They say breastfeeding is one of the most natural things a mom can do, so why can it be so hard? Here are tried-and-true nursing essentials to help keep things simple.
Washable Nursing Pads
First comes baby, then comes milk, and then it just keeps coming and coming. For moms who find themselves leaking between (or during) feeds, these organic, reusable pads are thin enough to fit comfortably and discreetly in your nursing bra, but thick enough to prevent leaking through your clothing.
Of the many things new moms don’t think they’re going to need, this one ranks pretty high. The friction from nursing and pumping can cause major discomfort, and that’s when this organic, lanolin-free balm comes in handy. It’s organic and perfectly safe for nursing, so no need to wipe off before feeding.
Breastfeeding can be tricky business. If you choose to use a cover when feeding in public, this clever nursing cover from Bebe au Lait is top-notch. The patented wire neckline design keeps the cover away from your chest, meaning you can actually see what you’re doing underneath. Plus, two internal terry cloth pockets are perfect for storage and clean ups.
These clips are a must-have for new moms because they serve so many purposes. For nursing, use these clips to hold a nursing cover around your neck. For everything else, they can be used to keep hats from flying away, blankets in place over your napping baby’s stroller, and for keeping makeshift bibs in place around your child’s neck.
With so many options on the market, there is no shortage of nursing bras to choose from. The Kindred Bravely French Terry Racerback bra is a favorite thanks to its super soft fabric and ease of use for breastfeeding. A crossover design means easy access for nursing and having no plastic or underwire makes this bra comfortable all day long.
While you may not want your nursing clothes to look like PJs, who wouldn’t want them to feel like PJs? Latched Mama has designed this stylish romper with extremely soft and stretchy fabric that feels amazing on. The side panel access makes this romper perfect for nursing discreetly on the go, and with pockets and pant legs, it is extremely versatile for everyday mom life.
The My Brest Friend nursing pillow offers just the right amount of firm support to keep your baby from rolling forward, while its soft cushioning keeps baby comfy. Wrap around snap closures hold the pillow snug to Mom’s body, keeping baby close for optimal latching. Plus, a handy front pocket is perfect for stashing all supplies—like burp cloths or snacks!
Glow Baby is a favorite among moms for keeping track of the duration of feeds, which side baby last nursed on, as well as diaper changes, pumping stats and growth metrics. An added bonus: You’ll find a community of moms at your fingertips, along with daily parenting advice from professionals.
Layers are a nursing mom’s best friend, and this nursing tank 2-pack from H&M is a perfect first layer to wear under button-downs and cardigans. It’s fitted, lightweight and has clasps that pull down to nurse with ease.
It’s amazing how quickly new moms learn to maneuver just about everything with one hand—eating, texting and everything in between. That’s why an easy-to-open, flip-top water bottle is perfect for keeping mom hydrated during marathon nursing sessions. Made with stainless steel, this bottle is lightweight enough to tote around with one hand.
A hands-free pumping bra will be any pumping mom’s favorite accessory. Simple Wishes makes a highly customizable pumping bra with a Velcro back that allows you to expand or minimize the size to fit a new mom’s changing body. The straps can be removed or worn as a tank, racerback or halter. The best part? It can be used with all electric pumps and allows you to pump both breasts at once.
There are many reasons why Mom may have discomfort when nursing, and it’s hard to catch a break long enough to find relief. These soothing pads can be stored in the refrigerator and applied between feedings to the nipple area for immediate comfort. They can be reused for up to 72 hours.
With nursing usually comes pumping, and with pumping comes the need to store breast milk. These pre-sterilized, double-zipper storage bags are essential for any moms looking to safely store breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer. If used in the freezer, they’re best stored lying flat to reduce bulk and save on space.
Plugged milk ducts are a common problem for nursing mothers and, if not treated in a timely manner, can lead to mastitis, a painful inflammation of breast tissue that can lead to infection. Moist heat is extremely helpful in resolving plugged ducts, and rice pack heating pads are great for holding both heat and moisture.
Usually when new moms pump, that means they get a break from at least one feeding per day and someone else can offer the baby a bottle. There are endless bottles on the market, but a favorite among moms is the Comotomo Natural Feel baby bottle. It’s a hit because the bottle has very few parts, meaning they are quick and easy to wash.
Finding the right pump is a highly personal choice and there are many factors to consider. Some moms love the versatility of the Medela Freestyle pump. It’s a double-electric, battery-pack pump that can be used plugged in or on the go. The handheld control has a clip that can attach to a waistband, making it easy to multitask while pumping. It’s not hospital grade, which is one downside for moms seeking a more heavy-duty solution, but it still ranks highly on the list of favorites.
For moms with milk supply challenges or those just seeking a more efficient pump, the Spectra S2 is a homerun. It can be used as a single or double pump and has a closed system, which means the tubing will never come in contact with the milk, making for an easier clean up. It has an impressively quiet motor and, while it does not have a battery pack for pumping on the go, the effectiveness of this pump rivals the heavy-duty pumps that cost easily four times as much and are typically only available to rent.
Nutrients are extremely important for nursing moms and, while there are mixed opinions on how well lactation cookies and supplements work for increasing milk supply, the one thing that cannot be argued is how delicious these bars are. They’re made with lactogenic ingredients – those known to boost milk supply – such as, rolled oats, brewer’s yeast, flax seeds and black sesame seeds, and are available in three yummy flavors: blueberry almond coconut, chocolate banana nut and maple walnut.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeedingis a classic guide from the internationally recognized association, La Leche League. Formed in 1956, La Leche League is an all-inclusive mother-to-mother support organization meant to emotionally support and educate mothers through their breastfeeding journeys. The book offers a combination of real-mom wisdom, scientific data, first-person stories and much more.