As promised in my post with all of your postpartum must haves, I’m sharing the things that I truly needed for breastfeeding today! Most of these, I had no idea about until I was in the thick of things, and I so wish that someone had told me before the baby came so that I would be prepared ahead of time! If you have a baby on the way, go ahead and stock up on these and you will be glad you did!
If you are planning to breastfeed long-term, this is one of those things you just really need, and I can’t stress that enough! In the beginning when you are trying to establish your supply, you can use it to sneak in extra “feedings” or pump after a feeding to remove more milk. Plus, it’s handy to have in case you are one of those lucky ladies who has a baby that sleeps for long stretches at night! It’s bad for your supply (and your poor breasts) to go that long without nursing, and no one wants to wake a sleeping baby! I loved being able to grab my pump and knock out a session in about 15 mins without disturbing the babe! And as for the obvious, if you plan to ever leave your child for more than a few hours (working moms) or let daddy take a turn with the feeding, you will want to be able to pump bottles and store up milk!
I did my homework and ultimately landed on the Spectra. It is a closed circuit, so you don’t run the risk of milk back flow which creates all sorts of nasty issues. It is also more sanitary. Not to mention, this pump is fantastic at milk removal, is incredibly quiet and has quite a few settings to adjust to your comfort. I have used this thing for a year and am incredibly happy with my choice. I have zero complaints! You can also buy a handy car adapter which is a huge plus if you have a commute or for road trips.
One more thing to add, while we are talking pumping. I cannot stress enough how much you will want a hands-free pumping bra. This is the one I have and it is great. It is near impossible to hold onto both flanges at the same time, much less take care of a baby or get work done. Trust me on this!
Another definite need! I tried on about 5,000 different bras, and ultimately loved these ones from Motherhood Maternity. Supportive, but still comfy! I have one in nude and black and they are my go-tos. Easy (and discreet) access is a must when you are out in public with a nursing infant.
You probably recognize this one from my Post-Partum Must Haves post! I am reiterating it here because these are seriously necessary! They are really comfortable (which is key when you are newly breastfeeding), great for sleep support and are just enough coverage for those unexpected drop-ins. The pull-to-the-side style is great for easy access, too.
Another brand that I fell in love with is Kindred Bravely! I pretty much love anything of theirs, but their Simply Sublime bras are incredibly comfortable! They even have removable pads for leak protection!
The robe was hands-down one of the best investments that I made for my hospital bag. Post Peanut nursing robes are my favorite (I own about 4) and they have super cute and soft matching swaddles too! I loved having this to put on after her arrival and of course loved coordinating with my girl. It is perfect to wear around the house over a nursing tank (which you need a few of) too! I was a fan of anything that allowed me to feel a little put together for drop ins but still be comfortable and have easy nursing access! Plus those middle of the night feedings…
While we are talking nursing tanks, let me reiterate that anything that makes getting your baby to the milk faster is a win! Hangry babies are no fun, especially if you are out in public. I pretty much lived in one of these tanks and a cardi or some other layer for the first 6 months, until we started spacing out feedings a bit more.
Okay so these were gifted to me, and at first I was a little intimidated by them. But once I got the hang of it, I loved them! They literally seal everything in and prevent leaks. Thankfully, I stopped leaking as soon as my supply regulated, but I have a few friends that leaked the entire time they were breastfeeding. These are worth every penny to save you the embarrassment of a leak! Get them here!
This is one of those things that I didn’t know about until I was a month or two into my journey, and I wish I had known about since day 1! I know, these look weird, but they are amazing! You just suction it onto the side you aren’t nursing from and it catches your letdown (which is awesome if you normally leak and waste that milk in a pad!). I highly recommend getting this one with the suction base and stopper. (In fact having two isn’t a bad idea!) I did not initially and I cannot tell you how many times I bumped the thing over and then cried over spilled milk. I battled low supply and so every drop was precious! Once I got a Haakaa and started catching those extra letdowns, my supply increased and I was able to start building a pretty good freezer stash!
