Nursing Essentials

The first few weeks of a caring for a newborn can be a doozy. Especially when learning to breast feed. For something that is so natural, it can be surprisingly challenging to get the hang of!

That’s where the following tools come in handy. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a variety of hand-me-downs and recommendations from my fellow mom friends, so I wanted to share them for any other future moms who may benefit from our shared experience. They have made my life much easier over the past few weeks!

1. My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow

my best friend nursing pillowThis is hands-down the most helpful tool in my nursing arsenal. This pillow has a plush, firm surface, offering the perfect amount of support for a wiggly newborn, and snaps to your waist to keep it in place. I take it with me everywhere!

In the future, I plan on using the Luna Lullaby pillow, which has been recommended to me for larger babies with more head control. (I love that this brand is made in the USA and uses no flame retardant chemicals!)

2. Medela Breast Shells

medela breast shellsThese shells are a life-saver for sore nipples. The interior is soft and pliable enough to feel soothing on the breast, and the outer plastic shells prevent sore or cracked nipples from rubbing against your clothing. They’re also helpful for anyone dealing with flat or inverted nipples.

3. Wool Nursing Pads

wool nursing padsThese wool nursing pads are ultra-soft and absorbent, wicking away moisture more effectively than disposable versions. Wool’s self-cleansing properties mean you only need 2-3 pairs of these nursing pads for the entire duration of your nursing period, making them eco-friendly and cost effective, too! The warmth from the wool is supposed to be helpful in preventing clogged ducts, and they only need to be cleaned with a lanolin wash every 2 weeks, for easy maintenance. (I use the Ekstra style, for the best leak protection.)

4. Nursing Tanks

nursing tank top I received one of these nursing tanks from a friend, and after trying a few other brands, I promptly bought several more of this exact same style. I’ve been living in them ever since! They make nursing easily accessible anywhere and everywhere.

5. Water Bottle.

orange water bottlePregnancy had me feeling parched all the time, and now that I’m nursing, I need even MORE water than ever before! Having a large water bottle handy, like this Camelbak, is essential at all times. I keep mine in the pocket of my nursing pillow, so it’s always available to me, and I don’t have to worry about any late-night spills while bouncing a fussy baby.

6. Carlson Vitamin D Drops

liquid vitamin DI would not consider any supplement “essential” for a breast fed baby, but many doctors now encourage a multivitamin for breastfeeding moms. The main concern is that it’s debatable how much vitamin D is transferred from mother to baby through breast milk. I personally didn’t feel comfortable giving my baby the doctor-prescribed multivitamin– which contains sweeteners and caramel coloring (why?!)– but I did supplement with these vitamin D drops until my newborn baby’s jaundice levels improved. Now that jaundice is no longer a concern for us, we simply rely on daily walks for natural vitamin D from the sun.

7. Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter

earth mama angel baby butterThis natural nipple butter is a great alternative for those who need to avoid lanolin, and smells fantastic! Due to some latching difficulties and severe nipple pain, I’ve been trying a variety of nipple creams over the last several weeks. This one feels slightly more moisturizing than using pure coconut or olive oil alone.

I hope these tools prove helpful for my fellow nursing moms out there. For more nursing advice, I highly recommend using KellyMom.com as an online resource. It’s loaded with lots of helpful tips!

Reader Feedback: Any other nursing tips or tools you love? Please share below!

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Comments

Jesse

I really loved Glamor Mom brand nursing tanks. When you unclip them, they have an upper panel that still covers your upper breast. I lost any feelings of modesty pretty quickly, but I felt more comfortable having top coverage versus belly coverage.

Cassandra Fugal

The nursing tank looks awesome. Where did you buy it? I have the worst time finding the right clothes while nursing.

Mary

A Pea in the Pod has THE BEST nursing tanks hands down. They are a bit pricey but if you consider you will be wearing them for many months or years – its a worthwile investment. I’ve tried so many different brands and styles and now pregnant w/#3 – I will definitely be investing in some new tanks from pea in the pod. My old ones are showing wear but they served their purpose for a year w/my last baby.

Lisa

The nursing tanks are from Target! They are great, I had them too. I think disposable nursing pads are great too. I had the reusable ones for at home. I also pumped for some free time so I loved the Medela Freestyle pump and freezer bags ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and the Medela microwave bags to steam all the parts!

Jurga

My daughter was not latching on properly all the time, and one thing that was absolutely awesome and that I recommend to all moms who are having similar problems were Medela Contact Nipple Shields. They are hard to find, I bought them at diapers.com.

