I gotta tell you that I was the first of my group friends to be pregnant and have a baby. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, especially when it came to breastfeeding. You can read about my first time breastfeeding story here.
Although I only have one child, I feel as though I’m a weathered pro when it comes to breastfeeding. I can’t tell you what my nips look like, but they’re not as “weathered” as you think they are. HAHA! Too much info? Hey! I’m just being honest. For you Moms-to-be or ladies hoping to be Moms, your boobs change when you get pregnant. It’s a beautiful thing! It’s all NORMAL. It’s amazing that your body can produce milk to feed your baby, and that’s all your baby needs for her first year. When I say your boobs change… well yea, your B cups turn into D’s but your nips change too (ahem they get bigger) and they’ll never go back. #sorrynotsorry?
But ladies, this is the honest truth, when you become a Mom, it’s not just about you anymore and your boobs…. well they aren’t your man’s. They’re your baby’s boobs for now!
Here’s my list of things to have, to make your breastfeeding experience as positive and comfortable as possible for YOU.
- Get a reliable breast pump. I used and enjoyed using the Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump
Rip that baby open when you get it and become familiar with it. It’s going to help you make more milk, which will be great when you need to step away for a bit and someone can feed your baby by bottle. One thing I wish I knew sooner, is to get on a pumping routine when you get home from the hospital. Whether it’s while your baby is napping in the morning or night, plop yourself on the couch, get comfy, hook yourself up and start pumping. In the beginning, it took me 30 minutes to pump 1 ounce of milk. SO DISCOURAGING. But stick with it, be patient. Your milk will come in. You know when your milk has come in because your boobs will feel rock hard and look huge. I then started pumping every morning and bagging my milk to store in the freezer.
- Breast Milk Storage Bags. I used NUK Seal ‘N Go Milk Storage Bags, 100-Count
Every morning I’d feed MK on one boob then while she was sleeping, I’d pump milk from the other boob. I’d get around 4 to 5 ounces in about 15 to 20 minutes. Some people do less, some do more! Don’t be too hard on yourself. A relaxed, well hydrated and fed Mom will make more milk. After I pumped, I’d circle how many ounces I would store and the date I pumped then chucked it in the freezer. KellyMom.com is the BEST website and resource for breastfeeding! Here’s what they recommend for storing your milk.
- Water Bottle. Breastfeeding makes you super thirsty!! Get a water bottle that makes you excited to drink water, and something easy to drink water from with one hand (cus you’ll have a baby in the other!).
- Nursing Bras. I had a few bras and didn’t bother spending lots of money them. You’ll be washing them often. I liked using soft wireless ones like these and at night I liked wearing nursing tanks like these.
- Nipple Cream. Take care of those nips! I really liked using Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama’s Nipple Butter I had tried using Lanolin, and it worked great. But I found Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Nipple Butter worked better and my nips healed faster.
- Nursing Cover. I bought a cute, printed nursing cover but didn’t end up using it. I didn’t like how I felt everyone stared at me when I put it on at the Mall, cus it was like a gigantic white sheet and I was a floating head. I ended up just using an circle scarf from Lululemon that I already had. I liked how it was thin and looked like a normal piece of clothing. I just threw it on and tucked MK underneath it. Some people are comfortable bringing a boob out in public, but I know it can make some people uncomfortable.
- Nursing Pads. Whether you choose to get reusable/washable pads or ones you use and toss. Nursing Pads will save your bras, shirts and some embarrassment when you’re out of the house. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught out with no pads on and MK starts crying and like magic my boobs start leaking. Next thing I know. My top is wet. I liked using Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads 60 Count I liked how these pads were thin, so you can’t tell you’re wearing them under a thin shirt. They also have sticky pads on them so you can stick them to a bandeau! Which I did a lot when I wanted to wear off the shoulder tops but didn’t want to wear a nursing bra.
- Breastfeeding Pillow. I didn’t end up getting an actual breastfeeding pillow, but I used a small but firm throw pillow that I already had. If I have another baby, I’d get an actual breastfeeding pillow. It’s helpful when you’re sitting on the couch watching TV and nursing or in a rocker and nursing. I like this one and this one.
- Hair Ties. It’s easier to nurse when you’re hair is out of the way and I remembered which boob I just nursed on by putting a hair tie on that wrist. Here’s a set from Etsy.
- SNACKS. In the early days, breastfeeding makes you super hungry. Especially those late night, early morning feedings. I made banana loaves and froze them. I’d just bring out a loaf, cut it up and snack on it. Fruit makes for good snacks too. Pre cut your apples, spritz a little lemon on it so they don’t go brown, or pre wash your berries and have them on had ready to go in the fridge. Prep and pre wash your things so you don’t end up reaching for the cookies and granola bars that are way more convenient 😉 Here’s the recipe I turn to for banana bread!
Those are my essentials and what worked for me! Good luck Mamas! If you have any questions or would like to add to the list, just leave me a comment below! 🙂