Before I became a mom, I had no idea what went into breastfeeding. In fact, it was the most shocking challenge I faced once I had my daughter. I figured I am a woman, it’s in my maternal instincts to feed my child, I’ll figure it out and it will just come naturally to me.
Boy, oh boy was I wrong.
If you’ve kept up with my blog, then you know I didn’t exclusively breastfeed my daughter, and you know I didn’t breastfeed for very long. So I’m sure you’re probably wondering what qualifies me to talk about the necessary breastfeeding must-have items for new moms.
Believe me when I say that I gave a valiant effort when it came to breastfeeding Hayvn. Although I don’t have years of experience, nor am I claiming to be an expert in any sense, I have had my fair share of pains and problems that come with the territory of breastfeeding.
Therefore, I feel inclined to share some tips, that saved me while I was breastfeeding. Keep reading to find out what lifesaving items are out there, that could potentially change the way you breastfeed your new baby. These are the breastfeeding necessities that every new mom should know about.
My Breastfeeding Story
First things first, I want to cover the basics. I want to warn any new or expecting mommas out there, that breastfeeding is hard.
While I’m aware that there are some mommas who are blessed, and breastfeeding just comes naturally to them, they produce a lot of milk, and for the most part, it’s smooth sailing. That’s not the case for the majority of us.
Like I said before, breastfeeding was the most shocking challenge I encountered once my daughter was born. I figured it was just in my womanly design to instantly know how to do it.
Come to find out, it’s not all about the mom. It’s about learning to work with and communicate with your new baby. Attempting to synchronize with a newborn is extremely complicated, and I will warn you, that frustration will happen, and that’s okay.
Not only are you learning a new aspect and function of your body, but you are also trying to communicate and work with your newborn, who you just barely met.
There are many challenges and difficulties that can arise when it comes to breastfeeding, such as low milk supply, your baby can’t latch, mastitis (a serious infection of breast tissue), clogged ducts, the list goes on.
Don’t let this scare you, it’s good to be aware, and having a knowledge of these difficulties can help you to better avoid them.
In my case, I exclusively breastfed Hayvn for two weeks. Long story short, after talking to multiple lactation specialists, Hayvn was diagnosed with something called tongue thrust, meaning, she didn’t know how to suck, and instead would push her tongue outwards.
She started losing weight and would have long inconsolable crying spells. Once she was diagnosed, her pediatrician recommends I breast pump, as well as start supplementing with formula, seeing as my milk supply was low, and she fed better from a bottle than from me.
So I resorted to breast pumping every 2-3 hours, and exclusively feeding her through a bottle. That worked for about 2 months, and then my milk supply dried up. Once my milk supply was gone I had no choice but to exclusively formula feed.
Although I didn’t breastfeed for a significantly long time, in those two months, I learned so much about what it takes to breastfeed your child.
#1. Breastfeeding Station
Before I list out everything you need to breastfeed your new little baby, the first tip I would like to share is to have a basket or a rolling cart set up next to the chair where you plan to do most of your feedings.
I also recommend having your diaper bag fully stocked with all of these items, so that you are ready for any impromptu feeding while you-re out and about.
Take it from me, I had to learn the hard way with this when my daughter was 4 days old. We had left the house to meet a family friend for dinner and left all of her feeding supplies at home. Luckily I had an extra cover in the car, that saved us in that pinch. But it’s safe to say I never left my house without these essentials ever again.
Without further ado, these items are about to become your new “breast” friends!
#2. Nipple Shields
Mommas, nipple shields are heaven sent! They are specially designed to help in unique breastfeeding situations, such as difficulty latching or flat or inverted nipples.
After two days of struggling to breastfeed and latch, my nipples were sore, raw, cracking, and on the verge of bleeding. And I know most seasoned breastfeeding mommas can relate to this.
Luckily, my sister, who had breastfed her son a couple years earlier, shared her wisdom with me and bought a pair of these nipple shields as a baby shower gift.
I am forever grateful to her for giving me these wonderful little things. They act as a barrier between you and your baby. It’s simply a clear shield with a few cut-outs. You place it over your nipple and latch your baby. They even come in different shapes and sizes to better fit each individual.
Once your baby is latched and starts to suck, you can continue breastfeeding as normal, but with much less pain and discomfort. This also prevents the sensitive skin around that area from drying and cracking.
These were especially helpful in my case since Hayvn preferred a bottle. The shape of the nipple shield was the perfect mediator between breast and bottle, allowing me to continue breastfeeding, as well as helping her latch and drink easier.
#3. Breast Pump – Manual & Automatic
When I was expecting, I found hand pumps to be outdated and didn’t see much use for them. I mean, my insurance was paying for a nice machine operated breast pump, so what was the point of a hand pump, other than more work?
Well, when I first started breastfeeding, my milk was late to come in. It took longer than normal and my machine-operated pump hadn’t arrived yet.
Normally, the suction from your new baby and the release of hormones will help kick start your milk supply, however, Hayvn was born two weeks early, and my body just wasn’t ready to produce milk for her yet.
So, my doctor recommended getting a hand pump to help stimulate my milk supply. He said it was better than the machine operated pumps because I could control the suction patterns manually.
