7 Breastfeeding Essentials for New Moms

Hey friends, how’s your week going so far? We have some exciting farm and farmhouse updates coming soon, but for now let’s talk about my 7 breastfeeding essentials for new moms!

I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding for almost 3 years. How is that possible?! When I was pregnant with Finley, I knew that I wanted to nurse, but I had no idea about the challenges I was about to face. I figured that it must be easy and pretty self explanatory. It’s the “natural” way to feed a baby, so how hard could it really be? Well friends, it’s really hard. Like, really really hard.

Photo cred: Lindsey Kay Photography

I’m so thankful I had my sister as a support system during those first few weeks. Finley and I had a rough start to our nursing relationship, and I probably would have given up if I didn’t have 24/7 support. Between a tongue tie revision, cracked nipples, milk blisters, and plugged ducts, it was pretty brutal.

It’s crazy how different each baby is. Although Beckham took to nursing much easier, we’ve definitely experienced our nursing challenges too (hello engorgement and plugged ducts!). If you’re planning to breastfeed at any point in your life, then bookmark this post ASAP. Although I’ve included some standard recommendations (i.e. nursing pillow), you won’t find most of these items on other lists. Check out my 7 breastfeeding essentials for new moms below. You’ll thank me later 😉

Photo cred: Lindsey Kay Photography

1. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

Search and contact an IBCLC during your pregnancy – don’t wait until you have the baby! Make sure you find an IBCLC that is 1) willing to do home visits and 2) covered by insurance. I had an IBCLC come to the house a few times during those first few days with Finley. Not only did the support increase my confidence, but she also helped with latch issues and set us up for success. This is probably the most important item on my “7 breastfeeding essentials for new moms” list!

2. Sunflower Lecithin

You might be wondering, “what the hell is sunflower lecithin?” Well friends, this little supplement is amazing if you’re a breastfeeding mama with plugged milk ducts. Sunflower lecithin is basically a fat emulsifier. It thins your milk, which helps to prevent and treat plugged ducts.

I had recurrent plugged ducts while nursing Finley. It was awful and so painful. I already had one brutal plugged duct with Beckham as well. I take sunflower lecithin daily to help prevent future plugged ducts and it’s such a huge help. If you’re having plugged ducts, then make sure you also contact your IBCLC – it’s probably related to an improper latch and/or you baby isn’t draining your breast fully.

3. CABBAGE

Some mamas experience engorgement when their milk comes in, while other mamas adjust fine. Me? Holy moly you guys, my engorgement was no joke this time around. My milk came in fast and hard. I’m 6 weeks postpartum and my milk supply still hasn’t fully adjusted yet.

If you’re experiencing significant engorgement, then apply frozen cabbage leaves to your breast. I also used this strategy to combat a plugged milk duct with Beckham and it helped so much (thanks sister!) Be careful though – cabbage leaves can decrease milk supply, so don’t overuse them.

4. Silicone Manual Breast Pump

The Haakaa is a silicone manual pump that you can attach to one breast as you nurse your baby on the other breast. It suctions onto your breast and “catches” your milk as is lets down. You guys, this thing is amazing during the first few weeks. Although the suction slightly stimulates your breast (which can be tricky if you’re already experiencing engorgement), it also saves so much milk that would otherwise be wasted. A very thoughtful friend of mine sent me a similar version and I love it!

5. Nipple Cream

To be totally honest, most nipple creams are awful. If you’re looking for a nipple cream that will actually make your nipples feel better, not worse, then check out Mothers Love or Medela. Both of these creams are so thin, silky, and easy to apply.

6. Breastfeeding Pillow

I love using the Boppy for nursing. As a heads up- if you have a small baby, then you might want to try the My Breast Friend pillow. Finley kept slipping off the Bobby when she was a newborn, which made nursing even harder. I purchased the My Breast Friend pillow to use with Beckham and I honestly don’t love it, but I think the extra structure would have made nursing easier with Finley.

7. Comfy Nursing Bra

Although this bra isn’t the most flattering, it’s probably the most comfortable bra ever. It’s definitely more of an “around the house” type of bra. It’s doesn’t give much support, but it’s perfect when you’re feeling sore and don’t want to wear anything too tight. The fabric is also super silky – amazing for cracked/sore nipples. Seriously, get this bra NOW.

Photo cred: Lindsey Kay Photography

In case you couldn’t tell by the photos I’ve included in this post, I’m a huge advocate for nursing in public. If you feel more comfortable using a nursing cover, then check out Milk Snob. I used it as a car seat cover with Finley 😉

7 Breastfeeding Essentials for New Moms: Questions

If you nursed your babies, what breastfeeding essentials helped you? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a great weekend, friends! Hope my list of 7 breastfeeding essentials for new moms helped some follow mamas!

 

6 Comments

  1. I was pretty lucky with both my babies and breastfeeding. They both had a great latch right away and other than one plugged duct I didn’t experience any real discomfort. I always worried about my supply though so I made sure to eat lots of oats and make lactation cookies – though my supply never seemed to suffer either but since I had to pump at work and store up milk it was always on my mind. Along with a comfortable nursing bra I recommend bamboo nipple covers to wear also – helps a lot with catching the leaks!

    1. Oh I’ve never tried bamboo nipple covers, I’ll have to check them out! I’m so awful with pumping. Finley refused to take a bottle and I have a flexible work schedule, so I stopped pumping pretty quickly and nursed instead. I give pumping mamas so much credit, it’s such hard work. Fingers crossed Beckham will take a bottle so I can leave the house for more than a couple hours every now and then!

  2. I love how breastfeeding is talked about more and more now! It used to be such a “hushed” thing to discuss!

    I breastfed my son (he’s 20 months old (WHAT?!). We struggled at first. He had a tongue tie that had to get clipped and then it wasn’t clipped enough, so had to get clipped again. His latch was so off. I finally went to a lactation consultant and it helped tremendously.

    I would absolutely agree to get in with a consultant that does home visits BEFORE the baby is born. Get this setup right away and have them come the first couple of days to assist. Its so crucial!

    We received 2 containers of nipple cream from the hospital and honestly they worked wonders! My mom also got frozen ice packs specifically for nipples and they were wonderful as well!

    Once I was settled at home I realized I needed to invest in something to hold my breast pump while I was doing stuff around the house. I purchased a breast pump bra and made my life so much easier!

    I think the number one thing to remember is that breastfeeding is hard. No matter what happens you are doing all that you can and even if it only lasts a few months, atleast the baby got that. Everyone struggles and its ok to be stressed about it.

    1. Hi Amber, thanks so much for sharing your story! My daughter had a tongue tie & revision as well, so I definitely can relate to your struggles! I can’t imagine having to do a tongue tie revision two times – it’s such a hard process, but it makes all the difference with nursing. I absolutely LOVE that you’re still nursing your son at 20 months – amazing mama!

  3. As a working mama I can’t live without my Spectra S1 breast pump! I use it every single day. I even used it right after my little guy was first born due to him not latching right away. My milk wasn’t coming in because of this so I pumped to get it started. Ever since I always pumped for middle of the night sessions and still do now even though he sleeps through the night. This way I keep my stimulation and supply up but I don’t have to rely on waking him up to nurse. I also love Legendairy Milk supplements! After I went back to work my supply plummeted and those supplements really helped me get it back to a good spot.

    1. Hi Diana! I had the Medela Pump in Style with Finley and I HATED it. I got the Spectra this time so fingers crossed it works better! The flanges didn’t fit properly with the Medela pump, so I’m hoping the Spectra is a better fit. I’ve heard such great things!

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