Before you have your baby, you have certain ideas about breastfeeding. It’ll be simple, so easy, you think to yourself. Just pop out a boob and away we go. And for some people, it can be. For others, not so much.
And what nobody seems to tell you is how complicated it can be. It’s embarrassing at first to get your breasts out in public. Your nipples hurt. Your whole breast hurts. You get tired of having your baby latched on to you for what seems like all day, every day, and you want someone else to take over – just for a while. Your back aches. Your boobs leak. Yep, we’ve been there and done that. And while we know that it may or may not get easier, we do know that there’s a few items that will definitely help you out on your breastfeeding journey.
Here’s our top breastfeeding essentials:
1. A good, non toxic water bottle
You’re going to need lots of hydration, and there’s nothing better than water. Of course, you’ll need a good, non toxic water bottle, and we reckon that these glass ones from Eco Vessel are the business. Uncoated stainless steel is great, too.
Of course you could just drink from a glass, but we promise you that you’ll spill less if you’re drinking out of a water bottle!
2. Breast pads
Your boobs will leak milk. They’ll leak in the shower, they’ll leak while you’re shopping, and most of all – they’ll leak when you hear your baby crying. In fact, some days, you’re going to feel like a Jersey cow.
Which is why you’re going to need breast pads. You can go with disposable ones, or you can go with washable ones. Or you can do both. To start with, it’s great to have some disposable ones so that you don’t have think about extra washing in the first few weeks. Then grab some washable breast pads and you’re good to go.
I’d always recommend organic cotton disposable breast pads – it’s better for the environment and there’s no perfumes or toxic chemicals next to your tender nipples. Fortunately, there’s a couple of good organic disposable breast pads around these days, like the ones from Organyc and TOM organic.
We love the Nature’s Child organic cotton resusable breast pads, as they come in sizes. Not sizes for how big your breasts are, but for how much absorbency you need. Genius! We also love the Pea Pods bamboo ones, because bamboo is just so soft and so absorbent. And Charlie Banana has got it nailed with their black breast pads, because you really don’t want to be showing a big white breast pad under your black tshirt, now do you?
3. A good, organic nipple balm
I hate to tell you this, but your nipples are going to be sore. Toe curlingly sore. You’re going to need a good, organic nipple balm that you don’t have to wipe off (ouch!) before you feed your baby.
I used and loved the Nature’s Child nipple balm, and am also impressed with the ingredients in the new Gaia nipple cream. Both are chock full of organic, edible oils that aren’t going to cause you or your baby any problems.
4. A breastfeeding cover
I remember when I went out in public for the very first time with my eldest son. We’d been to friends’ places, where I could sit in the bedroom and feed, but we hadn’t been out publicly. We went to the local shopping centre, and of course, there was nowhere to breastfeed. I was mortified. I hadn’t got the hang of the whole breastfeeding thing, and the thought of whipping my breasts out in public was just so embarrassing. (Of course, by the second baby, you’re the one embarrassing people with your complete indifference to having your boobs hanging out whenever and wherever!) In the end, I had a big cape/cloak kind of winter coat thing, and I covered up with that.
Fortunately, things are a lot more stylish these days. My lastest love is these awesome breastfeeding scarves from Itzy Ritzy. They roll up to look like a scarf (and a very wearable, stylish scarf at that), but they roll fully down and cover your baby while you’re feeding. Love it!
5. A breast pump
I can’t tell you how much of a relief a breast pump is until your breasts are engorged. The sheer relief is beyond explanation. A breast pump is one of those things that you may not think you need, until you NEED it. It’s worth investing in a simple, manual breast pump until your milk supply has regulated, and then you can review whether you’ll be needing anything fancier.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a great article on how to work out which breast pump is best for you.
6. Cooling breast pads
Sore, engorged breasts? You’ll love these Bosom Buddy cooling breast pads – they work just like a standard cooling ice pack. The reason you need these ones, rather than a standard cooling ice pack, is that they fit around your breasts and don’t touch sore nipples. You can even use these warm to help your milk flow more easily. Brilliant!
7. A breastfeeding pillow
You’ll be doing a lot of breastfeeding. A lot. (And a lot of watching TV and checking facebook on your phone, BTW.) And if you don’t want to completely do your back in, you’ll need to grab yourself a breastfeeding pillow like this gorgeous tortellini one from Studio Skinky. Non toxic, fair trade, and cool to boot. I love that you can use this later, too – to prop baby up when he’s learning to sit, to rest your laptop on, or to just chillax with.
8. Non toxic baby bottles
If you’re expressing milk so that you can go back to work, or even just get out for a while for a mental health break while someone else feeds your baby, you’re going to want some non toxic baby bottles.
We choose glass – it’s the safest material there is when it comes to non toxic feeding, and we love the non slip sleeves on the Cherub Baby ones. I used the Baby Nova ones with my babies, and loved them, too.
9. Breast milk storage bags
If you’re pumping milk, you need somewhere to put it, and these handy dandy breast milk storage bags from Cherub Baby are the way to go. They’re BPA free, of course, and pre-sterilised. What’s cool is that they’ll stand up on their own (handy for storing in the fridge or freezer), and there’s even a spot to mark your name and the date on it. They’re leak proof with the ziplock top, and they even have a measuring scale on. Super easy.
10. Nursing bra
I remember when I finished breastfeeding, I felt like having a ceremonial nursing bra burning. I was so sick of wearing my three ugly but supportive breastfeeding bras day and night. Thankfully, things have changed on the breastfeeding bra front, too. I love these ones from Hot Milk Lingerie, and these ones from Cake Maternity. Many of the mainstream brands have upped their game, too, so you’ll find good maternity and breastfeeding bras from the likes of Bonds, as well.
Are you an old hand at breastfeeding? What are your essential breastfeeding picks? Share below!
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