“Breastfeed,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. I don’t know about fun (profound, life-affirming, sure), but breastfeeding is definitely possible when you add a few modern-day weapons in the form of helpful breastfeeding products into your arsenal. Yes, I know the cavewomen didn’t rely on a special pillow to get the job done or make breastfeeding easier. And our ancestors weren’t testing whether their glass of wine with dinner could be detected in their breast milk. But if you have these tools available to you, well — why not?
After all, for one of the most natural things women can do, the breastfeeding process can be intimidating, messy, overwhelming, and downright weird. When I first started out, breastfeeding certainly didn’t make me feel like a natural woman.
But, women prevail. It's kind of a thing. So, through trial and error, talking to moms in my social media family, and a whole lot of research, I bring you the 15 products you need to make breastfeeding easier. You’ve gotta have…
1. A Little Support
Before I purchased this pillow, I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into rolling and strategically arranging towels to prop my baby’s body in juuust the right position. But My Brest Friend does the trick every time. There’s a backrest, elbow support for mom, and a flat cushion so baby won’t roll. But the best part about this cushion is that it’s pretty firm, and it stays in place perfectly.
2. A Nursing Necklace
I’m pretty confident even my non-mom friends would rock this nursing necklace, no problem. In addition to being super cute, it also helps baby focus their attention so they stay latched for longer. Great for teething little ones to gnaw their aggression out on, too.
3. A Whole Lot of Backup
For moms who would rather keep pumping pretty private, this setup makes discretion easy breezy. I bring this to work and it doesn’t raise eyebrows. (I’d really rather not have my flanges hanging out.) This is a double electric pump because manual pumping is a beastly process. It’s sleek, and it helps you build your stockpile quickly with parts that are easy to use and easy to clean.
4. Some Soothing Protection
In that elusive free time you have as a breastfeeding mom, take care of yourself. Lansinoh is the best there is for soothing nipple irritation and keeping you ready for the next feeding. All-natural and perfectly safe for mom and baby.
5. Reusable Nursing Pads
You’re gonna need these, over and over again. And you’ll be doing plenty of laundry with a newborn around anyway, so washing these is no sweat. These particular pads are lightweight, super soft, and made of highly absorbent bamboo. Perhaps more importantly, they’re incredibly discreet. No weird bumps in your bra. Boom.
6. A Killer Nursing Bra (Or 6)
Ladies, burn your bras — the uncomfortable, ill-fitting, underwire ones, that is. They have no place for you now that you’re nursing. This cotton bra is simple, soft, and gives that “barely there” feeling. The affordable price point, comfort level, and convenient design make it a great choice.
For a plus-size option that's comfortable and offers tons of support, I hear great things about the Bravado Designs original nursing bra. Easy access, super soft, and it stands up well to frequent washing.
7. Disposable Nursing Pads
As a mom, you’re naturally on the go. Let down can happen at anytime, and usually it chooses the most inopportune one. It’s smart to keep a few of these individually wrapped nursing pads on hand for unforeseen events. They are great for travel and really stay in place.
8. Somewhere To Take Cover
Ain’t no shame in the breastfeeding game, but for those who prefer a little privacy, this scarf is everything. It rolls into an infinity scarf that you’d have worn pre-breastfeeding days. The perfect mix of fashion and function, plus it’s lightweight and breathable.
9. Nursing Tanks
Sighhh. There’s a reason the word “Dream” is in the name of this nursing tank. It’s the kind of maternity wear you’ll want to take with you long after your breastfeeding days are over. Soft, a little stretchy, and it looks awesome on anyone. Yes, please.
10. Organized Extras
11. A Hands-Free Option
I tried to make one of these by cutting holes into an old sports bra, for hands-free pumping. My DIY version didn’t make it through one pumping session before the flanges broke through the old bra entirely, and I was back to square one. You need this so you can…you know…do stuff while you pump. I found this version to be affordable and durable.
12. A Little Relief
I wouldn’t wish engorgement or mastitis on my worst enemy. This can be used as a cool compress to relieve engorgement, or warm to relieve mastitis. This baby is doctor designed and lactation consultant recommended.
13. Additional Back-Up
I know how weird this looks. But any breastfeeding woman who's having supply issues knows how important it feels not to waste a drop of milk. A friend swore that this is the way to ensure you don’t. I gave it a try, and — she’s right. What would leak into a pad while you’re nursing is instead collected and saved. Comfortable and easy to use. Sign me up.
14. Some Peace Of Mind
Pumping and dumping sucks. Pumping and dumping when it's not necessary is 100 times worse. These quick strips will let you know when your supply is safe for your little one, and when it's best to go down the drain. One less thing to worry about, along with the freedom to enjoy a glass of wine.
15. A Cup Of Tea
My lactation consultant recommended this to me when I was concerned about keeping up my supply. I’m not sure whether it was the actual tea or the act of sitting and relaxing with a hot cup of it, but I swear my supply improved (along with my mood). Tastes nice, too.
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