Breastfeeding your new baby is a wonderful bonding experience that you will treasure forever. That is not to say that breastfeeding is easy, it’s not easy, it is hard work and it can take a toll on you, but it is worth it.
There are several different types of nursing pillows available that can help to keep you and baby more comfortable when you are nursing. The nursing pillows offer some support to help hold the baby’s weight while you are nursing. This can be particularly helpful if your birth was via c-section and holding the baby against your abdomen is uncomfortable.
Check out our favourites pregnancy pillows here (many of them double as nursing pillows)
Even if you are planning to nurse your baby the majority of the time you will still need a breast pump. You can use a breast pump to build up a freezer stash of milk for when you are away from your baby, for bottles if your partner wants to participate in some of the feedings, and when the baby sleeps through a feed, to prevent becoming engorged. You can also use the breast pump to make sure that your breasts are fully empty after nursing, this will cue your body to keep making more milk.
Milk Storage Bags
If you are pumping your milk you are going to need a way to store it. Breast milk storage bags are great for this and you can seal them and mark them with the date. If you freeze them flat, you can store a lot of them in your freezer without taking up too much space.
Your nipples may become cracked and dry from nursing and they will almost certainly be sore at least at first. Nipple cream will help cracked nipples to heal and may relieve some pain and discomfort. You will want to make sure that you have this breastfeeding essential on hand at home before your baby arrives.
If you need to be away from the house for a while and your baby needs to eat, then a nursing cover can help to protect your modesty from prying eyes. There are several different kinds available for purchase, or you can even make your own. They fold up easily and you can just slip it into the diaper bag when you are done.
Once you begin breastfeeding your breasts may leak milk at inconvenient and embarrassing times. Tucking a nursing pad into your bra can prevent you from having a wet shirt, and it also keeps your nipples from rubbing up against the fabric of your bra if they are sore and cracked. You can get disposable nursing pads or reusable ones that are made of cotton fabric and can be washed.
A comfortable nursing bra is a must-have for any new mom, and there are lots of different ones that you can choose from. Whatever your favourite type of bra normally is, you can probably find a nursing version. The cotton tank versions are nice for sleeping and middle of the night feedings.
Comfortable nursing station
Do yourself a favour and set up a comfortable nursing station in your home where you plan to nurse the majority of the time. You will want a comfortable place to sit, your nursing pillow, a water bottle, snacks, and your phone, kindle, or tablet and a way to charge them. You will be spending a lot of time here so add whatever other comfort items that you might want. When your baby starts going through their growth spurts they will cluster feed, and you will spend most of those days at your nursing station.
Try these breastfeeding essentials to make your nursing experience easier and more comfortable. The more comfortable that you can make breastfeeding the longer you are likely to stick with it. What is your favourite breastfeeding essential?
Discover the most common breastfeeding challenges and quick tips on how you can overcome them here.