Are you an expecting mom or did you give birth to your baby recently? Then maybe you’re considering breastfeeding your child.
Breastfeeding has been making the rounds online, all for good reasons. Our wonderful mommy bodies are capable of producing milk for our babies. Aside from it can save money, human milk has natural components that can’t be replicated by the formula or powdered milk.
But even if it is a natural occurrence, it does not come easily! Babies are not born champion ‘latchers’. After being born, our newborns will still adjust to life outside of the womb. Having a tiny tummy and being hungry all the time does not help.
Aside from this, new moms are also struggling with breastfeeding. It involves a lot of physical body changes [hello, heavy and full breasts!], as well as hormonal changes. It can be painful at first, too. This journey needs all the support and tools you can get for it to be a little bit easier.
To prevent new mom and breastfeeding stress, preparation is the key! Here’s a rundown of the breastfeeding essentials a new mom has to prepare to aid in having a successful breastfeeding journey.
1. Nursing clothes
These are every breastfeeding mom’s best friends! If you wear one, your baby will have easy access to your breasts when they’re hungry. It’s also the first thing that you have to buy when you’re planning to breastfeed. You do not want to be uncomfy having your tummy and breasts exposed while your bub is having his mealtime.
Generally, nursing bras are the comfier versions of your normal bras. Having milk on your boobies make it a bit heavier, and your usual underwired bras might not be able to give the comfort you’ll need. Another is that these bras are customized to be accessible. Some are designed to have snaps in the front that can be easily opened, while others have a cross-over style wherein you’ll just have to move the clothing under your breasts.
As for me, all of my bras now are nursing bras. When I was still pregnant, I ditched my usual bras with nursing ones and never looked back as they are comfy and convenient.
Nursing tops and dresses
Even as a mom, you can still be fashionable while breastfeeding your baby. There are now these blouses and dresses with holes underneath them, which provides a huge relief while breastfeeding. No more fussing over button-down shirts or finding ways to hide your flabs while breastfeeding.
These clothes are my best friend! I won’t mind wearing the same ones to different events, as long as it helps me feed my baby discreetly. But of course, it is great to invest in a considerable amount of pieces especially when you’re going out with baby now and then.
This is a huge piece of fabric that you have to put on top of you and your baby so that you can have peace of mind that your breasts are not having their public appearance. This is also useful for pumping milk while working. But covering your baby might get sweaty. More importantly, be cautious to leave a space for air to go in the cover. Check your baby’s airway from time to time so that your little one won’t be suffocated.
Based on my experience though, this is only great for the younger babies. The older ones might shoo away the cover when they get a little bit older. But this is a great piece to have, especially for new mommies who are still getting the hang of breastfeeding.
2. Nursing Pillow
The task of breastfeeding is tiring and daunting already, so having a trusted pillow to lean on your weary arms is a necessity. Yes, a normal pillow could work but a good nursing pillow has the exact firmness and thickness that you’ll need to keep your arms up while holding your new baby.
Also, a nursing pillow hugs your body closer and won’t slip down compared to the usual pillow. Some of these pillows have additional features too. These include having an adjustable height or can be elevated on parts herein the arms should be placed. A few brands can be wrapped around the waist for it not to fall off too. Choose your pillow wisely as it is a huge factor how comfortable you will be while breastfeeding.
3. Breast pads
Sometimes, when our breasts are full and our baby is not near to his feeding time yet, the milk can leak out of the breasts. If you do not want your clothes getting wet in the middle of feeding or pumping sessions, you can avoid the embarrassment by using these pads.
There are two kinds of breast pads, the disposable and reusable ones. Sharing with you below the pros and cons of each kind, and you can decide which one you’ll use.
What I did was to buy first disposable ones, and check if I will be leaking much, or not. Turns out that I don’t, so there’s no need for me to get the reusable ones anymore. But if your breasts are leaking, I suggest you have the washable ones at home. You can use the disposable ones for emergencies or whenever you’re traveling
4. Nipple Cream
It is not a secret that breastfeeding is painful. Your breasts might get sore, dry, and itchy. Cracks and wounds may develop at first too. But trust me when I say that it will get better in time. Be ready for the difficult times though by investing in a nipple cream before you’ll need it.
The best-working nipple creams contain coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera, or lanolin as their ingredients. These are all moisturizing, safe, and natural, which is what you want for your nipples and your baby. On the other hand, steer away from ones with alcohol, fragrances, and perfumes. Generally, these creams are safe for babies and your breasts but you would like to gently wipe them off your breasts before you feed your child.
