In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d share some of my favorite products that helped me when I was breastfeeding. “Wait,” you ask, “I thought all you needed was a pair of lactating breasts?” Yes, that’s true, you can breastfeed with nothing besides your breasts and your two arms, but let’s not be martyrs. It’s fine to rely on some items to be more comfortable and make the nursing experience more rewarding. After all, we should do whatever we can to make the time breastfeeding as pleasant as possible. To that end, here are the items that I used — and liked — while I was nursing my two children.
I have no relationships with any of the companies below, nor the online stores, I literally just like the products enough that I want to share them with other mothers and mothers-to-be.
- My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
I went through several different pillows and this one was the best for me. Now, you can use some regular pillows and prop things up as best you can, but there’s no need to be uncomfortable. Think of the nursing relationship as being long-term, and one that should be invested in. A good nursing pillow can ease the back and arm pain that might come while feeding the baby, especially in those first months. The removable cover was helpful and the pocket contained a few things I needed when I sat down and didn’t want to get up again (like a baby nail file and the TV remote!). I loved the fuzzy covers in the winter months.
- Nursing Tanks
You can get by without a lot of fancy nursing clothing but at the very least, getting some nursing tanks will help make the breastfeeding experience so much easier. This is especially true when you’re out and you need to feed the baby. If you have a good nursing bra or a nursing tank, you can be as discreet as you feel the need to be.
- Lansinoh Nursing Pads
Nursing breasts leak. Matter of fact, they start leaking even before giving birth. The breast you’re not feeding from will leak while baby is on the other breast. There’s all sorts of ways of dealing with this, but for me, nursing pads were a must. I went through several different brands and found that the Lansinoh were the softest and helped contain things the best.
- Medela Breast Pumps
There are a variety of pumps put out by Medela, and every mom will choose the one that best fits their budget and their needs. I went through several different brands of pumps and not only were the Medela pumps the best for me, but I could find the parts at Target or other local stores, and that really helped when it was time to get new tubing or bottle tops. I had both the Pump In Style and the Swing, which is battery operated and could be taken just about anywhere because it was so portable. The hospital also gave me a hand pump, but I have to tell you, it did nothing for me and I never used it. (Well, that’s not exactly true, I used it when the only other pump in the hospital was a different brand and it didn’t fit my breasts very well and I couldn’t get a let down for trying!)
- Motherlove Nipple Cream
Motherlove makes a lot of great nursing products and I found their nipple cream to be my favorite. I didn’t need it after too long but when I needed it, I really needed it!
- Mother’s Milk Tea
Will the nursing teas help you make more milk? Maybe, maybe not. But, it’s nice to have a cup of tea in between all the water and if it helps the milk supply, that’s awesome. Mother’s Milk was my favorite and I drank a ton of it. (If you truly have a problem with supply, talk to a lactation consultant right away to get help — there a LOT of things you can do that are proven to work!)
- Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper
New moms know a secret: the baby never sleeps in her crib. For breastfeeding mamas, and especially those tho had a c-section, the co-sleeper is genius. Baby is inches away from you and yet not in the bed with you. I loved it for naps too because I could sit on the bed with my laptop and baby was right next to me while I worked. Plus, the bottom of the Arm’s Reach has space for all the blankets and whatnot you need to store!
- Milkmaid Goods Nursing Ponchos
I’m not a big fan of the nursing cover. I found them to be difficult to use in most cases and I often went without. In Connecticut I have the right to nurse my baby wherever I am allowed to be so I didn’t worry about it too much. If you don’t want to cover up — don’t feel pressured to do it! But there was a time or two where I was outside in the sun or similar situations and I wanted to cover baby’s head so I liked using a poncho the best. These ponchos are so cute and versatile and you can even get just a basic black one!
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
You know that book that everyone gets when they’re pregnant? Yeah, it’s junk. Throw it out. This is the book you need to save your nursing relationship and get through the times that no one warns you about or solve problems that your mother or your friends didn’t have. La Leche is going to give you the best information and problem-solving techniques, all written with warmth and care and respect for you and your baby.
- Netflix (or Hulu, or Amazon Prime, or Audible, or your library card)
I’m going to tell you what (one of) my lactation consultants told me: sleep as you know it is over. So don’t worry about it anymore. Get a good book, watch a funny show, and enjoy the quiet moments with your baby, no matter what time it is. I read so many books while nursing, it was pretty cool. I also caught up on all that TV I missed because I didn’t have time to watch it. Your life will return to “normal” soon enough and you will miss nursing. You will miss it.