Breastfeeding can be so daunting at first! I had been taking care of babies my whole life, including taking care of our own foster babies, so I felt pretty prepared for having our first biological baby. But the one thing you can’t do before birthing your own child is breastfeed. Hence, breastfeeding was the one thing that I was kind of anxious about before Everly was born. You can prepare the best you can, but in the end, you kind of have to wing it! The products below helped me get through those first few hard weeks when Everly and I were both getting the hang of things!
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I started out with a boppy, but quickly got annoyed with having to readjust it so often because it would easily slide out of place. The Brestfriend Nursing Pillow goes all the way around your waist and buckles so that eliminates the sliding issue. Something I really loved was that it allowed me to stand up with it if I needed to because I could just hold the baby and didn’t need to hold the pillow because it was attached to me. It’s also flat on top so baby doesn’t roll around as easily.
2. Burp Cloths
I really love Aden + Anais burp cloths. They’re shaped in kind a bean shape so they fit over your shoulder nicely and they come in lots of cute patterns! I like to think of burp cloths as an accessory, especially in the early days, so it’s important to me that they’re cute. I also really love that they can be buttoned around baby’s neck to be used as a bib. I love to use these for when we start solids. They cover so much area that it’s like the baby is wearing a backwards cape. They catch pretty much everything that drips with room leftover to wipe baby’s mouth and hands when you’re done.
If you’re not into cute slightly more expensive burp cloths, then you should go with Gerber Birdseye 3-Ply Prefold Cloth Diapers. They come in a pack of 10 and they’re SUPER absorbent. I actually really love these too and have a few that I use when baby’s reflux is bad. I like to sew a strip of cute fabric down the middle portion of these to make them cute, because like I said, cute burp cloths are a must in the early days for me.
3. Nursing Bras
Nursing bras are a must. My criteria are sports bra style, seamless (so comfy to sleep in), and easy to hook/unhook with one hand. I really like the Motherhood Maternity nursing bras. If you’re looking for something on the less expensive side, this 3-pack from HOFISH are great. And if you decide you want to splurge, get a Bravado nursing bra. This one gives you a little more “shape,” so it doesn’t necessarily look like your wearing a sports bra.
I have the Motherhood Maternity nursing tanks. I really like nursing tanks for layering, especially for nursing in public because when you lift your shirt your stomach isn’t exposed.
5. Nursing App
My favorite nursing app is the BabyConnect app. Everly is currently 5 months old and I still use it to track her feedings and sleep. It’s so great because it times how many minutes she nurses on each side and which side I fed her on last. I also start the timer when she goes to sleep so I know how long she sleeps and when her next nap is. I love not having to remember those things.
6. Breast Pump
I actually have two breast pumps. I bought a Spectra S2 for use at home and a Medela Freestyle for on the go. The reason I have both is because I bought the Medela Freestyle first and used that exclusively for awhile. But then I read about the Spectra S2 and how people were getting so much more milk using it that other brands so I wanted to try it. I was able to pump quite a bit more milk with the Spectra S2 so thankfully it ended up being worth my investment. I now use the Spectra S2 at home and have the Medela Freestyle packed up all the time for use in the car or on the go. Because I’m still working, I frequently have to take my pump with me and the Medela Freestyle is perfect for that purpose.
I love the 360 degree stretchy carseat/breastfeeding covers. You can use it to cover up baby while she’s in the car seat, but if you need to nurse you can just snag it real quick and throw it over your head to use as a breastfeeding cover.
8. Nursing Pads
I think these Lansinoh Nursing Pads are perfect. They’re not bulky, super absorbent, and have adhesive strips to keep them in place.
9. Nipple Cream
MotherLove Nipple Cream is my go-to nipple cream. It’s made of all-natural organic ingredients, which I like because it inevitably will end up in baby’s mouth. Also it goes on smoothly because it’s a thinner salve, not thick and sticky like some nipple creams can be. But some people like thick creams! If that’s you, Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream is great.
10. Lara Bars
Lara bars are my go-to middle of the night breastfeeding snack. Right after I had Everly all of the sudden I was ALWAYS hungry. Like all the time, around the clock, couldn’t get enough food. So in the middle of the night I kept someLara Bars on my bedside table so I could just reach over and basically eat in my sleep. They’re healthy, high calorie, and not crumbly so they were perfect. My favorite kinds are the coconut cream pie and cashew cookie.
I really love these blankets in general! They’re great for swaddling, as a carseat blanket, and as a nursing cover. Although I bought the 360 degree stretchy carseat/nursing cover, I also always pack an aden + anais muslin blanket in my diaper bag. If I can find a place that is mostly private, and I don’t need to cover up completely, I like to use it. I just tuck one corner of the blanket under my bra strap and let it kind of hang down to block the side view. I only cover the baby’s head if I need to. This is also a good alternative to the nursing cover if it’s really warm because it can get hot under the nursing cover!
For the first few weeks I was nursing Everly, my neck and shoulders were SO tight and knotted from being hunched over nursing and looking down at her and carrying her around all the time. It was the worst part of breastfeeding for me actually. Thankfully I have the Neck and Shoulder Pro Massager with Heat from Brookstone that I got a few years ago. I would use that at least once a day, and it helped SO much. I’m not sure Brookstone sells it anymore, but it’s very similar to this head and shoulder massager on Amazon.
Before Everly was born I had no idea how hard breastmilk stains are to get out! Right after I had her I made the mistake of not wearing nursing pads one night and I woke up soaked in breastmilk. I tried everything I could think of to get the stains out of my white nursing tank, but nothing was working – not even bleach! I tried a Fels-Naptha laundry bar, and it worked really well.