My Breastfeeding Essentials

my breastfeeding essentials

 

Before I gave birth, I had several people tell me that breastfeeding was one of the hardest things they had ever done. I was a bit perplexed by that statement and couldn’t imagine it would be any harder than other difficult obstacles I had faced in my life. Then I began breastfeeding

I am a firm believer that a fed baby is a healthy baby. I have no strong feelings for or against formula and just personally wanted to try to breastfeed. I was excited and hoped for an amazing connection with my son and to pass on any health benefits I could. It was astonishing to me that moments after he was born and placed on my chest, he immediately knew how to breastfeed. Much of the those early days in the hospital are a hazy memory but I clearly remember us both trying to figure out how to make this nursing thing work. As time went on and we headed home so many things happened that I wasn’t prepared for. 

I should say that the three weeks prior to his due date had been reserved for cooking meals to freeze and reading up on breastfeeding. Since he decided to show up early, I hadn’t opened my breast pump or read anything! The lactation consultant was a huge help but once you get home it’s a whole new ballgame. You are trying to figure out your own rhythm, how to tell when your baby is hungry and constantly feeding. I mean constantly

I think a large part of the struggle for me in the beginning was never having my body to myself. I was constantly feeding him and no one could help. It’s a daunting realization at a time when you are already exhausted and emotionally spent. So much of the struggle for me was mental and it only started to get easier once we got into a rhythm and I became more confident in knowing what was happening with my child and how to help. 

No one told me about the engorgement that develops 4 to 5 days after you start feeding. Ladies, be warned. It is hot, heavy and oh so painful. I was convinced something was wrong and called my doctor in a panic. After much reassurance, I waited it out and after about a day or so everything relaxed and I could move again. 

I think there are a few breastfeeding essentials I wish I had on hand before I ever came home from the hospital. Luckily, I have the most amazing friends that talked me through the tough days and had so much advice on how to ease that early pain. Now, that I’m a few months in, I finally feel like I have the hang of it. There were so many times I wanted to quit but I’m happy I stuck with it and once his feeds started to space out a bit it became so much more tolerable! 

 

Bravado Designs Nursing Bras and Tanks

I tried out tons of tanks and bras that were recommended to me by friends and these Bravado Designs bras were by far my favorite! You will spend lots of time in these and you want to make sure whatever you’re wearing is ultra comfortable. Unlike before, you want to have something super snug and breathable because you will never take them off. My everyday favorite if the Body Silk Seamless Yoga Bra because it’s soft and provides the perfect amount of support without being uncomfortable. I also love how easy the straps are to hook and unhook with one hand because let’s face it you will rarely ever have two available. If you are spending some time at home, the thinner Ballet Nursing Bra is so soft and simple and allows a bit more freedom. I love to sleep in this bra so I’m not so constrained and it’s easy to pull aside when nursing throughout the night instead of struggling to find clips in the dark.

Another bonus to these, they’re all so pretty! I didn’t want to be in something frumpy all day long and these made me feel presentable. I’m able to wear the bras underneath tanks and tops with my everyday clothes and not feel self conscious. I also get away with wearing the Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Cami underneath sweaters or cardigans all the time. It’s a perfectly tight and stretchy fabric that holds everything in. It makes nursing in public or while you are out and about a lot easier!

You also want to make sure to snag a Clip and Pump Hands Free Nursing Bra Accessory from Bravado Designs if you plan on pumping at any point. No one wants to hold everything while they pump and having my hands free made me hate pumping a little less, just a little. Their accessory allows you to clip it to any of the nursing bras B-clips’s giving you a way better experience. With this, I don’t have to worry about anything slipping or falling down while I’m pumping and can actually survive hands free! 

 

 

Reusable Organic Nursing Pads

This was actually a recommendation from my prenatal workout instructor and I am so thankful! After one afternoon of wearing the disposable ones, I was grossed out. They feel slimy and are so thin it’s hard to wear them for very long. I snagged some reusable ones off Amazon and after placing an order for one pack, immediately bought another. They can be thrown in your regular wash and having so many on hand ensured I never had to worry about running out. 

