Breastfeeding can be tough, but a few things can make it a lot easier! Here are 10 Breastfeeding Must Haves for New Moms to enjoy stress-free nursing!
If you’re a parent or are going to be one, you must have realized that there are certain parenting topics that get lots more attention than others, and one of them is breastfeeding. You can get a lot of information about breastfeeding benefits for both Moms and babies, and how it beats formula any day.
You can also hear a lot about how breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but that is only partly true. Yes, it is the best natural food source for a newborn baby, who has a natural instinct to reach for the mother’s breast soon after it is born. However, this is entirely new territory for the mother, who has yet to learn how to hold the baby, let alone feed it!
Breastfeeding challenges are common in the early days of motherhood, and that’s normal. However, these don’t have to create blocks in your breastfeeding journey, or turn it into a harrowing experience for you. There are many handy little things available today that can make a world of difference for Moms struggling with breastfeeding problems.
The sheer variety out there can be confusing to an already overwhelmed new Mom, so we’ve made it easier with our own list of the top breastfeeding must haves for new Moms. These aren’t expensive, but the benefits they offer are priceless!
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10 Breastfeeding Must Haves for New Moms
1. Nursing Bras
The first thing you’ll need is a nursing bra, so your baby has easy access to your breast – which will be several times a day for a newborn! Many Moms choose to wear nursing bras towards the end of their pregnancy when their breasts start getting heavier and more tender. A good nursing bra will offer enough support for heavy breasts, easing strain on the shoulders and back. Most nursing bras have a flap that can be unclipped and pulled down when baby wants to nurse. Night feeding bras have a cross-over pattern where you just move one flap to the side – these are often used for nighttime nursing.
2. Nursing Pillow
Breastfeeding puts a good amount of strain on the neck, shoulders and back, especially during the early days as the mother tries to get the latch correct. A nursing pillow makes this so much easier! It is placed on the mother’s lap, so that the baby is easily raised to the level of the mother’s breast. Not only does this help the baby latch on easily, it makes it a comfortable experience for the new Mom. Get one with a breathable material that can also be washed easily.
3. Foot Rest
I have seen many Moms dismiss a foot rest as unnecessary, but that’s only because they haven’t tried it! Using a foot rest brings the knees higher up, which is the ideal position for breastfeeding. It reduces strain on the knees and legs, so that the mother can sit back and relax without have to struggle to make the baby reach her breast. You can get a specially made nursing foot stool, or just go with any generic foot rest that offers stability and the required height.
4. Nursing Pads
For new Moms, it takes a few days for the milk to come in properly, and while the body adjusts to the baby’s demand, there is a chance of over supply – which means leakage of milk! This can be messy and embarrassing, not to mention it can stain your clothes. Nursing pads can be a huge help here. Just place them inside your bra and they’ll absorb any leakage. You can go the eco friendly way by opting for washable nursing pads made of soft cotton.
5. Nipple Cream
As your baby tries to get the latch right, it can take a while, and the wrong latch can lead to sore nipples. Some Moms also find that when the baby feeds for longer periods, it can be quite painful, which scares them when the next feeding time comes up! Get a nipple cream made of natural ingredients that’s safe for nursing mothers and babies. A good cream will heal sore, cracked nipples and make you all ready for the next feeding session.
6. Breast Compress
You’ve heard of cold and warm compresses to soothe a variety of ailments, but have you heard of a breast compress? Yes, it exists! These are usually manufactured to use along with breast pumps, but they work without as well. You can warm up the compress and place it on your breast, around the nipple. The heat opens up the milk ducts and encourages milk letdown. If you’re dealing with engorgement due to oversupply or if you’re weaning your breastfeeding toddler, cool or freeze the compress – it’ll offer soothing comfort.
7. Nursing Cover
Now, calling this a must have really depends upon individual preference, but I’ve seen that most Moms in India would prefer some privacy while feeding their babies in public. A nursing cover is a great way to do this and what’s more – they also come in all kinds of styles and colors! Just opt for one made of breathable material so the baby isn’t suffocated. Some covers are shaped like an apron, with a strap over the neck, while others are more like capes. You can choose whatever suits your convenience and comfort.
8. Nursing Tops
You could always wear a bathrobe and just open it when baby wants to feed, but you may want something a little more presentable when you’re having guests or going outside! There are so many cute nursing tops available nowadays that you can take your pick from t-shirts, tunics, kurtas, dresses – anything at all! These usually have slits or flaps that you can easily move aside to reach your breast. These tops usually reveal very little, and you can comfortably feed your baby without worrying about showing skin.
9. Water Bottle
If you’ve ever breastfed you know how dehydrating it can be! While you might wonder if you could just use any water bottle lying around the house, I’d recommend having one all for yourself, since you’re going to need it a lot in the initial stage and later too. What’s more it also helps you track how many liters you’re drinking in a day. Steel water bottles or copper ones are good options, since plastic isn’t eco friendly and glass can break. Go for a sipper type to minimize the risk of spilling water when your baby kicks it out of your hand!
10. Lactation Foods
Keep your supply up and running throughout your breastfeeding journey by including breast milk boosting foods early on in your diet. You can try lactation cookies or a lactation booster in your milk – these are easy ways to get the nutrients you need. At the same time, keep practicing natural remedies to boost your milk supply.
Besides these must haves, we’ve also drawn up a quick list of good-to-haves for breastfeeding Moms:
1. Breast Pump
Generally speaking, a breast pump is not a must have, but if you’re going to be working outside the home or need someone else to take over feeding when you’re sleep deprived or unwell, a breast pump is absolutely necessary. A manual pump can do the job, but an electric breast pump is much more effective. Make sure you get all the accessories and learn to use the breast pump correctly.
2. Breast Shells
Breast shells are life savers for Moms who have inverted or flat nipples, or are leaking a lot of breast milk. Breast shells can draw out the nipple and it can also collect breast milk leaking from the breast so that it’s not wasted. Some Moms use it in between feedings while some use it to collect milk from one breast when baby is nursing on the other one.
3. Nipple Shields
Many Moms think that nipple shields are only for protecting sore nipples. While that is certainly true, it’s not the only benefit of using them. Nipple shields make it easier for preemies to feed, or for babies whose Moms have large nipples. A shield ensures that breastfeeding continues, at least till the baby’s mouth gets big enough to suckle directly on the breast.
So you have everything you need for a comfortable breastfeeding session with your little one. Here’s one more thing you need – a power bank with a long cable! After all, you don’t want to make yourself all cozy and comfortable and start feeding only to realize that your phone battery is low!