There are so many gadgets, gimmicks and items out there for us Mothers’ to sift through. Granted I am a sucker for these types of things. Along the way I’ve bought the ridiculous to the ingenious! As a breastfeeding Mom myself the following is the list of 10 things I wouldn’t have done without during my journey as a breastfeeding Mom. There is no order of importance as each and every one of the following 10 items are my MUST HAVES.
1. My nursing cover by UDDER COVER was a must for me. I was always on the go and I had my little one in tow. I am a modest Mom, and I really give big props to those ballsy women that can just bare it all and feed their babies where ever and in front of whomever. ME..not so much. I don’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry spying my boobies. What I liked about this cover, was I found a print that I really liked, and it suited me to a T, and that it had an almost boning like insert at the top of the cover to help hold out the cover so I could see my baby while he fed. I also was very appreciative of the adjustable neck strap. So easy and convenient to fold up and keep in the diaper bag. It was totally machine washable too and that was a plus as I was always using it to wipe up spit up or milk mess. Definitely one of my most used breastfeeding items.
2. Maybe not all Moms have this problem, but I do know when I did..I was glad to be using breast pads! I liked the soft cotton of the reusable ones vs the disposable ones. I tried the disposable ones, and my experience showed they didn’t always stay in place and I often times felt irritated where they rubbed my skin. I opted for the cotton washable ones and I was never let down-when I let down! Haha! Sorry about the pun..but when I would let down, I was only mortified by the experience if I wasn’t wearing any breast pads! Which did happen. I was actually back at work and was in a meeting with a Chaplain and the meeting had gone on longer than I expected and I missed my express time, and let’s just say, the only thing he said to me was “Honey, I think you need to go back to your office and take care of some personal business…” OMG! yes..big wet spots on the boobies..and NEVER AGAIN did I skip out on wearing my breast pads thinking I’d be ok.
3. I think one of the other most used items is that dear old trusty electric breast pump. I am not sure the brand matters. However, I did the research and if the Hospitals would use Medela, I thought I should too! So I forked over the cash for the expensive double cup model in a wonderful handy carrying bag. I literally used it three times a day for nearly 10 months and my pump still works. I could use it with batteries so I wasn’t limited to where I could express, or I could use it with a mains line. My Medela was a god send. It allowed me to continue to breastfeed my little after I had to return to work when he was 15 weeks old. Medela offer a wide range of support and other helpful breastfeeding tips as well.
4. This might sound weird, but I also feel like the manual pump was a really handy thing to have around. There was a time or two, my pump batteries had run out and there wasn’t a wall socket for me to use the adapter plug. OR, I swear by this also, I think it’s much better for long haul travelling than it’s more convenient electric brother. I used my manual breast pump (under my uddercover) on a long haul flight from London to Los Angeles so I could keep my supply up while my infant slept on the flight. It also made it super easy to have a ready made bottle for him during the flight etc. I will admit it wasn’t the funnest thing to do for 20 minutes as your hands gets tired, but it did get used and I’m glad I spent the money on it. Again, I ‘m not so sure the brand matters. I used my tried and trusted Medela brand.
5. One of the best things I ever got as a present was our beloved Boppy. Yes that Boppy is still used today and he’s almost 2. I had such a hard time feeding my baby if he wasn’t propped up by a pillow or something. I hated having to hold him up and support him with my arms during feeds. It would make my arms burn and my arms would get tired. I ended up buying a second Boppy for the car, so I could stop carting around my everyday one. I would even take it out with me in the stroller bin and use it right where I was. It definitely made feeding in cars, and other retail or dining establishments so much easier. No shame here..I wanted ease and comfort when it came to feeding my baby. Love our Boppy.
6. A definite Mommy must have is some sort of balm for nipples. Whomever said Breastfeeding was fun-was crazy. I had such a hard time with my little frenzy feeder. I sometimes had such pain in my nipples it would make me cry out when he fed. I wouldn’t go anywhere without my balm for my nipples. I used an organic brand that was safe for the baby if he fed while there was still residue from the balm. Organic Babies has a great Mum and Baby Rescue Balm that is safe to use on nipples while breastfeeding. I would have a tube in my breastpump bag, my purse, the diaper bag and some in the bedside table. I learned early on that I didn’t want to forget my nipple balm no matter where I was.
7. As stated earlier I had quite the ups and downs with breastfeeding and I NEEDED my cool/heated breast inserts to help soothe my breasts. Sometimes they needed that ice cold comfort and the heat option felt heavenly as well. I used a set by Lansinoh and I highly recommend these little gems as it was definitely something I needed a lot.
8. Any breastfeeding Mom will tell you that if you are ever going to be out without your little one, you will want to have handy some of that expressed milk. I loved that Medela offered a kit with collection bags that had a little gizmo that attached to my pump and would express the milk directly into the bags. I had less mess and no fuss. Very easy to use and was my go to favourite for my expressing needs. I could seal it up and write the date on the bag and the universal pump adapter always came in handy.
9. My other nursing must have is another piece used with my breast pump. I also bought my trusted brand Medela, but I’m sure a pumping bra band from another brand would suffice. This little contraption was GREAT! It had a front closure, and would allow me to insert my pump collection cup through the holes on the front and would hold in place my pump while I had my hands free to do whatever I wanted to. I mostly took this time to read, or to play on social media. I hated having to sit there and hold the pump collection gadgets in place. This made it so much easier and more comfortable.
10. My last little must have that I did find using very helpful during the painful feeds etc, is the nipple shield. I highly promote the use of nipple shields. It would help me get a better latch when my little feeder was getting lazy or aggressive (which he did frequently). If I was suffering from raw or sore nipples, wearing the shields actually helped me feed with less pain. I carried these little bad boys with me everywhere. I had a stash in the diaper bag and in the house. These shields are made by many brands, but I always trusted my breastfeeding needs to Medela.
I hope you find my top 10 list helpful. Feeding your baby is a special time to bond, and why make it more stressful than it needs to be. Find what works for you and keep doing it. The only people that matter here is you and your baby!