Whether you’re expecting your first baby, your last baby, or something in between, these breastfeeding essentials will help make your nursing experience a successful one!
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Truth be told, you don’t actually need much to breastfeed. All you really need is your *ahem* milk-makers and your baby, and you’re set! Which is one of the great things about breastfeeding.
That being said, there are things that can make your nursing experience more enjoyable and successful.
And after several years’ worth of breastfeeding experience now, I’ve learned a thing or two.
Whether you’re expecting your first, your last, or something in between, let me share with you my top breastfeeding essentials. All of these things have helped me tremendously, and I’m confident they will help you, too.
A nursing pillow (such as a Boppy) is wonderful for helping you position your baby, especially when he/she is little. And it kept me from hunching over so much, taking strain off my neck and shoulders.
Bonus: I love these breastfeeding stretches for soreness in my back and shoulders!
Trust me, you will want these. Because you just never know when that milk is going to start a-flowin’ at inopportune times. Like when you hear another baby… or see a baby… or even think about your baby…
I know, they say if you have the right latch your nipples shouldn’t get sore. But finding that correct latch can take some time. (I’ve had troubles in the beginning with every single baby!) And in the meantime… the girls can get pretty sore. So, you’ll want to have some lanolin handy.
Breast Pump (+ extra parts)
Chances are, you’re probably going to want/need someone else to be able to feed the baby at some point.
When you do, a good-quality pump is key! I’ve used an Ameda and a Medela, and I definitely preferred the Medela.
Be sure to check with your health insurance company. Most will cover the cost of a breast pump, and those things aren’t cheap!
Milk Storage bags
If you do pump and store milk, I recommend these bags for freezer storage.
There are many different ways to nurse modestly in public, but a nursing cover was a must-have for me.
I got these bras cheap from Amazon, and I honestly like them better than the expensive ones I got from Motherhood Maternity!
The only thing I don’t care for is the removable cups. But I have found if I wash them in laundry bags such as these and air-dry them, the cups don’t move around on me as much.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read several blog posts that said nursing shirts were a waste of money. So I didn’t get any.
However, I got one while nursing my second baby and loved it. It was so handy that after I had my third baby, I stocked up on a few more.
I got most of mine on Amazon, but you might also try Pink Blush, Latched Mama, or Motherhood Maternity.
If nothing else, I highly recommend getting a few nursing camis. Pair them with a button-down shirt or use them with the two-shirt nursing method (pull the top shirt up and the bottom shirt down). I live in those things when I’m nursing, especially in the early days when I’m nursing around the clock.
Breastfeeding is a natural thing that women have been doing since the beginning of time… but it can be difficult at times. It’s a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge so you know what to expect and can prepare for the common issues you might encounter.
You might also want to check out my list of breastfeeding tips & resources!
And don’t hesitate to talk to friends and family members, or find a local lactation consultant. Do not struggle in silence! I can almost guarantee you know someone who holds the answers to your questions.
NON-PRODUCT Breastfeeding Essentials
Increasing your water intake is KEY while breastfeeding. Both for milk production and for your own health. Breastmilk is 90% water, so that baby of yours is going to suck you dry (literally) if you don’t replenish.
This is something that, honestly, I struggle to do well. But I can feel a drastic difference in my body when I do. If you struggle with it, too, I recommend getting a water app on your phone (I use My Water). It has helped me tremendously!
Feeding your baby takes a lot out of your body. (Feeding a baby actually consumes more calories than growing one!) So make sure you’re eating plenty of nutritious foods.
Breastfeeding (and pumping) requires a good deal of time, so be prepared for that. It’s one of the top things I wish I had known before I had my first baby.
It gets better as the baby grows (and it’s different with each baby — my first was a very pokey eater, but my second two have been extremely efficient), but in those early days…
I have found that putting books on the Kindle or Libby app on my phone makes the feeding sessions seem a lot faster and more enjoyable. I actually look forward to them so I can get a little reading in!
Breastfeeding isn’t always the easiest. In fact, it can be downright frustrating sometimes. Especially in the beginning. Figuring out latching problems, resolving nursing strikes, declogging milk ducts, and navigating all the other issues and obstacles that arise can wear on a momma’s nerves.
So a healthy dose of patience is definitely something to add to your list of breastfeeding essentials.
A Positive Attitude
The last and final thing you need to make your breastfeeding experience a successful (dare I even say enjoyable) one is a good attitude.
As I said above, nursing your baby is a beautiful, natural thing but it doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Some women (and babies) naturally take to it, but for others, it’s a struggle.
So the number one thing you need — both for you and your baby — is a good attitude.
Whether you love it or hate it, be thankful you can. Focus on what a blessing it is to be able to nourish your baby with your body. Be grateful for what you are able to do.
Yes, the logistics of breastfeeding (clothing restrictions, public feedings, pumping, etc.) can get tiresome, but it’s only a relatively short period of time in the grand scheme of your life. Embrace it.
And when challenges pop up, resist the urge to stress. Your baby can sense it, your body will react to it, and it’ll only make things worse. Relax, trust your instincts, talk to other moms, and give it time. It’s amazing what a few deep breaths, a calm attitude, and a little bit of patience can do.
Related Post: The Huge Frustration That Was Actually a Blessing
SHARE WITH US: Are you/have you been a breastfeeding momma? What would you add to this list?
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