Before I had my baby Florence I had this idea of breastfeeding that it would be pretty straightforward. It was a picture of idyllic beauty. You would put your sweet baby on your breast and she would feed away peacefully whilst you flicked through the latest edition of Mother&Baby magazine until she was happily full up. The reality however was a lot different. Still incredibly beautiful and tender but throw in a few flailing arms, one squirmy newborn, leaky boobs and post-feed dribble I quickly realised there was quite a few breastfeeding essentials I would need by my side at all times to make these mealtimes a little bit easier for us both. So here is a rundown of my top 8 must haves that have helped me through the passed three months of exclusive breastfeeding.
1. A nursing pillow. I have been using my Dreamgenii Maternity Pillow which I got when I was pregnant to help me feel comfortable when I slept with my bump. Now it handily doubles up as a nursing pillow which has helped me find a comfortable posture to cradle and feed my baby. You will spend many many hours sitting down feeding your baby, especially in the early weeks, so it is imperative you find a comfy area in your house that you can snuggle down and feel happy and relaxed feeding your sweet one.
2. Nursing bras. It goes without saying that you will need a good collection of maternity bras in your wardrobe if you are planning on breastfeeding, for ease and comfort so you can quickly pop them out when required! I found it quite a mission to find the perfect nursing bras for me as many of them were wired, which I am not a fan of, but these soft sports-bra-style Nursing Bras from H&M are my absolute favourite. They are soft and elasticated and come in two pretty grey and pink shades.
3. The MyMedela Breastfeeding App. The first few weeks of having a newborn goes by in a complete haze of sleeps, feeds and nappy changes. As a new breastfeeding mum I was keen to keep track of my feeds as well as absorbing as much information as possible regarding nursing, baby’s development, their tummy size and pumping support. This app has it all and is so useful in the early days when you feel you need to track all those feeds, for your own peace of mind more than anything, as well as having access to support and advice regarding all things breastfeeding from the Medela team.
4. Water. Lots of Water. They weren’t lying when they said that breastfeeding is thirsty work! Breastmilk production increases the mother’s water loss so I always keep a bottle of water by my side when feeding to keep me topped up and hydrated.
5. Fenugreek. It has been reported that the herb Fenugreek has an excellent effect of the mother’s milk supply and since I have been taking it I have noticed that my milk supply has been a little more bountiful. There are some days I literally feed and express every few hours which is exhausting and I sometimes feel my supply is dwindling so having a few of these every day keeps my levels topped up.
6. Breast pads. Whether you are feeding, away from your baby for sometime or just hear a random child cry in the supermarket, leaky boobs can strike anytime, anywhere! Therefore breast pads are pretty essential and these disposable nursing pads from Medela are absorbent and discreet to save your blushes next time you’re in Tescos.
7. Muslin cloths. As soon as they have finished feeding, babies seem to think it is pretty hilarious to bring their lunch back up, or at least give you a little dribble as they fall asleep on the breast so having a muslin cloth at hand is a must. I particularly love these Extra Large Muslins from toTs by SmarTrike as they are large enough to be used as a swaddle cloth and a nursing cover up, as well as a muslin and come in a pretty grey, embroidered design.
8. Snacks. As well as keeping hydrated, breastfeeding mums can burn up to 500 extra calories a day so it is important to keep your energy levels up and have some easy, quick but healthy snacks to reach for. Oats have also been reported as being the number one superfood to boost your milk supply so I like to whip up a large batch of healthy flapjacks to snack on during my feeds. I currently have my eye on these squidgy date and banana flapjacks which I think I will be giving a go next weekend!
Do you have any breastfeeding essentials that you just can’t get by without? I would love to hear what things you need to hand during your baby’s feeds.