One of the great things about breastfeeding is it’s free. Well besides being good for the baby, good for your family, good for you… Yeah, besides all that.
All the incredible benefits of feeding aside, it’s a really frugal way to feed the baby. Your bank account will thank you.
But don’t put away your wallet yet! There are a few products out there you’re going to want to purchase because they’re going to make your life better. Really. I’ve been accused of being
cheap frugal, but even I have to admit these are pretty necessary. These goodies will just make breastfeeding so much easier… and an easier life means more energy to snuggle the baby!
1. A good nipple balm
Once you and baby have perfected the latch, you probably won’t be using a nipple balm; but it’s not uncommon to have achy, sore nipples in the very beginning. After all, they’re being asked to do something they don’t normally do. Please be kind to yourself and get some nipple salve before that happens.
Lansinoh Lanolin Cream is what I’ve always used and loved, but I’ve just learned about Bamboobies Boobease Natural Nipple Balm and I’m super curious. I love that it’s organic, and an added bonus is the packaging is sooo cute! I almost wish I had cracked nipples so I could have an excuse to buy it. Almost.
2. Washable nursing pads
It’s a sad fact of breastfeeding life that the boobs will leak, the milk will stain, and it will never happen at a convenient time…like at home. Nursing pads are essential, you just need to choose between disposable and washable. I personally use both.
I like keeping Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads in my purse and diaper bag because they’re individually wrapped. You just never know when it’s going to come in handy. In a pinch, I once used one as a feminine pad. Shhh! Our secret.
For washable pads, Bamboobies Super Soft Washable nursing pads get my vote. They’re soft and won’t irritate sore nipples. They have a leak-proof lining. And that cute heart shape? It keeps them from bunching inside your bra and leaving you with what looks like wrinkly ta-tas.
3. Nursing pillow
Possibly the best part of breastfeeding is getting to snuggle your precious, warm little bundle of sweetness. It’s heaven…for a few minutes. Then this tiny little bundle becomes impossibly heavy and your arms start to ache, and you desperately wish you had a decent nursing pillow.
This is where you think Boppy pillow right? They’re adorable and friendly looking with bright happy covers.
I love LOVE Boppy pillows – just not for breastfeeding. It was truly a lifesaver when I was pregnant and it helped me sleep in the exact position I needed to be comfortable. It was great for positioning me just right after a surgery. It’s also nice for laying the baby in the floor.
But for nursing, I found this “lifesaver” pillow was flimsy and unsupportive. It never fit comfortably around my waist, always seemed to travel away from me, and laid uselessly about 2 inches below the level I held the baby to feed him. In a nutshell, it just got in the way and frustrated me.
I also tried to the Leachco Cuddle-U nursing pillow. This one was awesome for supporting the baby while he laid in the floor. It looks like the Boppy pillow, only has extra fabric sewn on to be a sort of seat belt for the baby.
But for nursing, this “awesome” pillow was exactly the same as the Boppy pillow. Disappointing.
Enter My Brest Friend. No, that’s not a typo.
There’s a wonderful nursing pillow called My Brest Friend, and you need it! It’s made of a thick foam -much thicker than the other pillow brands – so it’s the right height to help you breastfeed without being hunched over. It’s a very firm, supportive foam, so it won’t flop and buckle over under the baby’s weight (a real concern with the other two). It has back support and it buckles in place. No more chasing a traveling pillow, so now we can just focus on nursing this little one.
4. Nursing cover
Breastfeeding is wonderful and natural and beautiful. There’s no reason to cover up when you’re feeding.
Unless you want to.
Personally, I pick and choose when and how I cover up, because it all just depends on how comfortable I am with the people around me.
If you can imagine any time in your life where you might not want everyone around you looking your breasts, then invest in a nursing cover. If you truly don’t care, I applaud your audacity.
There are all kinds of breastfeeding covers available! Look for one that’s lightweight – to heavy of a material will give you a hot, cranky baby.
5. Breastfeeding bracelet
I know the idea of a breastfeeding bracelet sounds totally off the wall. Stick with me though, because this is good.