So, I would recommend to all mommas that are wanting to breastfeed to buy yourself a hand pump. They are inexpensive and I can attest that they are better for stimulating milk supply and let down. Plus, there are no chords chaining you to a chair! You can hand pump wherever you want.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely used and loved the automatic breast pump, however, I feel that each pump serves a different purpose.
The automatic breast pump is much more efficient and collects more milk, with little effort on your part. The hand pump is more customizable, and forceful which helped in stimulating and boosting milk supply.
I used the Medela hand pump to help stimulate and build my milk supply, and once my supply had come in, I then utilized the automatic breast pump.
Another great option for a manual pump is the Haaka pump. Mommas are raving over this pump and it’s clear to see why.
Unfortunately, I was made aware of this pump after I was done breastfeeding so I never got the chance to use it. However, my friend who breastfed her baby for a year+ used this and absolutely loved it.
The unique hands-free feature that this pump brings to the table is, that it suctions to your breast and collects the milk you leak, which is brilliant because that milk would otherwise leak into a pad and go to waste. It’s also a huge bonus that it doesn’t require your hands once it’s in place.
#4. Nipple Cream
This is one you won’t want to forget, especially in the early days of breastfeeding – nipple cream.
You’ll soon realize that breastfeeding can be somewhat painful. After all, we all know not to lick your lips if they are chapped or dry, that will only dry them out more. Instead, we use chapstick to relieve our chapped, dry lips.
Well, the same concept applies to breastfeed. Your baby’s saliva can cause the skin on your breast and nipple to dry and chap, which can lead to cracking and even bleeding.
So, I recommend having nipple cream on hand before your baby even arrives. I would recommend putting nipple cream on about a week or two before your due date to get that skin moisturized and protected for when you are ready to start breastfeeding.
This was a tip that a fellow momma shared with me, but it was too late. I had already been breastfeeding for a couple of days, but I will definitely be applying it before I have my next baby.
Keep this with you at all times. I bought multiple tubes of nipple cream and had one in my diaper bag, one on my nightstand, and one in my breastfeeding cart by the chair where I would feed Hayvn.
I used the Lansinoh brand and loved it. In severe cases, you can even ask your doctor to write you a prescription for medicated nipple cream. I t is safe for you and your baby, but it helps with numbing the area if you have cracking or bleeding. It provides more intense relief for more severe cases.
#5. Nursing Latch Bra
While I was breastfeeding, I never wore any other bra than my nursing latch bras. Mommas, I am so grateful to live in a time with innovative inventions such as these.
They make breastfeeding so much more convenient and eliminate the nuisance of removing and adjusting all different layers of clothing.
These bras have a nice convenient flap that unlatches and pulls down to expose your breast to discretely and conveniently feed your baby without any hassle. They also offer great support and are seamless without any wires!
There is also the option of a nursing latch tank top, with a built-in bra. I love these tank tops as well.
On top of the convenient latch system, these bras and tank tops come with insertable, washable pads to prevent any leaking. Speaking from experience they are extremely absorbent, and the fact that they are machine washable is great because it saved me tons of money on disposable pads. I never had any troubles with leaking through my shirts.
#6. Boppy Pillow
I would definitely recommend, having a boppy pillow or some kind of pillow that is designed specifically for nursing.
When you’re trying to figure out the best position for you and your baby when it comes to feeding, you may have trouble finding the right support. That’s where a nursing pillow really helps!
This U-shaped pillow helps take the unnecessary strain off of your back, neck, and shoulders, and overall enhance the whole experience of breastfeeding your baby.
I had a Boppy Pillow and I used it up until my daughter was 8 months old, not only for breastfeeding, but it’s useful in other ways such as aiding in tummy time, supporting a baby that can’t sit on their own yet, or even just laying them on the floor, and preventing their head from flattening.
Overall, I love our Boppy Pillow and highly recommend it to all mommas, breastfeeding especially.
#7. Breastfeeding Cover
Last but absolutely not least, a breastfeeding cover. Some mommas have no shame and just whip out the boob wherever they are. I respect that, and if this sounds like you, then more power to ya! Nothing wrong with that.
I am extremely modest and conservative when it comes to pulling down my shirt in public. Call me prude, but I’ve always been this way. The thought of exposing myself in public, even if it was to feed my child, made me very uncomfortable.
So, I bought myself a breastfeeding cover to wear over myself while I fed Hayvn on the go. It was extremely convenient and made me feel so much more comfortable breastfeeding in public. It also doubles as a car seat cover to protect your little one from strangers and the elements.
They come in so many cute patterns, I want them all!
Believe In Yourself!
Although breastfeeding can prove to be quite the struggle, it can also be so rewarding. If you have made the decision to breastfeed, just know that it will be difficult, and there will be frustration along the way, but you’ve got this!
With these seven breastfeeding necessities, you will be prepared and ready for any challenge breastfeeding throws at you. These breastfeeding must-have items will help prepare you to conquer the art of breastfeeding.
I Want To Hear From You!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope you found it helpful. I would love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions, comments, or personal experiences please reach out in the comments section below!