12 Life-Changing Breastfeeding Essentials For The First Weeks
Tools That Have Helped Me Through My Breastfeeding Journey
I’ve tried what felt like hundreds of breastfeeding products and the one’s listed here are what I ended up using on a daily basis. It was very difficult breastfeeding with my sons tongue tie, trust me it was one of the main reasons I almost gave up. But having a breast pump and these other breastfeeding essentials helped me tremendously. Don’t worry, I included breastfeeding tips for momma’s and babies!
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Breastfeeding Product Checklist
TIP #1: A NIPPLE SHIELD
The nipple shield saved my life in the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. For one, the doctors and nurses gave me a brief answer as to whether or not my son had tongue tie. It was painful, I mean I knew it was an experience him and I are going to learn with time but gees.
They say “If it hurts you’re not doing it right” yeah I’m calling that BS. Anyways they failed to tell me that my son had tongue tie, I had to hear it from my sister in-law that he did, so in the meantime in order for my baby to latch I had to use a nipple shield.
Even after his tongue tie procedure he still had to use the shield for a couple days and place some milk on my nipple so he could familiarize himself with where he is going to find the milk. This saved me (not all the pain went away but it helped him find a way to express my milk! And that’s all that mattered to me!)
P.S. If you want to steer clear of breastfeeding problems, please clean your nipple shields after a feed! You do not want to get a nipple yeast infection.
TIP #2 WATER/JUG
TIP #3 BREAST PADS
No one warned me about the leakage that comes from one boob while you are nursing from the other. Or leakage that comes at random times of the day.
I bought a pack of 4 pairs of reusable breast pads before I gave birth and for that, I created a yeast infection. I reused the same pair for 24 hours and THEN changed to a new pair.
Nipple yeast infections do exists and it is SO painful. Make sure you are always using a new pair of breast pads after every feeding or after a nursing leak.
Clean your nipple shields, nursing bra’s, pump parts, anything that your milk will touch, if you plan to place it back on your breasts. The milk will immediately grow bacteria and… it’s just not a pleasurable experience… and neither for your baby.
TIP #4 NURSING BRA’S
Nursing bra’s have saved the convenience of feeding my baby on demand without the hassle of having to adjust my bra.
Fighting with my bra straps or lifting the bra lining under my boobs making it hard for my LO to find my nipple or just cause too much pressure on it. Nursing bra’s have made my hardest days a LOT easier.
TIP #5 CHAPSTICK
Expressing milk will make you and your lips dryer than someone’s 80 year old auntie lol. It is very important to drink 1 to 2 gallons a day.
There have been way too many times where I sit in my chair unable to smile due to the dryness. The same way I have 6 bottles throughout the house I have double that in EOS chapsticks. Which to me are the smoothest chapsticks that carry out the longest.
TIP #6 YOUTUBE AND AIRPODS
Listen it took me hours, days and weeks to figure out what worked for me. Especially through this breastfeeding journey.
Not one woman in my family was able to help me with breastfeeding tips because they had no experience. It’s an experience that takes time, patience and work.
I had to sit and do my research, which included binge-watching hours and hours of YT Moms and videos of people who specialize in this area.
Airpods saved me when I was trying to watch or listen to something while my baby was falling asleep in my arms. Or even when you have the sound machine was on I couldn’t hear a damn thing, he loved the sound machine level to be on 85 lol.
With my AirPods I was able to watch videos, podcasts (I use Apple Podcasts + Spotify), audiobooks (you will receive 30 days free and one free listen with a new audible membership in this link) listen to music etc. without disrupting my baby’s sleep.
It might feel like you are reading fillers but these little details I write about matter! You’ll see from experience lol & the headphones that matter the most are any that are WIRE-FREE!
TIP #7 LANOLIN
WOAH. If there is anything I would advise, it is to invest in LANOLIN. My nipples were so sensitive and overstimulated by this experience.
There was so much rubbing and tugging, I had to wait until my nipples grew some callus to toughen up. That took maybe a little over 3 months to get used to.
It was so sensitive when I would shower so I would slather on a big dalop of lanolin before and survive a nice shower, like I used to pre-birth.
