When I was pregnant I was determined to breastfeed. I had my own, pretty selfish reasons, and they were enough to make me persevere. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was pretty damn hard for 8 weeks. We kept going though, and in the end Piglet was breastfed until his first birthday.
It has gotten me thinking about what I used to make breastfeeding easier for me. Everyone is different, and their preferences will vary. Any of the products that suit me may have the complete opposite effect for others, and that’s ok. But these are my top 8 must have items for breastfeeding.
1. A Nursing Bra (that fits!)
This might seem a bit obvious, but finding the right bra can be quite tough. When your baby is first born and your milk comes in they will be massive – really obnoxiously huge. There is no point buying loads of nursing bras when you’re that size because they go down again pretty quickly!
At night you’re not going to want to leave your boobs to roam free, you really need to be wearing a nursing bra even if it does nothing more than keep the breast pads in place! I liked these super soft wireless bras (which are also available in the USA) as they were so comfortable to sleep in, but I could still feed Piglet easily.
Day to day I preferred a nursing bra that was more like my pre-pregnancy bras. A good fitting underwired bra that folds down to allow for comfortable breastfeeding is just what I needed! They don’t have to be ugly either, you can feel feminine in a pretty but functional bra too.
2. Milk Catchers
Especially in the early days, when you’re feeding baby from one breast the other one can start leaking. My view is there is no point is wasting perfectly good milk! Medela have these milk collection shells (again, also available in the USA) which you can just pop in your bra to capture the milk, and then you can freeze it for later.
Even if you’re not expressing, having some expressed milk stored in the freezer can be really useful for weaning. So you might as well take advantage!
3. Breast Pump
I have used 3 different breast pumps, 4 if you include the one at the hospital too. Even if you’re not planning on expressing to bottle feed, sometimes you need a bit of relief! I had a few occasions where I was without Piglet and my boobs sure knew about it! A simple manual pump does the job, I had an Avent one (also available in the USA) which did the job nicely.
4. Nipple Shield
This is not one for everyone, but nipple shields (also available in the USA) really helped me. They not only helped Piglet latch, but they helped to prevent sore and cracked nipples from regular feeding. It was first suggested to me by the neonatal nurses – otherwise I don’t think I ever would have known about them.
5. Breast Pads
There’s no point skirting around the topic – you’re going to leak milk. I used disposable breast pads (also available in the USA) for out and about as they are easy to quickly change in the loos and carry on.
At home though and overnight I preferred a reusable bamboo pad (again, also available in the USA). They were less synthetic and better for the environment. You just pop them in the washing machine to clean them 🙂
6. Milk Storage Bags
Pretty self explanatory, these Tommee Tippee milk storage bags (also available in the USA) meant I could easily store milk in the freezer. Whether it was small amounts from the milk catchers, or from a full pumping session the bags held it well.
7. Nursing Pillow
I had a Widgey Nursing Pillow (also available in the USA) which I loved…. still kind of do. When Piglet was really small he would feed for a long time. I used to get myself comfortable and have him resting on the pillow, as it meant I didn’t get a dead arm!
8. Nipple Cream
This one is kind of a given! I used the Bennetts cream (can be purchased in the USA), but others swear by the Lanisoh (again, can be purchased in the USA). There are loads of other brands out there, but I really think you need to use something! I only needed it for the first month or so and haven’t touched it since – but there’s no way I could have been without it!
Is there anything else you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!
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