My 10 breastfeeding product must haves!
As a third time mom I feel like I am kind of able to share a little wisdom but even I feel new to all the things that come with motherhood, especially with breastfeeding. With my first two, I had a chaotic life, zero support and also no guidance on how the experience would feel or what products could make things a little bit easier. Needless to say, there were a lot of things I learned the hard way, like many nursing moms and I am quick to admit that I am still learning.
My first three months of breastfeeding have had it all. Engorgement, clogged ducts, limited supply, delayed nursing, periods of exclusive pumping, supply drop and a ton of nipple confusion. I am a working mom, which means I am a pumping mom but I do only nurse at night and on weekends unless we have something planned. I do this to try to get the best of both worlds and to also keep my supply up. Although I have only been successfully breastfeeding this time around for three months- I feel it is an accomplishment I can boast about proudly because we went through hell and high water those first weeks. I also feel that with what I have learned, the research and countless articles I have read, I am confident I have the tools to be successful as I continue this journey for another year or so.
If you google, breastfeeding must haves - there will be a lot of various articles that come up- and most are good but they are going to talk about boppy pillows and alcohol testing strips and manual pumps and those things just are not my style. I try to be a minimalist with items and I only want the most effective and the best available as my time is limited and valuable. With that being said- I am also a mom of three so we try to be as frugal as possible so the majority of these are very affordable - also best part? Majority of them are found on Amazon. My favorite place. Remember to click the photos to be linked to the product!
So here are my top 10 products that have helped me during this wild ride so far:
1. A really really good pump
A good electric breast pump is an investment but so very worth it if you plan to pump during your breastfeeding journey. I was able to get my Spectra S2 through Aeroflow which is a company that runs the cost through your insurance. Mine covered this model at 100 percent yay! If you don't have insurance - they run around $150-$160 but in my opinion, still worth it. It is a little bulky and can be challenging to bring to work ( see my baby products entry for the bag I use) and sometimes when I have conferences etc where I don't want to bring my backpack I use the Spectra S9 which fits inside my purse. I love them both and they are essential to my breastfeeding and work life success. Click the photos for the links to the individual items. I also suggest getting an S2 portable charger if you plan to travel with it. It can also be found on Amazon.
2. Haakaa Milk Catcher / Manual pump
This product has been essential on the nights and weekends when I nurse and also when I was on maternity leave and my milk was in oversupply mode. I would feed the baby on one side and then attach this on the other and as my let down was occurring, this bad boy would start filling up. This is great if you feel engorged or are dealing with a clogged duct too. Easy and great way to capture milk that would normally pour all over or be absorbed by your nursing pads
3. A really good hands free nursing bra
This bra has came in clutch each and every day for me as a working and pumping mom. I either wear it or I throw it in my bag and just put it on before I pump and it makes it so easy. I am able to work, type, answer the phone etc while pumping. I also wear this when I have to pump and drive. I just hook everything up before I start moving and shut my pump off and then take everything off when I get to my destination. Weird for the people who pull up next to me but not for me! I am making milk for my baby at my convenience. Which is KEY. Make sure you wash this regularly so you don't harbor bacteria on your breast area.
4. Nursing Tanks
Nursing Tanks are essential to me because I use the double shirt method as opposed to getting a bunch of nursing specific shirts. I just pull a loose shirt up and then nurse out my tank top. I do this because I am efficient and also because I hate my stomach fat sometimes and I don't want strangers to see it while I am nursing my baby. So it keeps me as modest as possible and comfortable. win win =)
5. Collector Shells
These collector shells have also been crazily essential as well. I pop these babies in my bra and they do the work. Instead of milk being absorbed into my nursing pads, it goes into these catchers and I can then pour it into a bag when I go to pump. I easily get an extra 1-3 ounces a day just by saving what comes into these. They make your boobs look a little funky but worth it. Also make sure you sterilize good or wash in dishwasher so you don't harbor bacteria!
6. Nipple Butter!
Everyone always told me to get the lanolin ointment for my nipples and granted, it works. It sucked trying to get it off to nurse the baby and I was just not sure of the chemicals involved so i bought this. Man, it was awesome. I still use it sometimes on my face and babies face and when my nipples dry out. It is crunchy hippie mama approved and you can easily wipe it off with a baby wipe for feedings. It was especially essential the first few days when your nipples literally feel like shredded meat.
7. Wide Mouth storage bottles (if you are using Spectra)
These bottles are cheap and super easy to use. I pop them onto my spectra flanges and pump directly into them and then you can put cap on. I use these to store next day milk for baby in fridge. I pump enough at work for her to have the next day while at work and any additional milk goes into medela freezer bags. I also recommend getting a cooler or a lunchbox to store them into if you are pumping while traveling- you don't need a specific cooler made for breast milk, any one will do!
8.) Milky Mama Tinctures
So we are now at my favorite part of this post because I feel very strongly that these products have helped me increase my supply and get it back when it drops. My supply usually dips during the weekend because I am not on a rigorous schedule and just go as needed for baby, when I sleep longer than normal, when I am super stressed or when I drink caffeine. This specific product is something I take one dropper full every night. Its designed to help with supply, fattiness, and much more. I also just ordered the dairy duchess as it has an herb in it to help with gas and colic.
This is the specific fenugreek I use. You can get it from the link on Amazon or at Target. I took a risk with this because reviews say for some women it tanks their supply. I do notice when I take it that the baby has much more gas. So be careful. I just take one pill every night to help keep my supply up.
10. Emergency Brownies
If there is nothing else you get in this post (I mean you should) but you should invest in these. Or figure out what is in them and recreate your own. They are magical. I keep mine in the freezer and once or twice a week I warm one up for 45 seconds and have it with a glass of almond milk. It completely has helped me so many times to get my supply back after it took a dip. If you look at the reviews, I am not the only one that believes in these suckers either.
Some contenders that didn't make the list but I use almost daily and swear by:
Extra pump parts and extra charger (amazon)
Medela Milk Storage Bags (Amazon)
KIND milk storage bags (Amazon)
Mothers Milk Tea (Amazon)
Postnatal Vitamins (Amazon)
Blue Gatorade (any grocery store or gas station)
Instant Oatmeal (any flavor)
Armour drinks (amazon and target)
Also: Pro tip- NOTHING beats a hot shower. I get in the shower and massage my breasts to keep ducts from clogging and then get out and pump. The hot shower is essential when your milk first comes in and you are super sore.
Find more tips for breastfeeding and read about my breastfeeding struggle in the articles to come by subscribing below!