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Here’s something I wish someone would have told me when I was pregnant with my first baby-
You do NOT need nearly everything that is thrown at you or suggested when you have a baby. Some things you will use once, some not at all and some have multiple uses and you’ll use them for a very long time.
With that being said, it is super hard to know what, exactly, is going to be necessary for your breastfeeding style.
Are you going back to work at 6 weeks? Are you exclusively breastfeeding but going back to work? Staying home? Working part time? Are you laid back? Worried about needing something for every possible situation? These are questions that will change some of the things you may need.
This list was written well after the birth of my 3rd baby, and let me tell ya sister, you don’t need a million things to get by!
Here are some breastfeeding essentials for new or returning moms (who may have forgotten what you need- like me!):
I was lucky enough to get a whole bunch of nursing bras passed down to me from my sister-in-law. I was not lucky enough to have tiny boobs like her!
So I suffered through 2 babies wearing nursing bras 2-3 sizes too small.
Yeah, kinda ridiculous.
With my 3rd baby I splurged and realized what all the fuss was about!
You are going to be practically living in this bra for the next 1-2 years (depending on how long you nurse).
Here’s your permission, here’s your validation-
YOU’RE WORTH EVERY GD PENNY OF A GOOD NURSING BRA.
Don’t settle for some cheap, crappy bras that don’t fit quite right.
Any mom with a baby deserves a super comfy, easy to use nursing bra.
This nursing bra is the one I finally settled on and it’s the epitome of comfort and support. I live in this bra during the day and will definitely buy another one when it wears out. It’s going strong 7 months!
NIGHT NURSING BRAS
Night nursing bras help with a few things:
- keeping milk from leaking down your naked body during night time feeds
- extremely easy access (no clips) requiring zero brain power for those middle of the night feeds.
- they are super stretchy and comfortable and won’t be too hard on your fluctuating breasts or cause blockages.
These night nursing bras are comfortable, affordable and are easily tossed in the wash. It’s really nice to be able to roll over and whip out a boob in bed (if you co-sleep) easily and not have to worry about snapping anything back together.
Carry a water bottle around with you and stay hydrated! Did you know during breastfeeding you should be drinking a whole extra quart of water per day? Make sure you keep hydrated for your and your babies sake!
This is not optional. For your nipples’ sake, please use nipple cream! You seem to really only need it for the first few weeks and then your body adjusts to breastfeeding. If you are a DIY’er, here is a recipe for homemade healing balm that you can definitely use, just omit the tea tree oil.
If you don’t have time for that, this is what I’ve used for 2 of my nursing babies. A lot of people buy lanolin without questioning what it actually is- I did that with my first baby. Then I went vegan and learned that lanolin is taken from sheep’s wool after they are shorn and then sent to slaughter. There are tons of cruelty free options that are great for your skin 🙂
RELATED: REASONS WHY YOU’RE ALREADY VEGAN
NURSING BREAST PADS
Some people swear by reusable and some people swear by disposable. I’ve tried both and I don’t mind either. These are the kind I’ve tried and stuck with for all of my babies!
MILK BOOSTING TEA
This is totally optional and depends on what you are like. Are you already worried about your milk supply and your baby hasn’t been born yet?
Then you may want to have this tea on hand. I drank it with my first daughter, kind of as a ‘just in case’ type thing and actually had to stop drinking it because I was producing too much milk!
You will probably come across or have come across some links for a free nursing pillow- which sounds great, right?
They are not so great.
Especially for first time moms. They don’t really hold their shape and are super hard to use, especially with a first baby. This may work for more of a seasoned mom but honestly, I would have been lost without my serious nursing pillow for my first baby.
One mom recommended taking the cover off when you get it, putting the plastic that the pillow comes in on the pillow, then put the cover back on. No more worries about spilling milk and spit ups!
This pillow is a bit less expensive but still has excellent reviews and comes in at 4.5/5!
When I had my first baby, I went out and bought all. the. things. A pump was one of them! I bought a Medela Swing and did NOT love it. There are many reasons you may need a pump but quite possibly, you won’t need one.
I certainly didn’t!
If you are wondering if you will need a pump or not, please check out this guide.
If you are going back to work and want to exclusively breastfeed there are a few options to consider but factors like budget and necessity come into play.
What is a deal breaker for you?
Do you need a double pump? Single? Hospital strength?
I recommend doing some serious research into what would be best for you.
If you are going to be home most of the time and will occasionally go out to dinner and a movie, an electric pump really isn’t necessary.
This is a good option for a manual pump and most moms are excited about helping with the pain of engorgement during night time feeds and catching the let down of the breast the baby isn’t nursing. Some are even saying that they are using this as a replacement to an expensive electric pump and using it while working!
If you are going back to work full time and are going to pumping quite extensively, some of the best reviews I’ve found are for this pump which is hospital grade and an excellent price for what it does.
NURSING TANKS AND TOPS
These nursing tanks are so incredibly handy. You can wear them by themselves with no other bra and they look cute with a cardigan thrown over top. Easy to breastfeed while at home or out in public. I do not have small boobs and was worried about the support aspect but they are AMAZING!
If you’re looking for a nursing t-shirt, this one has really high reviews and some lovely prints and solid colors!
Or this pack of 3 is a good option for a really good price. The reviews for this 3 pack are mostly positive, except for one mom who warned that they shrunk after hitting the dryer, so be aware of that!
MATERNITY SPORTS BRA
If you are active at all, I highly recommend spending the money on a legitimate maternity sports bra! The difference is incredible and it will be kind to your changing boobs. Many of them are supportive but super stretchy to accommodate growing and shrinking breasts during breastfeeding!
This sports bra has some raving reviews-
*So comfortable! I love love love this bra. This is my third baby and have tried them all… this one is the best
Click here to read some more of the reviews and questions answered!
If you aren’t super active and don’t do high impact things like running or jumping, please skip this section!
If you are active, continue reading:
This sports bra (which is NOT a maternity sports bra) needs to be mentioned here. I have been running for almost 5 years. Never in my whole experience running have I come across a better sports bra, and I’ve tried a lot. This sports bra reduces the bounce rate of your boobs by 76% and this in itself is worth every penny! When you are nursing and running or doing high impact activity, having a sports bra like this is heaven! I would recommend buying this after about 3 months when your milk production has regulated and your chest isn’t changing size as much as in the beginning.
No, really. This is essential to your breastfeeding journey. I think it’s like most things you see these days- you think it will be magical and easy and you will love the majority of it. And while you will have amazing moments and be connected to your sweet little baby-
You are human. You will have rough times too and wonder why the hell you’re doing this. You will want to quit and get your body back to belonging just to you.
Hang in there. However long you breastfeed should be celebrated, and it goes so fast.
Soak up the moments that they really, truly NEED you
before they don’t anymore ❤
A snot sucker. No, this doesn’t have to do with breastfeeding but I’m putting it in here because it is such a damn life saver and I wish I’d had it with my first baby. She was so congested after the birth that we would hold her her facing the floor and smack her back because she couldn’t breathe 😢
If your baby gets stuffed up and cannot nurse or is congested after birth, this invention will blow your mind! You put a small piece in your baby’s nose and suck through a tube (the snot does not go anywhere near your mouth, don’t worry!) and it will literally clear out your babies nose and give them huge relief. I would now buy this for any expecting mother as my number one present!
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I got overwhelmed by the information and guilt as to what I thought I ‘should’ have for my baby. Now with my 3rd breastfed baby, the only things I have legitimately used for breastfeeding are on this list!
Did I miss anything? What nursing/breastfeeding essentials would you add? Let me know in the comments ❤