Parenting decisions are personal. And yet, there is an entire Peanut Gallery of naysayers for everyone and every choice. Someone is carefully waiting for an opportunity to butt in on how you’ve decided to raise your kids.
They just have to let you know. It’s helpful, you see!
I love to hear every perspective. I am actually pretty proud of my tolerance.
But if you are interested in breastfeeding, and there aren’t any medical reasons standing in your way, you should give it your best shot.
Why should I breastfeed when I have to go back to work?
There are so many good reasons.
My favorite is the price: free!!!!! My other favorite reasons are the health benefits and the amazing calorie burning qualities.
Still, it can be scary.
Just being pregnant is overwhelming. And there is an army of Negative Nancys telling you how terrible it will be. It’s hard enough to prepare for the fun stuff.
If you’re like me, you can’t wait to breastfeed. It will save so much money!! Did I mention that it’s FREE?!
Yes, there might be times that you want to give up. Luckily, formula is always an option. I will admit, we supplemented with formula a fair bit. Whatever.
However, if you want to set yourself up for long term success, it won’t be entirely free. But the investment will be worth it.
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- For less than $20, you could save thousands of dollars in formula costs…!
These are the ten things a breastfeeding mom must have:
This is absolutely necessary for the working/pumping mom (if that wasn’t clear), but it is also an amazing tool for the moms at home.
In the early days, your nipples will beg for a break here and there. With a pump, you not only free up your boobs for a feeding (or at least half of one), but you can sucker someone else into feeding your baby.
This is exactly what you need when you’re itching for a 6-hour stretch of sleep.
Also, for those with latch issues or the like, this can trick your supply to stay in demand. Keeping that liquid gold flowing is a battle for many moms. These little machines are a game changer!
This almost sounds glamorous…
Maybe you noticed, but pump kit is pretty minimal. They give you the tools to get the milk OUT, but don’t provide anything to get it to its final destination.
Necessary accessories are:
- Storage bagsI totally dig the Medela Pump, but Lanisoh bags are the best. Just telling it how it is.
- Bottle brush. Obvious, but overlooked by the breastfeeding mom. Aren’t you glad your boobs don’t need to be sterilized after each use?
- Additional bottles, rims, and nipples. Babies don’t take just anything. Go ahead and build a supply of your pump’s brand of bottles if you like (we still use ours). But plan on trying out several different bottles.
You might consider these “accessories”, but I think they deserve their own dedicated space.
If you haven’t already realized, I DO NOT enjoy dishes. I like to think it’s only because I DO NOT have a dishwasher. Oh god, it’s horrible.
So obviously, I did not look forward to the archaic bottle boiling task after every use….
These Medela sterilizing bags (almost) replace it! The only time we boiled our bottles and pump parts was before the initial use.
Call it disgusting. I call it innovative 😉
Nipple repair gear
This stuff is pure, sweet relief, and a little goes a long way. I’m sorry to remind you, but you deserve the truth; the blistering, achy nipples are real.
This is probably the biggest deterrent to breastfeeding. It is completely manageable with the right tools, and it honestly shouldn’t last past the first 2 months at most!
My Brest friend, nursing pillow
The days of Boppy have come and gone… All hail my breast friend! It is the breast thing since sliced bed..
During my pregnancy, I had heard tales of this thing. It didn’t seem to have much traction. I didn’t know anyone that had ever even heard of it. Suckers…
This thing is SO NICE that I bought it TWICE.
My dog ate the first one… omg it still upsets me.
BUT, it was completely worth it.
This pillow has structure. It provides exactly the support you need to keep your newborn at boob height. Less slouching for mom, and a cozy nap spot for baby! I would sit for HOURS under this thing. I want everyone to have one of these.
Next time, it will be in my hospital bag, ready to work!
Maybe you’ve heard, but receiving blankets are a hot ticket item. Incase you’re a little confused on that odd phrase, let me clarify.
A receiving blanket it any blanket that isn’t obviously for adults.
That’s how I think of them, anyway.
Swaddles are consider a receiving blanket, so keep that in mind. My favorites are the super popular Aden + Anais muslin blankets. But you are going to want several. They are incredibly versatile. They are also great to buy used.
In the breastfeeding world, they can be used at anytime for:
– keeping the baby warm
– cleaning up messes (spit up, etc)
– quick cover from unexpected (or undesirable) visitors
– cutting off a leaky boob!
*A little background on that last bit: If you are a leaker/sprayer (like me… eek!), you might find your boob literally shooting your baby in the face. To cut off a strong flow, just take a corner of the blanket and apply firm pressure to your nipple. Like you’re stopping the blood flow to a fresh cut.
It works, trust me!
On the topic of leaky boobs, it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with some nursing pads. It can be a drag to need a spare change of clothes for your baby AND yourself every time you leave the house.
As baby starts sleeping longer through the night, you might start waking up in PUDDLES.
Spare yourself the extra load of laundry.
If you aren’t into the wasteful aspect of disposable pads, there are reusable options.
You can buy some great, washable alternatives or DIY!
a Portable phone charger
We bought one of these for our trip to California, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how great it would’ve been when I was breastfeeding!
Being trapped under a sleeping baby (and the world’s greatest pillow) is great and all, until your phone dies. Unless you have books or other activities handy, you better hope you are permanently next to an outlet.
Otherwise, keep this bad boy with your phone. Always!
Water & Snacks
Breastfeeding is draining. Literally. Your boobs will grow and shrink with each feeding. It takes a lot to keep those ladies working.
This breastfeeding dietician and blogger has a substantial list of healthy, supply boosting recipes for make-ahead snacks.
But you will need more water than you ever thought possible. I can officially chug 16 ounces in less than 20 seconds. Stay stocked, because you gotta stay hydrated!
Yes! Sorry. You need more pregnant/new mom clothes.
Since you will need maternity clothes, and they will still be needed for a while after birth, you should consider building your Nursing Wardrobe during pregnancy.
All you need is a couple Nursing Bras. A wrap dress is very handy too, but dresses are otherwise completely inconvenient.
For the frugal moms (like me), consider buying some cheap layering tanks. You can wear real shirts over tank tops, lift the shirt up, pull the tank top down and… VOILA! Nursing attire.
My favorite places for all of these things (and maternity gear) are Target & Old Navy. They have it all on the cheap. I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for them, and they still get too much of my money.
So there it is! The must have list for the beginner breastfeeder. I am so excited to get back into the breastfeeding game knowing everything I know now.
These items were chosen for their helpful-factor; they make the journey more enjoyable and easier to endure for longer!
Did any of these things work for you? How are you planning to stick with it?
Great list! I’ve breastfed all four of my kids and will be nursing my fifth and final baby when she comes this January. 🙂
Here are my b/f’ing essentials: I love Avent for their manual pump and their glass baby bottles. 🙂 I use Johnson and Johnson nursing pads (bought a bunch of washable ones for my last baby but I couldn’t use them because the fabric caught on my sore nipples!!) I wear nursing bras but not shirts (I just cover up the side and back that I’m nursing on with a blanket) and I prefer using a regular bed pillow over the boppy/nursing pillow – Idk why, it’s just more comfy for me. And finally, I need a step stool for my foot/feet while nursing in order to use my thigh to hoist baby up a bit further. 🙂
Ashley Dicarlo says
Thank you! Those are so great! I might just edit it a bit to add some of those in haha… It’s so interesting to hear a multi-time breastfeeder’s perspective. I remember begging myself to cash in on a stool, because you are right it helps soon much. Also, we ended up resorting to a plain old pillow after the dog ate the second brest friend…… lol! Thanks again!