15 Nursing Items to Make Breastfeeding Easy

15 Nursing Items to Make Breastfeeding Easy

If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you will know that Chulengo and I have had our challenges during our 19-month nursing journey. Someone asked me the other day how I’ve done it. And besides a great support team, I’ve realized there are specific items to make breastfeeding easier.

I am so thankful that we have made it this far, as nursing has helped in so many ways.  I am able to calm Chulengo down if he is upset or hurt with nursing.  I have developed a special bond with Chulengo.  Nursing has helped him wind down before nap time and bedtime.  Our flights have been easier because Chulengo will nurse on take off and landing.  His immune system is strong, since he’s been sick less than a handful of times.

I wanted to make a list of nursing items that I found most helpful.  Obviously, having a great lactation consultant available is key!  You can read more about helpful tips from my lactation consultant, Summer, HERE!

But, it’s important to keep in mind, having the right tools can make a world of difference.  So, here are 15 items I have found crucial in having a successful nursing journey.

Nipple Cream 

When I first started nursing, my nipples were very uncomfortable — chaffed and sore.  This nipple cream was very soothing. I put it on my nipples after each feeding and any other time they felt uncomfortable. Because of this cream, I was able to avoid cracked or bleeding nipples.

Electric Pump  

Even though I stayed home with my son, I still pumped milk to create a stash for when I was away, and he needed to eat.  I also pumped while away from Chulengo during his normal nursing times, to maintain my supply. Most insurance companies will cover a pump, which is awesome. But, if they don’t provide you with an optimal one, this Spectra S2 has been getting rave reviews from recent new mamas.

Pumping Bra  

Having my hands free while pumping was life-changing, thanks to my pumping bra. If I had to pick one pumping accessory that makes life easier, it would be this one. I could multitask while pumping.

Pump Battery Pack

At some point, I have had to pump on a train, in a car, and in the bathroom at a taping of the Dr. Phil show…(for real).  With no outlet available in each of these situations, this battery pack came in handy. I was able to pump without worrying about finding an electircal outlet. 

Silicone Hand Pump  

A week or so after giving birth, I was leaking so much milk. When Chulengo would nurse on one side, my other breast would leak quite a bit.  Eventually, I invested in the silicone hand pump and attached it to the breast Chulengo wasn’t feeding on.  During each feeding, I would collect 1-3 ounces from each breast.  This really added up and helped me save more milk for when I was away from home.

Nursing Pillow

Boppy Nursing Pillow
My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow

I still use my nursing pillow.  Twenty months later, I use my nursing pillow for every single feeding at home.  Chulengo even points to the pillow and says, “billow” before we begin nursing, reminding me to put it on my lap.  A good nursing pillow allows for proper posture and comfort for mama. I have used a boppy pillow and the breast friend. I found the breast friend was easier when Chulengo was really small and the boppy worked better as he got bigger.

Travel Nursing Pillow

When we travel I try to pack as little as possible. As noted above, I am still obsessed with my nursing pillow. This travel nursing pillow allows me to have the best of both worlds. It also works great on a plane, for Chulengo to sleep on my lap — gives my arms a break.

Nursing Pads, washable

I am all about finding ways to be less wasteful. Having washable, reusable nursing pads gives me a piece of mind. After Chulengo was born, I was already doing a load of laundry every 1-2 days, so it was easy to throw these nursing pads in the wash and have clean ones readily available.

Nursing Pads, disposable

Carrying the reusable pads is not always practical. For example, I used disposable nursing pads while trying on bras and tanks at the store. This way, I could protect my nipples from any bacteria that may be on the clothes I was trying on. I would also pack disposable pads in the diaper bag, in case I needed one while away from home.

Nursing Tanks & Nightgowns

Nursing tanks and nightgowns are a must for a successful breastfeeding journey. I wear the tanks when I lounge around the home, or underneath a shirt to perform the two-shirt method when nursing in public. Nightgowns made for nursing make the middle of the night nursing sessions a breeze. And, I always feel a little more feminine, which helps my confidence, when I wear a nightgown.

Nursing Bras

There are many many options for nursing bras. I love the seamless, lightweight bras that are comfortable, don’t dig into my sides, and fit well. After giving birth, my breasts would fluctuate in size and the seamless bras were most accommodating. I eventually purchased regular, underwire bras once my breast growth plateaued. I went to Nordstrom and picked out a couple regular bras and then had them altered into nursing bras. I still wear these bras today.

Nursing Dresses

Finding a dress that I could nurse in was difficult. I think I went a couple of months before finding the right dresses to nurse in. I wanted a dress that was flattering, yet had a top that could be pulled aside to efficiently breastfeed. I found dresses a bit more comfortable than pants postpartum since I had a c-section. So, finding a dress that made me feel feminine and comfortable was crucial.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book is my breastfeeding bible. Of all breastfeeding books, this one is the most informative. My only regret with this book is that I didn’t read it before I gave birth. The amount of information in this book is insane. I learned so much about nursing from this book alone. Please, if you are planning to breastfeed — heck if you are already breastfeeding, but want to continue to educate yourself, please read this book. I will warn you, it is more on the information heavy side, rather than the leisure reading side.

Breast Shells

It is not uncommon for nipples to be painfully sensitive in the first few weeks of nursing. I used breast shells keep my nipples from contacting my bra or shirt, which helped with comfort during the initial weeks of nursing. I was also able to collect drops of milk from leaky breasts in the shells, and store the milk for later.

Hot Cold Pads

Three weeks postpartum I came down with mastitis. It was sudden. I felt fine one moment, and then next I had a fever and chills. My teeth were chattering so hard, I thought I would chip a tooth. My breast was so tender and these hot pads helped with the pain. I heated them up in the microwave and would tuck them in my nursing tank, keeping them on my breasts until they cooled off.

Okay, those are my 15 favorite nursing accessories. Breastfeeding is not easy. It’s challenging, exhausting, and sometimes confusing. Not only will these accessories come in handy, but so will your tribe. Find people who support you, that you can lean on when times get tough. And most importantly, don’t quite on a bad day.

Do you have some favorite nursing tools that have helped you with your journey/?

Nursing Must-Haves: items to make breastfeeding easier

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