Milk Bands make a small rubber bracelet that you can wear on either arm. You use it to tack which side your baby nursed from last, what time they nursed, or even for how long. All very good things to remember and all very easy things to forget! The bracelets are super affordable and will save you a lot of headache. Trust me.
While I’m a huge advocate of keeping a nursing log, sometimes it’s just not around and you need to remember the details. This little buddy is gem.
6. Feeding arm pads
Close to the end of our nursing sessions, the arm where my son’s head was resting would usually fall asleep. I’d get that uncomfortable pins-and-needles feeling; but I always just thought I was weird. It never occurred to me someone else might be having that problem. Apparently I’m not alone though, because somebody invented arm pads for this purpose! Amazing!
Huggabee Cuddle Me is a pillow sleeve that you slip your arm through, then provides a cushion between your arm and baby’s head. Much more comfortable for you, and I’m sure it’s much more comfortable for the baby too. We should embrace anything that makes us more comfortable.
7. A quality breast pump
While you could hand express your milk if you just have a lot of free time, it’s incredibly helpful to have a good pump to do the work for you. I’ve used the Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump and it’s a good pump. It did the job, it came with a lovely carrying case, and I really like how the storage containers double as bottles to keep you from having to transfer milk. However, I never seemed to get very much milk, and it got to the point where I didn’t want to bother.
The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump is overwhelmingly favored by moms and has the added benefit of what they call 2-Phase Expression®
It helps you pump for less time while getting more milk. Don’t just take my word for it though, read some reviews! It’s seriously an awesome pump.
8. Bottles you love
After you go through all the trouble of pumping your milk, what do you want to serve it in? Picking the right bottle can be tough. If you believe the hype on bottle packaging, you’ll think that if you pick the wrong one it will emotionally and mentally scar your youngster for life.
I’ll admit that there are some bad things in plastics, especially BPA (please buy BPA free bottles!), but when I’m sleep deprived and having hormone swings, the last thing I need to be surrounded by is a bunch of fragile glass bottles! I love the idea of using glass, I just don’t know that I’m adult enough not to accidentally break them all.
I’ve used Dr. Brown’s bottles, and they’re amazing! Truly, I never had the first issue with gas while using them. (Do I need to say results may vary? Please don’t blame me if your baby gets gassy!) My only issue with Dr. Brown’s bottles is cleaning them. They are an royal pain in the you-know-what to clean. I used the dishwasher on sanitize cycle, I tried handwashing, I still ended up with funky spots in the hard to clean inner pieces.
Then I fell in love with the Playtex VentAire bottles. Each bottle is still 5 pieces (6 if you count the lid), but they’re easy to clean pieces and I can trust that they really are coming clean. I only used these bottles with my third baby, and he has a tendency to be gassy whether he drinks from the boob or the bottle. So I can’t say he didn’t have any gas, but I didn’t notice that it was worse than when he nursed.
9. Milk storage bags
I’m sure the storage bags aren’t something you’ve put a lot of thought into.
They should be clean. They should not leak. And they should have ounce markers.
But what else?
How about the ability to stand up on their own when there’s sloshy milk inside? And wouldn’t it be nice if the opening had a tear off tab so you know for sure it’s clean?
If all that sounds good to you, then you’ll like Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags. They’re economical, lay flat in the feezer, and have a pour spout too.
If you’re like me though, you probably won’t realize how awesome they are until you try a different brand and throw it away.
10. Freezer milk bag organizer
Once you get a dozen or so bags of frozen breastmilk floating around your freezer, you’re going to want to find a way to organize them. Trust me, it will simplify your life.
I was fortunate that my freezer had a cubby/drawer thing that was perfect for organizing my milk, so I can’t make any suggestions about brands. Just be sure to find a safe and simple way to organize your milk, because you’ll want to use your oldest frozen milk first.
Back to you
These are the products I think are the most helpful while breastfeeding, but they certainly aren’t the only ones out there! Talk to friends about what they used, and check online reviews. Don’t hesitate to invest in something that will make your life easier.
I’d love to hear about what you’ve tried, or if there’s a product I’ve never used that you couldn’t make it without. Please feel free to comment below and tell me about it!