, and may be unnecessary if you don’t experience sensitivity or latch issues, but if you have some trouble like I did in the beginning, these are a freaking God-send. Get your moneys worth by cutting each pad into fourths and reusing the quarters until they lose their stickiness.
- Nursing Pads: These are more personal preference, but I like that these are organic cotton and washable. (And if you are blessed with an oversupply of milk like I am, get multiple packs. You’re gonna need them.)
- Nursing Bras: This is personal preference, obviously, but this one is my favorite because it’s lightweight, stretchy and soft (and inexpensive!)
- Breast Milk Storage Bags: If you’re planning on pumping and/or returning to work while breastfeeding, make sure you pick up some milk storage bags. I have these Medela ones, which are fine. My sister has Ziplock brand ones, which are cheaper and seem to work just as well. Either way, these are great for labeling and freezing breast milk (because who’s got space to keep a bunch of tiny bottles in the freezer? I sure don’t.)
- Hands-free Pumping Bra: Again, if you’re planning on pumping and/or returning to work while breastfeeding, this is kind of a necessity. I didn’t have one for the first few weeks (not realizing that I’d be pumping then), and quickly realized what a pain pumping is without one — um, yeah, you can’t use your hands for 20 minutes. Awesome. I ordered one online which works fine, but I recommend just cutting holes in an old sports bra — cheaper and easier.
If you’re a nursing mama with any additional recommendations, feel free to leave a comment!