8 Must Have Breastfeeding Supplies
Are you new to nursing? Are you wondering what is really needed to do so? I was just thinking about how many months I have nursed in my lifetime and realize it is over 7 years!
I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to breastfeed my kids, although, with two of mine I ended up formula feeding later on (around 8 or 9 months in). It is very difficult for me to breastfeed while pregnant … so my fourth child ended up weaning because of that and my 5th weaned earlier than a year because I got sick with the flu.
I was so incredibly sick and then later put on so many meds for my terrible breathing that my milk dried up on its own. So, please know that I’m incredibly grateful for the formula that kept my baby growing when I was unable to make milk.
However, with that being said, my intention is always to breastfeed for at least one year and preferably for two.
This is a list of things I have found to be important. Can you breastfeed without any of these breastfeeding supplies? Of course! I feel that having these things on hand will give you your best possible odds at a successful breastfeeding relationship with your child.
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1.) Nursing Bras – In my opinion, nursing bras are essential for healthy breastfeeding.
I started out using Bravado Designs Women’s Original Nursing Bra, Black, Medium so long ago, when I breastfed my oldest child (13 years ago! yikes!) and it was by far my favorite bra. They feature easy snaps above each cup for easy nursing access.
I recently found and bought these Extra Soft Organic Cotton Wireless Nursing & Maternity Sleep Bra and I love how they are constructed. These are especially good for sleep – no underwire, no snaps or hooks – just pull the cup down over your breast to feed your baby at night. If you are new to breastfeeding, you may be wondering why you would need a sleep bra. In the first months you will need it for support and to hold your nursing pads in for leaking.
2.) Nursing Pads are the next thing on my list. You will need these for at least a little while.
When I was new to breastfeeding, I leaked for months. Now, after the first month my supply typically settles down. Finding a good nursing pad is important. I’ve tried a lot. They are made to either be disposable or washable.
The disposable typically hold more without leaking and they are easy to throw away (especially while running errands or out for the day). My favorite kind I’ve found have been these Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads. They are individually wrapped so they are easy to throw in the diaperbag or in your purse.
The cloth are more breathable and they cut down on adding to the landfill. You just throw these in the washer with your baby clothes and dry them! There are a lot of variety out there but these two seems like the most and best reviewed cloth pads out there: Bamboobies Super-soft Washable Nursing Pads and Washable Nature Organic Cotton Nursing Pads.
Over the years, I’ve had several brands of cloth pads and I can’t even remember all the different types. Many weren’t absorbant enough for my supply, but these two seem to be much more absorbant. I’ve never tried Bamboo nursing pads but they seem to be the new hot thing! Apparently bamboo is very absorbant and very soft.
3.) Comfort Essentials – Hot and Cold packs – it took me until my third baby to realize I needed these things as part of my breastfeeding supplies toolbox.
I’ve had a few different brands over the years, and this is my favorite: Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Hot or Cold Breast Therapy. You can throw these in the freezer to place on engorged breasts or heat them up for a few seconds in the microwave to assist in letdown or plugged ducts.
These are handy throughout your time breastfeeding but I would say they are essential definitely at the beginning.
Also, Lanolin is supposed to be soothing for the nipples especially if they get chapped from regular nursing of a newborn. I used it with my first baby and a little with my second. Since then, I haven’t found it necessary but I’m throwing this on the list because I know for some it is a lifesaver. Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve.
4.) Breast Pump – Some may disagree with me, but I think a good breast pump is one of many breastfeeding supplies that I’m glad I didn’t have to live without.
When I came home from the hospital with my first born, I thought I was prepared for breastfeeding but I had no idea how quickly engorgement could set in. It was our first night home from the hospital when apparently he didn’t eat “well” all night but I had no idea because I was so sleepy and I knew that I had fed him a few times.
