If you’re an expectant mother hoping to breastfeed, you’re probably comparing sample registries to see what accessories you’ll need. Opinions vary greatly on what’s “necessary” and worth the cost. I’m eight months into my first breastfeeding journey: it has been a lot of trial-and-error. Here are some products that have made my life easier – including a few indirect items/services rarely mentioned on lists!
These were the single most important item to my success in exclusive breastfeeding. It’s upsetting that I almost didn’t try them, because a lactation consultant in the hospital tried to steer me away. There are many reasons why breastfeeding may simply not work for you (there’s no way to know until you have your baby). I often hear inverted/flat nipples as a reason. If this applies to you, I would give the nipple shields a try.
The downside to using the nipple shields is that you have to hold them in place each time you nurse, which makes it harder to be discrete, and there’s a lot of cleaning involved (just like with exclusive pumping). Some Moms are able to ween their baby off the shield, directly on to the breast, in a short amount of time. My baby took 3.5 months to learn to latch on her own. It was frustrating at times, but worthwhile to me to be able to breastfeed.
Some Moms think these are frivolous; but if you’re small-chested with a long torso like me, the hunch is real! Many Moms use a Boppy pillow (the hollowed-out kind) for nursing. I used the My Brest Friend brand. Pro-tip: you’re going to want a waterproof cover! I don’t care how cute the other designs are. My baby spit up nearly every time I burped her, after every feeding, for the first couple of months. Once you become reliant on the comfort of this pillow, you will not want to wait for the cover to go through the laundry every day.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
I’m not sure why this one makes a lot of the “unnecessary” lists. Try holding two breast-shields up at the same time while operating the pump and tell me that’s a good time! Why not pump one breast at a time? The let-down from one breast will kick-start the other. I don’t care if you cut two holes in a sports bra: this is still a useful accessory!
Whether you go with nursing bras or camisoles, you’ll want undergarments with the little clasps for convenience. You might also know about nursing pads (disposable or reusable; personal preference). Here’s what I didn’t consider: nighttime leakage. Regular pajamas – aka your partner’s over-sized t-shirts -don’t have a spot to hold the pads. I had to emergency-order some nursing nightgowns!
Just like with maternity clothing, it’s hard to justify the cost of general nursing clothing. However, after putting some on my Christmas list, I wish I hadn’t stalled. It’s so much easier to leave your top on: especially long-sleeves during a Michigan winter!
-Less Common (but equally important!)-
I recently read an online conversation that went something like this:
“How do I know my baby’s getting enough breastmilk?”
“If he’s gaining weight.”
“Haha like I can just go have him weighed every day.”
You can. My husband ordered a baby scale and it really eased my mind to see our baby’s weight go up: about six ounces a week in the beginning. Yes, even after all that spit-up, she was getting enough food from me.
We gave up cable television a few years back to save up money. We would alternate between Hulu and Netflix, since we both commuted and didn’t have time to watch many series. If you get maternity leave, and don’t have other kids in the house: you’ll want a few options! The cluster-feeding days are no joke. We added HBO: it was so nice to be able to watch movies while the baby seemed to be latched to me for hours on-end.
Bulk Store Membership
I generally recommend buying almost everything in bulk. However, it is not okay to run out of snacks when you’re burning off your own fat reserves to nourish your miniature human. Now – how do we go about opening a Costco here in Genesee County?
If you’ve breastfed before, what items would you add to this list?