I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I love breastfeeding! I feel extremely lucky to have been able to breastfeed both of my babies with no issues. And although breastfeeding did come easy to me, it’s definitely not for the weak. I often think to myself that it’s like a full time job, and it determines a lot of what I do.
I base my outfits every day around whether or not they’ll be easy to nurse and/or pump in. I make my schedule around it – If I’m away from Hattie then I need to make sure I bring my pump with me even if it’s just to run errands, or I will try to pump then leave the house ASAP and make it home within my three hour window before I need to pump again. No matter where we go I always have to pack the pump and a cooler, just incase we’re gone longer than planned, because I never know when Hattie will decide to go longer between feedings, or maybe she decided she just needed a little snack and I need to express the rest of the milk.
I have compiled a list of items that will make your life as a breastfeeding mom a (little bit) easier. Some items may contain affiliate links.
- Breast pump : I chose the Medela In Style Advanced pump when I had my son, and it worked perfectly fine so I got another one when I had Hattie. Did you know that you might be eligible for a free pump through your insurance company? I had no clue before I had Aaron and was (pleasantly) surprised when I found that out! I did it all through Target’s website and it was so simple! I had to fill out a little bit of info and they did the rest for me.
- Battery Pack and Car Adapter : If your pump allows it, I definitely suggest getting a battery pack and a car charger adapter. This will make pumping on-the-go much easier. I pump in the car A LOT, but sometimes you never know where you’ll be when you’re needing to pump, which is why I suggest getting the battery pack. I used the battery pack a lot after a few months of pumping with Aaron, and definitely more this time around. I guess I got a lot less shy about it and decided that I don’t want to miss out on things because I have to go sit in the car or a corner to plug in and pump. Instead I just put my nursing cover on and make myself comfortable! I linked the two that go with the Medela pump I use.
- Nursing Cover : There are seriously some cute nursing covers out there! Milkmaid Goods Nursing Ponchos are my favorite because of how they’re made. I love the shape of them and that they are more open at the bottom, allowing me to still use my hands without worrying about exposing anything. I am able to put it on and pump or nurse and a lot of times people don’t even realize that’s what I am doing! True story- I’ve actually had a friend ask to wear it as a poncho while we were at a concert once because she was cold. I told her of course, as long as she didn’t mind that it might smell like breast milk. HA! But seriously, that’s how cute they are!
- Hands Free Pumping Bra : This was a lifesaver! I have changed many diapers while pumping, pumped and nursed at the same time, pumped and got ready, and even cooked dinner once while pumping (this probably could have waited, but when you are no longer on your own schedule, you do what ya gotta do.)
- Sleeping Nursing Bra : After my milk came in with Aaron I learned very quickly that sleeping without a bra and nursing pads was just not going to be an option, for a while at least. I was pretty bummed about it because who likes sleeping in a bra?? But I found some pretty comfortable ones that made it not such a bad thing! They also helped to keep my shirt and sheets from being soaked in breast milk every night- you’re welcome hubby.
- Nipple Cream : because cracked nipples are just no fun. A little bit goes a long way. And honestly, I always used expressed breast milk first and then would use a little bit of the cream if needed. I got the 3-pack because it was super convenient to have one in multiple locations, rather than having to go get it each time you needed it. And no need to worry about accidentally losing it or leaving it somewhere!
- Nursing Pads : I tried the reusable ones with Aaron and didn’t like them as much as I did the disposable ones. They tend to get bunched up during the washing process and I had to iron them out, or just kind of stretch them to make sure they weren’t lumpy looking in my bra. The disposable ones were just a lot easier in my opinion!
- Milk Storage Bags : If you are able to pump additional milk and want to save it for bottles, I suggest getting these milk storage bags. After trial and error while breastfeeding Aaron, these were the ones I seemed to have fewer problems with when it came to having holes in them. I use a lot of these, so I always buy the 100 count packs, but if you’re unsure of how many you’ll need or if you’ll like them then you could always buy a smaller pack to try out.
- Boppy Pillow : This is great when nursing because sometimes those little babies get heavy! I have linked a pillow without the cover. You can find covers on Amazon, at Target, on Etsy, really anywhere that offers baby stuff.
- Nursing Tank Tops : This isn’t something that I wear everyday, except for those first few weeks. You know, the days that only consist of comfy clothes and cuddling your newborn baby! I suggest getting whatever size you wore pre-baby.
- A good Nursing Bra : I wish I had more of these to link for you all, but I only have one that I like wearing. It’s super cheap and from Walmart, I think it was less than $10. I bought it because I was in a pinch and needed one for the weekend, well turns out it’s the most comfortable one I own! Please let me know if you have one you love so I can try it!
- Large Water Cup : I seriously have a cup of water by me at all times. And I prefer to have a straw too- I think I drink more water when I have a straw. Anyone else feel this way?
I do also want to say that this post isn’t meant to sound discouraging and like breastfeeding is too much work! I had a few people reach out about my last breastfeeding post and say that they didn’t realize it would hurt so bad and that they were really nervous. I just want to keep it real and be honest with you all! A lot of this stuff was just stuff I figured out on my own, so I hope it can help someone else. It is painful (for a short amount of time) and it does require some extra work, like all things, it’s an adjustment! And it’s not for everyone, but that’s okay! A fed baby is best!