For many women breastfeeding is hard. It is super convenient and completely inconvenient at the same time. Convenient because you never have to pack a bottle when leaving the house (if you are comfortable breastfeeding anywhere) and completely inconvenient because you’re the only one that can do it (unless also bottle feeding). It also determines the clothes you wear, which made me feel pretty confined with my first baby. But even with all those things, it’s incredibly rewarding and wonderful for your new tiny human. Most mothers also relish the closeness it brings with your baby. Here are my favorite items that made breastfeeding just a little bit easier.
- Silverette Silver Nursing Cups
- Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack
- Simple Wishes Hands Free Nursing Bra
- Medela Steam Bags
- Kiinde Storage Bags
- Reusable Nursing Pads
- Mother’s Milk Tea
- Nursing Tanks
- Bottle Warmer
- Burt’s Bees Baby Burp Cloths
One: Silverette Silver Nursing Cups (for breast feeding moms)
These made my all-around favorite baby items list as well and at some point, we will do a whole post about them. The Silverette Nursing Cups worked wonders for me and several of my friends. Thanks to a certain Meg N. these saved my nipples the second time around. The quick and dirty why I absolutely love these: 1- You wear them 24/7 except when feeding the baby and since they are smooth cool silver, your nipples do not touch a single piece of irritating, sticky, tear jerking fabric while they are raw and cracked and painful. This was everything for me. 2- They trap a little bit of breast milk which is the best thing to help heal those painful nipples. 3- They eliminated the need for me to use most of the other breastfeeding products out there like ointments and such. I will say that you should still give your nips open air time and let them hang out and dry as much as possible to help heal.
Two: Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack (for breast feeding moms)
These were super helpful to have when I was having all sorts of issues nursing my second baby. These can be frozen in the freezer to help reduce swelling and pain, or heated for a few seconds in the microwave to help break up clogged milk ducts. I actually own two sets so there is always a cold pair in my freezer as well as a pair that I can quickly heat up as necessary. They fit around a breast pump shield as well, so you can use them AS you are pumping when trying to work out a particularly stubborn clog. I wish I had had these for the first time I was nursing!
Three: Simple Wishes Hands Free Nursing Bra
Even if you only have to pump a handful of times, it makes all the difference to be able to do it hands free. No one really enjoys pumping, but being hands free makes it a little easier because it means you can multitask. There are many different options as far as hands free pumping bras go. In my opinion, this one is by far the best for a few reasons. 1- It’s machine washable, 2- it’s really soft, and 3- It’s stretchy and 4- IT’S ADJUSTABLE. Fully adjustable. If you are like me and are one size immediately after birth and then another size 6 months later- this is a necessity. You can buy one bra, and one bra only, without worrying about it fitting over the course of a year (or however long you end up breastfeeding).
For: Medela Steam Bags
With newborns there is a lot of sterilizing of bottles, parts, toys etc that needs to happen. You can certainly boil to sterilize but I like these because they do the job well and quickly, with very little mess. Just put the parts in the bag, add a little water, microwave for a few minutes and then pour out the hot water, let the parts cool- done. All sterilized.
Five: Kiinde Milk Storage Bags
I think these Kiinde Milk storage bags are sort of like the Cadillac of milk storage. This means they are a little bit more expensive than many of the other brands. This was something I am willing to spend the money on because breastmilk is liquid gold, and anything I can do to reduce the likelihood of spilling a drop – I will do. How so? You can expand the bottom of the bag, and the shape it creates allows the bag to stand up on its own when filled with milk. The cap is a plastic twist cap. This makes it super easy to pour milk into the bag and then close it up tight. Of course, the plastic cap means this product makes a little bit more plastic waste in the world.
Six: Reusable Nursing Pads
I have talked about how my nipples were ridiculously sensitive both times I was breastfeeding. I cannot stand the feel of disposable nursing pads sticking to cracked and chapped nipples so I tried a few brands of reusable nursing pads instead. Pros: Reusable nursing pads are much softer and they are better for the environment since you can just throw them into the wash. They also save a little bit of money in the long run since you aren’t constantly buying boxes of disposable pads. Cons – some brands are more absorbent than others and you need to be sure to wash them daily or more often, so they don’t get moldy. They also do not stick to your bra like most of the disposable ones do. Now, if you are wearing the Silverette Nursing Cups, then your nipples are protected from sticking to nursing pads, and this becomes less of an issue. I still used the reusable pads during the day and used overnight disposable ones when I went to bed for the first few months because they were more absorbent. The brand I like best seems to be discontinued, but my last time breastfeeding I ordered these. They are contoured to fit, soft, and come with a useful little bag to wash them in so that they do not get lost in the washing machine with your other missing socks.
Seven: Mother’s Milk Tea
My milk supply is always extremely fickle. If I go one day without drinking enough water, eating enough protein or am stressed or sick – by the nighttime feeding, my boobs are running on empty. Of course, empty boobs + hungry crying baby = more stress. It’s a vicious cycle. With my second pregnancy, in additional to making sure I ate enough protein during the day, I added one to three cups of this tea to my day. I actually love the taste of it with a little bit of honey in it and really do think it helped with keeping up my milk supply a bit. I can’t make any promises since every mama’s body is different, and it definitely took drinking it regularly to do anything – not just a cup here and there.
Eight: Nursing Tank
Many companies make these, I have some from Gap and Target. This last go around I liked my Gap ones better because they belly area was loser fitting and therefor made me feel less chubby. Nursing tanks are great for wearing to bed. These ones have a shelf bra in them, so you don’t have to wear a bra. I usually wore them under a regular shirt during the day, so I could just lift my shirt, pull down the nursing tank tab, and nurse wherever I was. Wearing a tank with a regular shirt allows for limited skin exposure, fully belly coverage, and upper chest coverage, so it makes for somewhat discreet nursing.
Nine: Bottle Warmer
My first go around, I did not use a bottle warmer. I heated up water, put the bottle or frozen breast milk into the warm water and waited for it to defrost and warm up. The second time around I purchased a bottle warmer and was really glad that I did. It just made the process easier and a little bit faster. This one fit the Dr. Brown’s bottles I used as well as the Kiinde Milk Storage pouches. It also comes with a neat little reference chart that suggests how long to set the timer for depending on fresh/cold/frozen milk or plastic or glass bottles.
Ten: Burt’s Bees Baby Burp Cloths
This may seem like a silly thing to be picky about, I know. But when your child spits up after every meal, and your clothes, furniture and carpets are constantly being pummeled with dribble, drabbled and projectile spit-up, you become very attached to burp cloths. I like these because they are super soft and the fabric is “thin” without being so thin that spit up goes right through it. The weight of these makes it really easy to wipe tiny newborn faces. Some burb cloth fabrics are too heavy weighted to wipe tiny delicate newborn mouths. The bonus with these is that they are 100% organic cotton fabric.