I was unbelievably uninformed when I first tried to breastfeed. I thought it would be easy and natural — it’s all instinct right?
Last year, I wrote about my early struggles to let other mamas know if they were having a hard time too that they weren’t alone. In that piece, I touched on a few of the best breastfeeding products that made the process MUCH easier.
I received such positive feedback that I decided to provide a more comprehensive guide to my breastfeeding and pumping essentials. This is everything I used, why I used it, where to get it, as well as a few things you might think you need…but can probably skip.
The Best Breastfeeding Products & Pumping Gear
The Bravado! Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is so soft and smooth, it really does feel like second skin. It comes in a variety of colors, and actually isn’t that bad looking (especially for a nursing bra!) Honestly, all I really cared about during that time was comfort and I actually forgot I was wearing it sometimes!
CLICK HERE to view all product styles/colors on Amazon.
The one thing I least expected about breastfeeding was PAIN. Sometimes that pain was caused by cracked, bleeding nipples (sorry, there’s really no pretty way to describe it!) Fortunately, that pain decreases over the first few weeks and eventually goes away (until you hit the biting phase…)
However, in those early days, lanolin salve helped protect my nipples from the chafing and allow them to heal. (Warning, lanolin may stain, so use with loose clothing or nursing pads).
Quite a few moms raved to me about Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter, so I thought I would mention it as an alternative to lanolin.
I vividly remember the moment I discovered that my boobs truly possessed a mind of their own. I was resting on the couch and felt the front of my top growing wetter. Confused, I looked down to discover that milk was just squirting out on its own. Oh the joys of breastfeeding!
Eventually your boobs get the hang of the routine and settle down. Whew! However, in the meantime, to avoid changing clothes more than you already do with a new baby, nursing pads are a must!
– Thermal Gel Pads –
- Heated, to stimulate milk production
- Heated, to help release clogged ducts
- Chilled or frozen, to ease tender or swollen breasts
- Chilled or frozen, to ease pain during weaning
Click here to view more or purchase.
Even after you give birth, it’s important to continue taking prenatal vitamins as long as you are nursing. Not only for your own health, but for your baby as well, since they’re getting their nutrition from you!
I am a huge fan of SmartyPants Vitamins because they are non-GMO, gluten-free, and allergen free. They also contain NO synthetic colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives.
SmartyPants also make vitamins for the man in your life and big kids. They’re they ONLY vitamin that my toddler will eat, which says a lot about how delicious they taste!
Click here for more information or to purchase SmartyPants Prenatal Vitamins.
One of the ways I used these cheap, plain cloths was tucking them in my nursing bra to prevent drips while breastfeeding. I also kept them in my diaper bag to use while changing diapers in public restrooms. These are beyond useful for baby business, cleaning, even mini-blankets in a pinch! We have stacks upon stacks at home. Stock up!
Click here to view/purchase 10 pack cloth diapers on Amazon.
Not only did my nursing pillow take some of the weight off my arms while nursing, it protected my c-section scar while it healed.
Removable and washable covers made cleaning easy. I recommend purchasing a couple different covers so you have an alternate. Breastfeeding is messy!
Click here to find the original Boppy pillow on Amazon.
This is THE definitive guide for new nursing moms, from La Leche League. Recently updated, it contains over 575 pages of invaluable information. I will readily admit that I expected breastfeeding to come easily, since it’s “natural,” right? Well it’s surprisingly not easy for most of us, so there’s no shame in reading to learn all you can for success.
Click here for a sneak peek and purchase information for The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and pumping often go hand in hand, so I’ve included in my list of best breastfeeding products all the things that helped make pumping less of a chore!
I used the Medela Pump In Style Advanced, so all the parts/accessories shown here are what I bought to accompany that model. But this should still give you an idea of what is helpful for the task of pumping!
If you work outside the home, an extra set of pump accessories/parts will save a ton of time! Bringing a set of accessories for each session means that you don’t have to wash between breaks. You simply rinse and bag up to take home instead of washing and laying out to dry at work.