By morning I woke up 3 cup sizes bigger than what is normal for me. I was huge and uncomfortable…and worse yet, I couldn’t get baby latched on. I quickly called my older sister who had breastfed her three children and she told me to get out the pump just enough to soften up the nipple for latch. That did the trick.
For this reason I recommend breast pumps…at the time I had the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump because I was working part-time and was planning on pumping at work for the two-three days on the job. It is a great pump.
However, if you are only planning on pumping on few occasions and need it more for a backup my second choice is Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump. This will be easy and comfortable to use. There are no cords or tubing to forget or to sterilize and you can save the milk either in an Avent bottle or in a little freezer bag made for breastmilk.
There is one more type of “pump” that I’ve recently heard about. It is the Zerlar Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump. I’ve never used this but I’m thinking of trying it out this time. It is a nifty little pump that suctions on to your breast while you are nursing on the other. Any milk that flows out is collected in the bottom of the pump.
During the first month or two months, if you are like me and have an abundant (or overabundant) supply of breastmilk, this seems great because instead of wasting the milk into a nursing pad – you save it for baby to enjoy later!
5.) So, if you use your pump you will need a few feeding accessories.
I love these Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags to store the breastmilk in the freezer. They are BPA Free and so easy to use. You can write the date on them and it is easy to read how many ounces are in each bag.
As far as bottles go, I really like Philips Avent Classic Plus Baby Bottle. The nipple is good for breastfed babies (as to not cause nipple confusion) and they hook up directly to the Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump that I mentioned above.
6.) Nursing Tanks – I put these further down the list because I don’t consider these absolute essentials…however, once I started using them with baby number 3 it was really hard to go back to not using them.
Why are these so great? They make breastfeeding in public easier. I usually wear the tank under another shirt. That way, I just lift my top shirt and quickly unsnap the top of my tank (which is just like a nursing bra) and then my mid-drift is completely covered up…no tummy showing and no accidently showing too much skin.
I’m a huge fan of Bravado! Designs Women’s Maternity Dream Nursing Tank – these are well made and fit great.
I’ve recently gotten a hold of a Simply Sublime Maternity & Nursing Tank with Built-In Bra and I love the fit, the nylon material is silky smooth and it can be work in the third-trimester as well (a huge plus in my book!).
I consider these comparable to the Bravado Nursing Tanks. Another “tank” I recently came across is the Naked Nursing Tank- Classic Cotton. This is a tank without the built in nursing bra. The idea, here, is to wear your favorite nursing bra with this tank so that there is easy access for nursing but without the added problem of finding your correct bra top size with a new tank. I just got one of these and have yet to try it!
6.) Nursing Cover – I know the trend now is to not cover, but I still do.
It isn’t because I’m ashamed of nursing my baby but more out of my own modesty.
I think this particular cover seems pretty nice and has multiple uses: Nursing Breastfeeding Cover Scarf – Baby Car Seat Canopy, Shopping Cart, Stroller, Carseat Covers for Girls and Boys.
I’m also a huge fan of a simple swaddle blanket to use as a cover up. These seem like really nice muslin swaddles: Ziggy Baby Muslin Swaddle Blanket Set.
I’ve used both Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner and My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow. I really like the Boppy and I think it is multi-functional (baby can use it for tummy time or to help with sitting up, later on.
8.) Nursing Night clothes – If you love nightgowns then please, do yourself a favor and invest in a nursing nightgown!
It will make everything so much easier. One that has cut outs for breastfeeding access or one that pulls down in front are great. I recently got this one in the mail and absolutely love it: Kindred Bravely The Angelina Ultra Soft Maternity & Nursing Nightgown Dress.
It fits both in the third-trimester and after baby is born. It is soft and stretchy and has a pull-down front for easy nursing. This particular nightgown does not come with an elastic or built in bra.
I prefer the kind without the built in bra, typically, because I like to wear my own sleep bras. However, I also got a pair of The Genna Maternity & Nursing Pajama Set by Majamas and these seem like a great set of pjs for nursing, as well.