Jen Gosnell

I really liked the nursing bras and tanks from Bravado. They lasted me a long time (2 kids). Worth checking out, IMO!

During a couple periods of severe soreness and irritation with nursing when lanolin was not cutting it, I used Soothies pads and found them extremely helpful. I only ever needed one set because they were so effective and I could reuse them.

I loved the feel of wool nursing pads. But I found I had to use the disposable pads because there was too much leak-thru for me with the wool.

It’s worth all the experimentation to find the right tools to help you! I love to see what has worked for other moms.

Ashley

I always had leak problems as well, until I tried bamboobies!! Those are amazing nursing pads. Very soft and nice and don’t look bumpy under a shirt! The nighttime ones are extremely soft and so comfortable too!

Amy

I have one child that just turned 13 the other day, but our nursing days don’t seem that far away. We were a happy nursing duo for a long time, I mean years! I used similar items to what you list above and they were helpful for me as well (well, I didn’t do the Vitamin D drops, but hadn’t heard about that issue at the time). But probably by the time we reached the 6-9 month mark, most of those things weren’t needed anymore — except for the pads for leakage and the water bottle! At some point no pillow was needed, we both could arrange ourselves without one; no nipple cream was needed; no special clothing — just lift up the shirt and lift up my stretchy bra and go! But I do remember for many months that whenever we were about to settle in to nurse I would be sure to have my water bottle next to me, the phone, possibly a book or the TV remote. We’d settle in and have a grand old time! Those sessions often lasted a long time and would end with a beautiful sleeping baby and I’d just relax in my chair with her. But later on it was a much quicker process — I hate to nurse and run, mom, but I’ve got things to do!

Kristen

I have to weigh in– http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/412/tender-care-hydrogel-pads
were really great. Rinse them off and put them on after feeding, and they stick there til the next feeding. I kept a small bowl of water at my table to do a dip. Left them in there on accident and they turned into a lump of silicone- oops! So then I got the Lansinoh soothies because they carried at Target, but those were like sticker sticky (why??!!).
The medela hydrogel pads were awesome. They really helped to cool down and soothe until the next feeding. It also made it so I never leaked or needed those absorbent pads. If you try it, get 2 pairs since they wear out over time.
(and if you really love them, check out Mother’s Mates, you have to buy online and they are more expensive but I went through the Medela pads in one week and then Mother’s Mates went 3-4 weeks and I used two pairs. http://www.mothermates.com/pages.aspx)

I never used lanolin or coconut oil/ butter since I had the gel pads.

joanna

i’m wondering how your baby takes those vitamin d drops?? i have the same bottle for myself and the squirt top is TERRIBLE. i have to bang it against my hand and then suck the liquid off my hand. it will not drip out on its own. i will never buy it again because it is such a pain to take, so how on earth does a baby take it?? haha

    Megan

    You have to tip it upside down and be very patient! It takes up to 30 seconds for a single drop to come out… which is annoying when baby is impatient! But, then it does go right on the nipple before a feeding.

Chelsie

I was wondering, will you be making your own baby food once it’s time to start solids?

    carrie

    I bet she says yes! I’m just now reading up on some recipe books now for inspiration. We start solids in 6 weeks. Are you making your own?

    Megan

    Yes, I definitely will be! I look forward to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Chelsie

      Are you going to blog about that as well? I’d be interested to see what you make for your baby!

      Liesal

      These are great tips! These are very essential for the first few months. I loved my boppy, and used until like 6 months.

      As for the baby food, look into BLW! It’s so much easier than making your own and doing purees.

carrie

I used many of the same things as you and in the other reader posts. One thing that wasn’t mentioned is a diaper caddy full of my nursing essentials. I used the munchkin one. Held a book, ipad, remotes, water, snacks, nipple cream, nose aspirator and saline spray for the baby, and burp cloths.It has a great handle so it was easy to grab with me and the baby when moving locations in the house.

I’m now 4.5 months pp and find I don’t need the bf stuff now, but it still sits on the sofa downstairs with some baby stuff in it and room for the remotes,my iPad and water – we don’t have a coffee table or end tables.

Alyssa

I am a first time mom to a beautiful little baby boy, just turned 8 months and still breastfeeding exclusively. I always used the Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter, it is my favorite, but they also have these things called Booby Tubes, http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/breastfeeding-support/booby-tubes.html. They are amazing if you are unfortunate enough to have a mastitis like I had or any other infection AND they are made in the US at a fair trade company.

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