As a two-time breastfeeding mother, I have discovered some products that make the breastfeeding journey a little more comfortable. From a supportive nursing bra to soothing nipple cream, here are the top must-haves that I recommend for any nursing or pumping mom.
Although many women enjoy going braless, I quickly discovered that a comfortable nursing bra is a must while lactating, especially during the early days. A proper fitting bra not only offers support to swollen and sore breasts but also provides a place in which to put nursing pads. I own about a dozen nursing bras including the Silky Micro-Fleece Nursing Bra by Nursing Bra Express, Celestial Nursing Bra from Hotmilk Lingerie, and The Josie Sleep’in Beauty Bra from The Dairy Fairy. I personally recommend a wireless bra to prevent pressure points that can lead to blocked milk ducts and mastitis. Be prepared to try a bunch of different styles until you find a nursing bra that fits you comfortably. Also be prepared to buy more than one size of nursing bra as your breasts change throughout your breastfeeding journey.
As I quickly discovered after the birth of my daughter, nursing pads are an essential for any breastfeeding mom who wants to prevent embarrassing and messy milk leaks. First time moms tend to experience more leaking than moms with more than one baby, especially during the first few weeks and months. I started with Ameda Noshow Premium Disposable Nursing Pads but later switched to reusable cloth pads when I made the switch from disposables to cloth diapers. Some brands that I tried and still use include the Baby Nip Molded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads, Oko Creations Breathable Waterproof Nursing Pads and Nursing Pads with Merino Wool Topper, and Milk Diapers Nursing Pads. I needed nursing pads for almost two years with my daughter and still wear nursing pads with my son.
Before the birth of my daughter, I received the Boppy nursing pillow that I had put on my baby gift registry. I tried nursing with a regular pillow and without any support but quickly found that I loved my Boppy when nursing while sitting up. As my daughter got older, I used the pillow to help her sit up with supervision. Then during my second pregnancy, I used my Boppy as a sleep support pillow for my growing belly and between my legs. Once my son arrived, I again used my Boppy while nursing. Even my dogs love the Boppy, using the pillow as a dog pet when I am not nursing my son. The Boppy pillow is versatile and a must-have on my list of breastfeeding essentials.
After the birth of my daughter, I knew that I would need to return to my job outside the home. As soon as my milk came in, I started pumping a few times a day to build up a frozen stash. I continued pumping at least once a day for a total of twenty-three months. When my son was born, I was staying at home full time, so I did not need to pump, but I chose to do so anyway because I produced a lot of milk. I gave that pumped milk to my preschooler daughter. In either case, I recommend having a good breast pump. I have gone through three Ameda Purely Yours pumps over my breastfeeding journey. While I wish the Ameda warranty extended up to two years instead of covering just one, I have been happy with my Ameda pump.
Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, especially at first. During the first few days and weeks of nursing my firstborn, I experienced discomfort as my nipples toughened up. To help with the achiness, I used lanolin, which soothes and protects sore, dry, and cracked nipples. I personally like the Lansinoh brand, but you can use any other nipple cream or ointment that works for you. I especially recommend putting on some ointment before showering. Water hitting sore nipples is a sensation unlike any other!
What breastfeeding essentials do you recommend?
Front of Silky Micro-Fleece Nursing Bra by Nursing Bra Express © 2015 Heather Johnson
Ameda Noshow Premium Disposable Nursing Pads: http://amzn.to/1VQJeyM
Boppy Pillow Slipcover, Classic Elephants Blue: http://amzn.to/1Y1Uo54
Espen on the Boppy Pillow © 2016 Heather Johnson
Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Breast Pump: http://amzn.to/1Y1TIMW
Lansinoh Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers: http://amzn.to/1QLFCtk