As it is world breastfeeding week this week, and I am a very proud long term breastfeeder (14 months and still going!) I thought I would celebrate this by putting together a fun list of my breastfeeding essentials for all new boobing mamas out there!
Breastfeeding can be super difficult at times, really tiring and hard work, but the benefits and the connection you have with your little one totally outweighs it all, honestly! Knowing you are giving your littles ones the very best start in life, all the amazing goodness, antibodies and proteins that only breastmilk can carry is hugely rewarding and sometimes that thought is the only thing that will keep you going during those hard times (Please know I am not shaming formula mums in any way, Elian is actually combi-fed, this is simply a post to help those mums who would like to pursue breastfeeding)
- Breastpads – and lots of them! I went through boxes in the early days. While your milk supply is settling and you and little one are getting into a routine your likely to produce and leak lots of extra milk, its perfectly normal. I still wear them not in fact as I still leak 14 months on. They are pretty cheap from the super markets, so I recommend the Tesco one (in the pink box is best!)
- Nursing Bra – These are invaluable at the start and you will probably want a few of them, just in case of any leakages. But you don’t have to spend a fortune, honestly, mine have all come from Amazon of all places and have stood the test of time so far. Just make sure you are comfortable in them.
- Nursing Vest Tops – Again at the start you will probably find yourself living in these. I have a little pile of them now and for 9 months I wore them under every top. They just made breastfeeding discreetly whilst out so much easier as you don’t need to have everything on show. My fav ones have come from H&M
- Breast Pump – Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed (from the source!) you’ll still probably need a breast pump for times when your away from baby, to increase your supply to to make yourself a stock pile. You have the choice of electric or manual (or hand expressing) so try to find the one that best suits you. Personally I found an electric didn’t work that well for me so I have a Tommee Tippee manual pump which is great. But I also have a Haakaa pump which I use to express one side whilst I am pumping the other, its a strong suction cup essentially that catches your let down and creates a drawing down effect on your nipple. Painless and easy to use, but again it doesn’t work for everyone.
- Teething Necklace – Ok it might sound random to need a teething necklace but bare with me. So when babies are tiny they stay pretty still whilst feeding but once they are a bit older they start to want to move their hands, expect to be clawed at, hair pulled, nipple twiddling, fingers in the mouth (I mean why do they do that!!), trying to poke, prod and hit you all over the place, whilst still attached to your nipple, I’m really selling breastfeeding here aren’t I!! Hehe! So I have found that one of the easiest ways to at least distract and curb the constant battering is to allow him to play with my necklace, actively giving him something to fiddle with often is enough to keep him focused. I suggest the Black and Beech ones as they have rings and different shaped beads to help keep the little ones hands occupied.
- Lansinoh Cream or Nipple Cream of some sort – Its not something you will need for long but in the early days to help stop or ease any sort of cracking or soreness this stuff is great. Its expensive but you only need a tiny amount of it
- A Pillow – Now personally I never bothered with a nursing pillow as I just didn’t see the point, but to stop your back, neck and arms from aching after a few days I do suggest using a pillow just to bump baby up to boob level for a while, allowing you to sit upright rather than leaned over, it will make a big difference honestly. I used a sofa pillow and still do, although now he just rests his head on it whilst lying on my lap so I am hands free to drink my cuppa!
- Kindle App – Random! Believe me I spent many nights sitting up in bed or in the chair in Elian’s room feeding him and bored out of my mind until I thought to put the kindle app on my phone. Now I read whilst feeding him, which is much better
- Netflix or other TV series subscription – This goes along with the tip above. In the early days you will spend a long time sitting on your sofa or on your bed so take the chance to catch up on all those boxsets you’ve wanted to watch for ages.
- Nursing friendly clothing – You don’t necessarily have to buy nursing tops and dresses but you will want to think about your wardrobe when you go out to make sure it is easy for you to nurse in it. I spent months in lose fitting tops and blouses with nursing vests on underneath.
- Bottles – Ready for the transition to bottles or for when you plan to leave the little one. As I said Elian is combi-fed so had formula in small quantities right from the start so we never had any bottle issues but I do recommend MAM bottles as he took to them easily, had little wind/reflux issues and spilled very little from them.
- Thermos Cup/Water Bottle – Honestly I don’t think I drank a hot cuppa for a few weeks, until I got the hang of feeding him whilst doing other things. Having a thermos helped keep my tea that bit warmer for longer. Plus having a water bottle next to you really helped as you need to keep yourself well hydrated when feeding as the little ones drain your supplies easily.
- Breastfeeding friends or support group – This really is so important for new breastfeeding mums. I really think we all struggle with feeding at one point or another and to allow you to keep going often all you need is extra support. Look for your local breastfeeding support group or find a BF Mums Facebook group for your area and make some friends. They will be there at 3am when your up for another feed, they will be in or have been in the same boat as you so can help answer questions, give tips or just listen to your tired rants and meltdowns occasionally.
So there you have my 13 breastfeeding essentials for any mums planning to breastfeed their little ones. I love breastfeeding so much and can’t see us stopping any time soon as little man loves it too. Keep it up ladies! Those first few days and weeks are the hardest, I promise it gets easier and better, and soon you will be pitying all the mums who have to worry about making formula, sterilising bottles and carrying bottles and formula with them all the time when you simple need to pop out a boob to feed the little one!
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