This will save your back! (You can get it in all sorts of colors, or even order a cute cover on Etsy to match your nursery.) These are awesome for helping to support your baby and are great for bottle feeding and snuggling, too. I pretty much tell everyone expecting a baby that they need one. It is great to have!
Okay I know, there are a lot of people that hate these and firmly believe they shouldn’t have to use them. And hey, if that is you…more power to ya, chick! I personally was mortified to have my boob out in public, and my husband and I are not comfortable with it. So having a cover was great! I love this stretchy “infinity scarf” style, personally! It is light and compact to keep in the diaper bag (or wear), breathable and the baby can’t kick or pull it off and expose you! Plus it doubles as a car seat or shopping cart cover. I love multi-function pieces!
I have a few different products that I love for this purpose! First, is the Medela milk storage system. This is a God-send for new mamas who are tired and not thinking clearly! You can simply twist the lids to mark the day and time that the milk was pumped, and the tray makes rotating your oldest milk to the front a snap!
Now I know what you are probably thinking. Katie…you just told us to get the Spectra pump, not the Medela! Don’t worry. You can totally pump into your Spectra bottles and then transfer the milk to these storage bottles and you will be just fine. But if you don’t want to wash more dishes than you already have to, order you a couple sets of these bottle adapters! They allow you to attach your Medela bottles directly to your Spectra pump so that you can pump straight into your storage container!
As far as freezing milk is concerned, these Lansinoh milk storage bags are the best that there is! They don’t leak and are easy to lay flat and freeze, which saves you so much precious freezer space. You can also take a pen and write the date and time that you expressed the milk which makes organization so much easier.
Girl, I know this stuff is a little pricey. It is literally worth every penny. If you are pregnant, get a few tubes now. Keep one in your nursery, one in your diaper bag, and take one to the hospital with you. My first week or two of breastfeeding, the nipple pain was excruciating. I cracked and bled and scabbed. It was miserable. My sister-in-law told me to start using this and it made a world of difference. Next time I will use it from day 1. (Plus the Lansinoh brand is totally safe for baby, which I know was a worry that I had!). Just apply it liberally every time you finish nursing your babe and it will help you so much!
I absolutely loved having these. You can keep them cold to help with painful engorgement or clogs, or I personally loved using them warm. I struggled with letdown, so wrapping these in a wet paper towel and warming them up before I pumped or nursed really helped to get things flowing. Not to mention it feels so soothing and relaxing! They were really helpful for getting things moving with a few of my clogged ducts, too. I definitely recommend them!
When you are breastfeeding, calories and hydration play a HUGE role in your supply. When you are a tired, sleep deprived mama, it is easy to forget to eat and drink. Therein lies a big problem! I found it helpful to keep some snacks and a good water bottle in my nursing station. I have a bin next to my chair in Addilyn’s Nursery that I kept stocked for easy access. These Milkmakers location cookies are yummy if you aren’t feeling baking! (I have an amazing lactation cookie recipe I will have to share!) I also loved having Quaker Oat Chewy granola bars for a quick bite. The oatmeal in them is great for production, too!
As for the water intake, I found it easiest to take a “fill up as I empty out” approach. Every time I was heading in to nurse Addie, I filled up my water bottle (these 32 oz ones are awesome!) and committed to drinking all or most of it while I was sitting there. Even if I didn’t finish it, it helped me to make sure I was drinking at least half my weight in ounces (which is the recommended minimum).
Especially in the beginning, you will spend over half of your day with a tiny human attached to you. Sure, there will be lots of time for sweet bonding moments where you stare into each other’s eyes. But there will also be a lot of time where you are sitting there doing your thing and your baby is sound asleep. There comes a point where you can only scroll social media and Pinterest but so much. I loved having my iPad mini and some headphones handy to catch up on my favorite shows (Thank you, Hulu)! The Smart Cover makes it so that I can set it up like a little tiny TV! For me, this was a must to help me stay awake during those tired times.
I hope that helps! Navigating the world of breastfeeding can be so hard, especially for first time moms! I also have a great Pinterest board about breastfeeding that you should go follow. There is so much helpful info there!