When it comes to breastfeeding you might think that you really don’t need much right? Just you and your baby? Well, it certainly CAN be done with just you and your baby, but you will find that there are a few things that are essential to nursing and some other things that are really nice to have! I’ve put together a checklist of my Breastfeeding Must Haves including all of the breastfeeding essentials plus some non-essentials that I love. Click on the picture to enlarge it or print it off!
BREASTFEEDING MUST HAVES
*I have linked to my personal favorite brands within my list below. I have nursed four babies to at least one year old each so I have had a lot of time to test all the products out and pick the best of the bunch! I hope it helps you!
1. FOR THE FIRST 2 WEEKS
☐ Soothies Gel Pads– these are great for sore nipples – chill them for maximum relief
☐ Lanolin Cream – A must for sore nipples
☐ Lansinoh 3 in 1 Breast Therapy Packs – Use hot or cold for instant relief
☐ Lansinoh disposable nursing pads – buy a couple packages and be sure to always carry extras with you
☐ Nursing Pillow – this will allow you to comfortably support baby while nursing and make it easier to position baby
☐ Nursing Cover – I found this essential for nursing in public. It allows you to cover up while still being able to see baby and nurse comfortably.
☐ At least a few good nursing bras are essential as you will need proper support and easy access for nursing
3. PUMPING YOUR BREASTMILK
☐ Breast Pump – I love the Lansinoh Signature Pro double electric breast pump. It does a great job expelling enough milk to effectively pump.
☐ Breast milk storage bags – Lansinoh are my favorite brand because they are thick and don’t puncture easily.
☐ Bottles to feed the expressed milk to your baby
☐ A hands free pumping bra is very nice to have but not essential. It will allow you to do other things with your hands while pumping hands free.
☐ Nursing tank tops – I love wearing these because they hide my belly/back while nursing
☐ nursing shirts – these are convenient when nursing in public because they offer easy access to nurse
☐ Milkies Milk Saver – Catches the milk that lets down from the opposite side your baby is nursing on so none is wasted. It’s an easy way to store up breastmilk in the freezer too.
☐ Milkies Freeze – Allows for convenient storing of your breastmilk in the freezer and functions so milk is used in the proper order by date using the oldest milk first
Click HERE to print this checklist!
When it comes to nursing you will find that the first two weeks are usually the most difficult. Getting nursing established, getting the hang of it (for both you and baby) and having your body adjust to nursing a baby are all big changes. I found the first 2 weeks to be the most painful times in nursing as well. Your nipples are not used to nursing an infant and it takes a while for them to get tough, but I assure you that it DOES get better so just stick with it!! The rewards far outweigh the drawbacks.
My Top 10 Tips For Breastfeeding Success!
- Stick with it! Don’t give up on breastfeeding. It really DOES get easier. You and your baby will both learn how to do it together and once you get the hang of it it’s a breeze!
- Attitude is everything! If you are always thinking that you won’t be good at breastfeeding or that you just can’t do it then you are setting yourself up for failure. Start out with a can do attitude and the rest will follow.
- Get a good nursing bra. You will need a really comfy bra for your first weeks home when your milk is first coming in and your supply is fluctuating (my favorite is the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra) as it learns how much your baby needs. Good support and comfort are key. Once your supply is established your size won’t fluctuate so much and you can get a good support nursing bra (my personal favorite is the Bella Materna Women’s Full Cup T-Shirt Nursing Bra)
- They tell you that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. I’ll be honest with you that the first 2 weeks are the worst. As your nipples are getting used to feeding a baby they can be painful and sore, especially when you let down. This has been my experience with all three of my babies. I would curl my toes every time they first latched because it hurt so much. After a couple of weeks my body was used to it and it no longer hurt. You should not have open sores though and you should ensure that your baby is latching properly so they aren’t causing abnormal pain or discomfort. Use Lanolin cream and cooled Soothies Gel Pads to ease discomfort. Stick with it through this transition time and it will eventually become enjoyable!
- Know the signs of a problem and when to seek help. If you have redness on your breast, a fever and intense pain with nursing then visit your doctor immediately. Mastitis is an infection in the breast and will elicit these symptoms. I have had it three times and it is no fun. Catching it early is key! You will be started on antibiotics and it will get better quickly.
- Unless your doctor recommends it then don’t supplement with formula. After working on the Birthplace I saw so many new parents that thought their baby wasn’t getting enough breastmilk in the first few days and wanted to give formula. Your breastmilk is enough and it was specifically designed for baby. They don’t need formula until your milk comes in. Their little tummy is tiny and your colostrum is sufficient for them. Once you start giving them formula you are setting yourself up for failure. Focus on your breastfeeding and baby will be learning the basics of nursing rather than switching from bottle to breast and trying to master them all.
- Your first few days at home will be filled with visitors who are excited about the new baby. Don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s time to nurse your baby. Whether you need to leave the room or use a nursing cover If you wait until he or she is beside himself with hunger then it will be difficult to nurse and you will both be frustrated.
- Talk with your significant other about breastfeeding. Inform him of the benefits to you and the baby and tell him that you’d like his support. Just because you are nursing doesn’t mean that Dad can’t ever feed your baby. Pump and let him bottle feed the baby after you’ve mastered nursing (usually best to introduce a bottle after nursing is going well around 4-6 weeks).
- If you plan on spending much time away from your baby then you will need to pump your milk. Buy a good double electric breast pump so that you can keep up your supply and your baby will reap the benefits of your breastmilk even while you are away from him/her. I’ve used several different breast pumps and my two favorites were the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump and the Lansinoh Breast Pump. Do yourself a favor and buy a hands free pumping bra too so you can do something while you are pumping instead of having to hold the pump in place the whole time.
- Enjoy it! After those first couple of difficult weeks learning and adjusting to nursing, it becomes such a wonderful experience. Enjoy the bonding time with your infant. These precious moments each day go by too quickly and you should cherish the quiet moments spent with your infant. Eat it all up!!
What is on your list of “must have breastfeeding products”?