Before I had my first baby, I remember being more nervous about breastfeeding than actually giving birth. I knew I wanted to make it work, but I was afraid it would hurt, or at the very least be uncomfortable. Now that I'm nursing my third baby, I realize that yes, nursing your baby can be painful in those first days and weeks. Yes, it can be tough if your baby isn't latching correctly. But once I got the hang of it, it really was a great experience, and much cheaper than formula!
Even though I know all of the positive reasons to breastfeed, can I admit something? I'm not one of those moms who treasures every second of nursing my baby. I sometimes feel a little bit trapped by my baby's eating schedule, knowing I can't even go out to Target by myself for more than two hours without getting frantic texts from my husband. I get antsy to have my body be my own again. I don't always love being stuck on the couch while my toddler and preschooler destroy the house. I get stick of milk soaking through my shirt at the most inopportune times. Despite all that, I still nurse my baby as long as my body will produce enough milk.
What has made a huge difference for me in making breastfeeding a pleasant experience is having the right products. So as a third time mom, I'm going to share my favorite nursing products, and how I set up a "nursing nest," in hopes that it will encourage other mamas who are like me to stick with it a little longer.
[one] Boppy Nursing Pillow
This thing follows me from room to room around the house. I've been using it since my first baby 4 years ago, and it's still in perfect shape! Not only does it make nursing so much more comfortable, but it helped protect my incision after my C-section, and it also acts as support for when Pippa and Teddy want to "hold" the baby. Teddy even hovers over me while I'm nursing asking, "Teddy baby Boppy?" meaning he want to hold the baby. I may or may not also use the Boppy as a "table" for my snacks and iPhone. Find it HERE.
[two] Bamboobies Nursing Pads
During the first 2-3 months of nursing, I'm dealing with an oversupply of milk, and am constantly changing outfits throughout the day. This means I have to be wearing nursing pads at all times, and want to make sure they're thin enough to wear under bralettes and tank tops without being visible. Bamboobies Nursing Pads are by far the most comfortable I have found. They're made of super soft bamboo rayon velour, which is especially important in those first few weeks when your skin is so tender and sore. They also have a leak-proof liner and are absorbent enough to stop leaks.
[three] Comfortable nursing bra or tank
I vividly remember buying the cutest peach dress for Pippa's baptism before she was born. She was my firstborn, so I didn't think about how I would be able to nurse in it. At the baptism, I was less than two weeks postpartum, and still full of hormones. I remember sobbing in the basement of the church because I couldn't feed her without taking off the whole dress. I was so embarrassed and frustrated! Looking back now, it's kind of funny, but the whole experience made me realize how important it is to have nursing-friendly gear.
I mentioned in another post that I wear a lot of cami bralettes for nursing, because I find them so much more comfortable than nursing bras. For that reason I don't actually own many nursing bras! So when Bamboobies reached out to me about their super soft Yoga Nursing Brahhh! I couldn't wait to try it. Sure enough, it's incredibly soft, made from bamboo rayon, and supportive enough to wear on long stroller walks with the kids. (I also love that it came with a bra extender, since my body changes drastically in the months following childbirth). Now I'm eyeing up their regular Nursing Brahhh! for everyday wear.
[four] Nursing Necklace
As your baby gets a little older, he will start reaching and pulling at whatever he can get his hands on. I love Mads + Grace Co teething necklaces to wear during this stage, because they are stretchy enough for baby to pull on while he's eating. They're also seriously adorable, cute enough to wear while out and about!
[five] a quality pump
Once your milk supply comes in, it's nice to be able to pump some milk so Dad or siblings can feed the baby. We're still working on getting Baby Lewis to take a bottle, but in the mean time it's nice to build up a little stash! It also came in handy when my milk first came in and I was dealing with engorgement. I would pump for just a few minutes to give myself some relief while the baby was napping. I got the Medela Pump In Style for free through my insurance. Check to see if your insurance provides one! It's seriously a lifesaver. We also use the Lansinoh storage bags.
[six] a nursing shawl
I don't know why it took me until my third baby to figure this out, but nursing shawls are a game changer! I used to use the lightweight muslin blankets as faux nursing covers when out in public (and still do in a pinch), but the baby was always pulling them off, and it was hard to get "set up" without flashing someone. A nursing shawl lets you see the baby while still shielding yourself from the general public, and it's a lot more subtle! I love the Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl because of how versatile and soft it is! It definitely doesn't look like a nursing cover, and it's super stretchy so you can easily fit baby underneath. It can also be worn as a shawl or scarf, or used as a carseat cover! I love that it's just plain black, so it basically matches my entire wardrobe!
[seven] nipple cream
This is a must-have right away in the first few weeks of nursing your baby when you're extremely sensitive and experiencing discomfort. I've found that I need to pull this out again whenever Lewis is going through a growth spurt and starts cluster feeding. Bamboobies boob♥ease nipple balm is a perfect choice for mamas looking for a more natural option. It's 100% organic, made with extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower.
[eight] high protein snacks and water
I've been snacking on all natural protein bars (18 g of protein!), apples with natural peanut butter, protein balls/energy bites made with flaxseed, Greek yogurt, almond milk in my superfood protein shakes, and cheese. I also aim to drink at least 3 Yeti tumblers full of water each day. (I have the 30 oz tumbler). Here's what a day of food (in general...I probably eat more than this) looks like for me:
[nine] set up a nursing station
You will be spending a lot of time on the couch, so you might as well make yourself comfortable! If I'm not prepared, I find myself frustrated with long nursing sessions. When I have everything I need on hand, I'm more patient, and happy to let Lewis eat for as long as he needs. My solution has been to set up a nursing station or nursing basket to keep by the couch or bed.
Some important items to keep in your basket are reading material, whether that's a book, e-reader, or iPad, granola bars or protein bars, a spill-proof water bottle, burp cloths, nipple cream, and extra nursing pads.