So, You Want to Breastfeed? 15 Tips and Products to Try

so-you-want-to-breastfeed

You're having a baby. You are absolutely certain/pretty sure/kind of thinking you want to breastfeed. That's great! One of the great benefits of breastfeeding is that you can do it without making a single purchase. Plenty of women across the world and far back through history have successfully nursed their babies without any extra gadgets or goodies.

With that being said – breastfeeding saves tons of money that would be spent on formula, right? So take all that extra cash and check out these great products (plus some helpful tips!) that are useful, clever, or just plain fun!

so-you-want-to-breastfeed-sling
Image via KoalaKin

Pillows/Back Support:

One of the great things about breastfeeding is the ample opportunity it gives to cuddle your little one close. But your neck and back can pay the price when trying to hold feeding positions without a little extra support. There are plenty of options out there, starting with one that you already have – just your average bed or couch pillow. If you want something designed more for your needs, check out the pillows made for nursing moms. With versions that are portable, washable, and designed to fit various needs (twins, plus-size mamas, organic) you're sure to find something that works for you.

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If you find that life rarely allows you to sit down, and chasing your toddler often interrupts nursing sessions, check out this feeding sling from KoalaKin. It helps to hold and position baby for nursing comfort, as well as offering some privacy for you and allowing for some freedom of movement to entertain your other kids.

so-you-want-to-breastfeed-dress-collage
Image via Milk Nursingwear

Nursing Wear:

Of course a good, supportive nursing bra is an important staple to look for when you're a breastfeeding mama. But beyond that, there are so many options to consider. Take some time to consider the clothes in your closet and how they will work for breastfeeding. Do you have lots of tops or dresses that will allow for easy access? If not, consider investing in a few pieces to make the demands of feeing a crying little one a little easier to manage.

I, for one, lived in my nursing tanks. Look for a brand with comfortable straps, sturdy construction, and a comfortable fit. I'd put on a tank, and then wear one of my usual cotton t-shirts. This meant that when I stopped to nurse I could pull my shirt up and drop the bra panel on the tank down, allowing me to stay covered not only on top, but in my squishy-post-baby-belly area.

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There are also plenty of companies making great nursing clothes that don't have to compromise your personal style, like the striped dress pictured above, from Milk Nursingwear.

so-you-want-to-breastfeed-saver
Image via Milkies

Breast Pads:

Leakage between and during feeds can vary from woman to woman and depending on time of day or other factors. What is pretty universal is the desire to avoid those large, wet circles on the front of your shirt while in public, right?

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You can find basic, disposable breast pad options at any drugstore. But if you are among the group that finds leakage to be a persistent issue, you may want to consider some soft, reusable pads or this unique product from Milkies.

The Milk-Saver is designed to be worn on the opposite breast during feeds, to collect the breast milk that otherwise would have been absorbed into a pad and discarded. Talk about making every drop count!

so-you-want-to-breastfeed-bag
Image via Amazon

Breast Pump Accessories:

Not every breastfeeding mom needs to pump. But, if you do find that the pump fits for your life and needs, why not make the most of it?

You may not be into a blinged out breast pump, but what about a cute bag to transport what you have? There are some great options, like this Sarah Wells bag that masquerades as just another cute tote, with all the functionality you need for carting your pump and supplies.

If you're pumping, it's likely you're working, caring for children, or taking on some other tasks at the same time. You can make that easier by investing in a hands-free pumping bra.

so-you-want-to-breastfeed-scarf
Image via ItzyRitzy

Nursing in Public:

As I said before, I made use of nursing tanks to keep covered up during my public nursing sessions. For those who are looking for a bit more privacy to meet their own comfort levels, there are a host of products designed just for that. You can always make use of something you tend to have on hand – it's a great way to get extra use out of those stacks of receiving blankets! But maybe you want something a little more stylish or fun?

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Check out this infinity scarf/nursing cover called Nursing Happens(TM), by Itzy Ritzy. When you're on-the-go it is a stylish chevron scarf. Baby gets hungry? Spread the fabric and you've got a nursing cover ready to go.

so-you-want-to-breastfeed-app
Image via SmallNest

Tracking Feeds:

My twins arrived just five days before my daughter celebrated her 2nd birthday. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. In order to keep track of feeding, diapers, and sleep I HAD to write it down. Otherwise I'd end up stumbling around at 3 am saying, “Which one is this? Did I feed this one yet?” Back then I resorted to the basics – a spiral notebook with two columns, to list each time one of the babies ate, messed, or (blessedly) slept. Now there are some pretty amazing options in the world of apps that make tracking even simpler.

Apps like SmallNest (free, iTunes) allow you to keep track of baby's needs and schedule. But they can also have broader benefits. The company shared that they aggregate anonymous data, allowing them to see patterns in baby behaviors. For example, according to their users, “the average number of feedings for a newborn is 16-18 times per day.” So when you feel like you are doing nothing but nursing, know that you aren't alone!

And even more technological advances are on the way, like the story of this mama, who was able to get personalized breastfeeding counseling from the comfort of her own home using Google Glass. And that leads me to my last bit of information.

breastfeeding couple
Image via iStock

My number one tip for preparing for breastfeeding?

Find your support system NOW.

Talk to your partner about how you're feeling. Is this an issue you feel extremely passionate about? Are you feeling anxious, but hoping for support? What does breastfeeding mean to you? Let the person you're having this baby with be part of the discussions so that in the newborn haze you'll better know what the other needs from you.

Talk to your friends or family who have had positive breastfeeding experiences. When the going gets tough (and there's a good chance at some point it will) they can serve as great cheerleaders or shoulders to cry on.

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Check out your options for professional or community support. Find out the numbers of a few Certified Lactation Consultants. See if there are any La Leche League meetings in your area. Check out support groups online.

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In the hardest moments, having someone there to remind you that no matter what happens you are doing a great thing is invaluable.

What are your favorite breastfeeding products or tips? Share in the comments!

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What do you think?

So, You Want to Breastfeed? 15 Tips and Products to Try

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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4 comments

  1. Pam says:

    Planning to Breastfeed??? Just read all the material your hospital gives you & make sure you have someone you can ask all the questions to because 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th time breastfeeding-are all different and you will need the support!
    Make sure to eat enough & very healthy foods like when you were pregnant, including organic foods, low sugar, and low gluten. Take vitamins & drink plenty of water.
    You will need: a breast pump (or ine that is available to rent or borrow. WIC will let you borrow one!) zipper milk bags, a couple of small baby bottles (my preference was glass & nipples for 0-3 months) with slow flowing nipples, mild pain medication to have on hand if needed for a short period of time, and bags of ice or cold cabbage. Breast pads- disposable or reusable.

    These things make the 1st few weeks easier. No one really tells you how painful it will be, but don’t worry!!!!! The pain only lasts a very short time!!! Helping your baby with a better brain function and immune system- lasts a lifetime!!

  2. Troy says:

    The absolute best thing to have on hand is breast shields. They are a thin rubbery shield that fits over the nipple. I have breast fed all 3 of my girls. I have had sore nipples at some point with all of them. The shields are only about $10 and ment the difference of continueing or stopping because of pain. They are simple to use and never had a problem with the babies accepting. If you dont have to use them $10 isnt that much to waste but if you do need them… well waiting for shipping if not sold locally could mean days of pain.

  3. Vanna says:

    I used a wonderful app called feedbaby that is free, we opted to get the paid version so my husband and I could sync our devices. It also comes in very handy when giving medicine to my baby because we know exactly how long it has been since his last dose.

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