5. Breast pumps
If you’re planning to be a working mom, or if you’ll leave baby from time to time to do some errands, then you will eventually need a breast pump so that you can still take home your milk as pasalubong (take-home) for your baby.
But if you will be staying at home in the meantime, I still advise you to get one so that you can relieve your breast while the baby is feeding on the other. The artificial demand it creates in your body may also help in increasing milk production. Just make sure that you don’t over-do it.
There are 3 kinds of breast pumps.
- Electric Breast Pump
Plug it in, put on your nipples, then switch on!
This kind of pump is perfect for working moms, who would like to work while pumping. Make sure though that you have a hands-free bra so that you can pump while working (more on hands-free bra below). This is also nice for all moms in general, as it is easy to operate.
- Manual Breast Pump
These pumps can be a little bit energy-consuming to operate, as you have to press the pump to extract milk. But don’t neglect these pumps as it can have a better chance to empty the breasts as compared to some electric pumps. It is also a good measure to keep one as a back-up for inevitable power shortages or brown-outs.
- Let-down Breast Pumps
Don’t be fooled by its appearance. You won’t know the *magic* of these cute mini pumps unless you have it and know how to use them properly. As its name implies, let-down pumps are most of the time used only during let-downs. Those let-downs happen either while your child is feeding or pumping on the other breast. Attach the pump to your other breast and you’ll be surprised that there will be milk flowing on it! This will be very helpful in relieving full breasts during night feedings. Just have it ready in your nightstand and make sure to store properly afterward. It is lightweight and easy to clean too.
I have personally loved this pump and used it every time I have arrived home after a long day of work [say no more about Manila traffic, even if you pump before leaving the office!]
6. Pumping accessories
Upon availing your breastfeeding pump kit, the parts are provided already. But what use will be your pumped milk if your baby won’t be able to drink them anymore due to improper handling and storage? Make sure that your milking gold won’t be put to waste by investing in the right accessories.
- Storage accessories
What use will be your pumped milk if your baby won’t be able to drink them anymore due to improper handling and storage? Make sure that your milking gold won’t be put to waste by investing in the right accessories.
- Breastmilk storage bags and bottles
After you have expressed your breastmilk, you have to transfer it in a storage bag or bottle. Some storage bags and bottles can also fit with specific breast pumps, so you can drop the work of transferring the milk and avoid spillages too. But make sure that these bottles and bags are sterilized and leak-free.
- Ice packs or ice brick
Put this close to your breastmilk storage bags or bottles, and it will prevent the milk from being spoiled. Make sure that it is completely frozen before using for optimum results.
- Insulated cooler bag
This is a special type of bag that can hold the temperature of the food or drinks placed inside. When combined with an ice pack or ice brick, it can keep your breastmilk cool and avoid it from being spoiled easily while a refrigerator is not available.
- Pumping / Hands-free Bra
This kind of bra has an opening in the breasts, just enough for the breast pump flange to be slipped inside. A good pumping bra can hold your breast pump close to your breasts while holding the weight of the milk being collected, making your hands free to relax. Generally, this kind of bra might be expensive, but it will be ultimately useful if you will be pumping frequently.
7. Breastfeeding references and support
The task of breastfeeding your baby is difficult enough already, and you would want to have all the help you can get. Luckily at this day and age, information is already widely accessible.
There are resources online that tackle breastfeeding. A lot of our local Facebook communities and support groups are created solely to help breastfeeding moms. Also, books are a credible source for breastfeeding, as several doctors and specialists have authored one.
Some pediatricians specialize too in Lactation Medicine, while there are also fellow moms who are breastfeeding counselors. Consultations with them made me believe in my capability to produce milk, as well as acknowledge the fact that I need support in my breastfeeding journey.
More importantly, your family, friends, and relatives should support you in your breastfeeding journey. Educating and showing the benefits of breastfeeding to them will make them understand and support you in your breastfeeding journey.
And last but not the least, ask for God’s guidance and help for you to be able to sustain breastfeeding. There will be no greater support, understanding, and best friend to talk to about your struggles more than the Lord.
And that’s it! I hope that this post will be helpful for you my fellow moms, and inspire you to breastfeed your little bub. As your breast-friend, let me know in the comments below if you have questions about breastfeeding. Always remember that breastfeeding is a journey that you don’t have to embark alone!