My first experience nursing was met with several challenges. The greatest of those arose from having a baby in NICU that was initially incapable of eating. He was hooked up to a feeding tube that filled his stomach with the proper nutrients to sustain his health and growth - sometimes that included pumped breast milk fortified with vitamins and sometimes that meant formula. I was therefore forced to rely solely on a pump to stimulate my milk supply and it was incredibly difficult. You see your body naturally responds to the demands your infant places on it to generate the proper amount of milk. While a pump is incredibly helpful after your milk supply is established I would not recommend it as your sole means of releasing milk, especially early on in your pregnancy.
Now that I am a well seasoned breastfeeding professional, I thought I'd share some of my personal breastfeeding essentials. All kidding aside, I should point that I am by no means an expert, all advice you'll find here is based primarily on my own experience.
A Breast Pump
A breast pump is a great asset to help you save your milk for the future. You can freeze it or you can have your hubby feed baby in the middle of the night and you can have a good night's sleep. If you're a working mama the breast pump allows you to keep up your milk supply even when you're not nursing, just be sure to bring some sort of insulated carrying case so that the milk stays cold until you get home.
Also, most insurance companies now cover the costs (all or partial) of a breast pump - be sure to check your coverage before having your little one. Your insurance company may require a prescription from your doctor, so just mention it to him or her at your next prenatal appointment.
Hey Mama Teas
After nine to ten months of depriving yourself of sushi, lunchmeat and, for some, caffeine - treating yourself to a delicious tea that also helps stimulate milk production is ah-ma-zing! Hey Mama Teas are specially formulated with naturally caffeine free ingredients.
There are four different varieties:
- Lemon Glow
- Minty Morning
- Raspberry Divine
- Life's A Peach
The first two are formulated with awesome benefits for pregnant mamas and the second two are perfect for nursing moms but they are all delicious! You can check out their entire line of awesome products here.
Update: Check out my full review of Hey Mama Teas here.
Update: Check out my full review of Hey Mama Teas here.
For those of you who are new to breastfeeding, leakage is an actual thing. Make sure that you have some nursing pads on hand. I'd recommend wearing them even if you don't think you'll need them. The last thing you want is to be out and about and you have two very prominent wet spots on the front of your shirt (I'm speaking from experience here, just trust me).
One of the great things about nursing is that you never have to worry about packing a bottle when you leave the house, you're literally a walking food supply for your baby and it's such a beautiful thing. What's even more beautiful is now there are gorgeous accessories that assist you while nursing and also keep you looking fabulous. One of my favorite accessories is a nursing scarf. They look like normal infinity scarfs but they open up so that you can cover yourself and baby when you nurse. They're especially perfect when you want to spend an afternoon picking out cute new baby clothes and you don't want to be confined to a public bathroom or your car to nurse.
Whether you have a baby or not scarves like the ones offered by Kismet Love Collection are perfect for every stage of baby.
If you follow me on Instagram then you know I LOVE nursing necklaces/teething necklaces. I wore them while I was pregnant and my toddler loved to play with them. Now that I'm nursing I wear them so my little guy has something that will stimulate him while he eats so he doesn't fall asleep. Just like the nursing scarfs they look great whether you have littles or not! I buy all my necklaces from Wee Kings because they are affordably priced and very high quality. Plus each necklace comes with a pair of matching earrings and who doesn't love that?!?!
You may have to deal with a little spit up when you burp baby or some milk dripage or you may just need to wipe your brow - no matter the reason you really can't have enough burp cloths on hand. I used them most often by tucking them into my nursing bra so that if the baby drools or if I drip I don't get it all over my clothes. If you don't have a beautiful Kismet Love Collection scarf then you can use a burp cloth to cover up as well.
When your little one is hungry you don't want to be fumbling around with your bra. Nursing bras provide you with the support you need from a regular bra and they also give you easier access to accommodate you and your little one when they're hangry. I found some great options (in larger sizes) at BuyBuy Baby, here's a link if you're looking for some great options.
A Comfy Chair
Breastfed babies are harder to put on a schedule so chances are you'll be up more often cuddling and feeding your little. You want to have a comfortable place to relax and nurse. A comfy chair in a well lit area is a breastfeeding essential. I like to keep a small table next to mine so I can set up my breast pump, place my Hey Mama Tea or put my phone or kindle.
These are just some of my favorite breastfeeding essentials but the list is by no means inclusive of all necessities.
Do you have any breastfeeding essentials for nursing your little(s)?