Over the last 4 years, I was breastfeeding for almost 3 years. It was a big part of my life for a long time and I am finally sharing some of my insight on it! I am surprised I haven’t shared much about breastfeeding and some of my experiences, but today I am and I hope to share more in the future as well!
I have linked the products I talk about throughout. If you click on the underlined words it will take you to their product page where you can find more information on each item.
Before I share my essential items, I just want to share a little bit of my experience with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding did not come easy for me. It was a very big struggle at the beginning with Emily and it took almost 2 weeks to really get a good grasp on what to do. I was determined to make it work, but it was a lot of work and so very exhausting, both physically and mentally. I cried almost every day from the pain of trying to latch and from feeling so drained emotionally that I wasn’t getting it. Although I wasn’t at the time, I was happy to go through that struggle because it helped me when it was time to start breastfeed the triplets. I knew what to expect those first couple weeks, which allowed me to stay calm and relaxed when getting started with the triplets. I breastfed Emily for 10.5 months and had to stop because of her milk allergy and the triplets I breastfed until 23 months. I did supplement with formula for the first 2-3 weeks until I was able to build up my extra supply of milk and until I knew I was producing enough.
This leads us to my first essential breastfeeding item; FORMULA. It may seem odd to have Formula on an essentials list for breastfeeding, but I think it is important to have it has a back up if things don’t go as planned. Whether you have difficulties at the beginning with your newborn latching or waiting for your milk to come in or just want to top up your baby after nursing them, it is good to find a formula that you like and that your baby likes. Don’t ever think that using formula while breastfeeding is a bad thing! I used the Similac Advance Step 1 formula, which is available in powder and ready to use format, with Emily and the triplets at the beginning when I was learning to breastfeed and then again with Emily when I had to switch after finding out she had her milk allergy.
Of course when you use formula you will need BOTTLES, which is my second essential breastfeeding item. When I was pregnant, Dan and I set up our baby registry and just like I read, we added one of each bottle to try out and find the one Emily would like. After trying almost every style, we ended up with the Playtex Baby VentAire Bottles. What I found great about the Playtex Baby VentAire Bottles, was the anti-colic bottom vent. It helped to prevent the babies from sucking in air while feeding, which was important for me because I bottle fed them for the first 2 months and I don’t know what I would have done if I had three fussy babies with upset tummies to take care of! Finding a bottle that both you and your baby like is important if you are using formula or pumping and bottle feeding, so you know your baby will actually eat. It also helps to give you a little bit of freedom when someone watches your baby and then allows your partner to participate with feedings too!
My third item is an item I never actually used, but everyday I wished I did and even regret not purchasing; A NURSING BRA. I really don’t know why I didn’t take the time to buy a nursing bra. I think about the convenience and help a nursing bra would have provided while nursing and I think it would have made it so much easier, especially with the triplets. I was recently introduced to the company ThirdLove and their new line of nursing bras. (Pictures below from ThirdLove.com)
They thought of moms when they created the bras, so they are functional, but look great and come in 3 different colors. Along with the easy front closures, the straps also undo to allow the cups to drop down for nursing and pumping. I also have to point out that their bras range in size from A – F (DDD) and they also offer half-sizes. As moms we all know our body changes drastically during pregnancy and after, so I think it is great they offer such a wide variety of sizes. For myself it has been hard to come across a bra that is the right size and still looks great. When the times comes and I need to purchase a nursing bra ThirdLove will be my go to shop!
My fourth item would be for women who love to and want to nurse anywhere and everywhere, but may not feel 100% comfortable doing so. This item is a NURSING COVER. I used mine all the time with the triplets and it was such a life saver. I am all for women who breastfeed without a cover in public and I think it is so great they feel
comfortable enough to do it. I myself have never been comfortable enough to do that, but I was able to with the nursing cover. I had no idea that nursing covers even existed with Emily. It wasn’t until I went shopping for items for the triplets that I came across nursing covers and I felt like my whole life changed. I used the Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover – Nest and purchased it at Babies R Us. With Emily I breastfed for 10.5 months and every time she had to eat, I would have to find a private place to feed her. I would leave all my guests downstairs while I breastfed up in my room, I would sit in a bathroom stall if we were out for dinner and I would hide in the car if we were out shopping. With the triplets it was a whole different story. I used the cover all the time and it allowed me to stay around people while feeding and I felt so much more comfortable in public places.
My fifth and final essential breastfeeding item would be a NURSING PILLOW. While you
are breastfeeding it can be very strenuous on your back. The pillow helps to lift your baby up to your breast which reduces the strain on your back from bending forward. I also found it helped with all the different positions for breastfeeding and it gives you the support you need to hold your baby. I used the Jolly Jumper Baby Sitter Nursing Cushion. I couldn’t find the exact style I had, but they are all the same! I wouldn’t go anywhere without my pillow and I remember turning around if I forgot it; I used it all the time!
One thing I would suggest, if you have multiples, would be to look into purchasing a
nursing pillow designed for twins. I used my regular nursing pillow with the triplets and I found it was difficult to keep them in position as they got older and bigger. From what I have seen they look to be larger and have a flat top, which would be very helpful when positioning one baby and then reaching for the second one. There was a couple of times I remember one of the triplets rolling off the pillow onto the couch or bed! Here is one I found called My Brest Friend® Twin & Plus Size Nursing Pillow in Fireworks from BedBath & Beyond, but I’m sure you could find them other places as well.
As I was writing my fifth item, I realized that there is one item I completely forgot about and had to include! I won’t go into too much detail with this one, as I will save it for a review later, but my bonus essential item is a BREAST PUMP. There are so many out there to choose from, which can make it very difficult and overwhelming, so I think it’s important to read the reviews and listen to what you hear from friends and family and their experiences. This it one of the bigger ticket items I would say to spend the money on, because I really do think you get what you pay for. I know the Medela breast pumps are expensive, but from comparing my experience using it in the hospital, to the one I purchased and had at home, it was a huge difference. I did get good use out of the one I had but I do regret not spending the extra to have the Medela pump at home too.
Well there are my top 5 essential breastfeeding items plus a bonus one! I hope you found all of my items helpful and my thoughts insightful! Breastfeeding it a big job and it comes with a lot of challenges, but if you have the right items to make your experience easier than they will also help to make your experience enjoyable. I know everyone’s experiences and preferences are different, so your top 5 items may change, but I know these items made and would have made my breastfeeding experience enjoyable and do able. There are so many products out there to choose from and I found the biggest thing was to listen and read reviews from others. I hope by sharing my insights and preferences with you ,I can bring some light and answers to something you were unsure of!
If you have any essential items, please share them down below!