View Medela Breast Pump Accessory Set on Amazon.
Unlike other pump parts, you don’t need to clean the tubing often since it doesn’t come in contact with breast milk. In fact, I found the tubing to be an ordeal to clean. Boiling/steaming melted the tubing. Washing in soapy water doesn’t clean the inside thoroughly, but water ends up stuck in there.
Every few weeks I just replaced the tubing altogether. I found a set of 4 replacement tubings that fit my Medela pump for about ten bucks. No more hassle and I know they’re clean.
– Extra bottles –
I think bottles are one of those things you can never have to many of! I used them both for storing breast milk in the fridge and for bottle feeding when I was away from home. Also, those little bottle nipples are so easy to lose that it’s a good idea to have a bunch of them (make sure your extra bottles come with nipples and not just lids!)
My little one was quite picky and would only drink from the Medela bottles that came with our pump. However, this actually turned out to be super convenient because I could pump directly into her bottles instead of transferring the milk.
Click here to view 3-count Medela Breast Milk Bottle Set on Amazon.
Cleaning bottles is a pain…unless you find an easier way! I worked with FizzWizz this year and loved their convenient cleaning tablets. Simply pop a tablet into a bottle with a couple ounces of water and shake for two minutes. Rinse and voila! Clean bottle anywhere, anytime!
The fizzing tablets get into every nook and cranny for a literally sparkling clean result. Accompanying cleaning wipes take care of the outside surfaces.
Tip: These also work perfectly for sports bottles and other water bottles!
Click here to view FizzWizz cleaning tablets on Amazon.
These microwavable sterilizing steam bags are one of the most amazing inventions…ever!! Instead of boiling everything, you simply pop items into the bag with a little bit of water, seal, and microwave according to the directions on the box (about 3 minutes).
Best of all, the bags are reusable up to 20 times, so one box lasts a while! You can sterilize just about anything that will fit in the bags: bottles, lids, nipples, pump parts, pacifiers, and small toys. (I don’t recommend steaming pump tubing however, as it melts easily).
Click here for more information and where to buy Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags.
Not only is this fake grass bottle drying rack adorable as all get out, but it works! You can cram tons of bottles, lids, spoons, etc. to dry because you’re not limited like standard dish racks.
If you’re trying to build a “stash” you’ll want to have plenty of freezer-safe breast milk storage bags. I’m a fan of the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags because they were easy to use and I never experienced leaks.
Click here to purchase Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags on Amazon.
You might also like:
– Hands-free pumping bra –
Somehow I missed the memo on this one during my 6 months of pumping! However, pretty much ALL of my nursing friends insist that a hands-free pumping is crucial equipment. I’ll show a few of the most popular on Amazon since I haven’t personally tried them:
Amazon Prime will be your new best friend!
Sometimes it takes more time to get all the kids and yourself ready to go on an errand than the actual errand itself! I’ve always loved online shopping, but once I had a baby, I was totally hooked because it’s so darn easy!
Amazon Prime is my go-to for quick ordering and delivery of everything from household products to holiday gifts. 2-day delivery is free and in some areas they have a same-day Prime Now service. (I have no clue how they pull that off…but they do!)
If you don’t have Prime yet, trust me, it’s worth it. Put it on your baby shower list, Christmas list, etc. or gift it to a loved one. It’s amazing. That is all.
Ugh. I’ll admit I never tried using a nursing cover. Texas weather is brutally hot half the year, so I just couldn’t imagine my poor little one trying to eat while sweating under a stifling cover. I’ve also seen these in action, and they are awkward and cumbersome.
I think my biggest problem with nursing covers is that they exist for the convenience of other people. Nursing covers are not comfortable or convenient for mom or baby. No thanks!
Image: Tula Baby Carriers
Is there something I missed? Feel free to let me know your best breastfeeding products in the comments below!
You might also like:
- What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Breastfeeding
- The Startling Breastfeeding Statistic You Need to Know
- 5 Essential Weight Loss Tips for Breastfeeding Moms
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