Tuesday, May 5, 2015

breastfeeding supplies you need

This is a post I wish I could have found about 6-7 months ago when my belly was the size of a house and my apprehension about all things baby was at its height. I was googling every baby thing under the sun in an attempt to "feel ready," and if one thing was a big question mark for me, it was breastfeeding.

So many questions, as a first time mom, were bouncing around in my head.

Will I make enough milk? Is my baby going to latch right? How do you even latch a baby? How do you know if you're doing it right? How do you know if they're getting enough? What if my boobs are broken and don't make milk? How often do you feed a baby? What do I need to buy?

If you didn't hang around me at the end of my pregnancy, be grateful. There was a whole lot of crazy going on there.

So, to help moms expecting their first babies (and maybe even some seasoned moms), here is my list of products a new mom needs if she is planning to breastfeed.

A Good Quality Pump
This has been a key component in my breastfeeding experience. I use a Medela In Style (you can find one here) and it has worked great for me! I love the electric pump because I don't have to do anything but hook it up and sit there while it goes. I do know some moms swear by their manual pumps, though, so just find what works for you. A pump is a must-have if you want to be really successful, though some moms use their pumps more than others do. I use mine all the time, and it has been a major help in establishing supply, freezing a little stash for emergencies, and making a bottle so Husband and I can go out on a date. And the great thing is, most insurance companies either completely cover the cost or pay at least a portion of it. I got mine for free! It's well worth your time to research it and find out if your insurance will pay for it.

Breastmilk Storage Bags
I've used probably hundreds of these since my baby was born almost six months ago. Once you pump out your milk, dump it into one of these bags and lie it flat in the freezer for easy storage. My favorite brands are Up&Up, Lansinoh, and Babies R Us.

If you're planning on exclusively breastfeeding, you likely won't need very many of these, but it's useful to have a few for when you need to leave the house and have someone else feed your baby every once in a while (read: DATE NIGHT!) I got a five-pack of Tommee Tippee bottles that I absolutely love! The nipples feel much more like the breast than any other bottles I looked at, and these bottles have a self venting system so that the air circulates in and out of the bottle as your baby drinks. Some babies are very picky about what kind of bottle you use, so you can try out different kinds to see what suits you, but my baby has loved the Tommee Tippees, and so do we. Plus, the wide opening makes for really easy cleaning!

Nipple Cream
This is a must. When you first start breastfeeding, it WILL hurt. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. It's going to make your nipples all kinds of sore. That pain will go away after your body gets used to the abuse, but until then, make sure you have a really good nipple cream on hand. My favorite thing to use is coconut oil (see my gushing post about coconut oil here), but I also tried and loved the Medela brand of lanolin as well. Whichever you choose, just apply it directly onto the nipple with clean fingers after every feeding (make sure to pat dry first!) and let it air dry for a couple of minutes. It works miracles!

Breast Pads
These are a necessity, I'm not even a little bit kidding. Especially in the beginning, leaking is a part of your life now. Breast pads sit right inside your bra and soak up those leaks. Some people love reusable breast pads, but I like to use disposable ones. My favorites are the Lansinoh brand (which have sticky strips on the back to attach to the bra--though I'll be honest, I've never used the sticky strips, but I know some moms love them) or the Nuk brand (which do not have the sticky strips, but are ultra thin and sit snugly inside the bra and are my preference). Just make sure to change them out regularly so that your nipples stay dry (otherwise you risk thrush).

Nursing Pillow or Boppy
I use one of these every single time I nurse, and I really miss it when I don't have it with me. It just makes my life a zillion times easier, and it is totally worth every single penny--especially in the beginning when you spend the vast majority of your time feeding the baby. You can find a boppy here.

Burp Cloths
You probably got a lot of these at your baby showers, but if you didn't, stock up. Especially right after birth when my baby was just getting the hang of nursing, breastfeeding was ridiculously messy. My milk sprayed everywhere, my baby spit up all the time, and mopping everything up was so much easier because I had a huge stockpile of burp cloths. I am a strong believer that you can never have too many burp cloths, but you CAN have too few.

And there you have it! My list of the absolute necessities! There are a few other products you can buy that are very helpful but not necessarily necessary (did you see what I did there? I'm basically a word master). You can check out:

Nipple Shields
Nursing Covers
Soothing Gel Pads
And many more.

Anyone have anything else that saved them during their breastfeeding days? I want to know about it! Comment below or email me at peanutbutterproblem [at] gmail [dot] com!

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