Breastfeeding requires a lot of dedication and perseverance, and it can actually be difficult to get the hang of it - for both mama and baby. So anything which makes it that bit more comfortable and easy to manage can be a lifesaver, especially in the early days when you're dealing with engorged breasts, cracked nipples and hours upon hours of nursing. So for all of you mamas out there that are, or will be, nursing your sweet babies, here is a list of my breastfeeding essentials, which have really helped me when it came to nursing both my little ones.
Whether you want to introduce a bottle of expressed milk to your baby
, build a stash for going back to work, or just relieve engorged breasts, the Medela Swing Breast Pump is my favourite of all the breast pumps I’ve used. Its small size means it's convenient to store (or fit in your handbag) and it's ideal for helping to build your milk supply. What I love about the Medela is the way that it mimics the way a baby suckles - fast in the beginning to stimulate the let down, and slower and more forceful once the milk is flowing. I once tried a manual pump and expressed absolutely nothing... then I used the Medela Swing Pump and was over the moon to pump 4oz just on one side.
I tried using a nursing cover a few times with Henry and didn't like it - it inhibited my view, left us both hot and I was constantly having to rearrange it whilst feeding. This time around, I knew I didn't want to be messing around with a cover, but I wanted to limit my skin exposure when nursing in public, for the sake of my own inhibitions.
I love Undercover Mama because it clips onto any nursing bra and transforms it into a cami, so if you need to lift up your top to feed, having this on underneath keeps your stomach covered, which is ideal for the immediate postpartum wobbly stage, plus it keeps you warm! I either wear them on their own around the house, or under non-nursing tops, which eliminates the need for buying special (and usually expensive) nursing clothing.
Breast pads that are soft and absorbent are so important to have on hand in those first few weeks, and as you continue nursing. Any breastfeeding mama that has forgotten to put in her pads understands the importance of these! Milk doesn't just let down when you're feeding. Random baby crying... looking at photos of your children... generally feeling happy... yep, here comes the milk! I love washable bamboo breast pads as they're super soft, extremely absorbent and not at all bulky. They come in packs so you always have some to wear whilst others are in the wash and they dry really quickly. For when I'm leaving the house and want something a little more secure, I rely on Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
to stay in place and keep me free from milk stains.
4. Burp Cloths
Neither Henry or Everly spit up a lot, but they both had trouble with my fast let down, which meant a lot of spilled milk when they were learning to control the flow. There were also many times when Everly would pull off the breast, but the milk just kept on flowing! Nobody wants to end up with milk-soaked clothes, so I always tuck a burp cloth underneath me as I nurse, to soak up any spills and keep both of us dry. Of course, it's also great to use as a burp cloth that you throw over your shoulder. These SwaddleDesigns Muslin Burpies are incredibly soft and absorbent and feature a reversible pattern. They're the perfect size for rolling up and popping in the changing bag, too.