 

Lanolin Cream

They gave me a tube when I was in the hospital and I immediately ordered more on my Amazon app from my hospital bed. In the beginning, there will be lots of pain and soreness and slathering this on will make the world of difference. It’s also safe for your baby to ingest so you can rest easy. I’ve had friends tell me they loved using coconut oil for this reason too but I have yet to try it! 

 

Nursing Pillow

Before having Zain, I had talked about how I wasn’t sure this would work for me. Boy was I wrong! I tried out some newer shapes and versions but ultimately went back to the original. I don’t nurse without it and it helps my arm and wrist get a rest. If I had been a bit more prepared I would have packed one to take to the hospital!

 

A Giant Water Bottle

You will never feel thirst like you do when you’re breastfeeding. Trevor always comments how odd it is that as soon as I start nursing, I start chugging water. I had invested in a 1L glass water bottle while I was pregnant and it has become my best friend. 

 

There are obviously tons of other things you can keep on hand but these were a few I wasn’t expecting to need or use on such a regular basis. What things did you guys swear by while breastfeeding? 

 

 

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my breastfeeding essentials

 

 

This post was sponsored by Bravado Designs. As always, all opinions are my own and thank you for supporting brands that make Lows to Luxe possible!

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  • Heidi

    It’s easier to talk about what didn’t work, but I found that cheap Target tank tops were much easier to nurse in than a constructed nursing tank. You can buy 20 of them for pennies, pull down the strap when you need to, and not worry about throwing them all away afterward due to all the fading from washing and washing. So easy. Another invaluable tool was my cushy rocker with ottoman. Although I didn’t use my nursing pillow much (it just never seemed to fit the baby’s body right), I’d use a few regular pillows (one for the lower back, one for head, one for baby on the side) to prop myself and the baby up and it was so comfy. What I didn’t use much besides the nursing pillow was the nursing cover. I felt so claustrophobic for the baby having to use a cover that I ended up just going in another room when we had company–it could be isolating at times but I hated having to cover him up when he was so curious to see things and I wanted to look at him (I never tire of that even though he’s 2 now). I also, probably to my detriment, didn’t really wear a bra for the first few weeks–just sometimes a tank with support. This won’t work for everyone–I tend to be a little smaller–and I probably won’t do it for the next one because I’m older and . . . . gravity. But the bra can be cumbersome when you’re feeding round the clock.

    • Oh I feel the same way about a nursing cover! I never bought one and just use a muslin if I have to but think the same thing. He hates it when I cover him and goes crazy so I just avoid feeding in public. I wish I could get away with just a tank haha. I tried a few of the Target tanks in the beginning because my sister in law had loved them but they didn’t provide enough support for me. It hurts to not wear a bra still so I was happy to find these Bravado ones. They feel soft and comfortable without suffocating me!

  • Rebecca

    Glad it’s going well! We made it to my son’s first birthday (I’m a stay at home mom right now though so I was able to skip the pumping at work which is a whole other challenge!), but those first few months were definitely the hardest thing ever!! We’re thinking about baby #2 now and admittedly that is something I’m not really looking forward to! Totally agree that fed is best though, that first year of parenthood is a different journey for everyone and that’s ok. Enjoy your day at the zoo! Should be perfect weather!

    • Way to go! Yea, I have only pumped a few times here and there and it was not the most enjoyable experience. It definitely is and challenging in such surprising ways! Aww, thank you – I’m excited to see his reactions!

  • Super helpful post, Shaheen! I have a close friend who is in the throws of nursing right now with her 5 month old, and she’s given me lots of details. It’s so helpful to hear experiences of others so that I can adjust my expectations of what life while breast feeding will really be like. I’m definitely bookmarking this post to read again towards the end of my third trimester as I make sure I have everything I think I’ll need. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    • Thank you so much Britney! It is definitely a journey and I am so excited for you! Feel free to reach out whenever you need to and you are so welcome. Happy Wednesday!