When it comes to breastfeeding, there isn’t a lot you really need, however there are some breastfeeding essentials I found great for making the experience easier and more comfortable.
Anyone who has experience with breastfeeding knows that it is not as simple as you expect it to be, and that was possibly one of the biggest surprises I did get becoming a first time mum with plans to breastfeed.
There’s the fact that neither of you have a clue what you’re doing first time around and even if it’s not your first time, it’s still a new skill your baby needs to learn. Correct latch, positioning and all that fun stuff.
Because trust me… you don’t want to get that stuff wrong. Cracked nipples anyone? Yeah, there isn’t much worse. My second baby was born with a tongue tie and breastfeeding was a painful ordeal for a little while.
But beyond that, there are some items I consider my breastfeeding essentials to make it more comfortable for myself and for my babies. So here are my top 5 essentials for nursing mums:
MY TOP 5 BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS
1 – GOOD QUALITY NURSING BRAS
As far as breastfeeding essentials go, always start with a great quality bra that will support your likely much heavier breasts… especially when your milk first comes in and you feel like you’re carrying around watermelons suddenly! Make sure it is properly fitted to suit your growing and changing shape as a breastfeeding mum.
I found bras that didn’t have underwire were preferable and of course, those designed as nursing bras. Make sure they have clips to allow you to fold down the cups and allow your baby to feed easily. Some have really complicated clasp systems which is extremely frustrating! But you also want something that feels good and gives you proper support too. The soft crop top style may be great for bedtime too.
2 – PILLOW
While there are some highly recommended nursing pillows around, such as the popular Boppy nursing pillow, but personally a normal pillow did the job. Just so long as you have something comfortable to rest your baby on in your lap while your feed for extended periods. I would recommend a firm pillow though for safety reasons, and of course, never leave your bub unattended on the pillow.
It will save your arms a lot if you aren’t holding your baby up the whole time they are nursing.
3 – NURSING COVER
If you plan to be out and about, a breastfeeding cover is definitely an essential. This way you can breastfeed in privacy even if there is no mother’s room or similar available. I know mine is something I take everywhere I go. And one recommendation… keep it simple.
For my first daughter, I had some fangle dangle cross over one that went over one shoulder and allowed you to have better privacy as it went all the way around. And yes, absolutely it was a great cover for giving privacy… but it was complicated and I always got tangled trying to put it on or when I needed to switch sides for feeding, so my simple apron style one that goes around the neck is sooooo much easier!
4 – NURSING CLOTHING
When you are out and about with your baby, or even at home, you want comfortable clothing that is easy access for feeding your baby. This can mean a somewhat limited wardrobe for however long you decide to breastfeed, but it doesn’t have to mean you can’t look great. There are lots of fabulous and stylish breastfeeding clothing available. Milk and Love are a Brisbane based Maternity and Breastfeeding clothing company with some lovely apparel.
My personal favourite is the Slouchy Pleated Breastfeeding top, with a hidden zip down the middle. I love it because it also hides the extra tummy I haven’t lost since having my second baby, but they have a great range of other products too. If you have ever tried to feed your baby in clothing that wasn’t nursing friendly, you will know how hard it is!
5 – PATIENCE
While I put this one last, it probably belongs at the top of the list. Because breastfeeding is not as easy as we think it should be, there is nothing more important than having patience. Not only in those early days when you and your baby are trying to master breastfeeding, but also later on, through the various developmental changes and milestones.
Spending most of a day with a baby attached to your boob can be stressful without patience, but during growth spurts and feeding frenzies, this will be your reality. Persevering through those first teeth. Ouch.
And as far as the breast is best argument goes… you do what is right for you and your baby! Don’t be stressing if breastfeeding isn’t an option for some reason. So long as your baby is nourished and loved, you are doing great mum!
Don’t forget to check out my essentials to surviving pregnancy guide for those of you who haven’t yet reached the stage of nursing babies and beyond!