The Top Nursing Essentials
So you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby. Awesome! It may seem like all you need is your baby and your boobs (which is kinda true), but there are some things that you can get that can really help with you’re nursing journey. Here are my 12 top nursing essentials:
1. Nipple Cream
You may think that you don’t need nipple cream because maybe you are going to use coconut oil or your own breast milk as your “ointment”, but using the right type of cream or ointment can actually prevent drying and cracking of your nipples and it can help the speed of healing. Definitely a nursing essentials. Also, something good to remember, anything you apply to the nipple area will be ingested by your baby while nursing so it’s important to only use products that are known to be safe. Some people swear by lanolin, yet there are a lot of products that now say they are “lanolin free.” So what’s that all about? If you didn’t know, lanolin is the discharge from a sheep’s sebaceous glands, and is used in lots of cosmetics, from lip balms to breastfeeding creams. Although it has been proven to be highly effective in soothing and healing chapped skin, lanolin contains a heavy load of pesticides (the wool is soaked in chemicals to remove parasites before the lanolin is scoured out of it), and at the moment there are no truly organic options out there.
2. Breastfeeding Pillow
Breastfeeding pillows are a nursing mom’s best friend because they provide relief to your back, neck, spine and arms. The primary function of the pillow is to bring your baby close to your body and closer to your breasts. This is obviously important if you want your little one to get a good latch and keep you comfortable during the process. It also can be a great option if you are recovering from a C-section. It protects the incision site and keeps direct pressure off of it which helps your incision heal faster. My favorites are Boppy and My Brest Friend.
3. Nursing App
It’s important to know how often you are feeding your baby and for how long. Questions that your pediatrician will ask you is how often is your baby eating and how many wet and dirty diapers a day is your baby making. Since mom brain can sometimes happen, you may forget the details if your baby isn’t making enough wet and dirty diapers. You may forget when you started your baby’s last feeding and which breast you ended with. Being able to record these things in a notebook is always nice, but if you are out and about with your little one, having something on your phone is way more convenient. You may not even remember to bring your notebook or remember where you last put it. (I’ve had this happen to a few moms that I’ve worked with.) And if a family member gives your baby a bottle, some of the apps can give them access to the records so they can document their feeding they gave baby as well. Here are some apps that I recommend: Latch Me, Breastfeeding Central, Baby Connect, and Nursing Timer.
4. Water Bottle
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Mothers that don’t stay hydrated have lower milk supplies so be sure to drink enough water throughout your day. You should be drinking the normal six to eight glasses of water a day, but don’t overdo it. Drinking more than six to eight glasses will not help you make more milk or provide you with any additional benefits. Drinking an excessive amount of water has actually been shown to drop a mother’s milk supply. A big reason for this is that excess water can fill you up. If you fill up on so much fluids that you’re not hungry, you may not eat enough food to get the calories and nutrients that you need to help with your milk supply build.
As your baby is nursing on one side, it causes your other breast to leak as well. I’m all about saving every drop since I’ve worked with many mothers who have milk supply issues. This is why I love the Milk-Saver from Milkies since they do just that! Many mothers have cried over their spilt breast milk or because they are not producing enough breast milk. This product can help you collect as much of your milk as possible. Two thumbs up!
6. Nursing Cover
I want all moms to feel comfortable nursing no matter where they are. If you feel more confident and comfortable nursing with a cover when you’re in public, get one! You shouldn’t have to rush home, hide in a room or bathroom, or feel like you have to pump every time you are going to be in public and your baby needs to eat. Some of the nursing covers that I recommend are Covered Goods, Dria, Bébé au Lait, and Itzy Ritzy.
7. Nursing Tea
For mothers who see a drop in their milk supply, drinking certain types of teas can really help increase it. A drop in your supply can happen during illness, returning to work or school, surgery and many other reasons. There are teas out there on the market that are specifically made to help increase your quantity and quality of milk. Not every breastfeeding mom needs herbs to establish a good supply, but I love how this is an option for women looking for other alternatives. My absolute favorite brand that I highly recommend is Birds & Bees Teas. Their ‘Our Lady of La Leche‘ is wonderful!
8. Breast Pump
It’s unrealistic to think that you are ALWAYS going to be able to nurse your child. That’s why having a breast pump is a nursing essential. You may need to give your nipples a break from nursing and pump, you may want to catch up on some sleep or run some errands and want your partner or a family member to help with a feeding, etc. Thank goodness we have breast pumps so women can still give their babies breast milk even when they aren’t able to nurse. The pumps that I love (for purchase) are the Medela Freestyle Breast pump, Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast pump, Spectra S2 Breastpump, and the Willow Pump. Instead of owning your own, there are also hospital grade breast pumps that you can rent.
9. Breast Milk Storage Bags
After you pump, you need to be able to store your breast milk. Instead of keeping each amount you pumped in a breast milk collection bottle, I recommend that you purchase breast milk storage bags. This way you will be able to save much more for the future and for emergency situations. Also, you can donate extra breast milk if you have them frozen in your storage bags! Here are three brands of collection bags that you can purchase: Medela Pump & Save Bags, Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags, and Nanobebe Storage System.
If you want more information on how to properly collect and store breastmilk, read this.
10. Nursing Bra & Tank
Every breastfeeding mom needs a good nursing bra and tank. Actually, she needs a few! When you have a hungry/screaming baby, you can’t get to the boob fast enough. I really like Bravado Designs nursing bras and tanks. Check ’em out! You’ll also want to invest in a good robe and nursing gown for nighttime and those early days at home.
11. TendHer Pillows
If you experience sore nipples, plugged ducts, mastitis, cracked nipples, engorgement, these Pariday TendHer pillows wills be your best friend. These gel pads can be heated or cooled to give you the perfect relief for your sore/tender breasts. You will be so grateful that you have them!
12. Nursing Pads
Leakage happens. Instead of soaking your nursing bra and tank or top before or after a feeding, you will want to have some nursing pads to absorb any extra milk. The last thing you would want to happen is to be out somewhere and then all of a sudden your breasts let down and you start leaking through your shirt. That’s a little embarrassing. There are different nursing pad options available to help prevent this. There are also disposable or washable/reusable nursing pads that you can purchase. Go for Bamboobies’ Disposable Nursing Pads and get Bamboobies’ Washable Nursing Pads . They’re my fave!
These are also included in my ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist. 🙂
Babies want to eat all throughout the day and night. This is why it’s good to have a nice robe and nursing gown so you can comfortably feed your baby any time during the day or night comfortably in your home. You will mostly likely be living in this robe and nursing gown after giving birth. I love that this robe is feminine, dark (to hide baby stains), and matches baby.
I hope you enjoyed my nursing essentials! What are some products for nursing that you couldn’t live without?
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