Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Breastfeeding Products Must Have

There are so many awesome products out there for breastfeeding mothers. Do you really need all of them? Maybe. Maybe not. However, during the 10 months that I nursed, I found the following products instrumental in the process. There are many brands and manufacturers of these products, my list consist of gifts or recommendations from other moms, as well as my own research. This is not a comprehensive list by any means. In fact, it wasn't until after I breastfed that I found more amazing products in the market. Well, at least I'm aware of them for the next baby.

Breast pump & accessories
We were fortunate to have received the Medela Pump In Style® Advanced Breast Pump with Metro Bag™ as a baby shower gift. I absolutely loved this pump and all the bells and whistles that came with it. I like that you can adjust the suction level. I set mine on low until after my nipple soreness went away. The battery pack was a life saver when I went to a conference. There was nowhere to pump so I had to pump in the car. I never had problems with the pump itself. On occasion, the tubes did get moist and they were hard to clean. Also, the lock for the strap got loose and it sometimes would come undone. Other than these, I am ever so grateful to my brother-in-law and his wife for this gift.

As I started to pump at work, I bought the Medela Quick Clean™ Micro-Steam™ Bags to help me clean pump accessories quickly after pumping. Although there was a kitchenette in the suite, I didn't feel comfortable washing my nursing accessories at work. These bags were perfect. They were usable up to 20 times each, easy to use, and did a good job sterilizing.

Breastfeeding book
I could not have survived nursing without The Nursing Mother's Companion (different edition than shown). As I mentioned before, I browsed through several breastfeeding books before finally settling on this one. I just like the tone the book was written in. I didn't feel like the author was preaching or condescending. I also liked the way it was organized.

Breastfeeding pillow
I was lucky enough to receive the My Brest Friend® Deluxe and a Boppy® pillow as gifts/hand-me-down. These were great. I had one for upstairs and one for downstairs use. Yes, you can use any pillow (or pillows) to help support your baby while nursing. However, these are shaped to contour to your body so you didn't have to fuss so much with pillow arrangements. Did I prefer one over the other? No. They both have their own pluses and minuses. Since My Brest Friend® had a plastic cover, I brought it with me when I traveled. I also liked that it had a pocket for storage for bibs and stuff. Since the size was more adjustable than our Boppy, my husband used it when he was bottle feeding our son. I liked the Boppy® because it was more comfortable for me to position it for the football hold than My Brest Friend. I was also able to use it as a regular pillow instead of just as a nursing pillow.

After days of painful nursing, my husband bought the Lansinoh® HPA® Lanolin cream for me. It helped soothe my nipple soreness. At first I was hesitant to use anything topical on my nipples. After reading how safe it was for the baby, I finally caved in. It healed my cracked dry skin and alleviated the pain after nursing.

Nipple shield
I used a nipple shield to help with nipple soreness while nursing. It worked. I still felt a little bit of stinging, but not like when I didn't use it. My son also seemed to latch on better with it. I stopped using it because I was afraid that my son would always prefer to nurse with it than without it, and I dreaded weaning him from it. I really had nothing to worry about. Anyway, this is certainly worth a try for pain remedy and latching problems. 

Nursing/sleeping  bra
A nursing bra is a definite must have while breastfeeding. I wore mine all the time, even to bed. During sleep, it helped contain "the girls" and keep them in place, which helped with tenderness issues. I got mine from Target™. These were soft cups without wires, just what I was looking for. For the next baby, I will invest in other types of nursing bras as well, ones with more padding and support.

Nursing cover
After trying to use a swaddling blanket and a pashmina/wrap to cover me as I nursed in public, I finally decided to go with a real nursing cover; one made specifically for breastfeeding. What a difference! My mom gave me the Peanut Shell® nursing cover. It was so much easier to drape on the nursing cover around my neck right before breastfeeding than trying to manipulate and adjust the blanket or pashmina before and during nursing. I felt totally covered and secure while I was feeding my son in public. I loved that the boning allowed me to see my son while nursing, especially since we had latching issues. The fabric was lightweight and breathable. My son was never uncomfortable under it.

Nursing pads
I was given a sample of disposable nursing pads by someone and found them quite useful. I believe they were Lansinoh®. After I ran out of the disposable pads, I purchased reusable ones. I actually liked the disposable ones better than the reusable ones, but I wanted to be more "green." The reusable ones were thicker and smaller. I sometimes had to adjust them several times since they were so obvious when wearing a t-shirt. Nevertheless, nursing pads definitely made me feel more confident that my bra wasn't going to get wet or soaked when out in public. I might buy a different brand of reusable pads for next time. Although I liked the convenience and overall feel of the disposable pads, the environmentalist in me may win this battle.

Nursing tea
To help me with my supply issues, I drank tea. I bought two different kinds, Mother's Milk® and Women's Nursing Support™. I wanted to try anything to help me with increasing my supply. These are not the best tasting tea, if I remember correctly. I think it has something to do with the ingredients. All I can say is, you do what you have to do. These products both received high ratings from nursing moms and that was good enough for me. Did they work? I would like to think so.

Soothing gel pads
During my hospital stay, I was given soothing gel pads to help with nipple soreness. They really helped. The coolness of the gel pads were so soothing and brought instant relief. I should have bought more after I was discharged, I don't know why I didn't.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are solely mine. All products mentioned on this post were given as a gift or purchased by my family.