*Some of these products were gifted to me in return for inclusion in this guide but all views and opinions are my own*
I always knew I was going to breastfeed Henry as I had done with Alfie so I was pretty prepared this time round with all my breastfeeding essentials. Technically all you *need* to breastfeed is a pair of boobs that produce milk, but there are plenty of other things that are really nice to have during your breastfeeding journey. Here are some of my favourite essentials:
Lansinoh nipple cream is the best nipple cream I have tried – and I’ve tried a LOT! In the very early days this will be your best friend and I’d advise having one permanently attached to you. Keep one in every room, your changing bag, your car, stuffed in your jeans pockets…basically anywhere you are, have a tube of this little magic!
Lansinoh also make these amazing heat pads. I found them invaluable in the early days when I was engorged and my breasts were quite painful. I also have a REALLY forceful let down which is quite painful but if I’m wearing these heat pads, the pain is definitely better.
Whether you use reusable or disposable, breast pads are a must! Even if you don’t breastfeed, you are likely to leak in the early days so you’ll want something to keep your bra and top clean and dry. I’ve used both disposable and reusable and like both. The Lansoinoh disposable ones are fab as they stay in place really well and quite absorbent so I didn’t need to change them very often.
I also use Little Lamb and Bshirt reusable pads which I love as they’re so absorbent I only need to change them probably once a day. They’re also a great size so you can’t see them through my bra.
I would say a nursing bra is definitely high up on the list of essentials. Whether it’s a non nursing stretchy bra, or a specific nursing bra, you need something that is quick to get the boobs out when the baby need a feeding.
I have a Carriwell Gel bra that I was sent to review, which is honestly the comfiest bra I’ve ever had. I’ve even purchased a second one because I found I was washing this bra every night so I could wear it the next day!
I also have a lovely one from Hotmilk which I wore as a maternity bra and is now functioning as a nursing bra. I love this one because it’s so pretty and feels more like a normal bra.
I have a few nursing bras from when I was feeding Alfie but have found them to be more uncomfortable and not a great fit at the moment so I don’t really like wearing them. I’ve been living in some stretchy sleep bras from Asda at night which are comfy and easy to feed in but not flattering in the slightest!
Breastfeeding friendly clothes
Having to buy nursing clothes can be a bit of a pain. With Alfie I found they were either all maternity/nursing so didn’t fit right or were really expensive and being on maternity leave, I just didn’t have the cash to spend out. This time round, there seems to be so much more variety. Clothes that are actually pretty, affordable and not necessarily obvious they are breastfeeding specific so you can continue to wear them when you stop feeding.
I love the Bshirt and The Milky Tee I was sent to review. Both are excellent examples of nursing specific clothing that is actually discreet and functional but appear to be “normal” clothing! I’d definitely wear both of these when I stop breastfeeding.
I also have a gorgeous dress from ASOS that is also a maternity dress, but it was great for when I attended a wedding 10 days post-baby as it was very flattering. I also have a number of occassion dresses from when I was feeding Alfie that I’ve learnt tips and tricks to make them feeding friendly – almost any normal clothing item can be adapted in some way to feed in. Just look for wrap dresses, side or front zips and buttons!
Check out the facebook group Can I Breastfeed In It – you’ll get lots of ideas there (and also spend lots of money!!) I found this amazing Flamingo shirt from Primark posted on there and I love it. Apparently there is a matching baby shirt but I’ve yet to find it!
I think the one downside to breastfeeding is that you always need to be near your baby to feed them and it can be very draining to have that constant responsibility – it means you can never have a decent chunk of time to yourself as you need to be around for feeding.
That’s why I think breast pumps are brilliant. They allow mum to have some time off and go out with her friends or even just by herself! And it gives dad or someone else a chance to feed the baby.
There are a number of different pumps out there to try – manual and electric.
I think this Mother Sucker pump is a brilliant idea. It is a food grade silicone product, meaning it is natural and safe to use for collecting breastmilk. It is really simple to use – you just give it a squeeze and it suctions on to the breast. That’s it! You don’t need to pump as it does all the hard work of drawing the milk out for you. I usually pop it on the opposite breast when I’m feeding and can collect a good few ounces most days. See here for a chance to win your own!
I also love an electric pump for speed. I can collect about 5 ounces of milk in around 10 minutes on a good day. Lansinoh’s Single Electric Breast Pump has been designed to express milk both effectively and discreetly. It can be used plugged into the mains or with batteries – meaning it can be popped in your handbag for on the move pumping! There are 6 different speeds including a let down phase and an LED light for times when you may be expressing in low light, for example at night time. The Lansinoh pump also uses the closed pump system, meaning no breastmilk can go back into the tubing. See here for a chance to win your own!
Eating and Drinking
We all know it’s essential to keep your fluid levels up when you are breastfeeding. I make sure I keep a water bottle close by at all times to keep hydrated. But what most mums want is a nice hot drink – tea, in my case! But we all know how hard it is to drink a tea or coffee while it’s still hot. I have just discovered Klean Kanteen and I have to say it is amazing! I’ve never had a flask that keeps a drink so hot for so long. I highly recommend. I bought mine from Babipur (along with some gorgeous goodies for Henry!)
You also need to keep your strength up – breastfeeding mums should consume an extra 500 calories a day. I like to call these my cake calories and I take full advantage! Brownies (like these ones from the My Little Sous-Chef cookbook), chocolate, flapjacks, biscuits…these all help to keep the milk flowing and make your baby big and strong!
You will find that breastfeeding sessions are long and boring. There’s only so much time you can spend gazing upon your baby’s beautiful face, as cute as they may be. This is where your entertainment comes in! As well as being glued to my phone and social media, I am also currently watching Grey’s Anatomy on NowTV box sets. We have also just got Netflix, but I need to look through and see what is good to watch. I also want Amazon Prime for the tv and music but must persuade the husband first!
There are many, many things that can help you on your breastfeeding journey, the most important one being the support of your friends and family. Without that, I would have found this 1000 times harder so I really am grateful to not have experienced any negatively towards my feeding choice. Everything else I’ve listed here is just a bonus!
Please do check out the giveaways I have linked to in the post – and share with any of your breastfeeding buddies who might want to enter!