ESPECIALLY before pumping I would put some on my nipples and the flange. (WHICH MOMS. MAKE. SURE. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SIZED FLANGE IF PUMPING IS CAUSING YOU TOO MUCH PAIN CHECK. YOUR. SIZE)
Lanolin is baby safe so before a feed it is also acceptable!
TIP #8 HAAKA
Remember when I spoke about the leakage that happens when you nurse or pump on one side, you end up leaking about an ounce or two from the other breast?
Yeah that is some liquid gold you could be stashing in the fridge or freezer!
Especially in the beginning, not every baby will be able to stay up or be hungry enough to eat from your other side! So better to save it for the next feeding or freeze it for a later date!
I had to buy the haaka knock off because the haaka brand was a little too powerful for my smaller-sized breasts, they seemed to have bruised a little too easily.
TIP #9 BOPPY / BREST FRIEND
It is so important to be comfortable while nursing. It is so hard to hold my baby up while I am feeding him, especially to his comfort.
In the beginning my son would sometimes feed for 45 minutes, it was very difficult to be flexible without a boppy. It also was a good tool for tummy time as he started to get older.
My brest friend has a good surface to avoid your baby falling through the little whole the boppy has in the middle where you would place against your midsection.
AND the brest friend has a bottle/water holder… thumbs up! 10/10 would recommend.
TIP #10 MANUAL PUMP
The manual pump is amazing if you are planning to pump but do not want to be connected to the wall all day.
For me it was hard to maintain the manual pump only because I couldn’t handle the pain so I would put little to no pressure on my push.
But now 5 months later it’s easy as cake, A full pump will take me about 10 minutes! I still don’t know how people expertly nurse and pump at the same time.
My baby is so big and moves like a fish out of water when I feed him, maybe you’ll get that flexibility to if you have a more calm and relaxed baby lol. A breastfeeding mother does not mean she isn’t a pumping mama, it’s extremely necessary for my milk supply!
AND if there is an electric pump I would recommend it would definitely be the Spectra S1 (blue/wireless) or Spectra S2 (pink/wired) in comparison to the Medela Pump. A post about my personal reviews on these are coming soon.
The ability to feed your baby breastmilk without needing to exclusively breastfeed is a godsend! So grateful for breast pumps.
TIP #11 LACTATION MASSAGER
This device helped with my flow when I thought I was having issues with my production.
I was just having issues expressing every ounce my girls had! Lactation specialists always told me that in order for my supply to increase the demand needs to be higher.
Empty out the breast till nothing comes out for 3 minutes. ALSO wow, this helped with my clogged ducts. I rarely had them but they would happen when his dad would feed him throughout the night with the milk I stashed for the week.
Those clogs would come in full throttle, I would pump a quarter of an ounce while the other breast expressed 3 ounces.
I’ve never seen my breast look so uneven in size the way it did when I would experience ducts. After a few times of this (and the Haaka trick, which I will be posting about next week) the duct was in the clear!
TIP #12 OATMEAL,SPINACH, MOTHER’S MILK TEA AND POSTNATALS
These were the key ingredients to helping my breast production!
Especially mother’s milk tea. (There is fenugreek in the tea if this is something you wish to avoid)
Oatmeal almost every morning, spinach in my evening smoothies and taking my daily dose of postnatal vitamins.
I was not only gaining the nutrients for myself but passing them through to my baby and getting the right amount of milk for him! Such a fulfilling feeling.
Nothing To Lose In Trying These Breastfeeding Essentials, They Just Might End Up Working For You
There are many things that work for other moms that do not work for me, vice versa. But I was able to find out by trial and error, this was one of the longest journeys to survive this part of the post-birth experience and now I understand why so many women have given up.
Half of these products weren’t even invented until the previous decade. I hope with these tips you are able to use these tools and find an easier path by trying them out!
If you’re interested in looking for a bag that will carry a chunk of these products, I do recommend the diaper bag from Azaria I recommended in my previous post.
Whether you are a breastfeeding mother, formula-fed mom or a pumping mama
YOU GOT THIS!