If your like me then you thought breastfeeding would be super easy after all that’s what our breasts are made for right? Boy was I in for a big surprise! I had such a difficult time with my first and it resulted in a lot of crying (from both of us) and to pumping and formula feeding. It was the year of “breast is best” and I was surrounded by everyone telling me how breast was the only way and I’m horrible for not making it work. I was absolutely devastated by the whole experience and felt like a horrible mother because it didn’t work for us. I swore that I would be much more prepared when I had my second. Now I’m not against formula at all. I was formula fed and so was my first daughter. I will say that breastfeeding had one advantage that I was all about….. not having to clean and sterilize everything all the time. Since I pumped and formula fed my first I feel like I was always washing bottles and pump parts like all… the… time. I hated it. Another added benefit is the money you save from not buying expensive formula.
When I found out I was expecting my second I made it very clear that I wanted breastfeeding to work out this time! It has but not without a big fight. Breastfeeding may be natural but it sure isn’t easy. There are so many problems that come along with it. Thank goodness I prepared for anything and everything I could think of. I spent a lot of time looking up everything I could that would make my breastfeeding journey as easy as possible. I’ve already had Mastitis two times by 4.5 months! Boy is Mastitis a pain in the a**! For some breastfeeding truly is a fight. I’ve had issues with not producing enough and even to producing too much on one side. If you’re looking for a great treat to help increase your milk supply then check out my favorite and super yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Lactation Boosting Smoothie! Now I can proudly say that we are coming up to the one year mark!! I can’t believe it! Here are my breastfeeding must have essentials that every mom attempting to breastfeed needs!
Spectra Pump– Now a great pump is key! Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work out like with my first so I tried just pumping. That whole process would have been a nightmare if I didn’t have the right pump. This pump is magical. I have used the Medela express set and swing before and it was good but not great. The Spectra has proven to be great. The settings are easy on my breasts and I feel like it really gets a lot out. I also like the set up of the breast shield and connectors and that you can’t accidentally get milk in the pump which has happened to me before with the medela. I currently use the Spectra 1 where it is on a battery. I’ve found it to last a long time. Since I’m ebf my second child I still find it really important to have a breast pump. It is especially important if you’re looking to build a milk supply if your going back to work or if you just want some extra milk for some “freedom” to run errands or in case of emergencies.
Medela Hand Pump– Now I am ebf and have a spectra pump I love so you may be wondering why I would also include a hand pump? Well it’s because sometimes you are traveling and need an easy pump to take with you. I also go through times where my breast are very full and she doesn’t drain them as much so I have to take out the excess milk. Sometimes its just easier to quickly use a hand pump. I like this Medela hand pump a lot. My lactation nurse suggested it for me and I’ve found it to work amazing. In the beginning of my breastfeeding journey I had to use this hand pump a few times to help relief the engorgement pain after the first few days when your milk comes in.
Kiinde System Set– Ok where was this 4 years ago??? This has to be the answer to all my prays. Seriously the easiest and smartest system ever. It makes my life so easy that I want to kiss the people who came up with it! The system pretty much makes it so all that you need to sterilize are the nipples. You pump right into the bags and then when you are ready to use them they just click into the bottle and the nipple clicks right onto the pouch! It’s so great. I love that you can use the pouches to make baby squeeze food pouches later on when they start eating! SO smart. The only thing I hate about them is that they are made in China. With my first i refused to use anything made in china so it was really hard for me to give into this system because of that but they have really been such a life saver for me. And If I was pumping and formula feeding they most definitely would be a life saver for me and save me from all that time I would spend sterilize baby bottles and pump parts daily! Now if they were only not made in china then they would be my number one baby product.
Sterilizer and Dryer– Save yourself that extra hour a day! Being a new mom is exhausting. Why add anything else to the craziness? I highly suggest getting a sterilizer with a drying future! What a difference it makes! No more needing to dry wet sterilized products. I don’t think I could ever go back to a regular sterilizer.
Boom Grass Drying Rack– This is just the best and cutest way to store your products. Since most of our products are sterilized and dried in the sterilizer I really don’t use it as a drying rack but more for storing all my baby products. The add ons such as the flowers help make this really great at saving space. I keep pacifiers on the flower petals and bottles and nipples on the grass. It also looks beautiful on your counter or in the.
Nursing Cover– If your like me then you’re not super comfortable with just whining them out in public. I like to use a nursing cover and I prefer stylish and soft ones. Right now I’m loving these covers. I love that I can wear them as a scarf and also use them as a car seat cover so i can protect my baby from unwanted attention from strangers (Um seriously why do strangers think its ok to touch babies???!!!).
Nipple Cream– New moms… your nipples will hurt and probably crack. New mom boobs suck! They are so painful. Be sure to stock up on a great cream because you will need it! I really love this brand a lot. Its made of natural products and I know its safe for my baby so I don’t wave to wash it off before I feed her and trust me I don’t want to have to wash my nipples during those early day!
Cold Packs– In those first few weeks your breasts will go through a lot of new changes and they will hurt! Be prepared with a great pack of breast cold packs. I love these because the shape is perfect to slip into my shirt. You can also warm them up but I prefer to use them cold.
Breast Pads– Yes You will leak. And it does happen when you hear a baby cry…. its just a fact! Be prepared because I sure wasn’t with my first and I dealt with the wet shirt in public. I have tried a few different products and I always seem to go back to these. I find them the most comfortable and absorbent. They also stay in place well. I prefer disposable because I’m already so behind with laundry that I’m not going to try to add another thing that I have to wash.
Nursing Bra– Finding a nursing bra that’s both comfy and sexy might seem like a myth! Here is one of my favorites that I love!
Nursing Tank– a great tank top that makes nursing easy! I say yes that’s a huge must! When the little needs to eat easy access to the goods is everything! Especially when your out and about.
Milk Catcher– Another lifesaver! Especially if you’re trying to build a supply. This product was ideal the first few weeks. I didn’t realize how much milk I would lose while she fed on one side. When she’s eating I just attach the Haakaa on the other side and it catches all the milk that I lose during a feeding or if I’m pumping one breast at a time. This has been a huge lifesaver in starting to build up a freezer supply. Also very helpful for those first few weeks when your milk is trying to regulate and you are so full in the morning. This product is by far one of my favorite breastfeeding accessories!
Nursing Pillow– these things are so helpful! With nursing the position is everything. Nursing pillow makes it that much more comfortable.
Increasing your milk:
Oat Meal for breakfast! This has helped me whenever I feel like I need a boost! I try to avoid supplements unless I really need it.
Smoothie Recipe- Sometimes I need a boost in my supply and my favorite way to do that is by drinking a yummy lactation boosting smoothie and this one is my favorite.
Water Bottle– Drink water. This is coming from a chronically dehydrated person. I know I hate it when people tell me to drink more water. It’s really hard for me. The only way I can is when its cold and from a cute after bottle. Water and staying hydrated is so important when breastfeeding because it will help you keep your milk supply up. So drink up!
Snack Bars– I always keep a few oatmeal granola bars by my side. Breastfeeding makes me starving 24/7 so I reach for these. These are my favorite!
Make a Breastfeeding Kit filled with snacks and a few things you may need to entertain yourself during feeding. Anything you cans do one-handed is key. I like to catch up with social media and write blog posts on my phone during this time. I keep a small basket filled with some goodies for me.