If you plan on breastfeeding your milk supply will be with you at all times, however, you’ll need a few extra things to make things a little more comfortable for you and baby.
For starters you’ll need accessible clothing, like nursing bras and tops or dresses that make your breasts easily accessible. Secondly, you will need a breast pump, bottles, and a milk storage system. Thirdly you will need more particular things for your breasts, to protect from leakage or for healing and therapy. And lastly, you may need a nursing pillow and some swaddles/burping cloths.
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There are a wide range of nursing clothing in the market, with accompanying range of reviews. Personally, I purchased regular clothing with a loose fit or with buttons at the chest that I could pull or button down and nurse.
I had some trouble finding the right bra and was disgusted by quality or style of most products at the maternity stores near me (with the exception of the Jessica Simpson Maternity line), not to mention the price. Of the handful of bras I tried, ones with cup sizes or wires were the worst. I even ordered some cheap ones blindly online from Motherhood Maternity, thinking they looked “sexy” but they were completely dysfunctional and full of bad reviews.
I highly recommend getting a few nursing “sleep bras” because they will be the most comfortable to wear and may work with some of your outfits. I still sleep with my nursing bras because, despite my small bust size, I was left with saggy loose skin after I stopped nursing my second child.
You should probably get yourself another nicer bra or two that you can wear for nights out (treat yourself to a dinner date at least!) or social gatherings.
Nursing bras aren’t cheap and I struggle with bra cups anyway, despite getting sized and resized as my body changes, so I ended up paying too much for bras that are sitting in my closet. But I did find a couple of front-close bralettes that can adjust with me as well as be partially removed for nursing.
Breast Pump, Bottle System, and Milk Storage System
If you’re nursing you’ll need a breast pump. You may or may not want or need to use it right away but when you’re ready to leave baby with a sitter for a few hours you’ll need to have some breast milk ready for them. If you’re planning on going back to work and continue nursing then you need to prepare milk in advance as well as pump at work. Pumping is also essential for relieving Engorgement. Many, if not most, insurance companies will either provide you with one or reimburse you for purchasing one.
Some breast pumps provide you with bottle systems. Different babies adapt better to different kinds of bottles and nipple shapes, depending on mom’s nipples, so I wouldn’t recommend buying a big set until you know what your child likes. You could also get a bottle warmer machine and bottle sterilizer but you can make due without them.
You’ll also need a milk storage system, depending on how often you pump and the length of your storage. For short term storage, bottles are fine, but for long term freezer storage, milk storage bags are your best option.
Tip for storing frozen milk bags:
Place your freshly pumped milk storage bag horizontally so that it will be more compact to store vertically once frozen.
Storage guidelines, provided by the CDC, are as follows:
- Fresh: up to 4 hours without refrigeration
- Refrigerated: up to 4 days
- Frozen: within 6 months (12 months max)
Likely, at the start of nursing you will come across some unpleasant obstacles. Some of these you can get through within a few weeks with the right tools, others you’ll probably have on occasion. Some of the issues you’ll encounter include nipple cracking and bleeding (both short term) as well as leaking and engorgement (at any time). I go through my experiences with these in my My After Birthing Realities post.
Your essentials include:
Nursing Pillow and cLoths
When you’re nursing you will be sitting down, although I lot of people prefer laying, with your child at your breast for several hours a day so it is essential to find a comfortable position. When baby is still very small you will need some support to hold them up to your breast- your arms will get tired and you will want to be more handsfree!
That’s where pillows come in. There are several kinds of nursing pillows out there, mostly catering to Cradle and Crossover holds (which could also work for lying holds). There are even pillows for nursing twins. You won’t know which pillow is best until you find the best hold for you and baby.
Personally, I struggled because I had already gotten a pillow and ended up having to nurse in the Football hold so the one I had didn’t work out for me for nursing (it served multiple purposes). I did however, use a couch pillow and the arm of my couch to hold up my babies so I never invested in another nursing pillow.
After nursing you will need to burp your baby. Being a parent to a newborn, your clothes will always have spit up somewhere (for toddlers you’ll be upgraded to pee, poop, snot, and maybe some vomit) and you won’t even care. But milky spit up gets real stinky real fast! I always nursed with at least one burp cloth nearby and under my breast ready to catch the spit up and get sent directly to the laundry room after. I had some personalized ones gifted to me from my home country of softer materials but they were very similar to the fabrics of aden + anais swaddles, which I’d highly recommend using for this purpose as well.
What are your favorite nursing essentials?
My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.