Since this is my third time down nursing lane, I want to share stuff you actually need to breastfeed. Sure, you have your boobs, but let’s be honest: there are a few more things that can certainly be helpful to have around. It’s not a huge list, thank goodness, but these have all made breastfeeding my babies a little easier.
This post is sponsored by Aeroflow Breastpumps,
and if you’re a pregnant mama, have a brand new baby, or a nursing mom, keep reading, because they’re giving away an excellent gift basket to one lucky lady!
Let’s Talk About Boobs, Baby.
Okay, so just because you have breasts, doesn’t necessarily mean this is going to be a walk in the park. It may not come naturally and easily at the beginning, and that’s okay. Keep in mind that there are lactation consultants out there who can help you—you don’t have to suffer in silence. If it’s your first time nursing it could be uncomfortable, but you shouldn’t be in pain. If you’re in pain and wince every time your baby tries to eat, ask for help!
With that said, here are a few tried and true things I’ve liked and used over the years that help with my supply:
Water and a great water bottle.
If there’s one thing you absolutely need, besides your “girls,” it’s water. Keep yourself extra hydrated while you’re nursing, and make it a point to always have a water bottle handy. Your baby nursing more frequently will send the signal to your body to create more milk, but if you don’t have the water to turn into milk, there will be no milk to make!
I’ve gone through my share of water bottles in my day, but this one by Hydro Flask is my favorite so far for three reasons: it doesn’t leak or have condensation, and it actually keeps my water cold for hours. If you want a more affordable water bottle, this Contigo one is great, and used to be my go-to until I met the Hydro Flask.
If drinking water isn’t your thing, then try sprucing it up with some fruit or veggies. An Infusion Water Bottle may be best for you, and this one is great because you can sip from the straw or drink sans straw. I like using an infusion water bottle in the afternoons when I need a pick-me-up.
More Milk Plus
Motherlove’s More Milk Plus is my favorite for giving me an extra little boost in my supply if/when I need it. It’s packed with all the stuff needed to boost your supply like fenugreek blessed thistle herb, nettle leaf, and fennel seed.
I used it a lot with my first daughter, and now I use it as needed. I can tell (and feel) a difference just a few hours after taking the pills.
Brewer’s Yeast and Flax Seed
Brewer’s yeast and flax seed are great ways to get a boost in supply, too. I throw some into whatever I’m baking: brownies, cookies, smoothies muffins, energy bites (my absolute favorite middle-of-the-night snack while nursing or if I need a snack on the go), etc. Or, you know, just enjoy some beer while you’re nursing your little one.
Things for the Boobs
Obviously you technically only need your breasts to breastfeed, but if you happen to have the following things, it could make life a little easier on you.
I LOVE nursing tanks. They’re great for nursing, because you just unclip the top and you can start nursing in a jiffy.
But the two other great things about a nursing tank are that if you don’t have (or want) a nursing cover, you can just wear a regular shirt on top, and then your body will still be covered up, plus your top shirt will cover the majority of your breast. Instant cover up.
The second thing I love about nursing tanks is that it helps keep things in. Since your body is still deflating after nine months of expanding, a tight tank just helps you feel a little more compressed and…whole, for lack of a better word.
These are my favorite nursing tanks out there, and they’ve lasted me through three babies.
A Great Nursing Bra
I didn’t realize how vital it is to have a nursing bra until I put on a regular bra and tried to nurse in it. Let’s just say that if you’re ever going to nurse outside of your house, you need a nursing bra or tank of some sort. There are more and more nursing bras out there these days, but I’m a fan of Bravado’s because they’re pretty darn comfy.
If you’re getting a bra before you have your baby, it could be in your best interest to size up, because once your milk comes in your boobs are going to grow, and you definitely don’t want your bra too small.
Also great to have if you’re pumping? A hands free bra is great to have. Win one below!
Pillow of Some Sort
Babies are tiny and get hangry very quickly. Your boobs are awkward, and when you combine those things and try to get situated quickly it’s extremely helpful to have extra support to help you out. Think of a pillow as an extra helpful hand.
There are tons of specific “nursing” pillows out there, but if you don’t want to spend the money, a good ol’ regular pillow can help just the same…and you may already have one or two at home (wink wink).
A Milk Catcher
A milk-whater? Yeah, this fun contraption is brand new to me for this baby, but holy cow is it cool! Long story short: When you’re nursing your baby, it “catches” the milk from your opposite breast! It’s not necessarily a pump, but it creates a suction and from there you’ll find yourself with some milk in the container.
If you’re not ready to start pumping, or if you have an oversupply and find yourself leaking when you’re nursing your baby on one side, this is a great gadget to have on hand!
A Pump (and accessories)
Even if you’re planning on exclusively breastfeeding, you never know when you may want to introduce a bottle or pump so you can go out for a date or something.
A friend of mine told me about Aeroflow and raved about their customer service, so when I was a few weeks away from having my baby and needed a new breast pump, I got in touch with them. And let me tell you, she was spot on about their customer service. They did everything for me. They got in touch with my doctor and got the prescription, then they filed it with my insurance—they accept Tricare, by the way, and everything was free!
The only “work” I had to do on my end was pick which pump I wanted, and they sent me info about all the different ones available, and my personal “breast pump specialist” was there to help me with any questions I had…she even called me to make sure I knew all the options. Not only that, but I just got a call yesterday saying my insurance (Tricare) approves replacement parts, and that if I wanted them, she’d put the order in right away. The only finger lifting I did for the entire process was filling out their qualification form. Easy peasy.
Nipples Need Love, Too
While nursing shouldn’t hurt, they could get raw and irritated, and nothing soothes them more than using some nipple cream. I love, love, love using Motherlove’s Nipple Cream. It isn’t cheap, but it’s my absolute favorite out there so far.
If you’re pumping and your nipples need some love, enter the giveaway below for some pumping lube!
Something for YOU
A Kindle (or at least a smart phone)
Do people even still have regular flip phones these days? If you do, treat your self and upgrade to a smart phone, and then get the Kindle app or the Kindle Paperwhite so you can catch up on some reading while you nursing. You’ll be up all hours during the night, and stuck in one position during the day, so skip Facebook and read a book or two (or three or four)!
Aeroflow GIVEAWAY! I was thrilled with Aeroflow Breastpumps reached out to me and wanted to gift one of YOU a little package to make pumping a little easier! One lucky reader will win one (1) Bebe Au Lait Deluxe Muslin Nursing Scarf; one (1) Lansinoh Hands Free Nursing Bra; and one (1) two-pack of Bamboobies Boob-Ease Organic Pumping Lubricant! Giveaway is open to residents with a US address (APO/FPO included), and closes on Friday, June 16 at 11:59 pm. To enter, follow the prompts below.
*Images by Chrissy Walther Photography