Breastfeeding is one of those special experiences that only mothers will ever get to know. However, if you are a new mom, things can get pretty challenging. You're going to need all the help you can get along the way.
The good news is that today, there are many products that have been specifically designed to help mothers have more comfortable breastfeeding experiences. This is also the bad news, though, because when you have so many options to choose from, it is easy to get choice paralysis and not know what to go for.
This article is meant to act as the ultimate list of breastfeeding essentials that every new mom should own. If you have also been wondering about what baby clothes to buy and how many of each item you need to own, you can find a detailed article on that subject here.
1. Nipple cream
Nipple creams, lotions, and ointments are essential for nursing moms. As you breastfeed, you are going to have sore nipples from time to time, especially during the first few weeks when you are adjusting to breastfeeding. Nipple cream will go a long way in helping you deal with this pain.
Nipple cream is designed to help soothe, moisturize, and relieve sore, cracked, and dry nipples. There are several types of nipple creams available. The most popular kinds are lanolin-based, which a lot of moms find soothing. Alternatively, you can go for something more natural. The idea here is to try out a bunch of different products until you find one that works best for you.
2. Nursing bras
You should also consider getting yourself a nursing bra or two. For the first few weeks, your breasts will feel heavy and full. This happens as your milk starts coming in, filling them up. A good nursing bra will provide you with support and comfort over this time, relieving the strain on your back and shoulders.
When getting a nursing bra, be sure to get one that is not too constrictive. Constrictive nursing bras make you more susceptible to mastitis or plugged ducts. You may also have to change bra sizes at different stages of breastfeeding.
3. Nursing pads
Nursing pads are also called breast pads. They are absorbent pads that are placed inside your bra to absorb any milk that leaks from your breasts. Leaks are common especially during the first months of giving birth. During this period, your milk supply is adjusting to your baby's needs. Nursing pads will stop milk from soaking through your shirt, especially in public.
There are washable and disposable nursing pads. What you opt to go for will depend on your personal preferences. Just be sure to have several nursing pads on hand especially during the first few weeks. Expect at least a few leaks a day.
4. Breastfeeding clothes
Being able to nurse your baby with ease is extremely important. You need the right clothes to make this possible. Breastfeeding clothes are specifically designed for breastfeeding. They also include specialized outfits like nursing tanks that you can wear under your shirt to allow you discreet access.
Nursing dresses and blouses have slits or flaps at the front that allow you to breastfeed with ease, without having to remove or pull up anything.
Breastfeeding clothes also come in different styles, ranging from casual wear to more formal looks. Get whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and confident.
5. Breast pump
Even though you may not be planning to pump exclusively, having a breast pump on hand may come in handy. Breast pumps are convenient as they help you avoid the pain and discomfort that comes with engorged breasts. Your breasts may get engorged out of the blue, for example when your baby sleeps through the night or when they choose not to feed, among other reasons.
Your breast pump will also come in handy when you have to be away from your baby during their feeding time. It'll help you provide breast milk for your baby even without being physically present with them.
6. Breastmilk storage
There is nothing worse than having to pour breastmilk down the drain! If you’ll be using a pump, you are going to need somewhere to store it; that's where breastmilk storage bags and containers come in.
Breastmilk storage bags allow you to collect and store breastmilk so it doesn't spoil and go to waste. They are pretty useful because they are designed to withstand extreme conditions of freezing and thawing. This will allow you to store your breastmilk for longer periods of time without having to worry about it going bad.
Depending on your personal preferences and storage needs, you may choose to get breastmilk storage bottles, breastmilk trays, breastmilk storage bags, or food-safe glass containers.
7. Breastfeeding pillow
Breastfeeding pillows are tools of convenience. They'll help you to comfortably support your baby when breastfeeding them. Nursing pillows are especially essential for moms who are nursing twins or moms who are recuperating from a C-section.
Breastfeeding pillows also allow you to try out new breastfeeding positions, like lying sideways as your baby nurses. This is a useful position, especially for exhausted new moms.
Nursing pillows will also help relieve the strain on your shoulders, neck, arms, and back, making nursing more comfortable for you.
8. A notebook
A simple notebook can be a very helpful tool in helping you monitor your baby's feeding times and the amount of time your baby takes to feed. Writing all this down will help you make sure that your baby is feeding adequately.
Plus, if there is anything else you need to remember as you nurse your little one, having a place to write it all down will help you deal with the mommy brain fog.
9. A clock
A clock will help you record your baby's feeding times. When your baby feeds less than they should, you'll remember to feed them more next time when you have a clock on hand.
10. Burp rags
Burp rags are also very essential items to stock up on. Expect your baby to spit up a lot as they feed and when you burp them. Burp rags will help keep you clean throughout this process.
Although breastfeeding is an amazing experience, it can also be stressful and challenging for most moms, especially at the beginning. These breastfeeding essentials should make this beautiful journey a little bit easier.
If you also need a list of essential baby clothes to buy, this list should offer a concise guide to that.
Finally, as you prepare to breastfeed your little one, consider attending a prenatal nursing class or consulting a lactation professional. This will go a long way in helping you gain confidence even before you start breastfeeding. With the right support, you should have no problem getting through any challenges that moms face during breastfeeding. Good luck!