When I was first pregnant with Sienna, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding - "breast is best", they said. "Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life", they said. So, off I went. Bought a breast pump, some nursing wear, and packed them into my hospital bag. I was determined to breastfeed my baby. Did I know what I was getting into? Nope.
Fast forward 3.5 years, I am beyond thankful that many of my friends were expecting and breastfeeding their children at the same time as me. It really, really helped - having a mama support group, the MOTN texts and non-stop boob discussions, someone who truly understands what it feels like when you tell them you knocked your Haakaa over...
And while the sleepless nights and 2 hourly feeds are now a distant memory to me (thanks to sleep training - a story for another day), I think it is established that first few weeks/months postpartum is tough. It is bloody tough. I hear you, and I validate all your feelings, tears, sweat and pain.
Having breastfed both of my daughters beyond their 1st birthdays, here are the list of items that I have tried, tested, and used over the course of my breastfeeding journeys:
My Breastfeeding Essentials
1. The Haakaa Breast Pump - don't be fooled by how simple it looks, it is a milk saver and a complete gamechanger. I only discovered it during my 2nd breastfeeding journey, and no judging, but I own 3 of the Haakaas. I used it every single night for night feeds, and offered whatever I collected to Sienna the next day.
2. Nursing Pads - when your milk supply kicks in, be prepared for you to leak, leak, leak. Nursing pads will help to soak up the mess.
3. Nipple Balm - the suction from baby's frequent latching / pumping can be painful, especially during the initial weeks. Grab your nipple balm and slatherrrr, safe to apply even when baby is latched on!
4. Nursing Cover - nursing in public can be stressful, especially when your baby is crying for milk. A nursing cover will give you privacy with your baby! I used it a lot with Sienna, especially when we travelled. No chance for Sofia, #pandemicbaby
5. Nursing Pillow - nursing pillows can be a new mom’s lifesaver. Pain is normal during the early days of breastfeeding, and a nursing pillow can help prop the baby up to a comfortable height, so that you can focus on getting a good latch with baby.
6. Breast Pump - with Sienna, I returned back to work after 16 weeks of maternity. While we were apart, I pumped 2 times at work for the next 36 weeks. So yes, investing in a breast pump that suits your lifestyle is important.
7. Nursing Top / Bra - I practically lived in nursing tops. When baby cries, just whip and feed. Easy peasy.
8. Night light - the nights are long, mama. Having a night light can be really useful in helping you check on your sleeping baby, and pick them up without clumsiness during the night feeds.
9. Baby Carrier - I nurse Sofia in the baby carrier on our daily walks to the bakery, morning coffee runs, on the train, evening strolls in the park... you get the idea.
10. LaVie Lactation Massager - engorgement has happened to almost all the breastfeeding mamas I know. The LaVie is extremely useful in helping you knock out clogged ducts, speed up milk letdown and milk flow, and reduce discomfort from engorgement.
Items 1 to 4 can be found in our Boob Box - tried, tested and highly recommended!
Moo on, mamas. You've got this.