Since giving birth to my beautiful baby boy on the 28th February 2016, I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding without the need to express or add bottles. Now that I’m almost 6 months into this wonderful experience, I thought I’d share with you My Top 8 Breastfeeding Essentials, highlighting the products used and what has worked for us on this momentous breastfeeding journey so far.
1: A Good Nursing Bra!
As a first time Mother , I’ll openly admit that I was a little naive when it came to nursing bras and severely underestimated how important investing in one actually was.
During the late stages of my last trimester, I was given the opportunity to try the **Bravado Bodysilk Seamless Nursing Bra and loved it sooo much that I’ve invested in a few more in different colourways.
On the scale of 1-10 on the comfort meter this bra gets an 11! It is designed to fit ones ever growing bust size throughout pregnancy and post partum after ones milk supply has come in.
2: Breast Pads
Whilst I read ALOT of pregnancy info during gestation, nothing could quite prepare me for the reality of leaky boobs!
Within days of giving birth to my beautiful Cherub, my milk came in which ultimately made me quadruple in bust size. Add to this an overabundant milk supply accompanied by a very fast milk letdown and you have a recipe to
leak spray EVERYWHERE!
Thank goodness for the invention of breast pads. I have been using Eco friendly brand **Organyc as my disposable option. At present I cannot comment on a recommended reusable option as I am still in the process of testing out a few brands to come to a conclusion but will endeavour to cover this in a separate article.
3: A Soothing Nipple Balm
Another product I hugely underestimated was Nipple Balm and my was it a total godsend during my first six weeks of breastfeeding my Son. It did a phenomenal job at soothing sore cracked nipples in those trying first few weeks when my little and I embarked on the journey of learning the art and skill that is breastfeeding.
I have been using Avela Naturals and absolutely LOVE the fact that **Avela Nipple Balm is made with nothing but Natural Ingredients such as such Almond Oil, Orange Peel and Shea Butter thus making it perfectly safe for your little person to latch on without the need to remove it before feeds (bonus).
Whilst I haven’t used this since Baby Eco was 4 weeks old, something tells me I’ll need to restart reapplying once Eco breaks his first tooth for obvious reasons! I plan to extend breastfeeding beyond six months, preferably up to 18 months but this is of course subject to Eco’s willingness to still feed at the breast as he takes on more solid foods.
4: Nutritious Snacks
Breastfeeding Mama’s need on average an extra 300 calories a day to cope with the physical demands that breastfeeding brings.
Having nutritious snacks to hand during feeds helps to sustain ones energy. I have been recently munching my way through **Freida’s Pantry Nursing Bars, in particular their supercharged food range and I honestly cannot get enough of them!
Jam-packed with an array of mighty Superfoods such as Oats, Acai Berry, Quinoa and Chia Seeds, these bars are high in nutrients yet wonderfully moreish, making it the perfect snack where Mother and Baby can both reap the health benefits.
5: A regular supply of Fluid
For those that also breastfeed their little would agree that nursing is thirsty work! Aside from my water bottle that stays right beside my bed whenever I feel the need to quench my thirst I also find that a raw juice or smoothie works wonders in supplying me with a much needed energy boost when feeling run down and depleted.
If time does not permit to prepare and make raw juices or smoothies myself, I will often look to substitute for a pre packaged version with all the goodness and thanks to **Savse Smoothies I have been on course to succeed my 5 a day allowance.
What I LOVE about this brand is their conscious effort to create vegetable based beverages, thus reducing the overall contents of sugar, even if it is naturally from fruit. My favourite flavours include newly launched Purple Carrot, Super Greens (I am a sucker for green juices) and Super Blue.
6: A Breast Pump To Express
There may come a time in your breastfeeding journey when you need a decent breast pump to express your liquid gold. Whilst there are dozens of brands currently on the market and a few come to mind…
With numerous awards won in the baby industry, Medela is one of the trusted leading brands and is used throughout hospitals here in the UK, is recommended by Midwives and parents alike and appears to be a firm favourite amongst my parent blogging network.
Other trusted breast pump brands include Lanisosh and Tommee Tippee. I own the latter and whilst I have yet to use my **Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump (I am my Son’s feeding machine) I will begin to use it as a way of managing my milk supply when Baby Eco starts to eat more solid foods throughout the day, thus dropping a feed or three (trust me ladies, engorged breasts are NO fun).
7: A Brilliant Support System
For most women, breastfeeding doesn’t come easy. From low levels of milk supply, those night time cluster feeds to the baby not latching on properly, the list is endless.
In trying times like the above she’ll need lots of encouragement and support to keep going as opposed to giving up.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had a relatively easy breastfeeding journey so far. Aside from latching issues in the first few weeks and Eco struggling to keep up with my very fast letdown to the point he’ll sometimes choke the rest has been plain sailing.
Having the support of your loved ones, friends and family can make all the difference to a breastfeeding Mother, especially if she wishes to extend nursing beyond a year.
8: Keep Track of Progress
Keeping track of the number of wees and dirty nappies, feeds, naps and sleep alongside the duration was something I started when my Son was born up to around 1.5 months. For me, this made it easier to detect patterns or any potential issues to raise with my Health Visitor.
I did try a diary approach but failed to update it regularly but having discovered the free MyMedela App that effortlessly captures all of the above plus extras such as weight and height made documenting my Son’s progress a breeze. Useful articles and tips can also be found on the app.
I still use some of the features to this day such as sleep tracking to ensure my Son is getting enough over a 24 hour period. This is something I have growned concerned about as he is a terrible daytime napper if not being worn in his sling or wrap and often wakes every 2-3 hourly for comfort feeds between 10pm – 5:30am.
I hope you found my Top 8 Breastfeeding Essentials useful. If there is something you swear by that has helped you on your Breastfeeding Journey that hasn’t been covered in this article I would love to know your recommendations by either leaving me a comment below you contacting me on social media (links at the top right of the screen).
Disclaimer: Items marked ** in this article are pr samples kindly gifted to me. As always my thoughts and opinions are honest and entirely my own.