I knew I wanted to breastfeed early on in my first pregnancy. But I had limited guidance on how the experience would feel or what products could make things a little easier. Needless to say, there were a lot of things I learned the hard way, like many nursing moms.
My first three months of breastfeeding had it all. Limited supply, delayed nursing, exclusive pumping, and a crap ton of nipple confusion. All I was missing was mastitis, and I’d be perfect for a “here are the worst things to happen while breastfeeding” textbook. In spite of all this, we somehow made it to a year and a half of breastfeeding. It’s an accomplishment I boast proudly because we went through hell and high water those first weeks.
Now that I’m halfway through a second pregnancy, I’m thinking of the best ways to avoid setbacks. Between my first-time experience and my superb research skills, I think I’ve developed a reasonable plan.
What follows is my nursing wishlist. It includes products that I believe can greatly improve the nursing experience. (Pro tip: Have your credit card handy.)
A Solid Mug To Tout Your Accomplishments
Sometimes breastfeeding is hard AF. We get it. So celebrate your nursing badassery with this solid mug while you chug coffee, tea, or other favorite bevy.
A Nursing Cami
If breastfeeding is so natural, why do so few of our clothes accommodate nursing moms? Enter the nursing cami. My dream budget has room for several of these chic nursing outfits.
A Super Cute T-Shirt
With a wide scoop neck, this comfy new mom t-shirt is perfect for slipping over a nursing cami or wearing alone.
A Kick Ass Nursing Bra
Even before you give birth, nursing bras can be immensely helpful. Few things look (or feel) worse than stuffing huge boobs into a way too small bra. As you adjust to your new boobs, it’s important that you have comfortable support with the ability to grow with you. Some nursing bras, like Nooni’s Leak Resistant Nursing Sleep Bra are even designed to deal with perky middle of the night leaks.
Football, cradle, cross-cradle…there are a ton of different holds to choose from when breastfeeding. When you’re just getting started, remembering the names and techniques can be overwhelming. There are folks who are comfortable memorizing the technical details of each hold. But if all of that isn’t for you, a nursing pillow like the Boppy is great for making sure you and baby are comfortable while nursing.
Side note: It makes an excellent back support as well, and is a Godsend if you’re nursing multiples.
Soothing Nipple Gel Packs
Even if you’re fortunate enough to have the worlds smoothest breastfeeding journey, you’ll face engorgement. But those perky boobs might be accompanied by bowling ball hardness and pain too. In addition to emptying regularly, you’re going to want a warm compress for the pain. Nipple gel packs are designed for just that.
Pumping might feel like a double-edged sward, but the experience can be improved with a solid breast pump. Willow and Freemie are changing the pumping game, but they can get pretty pricey. If you’re on a budget, like me, a hands-free pumping bra might be a good option.
When you’re on-the-go and pumping, you can’t always get to a lactation room. So a quality handheld pump, like this one from Medela, provides flexible pumping option.
When children start out in the NICU, it’s common for them to get started with bottles. My son was there his first week of life. The good news was he was finally eating. The bad news was, he ended up with a heavy case of nipple confusion and took a month to learn to latch. In retrospect, I think low-flow breast like nipples could have minimized, if not eliminated, the issue altogether. They’re also really handy for sharing feeding responsibilities.
Supply Boosting Cookies
I vividly remember sitting in my dad’s kitchen asking him to buy me Gatorade and oatmeal. “Don’t just get any oatmeal- It has to be steel cut”. Of course, he got the wrong kind, and when I finally got steel cut oats I found I’d rather be eating steel.
The only thing more annoying than dealing with a wet shirt after unexpected let down was thinking about how much milk was just wasted. Wasting liquid gold? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that. And if we all had milk catchers to hold on to the bits of milk lost during the day we wouldn’t have to. Don’t judge. Those drops add up.
Nursing takes patience and determination. I’m not saying these items would end all my problems. But I do think they could give me a lot less to worry about.