Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Must Haves

In my preparing to breastfeed post two weeks ago, I mentioned getting nursing supplies before your baby is born. Here I'm going into detail of the things I found most useful when starting to breastfeed:

  • Lanolin ointment
This stuff was a lifesaver those first few weeks. When your nipples are sore and cracked, this stuff is amazing. It helps you heal so much faster and it's perfectly safe if your baby happens to ingest a little while nursing.

  • Nursing bras/camis
I actually don't do real nursing bras/camis. For me sports bras in a larger size, tanks with built-in bras, etc worked perfectly. You want something with some support (since the girls will be a bit heavier then usual) but that's also lose and comfy since you'll be sore and you'll need easy access throughout the day as your baby wants to nurse.
  • Burp cloths/blankets
I was naive and thought that burp clothes were only for baby spit up. Oh no, that's not nearly as messy as the constant leaking you'll do in the early days. In fact, it was so messy between the leaking and spit up that most burp cloths weren't enough. I went through several receiving blankets a day as they were perfect for cleaning up all the messes.
  • Breast pump
Like I mentioned in my Preparing to Breastfeed post, a pump is a must-have to help with engorgement, latch issues, and poor eating. It's also essential if you're planning on going back to work, or being away from your baby for awhile. While pumping is a pain, not pumping is a lot more painful! 
  • Nursing pillow
While your baby is born tiny, they get big fast! Nursing pillows like a Boppy or My Brest Friend are an easy way to make holding them while nursing a lot comfier. It puts your baby at a good height to nurse and gives your arms a rest. We used our Boppy daily for about 11 months, and now Fynn uses it as a toy and pillow when we're in her room. 

  • Water bottle and snacks
When you have a baby attached to your chest for half the day, it's essential to have food and water at hand. Of course your hubby should be helping you out and bringing you things, but make it easer for yourself by having a stash at hand. I kept a giant water bottle, easy snacks and the remote on a little table next to the couch for the first couple of months. Made passing the time while nursing so much easier. 
  • Breast pads
I wish I had started using these sooner... would have saved me from leaking through about 8 shirts a day those first couple of months. Even when you're nursing frequently, it gets messy. And breastmilk doesn't come out of some fabrics... learned that the hard way! Save your clothes and your laundry pile, buy some. Some people swear by the reusable ones or home made ones. I found disposable a lot easier to deal with, but to each their own.

  • Ice packs
Having your milk come in is painful. Ice really helps the swelling and makes it a lot more comfortable. I found a bag of frozen peas to be the perfect shape and size. Yeah, you look rather silly walking around with a bra stuffed with frozen peas, but it feels a whole lot better!  

Optional supplies:

  • Nipple shields- Like I said before, I had an inverted nipple, which is why I needed a nipple shield, but I've heard about other moms who used them because of latch issues, sore nipples, or to help them heal from mastitis or a yeast infection. Obviously not everyone needs them, but I thought I'd mention them because they were a crucial part of my breastfeeding success. 

  • Entertainment- You're going to spend a lot of time attached to your baby. Having something to do (besides stare at their cute little face and marvel at your accomplishment) makes it go by a lot faster. I played on my phone a lot, watched tv, read on my phone. These days I tend to play with my iPad a lot... which often distracts her from nursing.

Of course, this isn't a complete list. There will be things that you find incredibly useful, that I never used. Vice versa, there may be things on my list that you never need. Regardless, I think it's helpful to have an idea of things that were useful. Let me know if there are other things that were essential to you in the beginning! 


  1. I love this series, I feel like I'm learning so much!

  2. Thank you for these posts! I'm definitely taking notes :)

  3. Those Lansinoh breast pads were my absolute favorite!!!

  4. Bamboobies were my favorite nursing pads!! And I used coconut oil instead of lanolin...but I still ruined plenty of shirts from forgetting to do anything in the proper order! Oil w/o pad = mess. no oil w/o pad = leaking & mess. Oil + pad = Clean shirts!!


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