Figuring out what to buy a breastfeeding new mom for the holidays isn't exactly the easiest task, especially if you two are close and you really want to help her settle into her new role as a mom. You could pick out something that helped you when you were breastfeeding, but what helps one mom doesn't always work for every mom. That's why we reached out to breastfeeding experts to put together this list of the best gifts for breastfeeding moms from lactation consultants, so you know exactly to get that superstar mom in your life.
Lactation consultants have helped many women succeed at breastfeeding, which is why the gifts they recommend can be considered some of the most reliable. From the best nursing tanks to soothing gel pads that will help even the most engorged breasts, these awesome products are to make any breastfeeding mom's life a little bit easier. From their favorite pumps to nursing pillow, plus a few sneaky unexpected gifts like a versatile coconut oil for sore nipples, and possibly the most luxurious gift idea of all: a postpartum doula.
If you have a new mama friend who's struggling with getting the hang of breastfeeding, another gift idea for this holiday season is to help her find a lactation consultant to make the transition to breastfeeding just a little easier. Lactation consultants can help her with everything from making sure that mom is positioning her baby correctly and is getting a good latch, to the best supplements to take to boost supply, setting her up for breastfeeding success early on.
Dr. Kameela Phillips is a breastfeeding mom herself, and uses her own first hand knowledge to recommend helpful products to her patients — and us! "Who has time to not multi-task? My first pregnancy I couldn't manage hands-free pumping because I could not find a bra to provide proper support for my breasts and the flanges. Now hands-free pumping bras provide much more support so you can catch up on life and pump at the same time." She recommends the Rumina hands-free pumping bra for the task.
Sometimes the best gift is one of extra knowledge that a breastfeeding mom can absorb on her own time. Lactation consultant Danielle Downs Spradlin says, "A quality breastfeeding book like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is one of my favorite gifts to give."
Lactation consultant Angie Natero says a great gift for a new mom is actually some hands-on help. "Gifting a new mom with lactation consultant and postpartum doula services is money well spent. A new mom deserves that extra support on her side." A site like dona.org can help you find a doula in your area who might be able to work with a new mom and help her with breastfeeding support.
Dr. Phillips also recommends Lansinoh Soothies gel pads from her own experience. "I love the cooling effect after a feeding to calm the burning sensation I feel early on during breast feeding." Tell your recipient to stick them in the fridge between use for even stronger relief.
According to lactation consultant Lori Atkins, a good nursing pillow is a good bet as a gift for a new breastfeeding mom. "Brest friend nursing pillow is a favorite. It has the flat, firm side that helps keep a new baby right up against Mom in a good position for a cross cradle or football hold." It is also available in a range of different patterns so you can find one as eclectic or subtle as your recipient might like.
Coconut oil for the win again! Lori Atkins explains that you'll want to look for virgin, organic, and unrefined coconut oil. "Smaller containers work best for sanitary reasons. If you use it now for all kinds of things, great. But get a new container of coconut oil for a new baby, and for nipple care. Coconut oil is antibacterial and antifungal, and has been studied in nipple damage or abrasions to be the best thing out there for healing. Economical, too!"
Lactation consultant Briana Violand suggests a good nursing tank top for the new breastfeeding mom on your list: "A good nursing tank or top is any that has quick access to your breasts. The nursing tank tops are convenient because the look just like any other tank top and you can wear it around the house and people wouldn’t even know. The tank top easily unlatches by the strap and folds down for quick access."
Lactation consultant Tania Archbold wisely recommends considering where the new breastfeeding mama is going to be spending the bulk of her time with the new baby. "You will be spending a lot of time in the first few weeks sitting/lying down breastfeeding until you get the hang of breastfeeding on the go. A comfortable spot where you can relax and put your feet up makes it easier to find a comfortable breastfeeding position."
A rocker, glider or even new, cozy bedsheets and a duvet would all make great gifts to help a new breastfeeding mom get more comfortable while she's getting used to her new gig.
Archbold also suggests a sling, wrap or carrier makes for a good gift. "If you are physically able to carry your baby, many parents find slings, wraps, and soft structured carriers allow you to keep your baby close and encourage frequent signaling for feeding. Babies are generally happiest when being carried by a parent. It also frees you up to do the things you want to do while keeping your arms free. Baby wearing makes is much easier to get around in public without having to push a huge bulky stroller, and a back pack for a diaper bag is more comfortable than trying to balance one on one arm."
Lori Atkins also sings the praises of the Lansinoh Theraperl cooling and heating pads: "It helps with cooling action to help engorgement. Teaching breast massage toward the axils and using cool packs can really be effective when breasts are sore and swollen. Adding hand expression, too, works wonders."
"I would definitely research the best double electric breast pumps," says Violand. Double breast pumps cut your pumping time in half, allowing a breastfeeding mom more time to snuggle her baby or take a nap, which is a big gift, especially around the busy holiday season!
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