Breastfeeding is a very personal journey for most mothers. I’ve spoken about my own story and how breastfeeding wasn’t my first choice but how that developed into the perfect choice for me. Some women can’t breastfeed and others just choose not to – no judgement here. A fed baby is a happy baby and how you do that is entirely down to your preference. I want to talk a bit about my breastfeeding essentials and tips for any mums to be that are planning to breastfeed as when I have my second I plan on breastfeeding again!
Breastfeeding the Truth
If you haven’t breastfed before the whole idea can be terrifying but it really isn’t anything to worry about. Our bodies are naturally designed to breastfeed but sometimes there are complications beyond our control. Don’t be disheartened if you struggle or realise it’s just not for you. I strongly recommend seeking support from a breastfeeding expert and your delivery unit or midwife should be able to direct you to the best person for that.
In the beginning I gave my now six-year-old the odd bottle of formula and I felt such shame for doing so. I look back now and wonder why on earth I felt that way. Giving him those few bottles here and there between breastfeeding only helped us. It gave my body a chance to produce milk and it made sure he was satisfied and full. As is life there is no one size fits all do what works for you and be proud that you are doing the best you can.
Breastfeeding Essentials and Tips
Breast for Baby a Bottle for You
Keeping up your fluids is essential for good milk production and helping you recover post birth. I highly recommend getting a *non-spill refillable bottle to fill with water and keep close. I used to sit down to breastfeed and realise I didn’t have a drink and then not wanting to disturb the baby I would then forget entirely. Once I found a bottle I could keep close by it really helped me out.
Hot or Cold Breast Pads
Heat or cool therapy on the breast can be really relieving. It’s quite common to develop mastitis which can be quite painful. Having the option to apply heat or cool therapy can really help ease the symptoms and relieve the pain. These type of pads also help encourage the milk to come in and ease any discomfort you may get when the breast becomes engorged.
The TheraPearl 3 in 1 breast therapy pads from Lansinoh can be used both hot and cold making them ideal for whatever you need at the time. You can microwave them for a few seconds to bring up to temperature or freeze them for a colder temperature. If you use them in conjunction with expressing then they can help reduce the amount of time spent pumping which is of course a win – win!!
A Maternity Bra
Maternity bras are an essential staple for anyone breastfeeding. I didn’t realise quite how crucial they would be initially. I recommend a seamless, non wired and comfortable nursing bra. Personally I wore a bra throughout the day and night because it was the most comfortable for me. The nursing clips help make breastfeeding discreet and easy making them ideal for wearing out and about. You want to pick a bra with support that won’t cause discomfort when wearing for long periods.
I really like this seamless bra from Anita. There are no underwires but it is extremely supportive and comfortable to wear. It’s the perfect bra to wear whilst you sleep as well as during the day.
Disposable Nursing Pads
Unfortunately, part and parcel of breastfeeding means that sometimes your breasts will leak some milk. The best way to combat this is using *Disposable Nursing Pads which attach inside your bra. This helps keep any leaks contained and avoid ruining your clothes which is why it’s on my breastfeeding essentials list!
Nipple Balm or Cream
Breastfeeding is painful initially. I hate it when people say it isn’t or that it only hurts if you are doing it wrong. This gives new mums a misconception that they must be feeding their babies incorrectly. The pain doesn’t last and as you continue to breastfeed it becomes a mild discomfort and then eventually no pain at all. It’s a bit like when you wore flip flops for the first time your body has to get used to it. Most women experience some sore or cracked skin around the nipple area and this can be eased by the use of a nipple balm or cream. The market is full of them but one of my breastfeeding essentials has to be the HPA Lanolin from Lansinoh I used this with Henry and it was absolutely amazing! It’s hypoallergenic, 100% natural and is safe to breastfeed without removing first.
You can purchase *Lansinoh HPA Lanolin from Amazon here.
A Feeding Pillow
One of my main breastfeeding essentials has to be a feeding pillow. *Feeding pillows can make the whole feeding process much more comfortable. I like the horse shoe shaped ones as they fit around your middle and you can place baby comfortably on top to feed. I find this saves my arms from going to sleep and gives me the flexibility to do other things like check my phone or eat a snack – all important tasks!
I didn’t want to express milk to feed out of a bottle so I didn’t see the value of a breast pump first time round. After the first few weeks it was the first thing I purchased. Using a breast pump can help increase milk production and helps reduce engorged breasts if your baby isn’t quite feeding as much at first. In the end I would express some milk and store it so that if I wanted or needed a break someone else could feed the baby without issue or having to introduce formula. This time around my husband wants to be more hands on with feeding but I worry that introducing too much formula could impact my milk supply. Instead what I will do is pump with the breast pump regularly when I can and then the milk will be available when we need it.
There are a multitude of breast pumps on the market I had a manual pump initially but it was a lot of work. Instead I switched to an electric pump and I wouldn’t go back. I love the 2 in 1 Electric Breast Pump from Lansinoh as it has a multitude of features that will make my life as a busy mum easier.
It’s a double breast pump which of course will save time as you can use it on both breasts at once. You also have the option of using it as a single breastpump which is ideal if you want to pump whilst you feed your baby from the other breast. The pump also has 3 different pumping styles designed to mimic how a baby would feed making it more comfortable for the user. The pump has a large lit LCD screen that can be seen in even low light conditions like night feeds. My favourite part is that you can use it attached to the mains or with batteries which makes it convenient for use anywhere.
You can purchase the *2 in 1 Electric Breast Pump from Lansinoh on Amazon here.
Once the milk is expressed it’s important to store it correctly to ensure freshness and retain all the goodness. You can store breastmilk in the fridge or freezer but it can take up a lot of room. In conjunction with the 2 in 1 Electric Breast Pump Lansinoh also do Breastmilk Storage Bags which are ideal for storing expressed breastmilk in the fridge or freezer. They are leak proof, pre-sterilised, double sealed and they have a place to write the date on! These bags make storing the breastmilk easy and don’t take up a huge amount of space.
Sometimes when transitioning a baby from breastfeeding to bottle feeding and back again you can experience something called nipple confusion. This is because with most conventional bottles the baby uses a different sucking action to what they use on the breast. Finding a bottle that is breastfeeding friendly can really help reduce the risk of nipple confusion.
The Feeding Bottles with NaturalWave Teats from Lansinoh are designed to encourage the same sucking action that they use on the breast. This can help maintain the breastfeeding patterns you have established making it easy to switch between breast and bottle feeding. They also have an air ventilation system that helps reduce the potential cause of colic.
You can buy the *Lansinoh Feeding Bottles and NaturalWave Teats on Amazon here.
Good Quality Vitamins
Of course, vitamins don’t replace a healthy diet but make sure you take a *good quality vitamin supplement can be really beneficial to your post-birth recovery and help with breastfeeding going forward.
These are my breastfeeding essentials but is there anything you think I have missed? Any breastfeeding essentials you would recommend I stock up on?
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Some of the items featured in this breastfeeding essentials post were sent to me on a gifting basis. As always all words, opinions and views are my own. Links marked with * are affiliate links this does not cost you anything. For more information on any of this please head over to this page.