Breastfeeding Essentials

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When I was pregnant with my now 3 month old daughter, I thought breastfeeding would be as simple and satisfying as it is portrayed in the media. For a lot of women it probably does come easy, but I created this list because it didn’t come easily to me. I thought I had prepared myself months prior by attending classes and reading book after book. What I really needed was an experienced Mom (or lactation consultant) to sit me down and say, “Here’s what you need in case things don’t go as planned”.

The following is a list of items that I found to be essential for breastfeeding:

1. Water
Glass of water with ice cubes

Plenty of it and as much as you can muster! I think you all know that more water = more milk.

2. Medela Contact Nipple Shield 

MEDELA-2001634MLA-200.1625Maybe I was just one of the select few who experienced pain from breastfeeding in the first week? Blisters and all… This nipple shield helped A LOT. It created a barrier while the nipple could heal and toughen up. It also helped with feedings because when my milk first came in I had plenty of it.  Enough actually that my baby would gag. This shield controls the milk flow and allows your milk to adjust to your baby’s needs.

A shield was also mandatory when I was engorged and my baby had a hard time latching to the stiffness. Pack one just in case. It will save you and your baby some tears if things don’t go the way you plan. Pay close attention to the sizing as you’ll want to measure the diameter of your own nipple. Medium size is 24mm, anything smaller is size Small. If you have any doubts, has good reviews!

Find here. Also available at Wal-Mart.

3. Lansinoh Disposable Breast Pads

 It can be a messy situation trying to get the hang of breast feeding. Seriously, leaking when the baby cries, leaking after unlatching, leaking during showers etc. This product will help will all of that. A good tip is to lather up the pad with some lanolin during that first week (see #8). At around day three, you’ll be really glad you can just throw these pads away instead of washing them!

Find it here. Also available at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

 4. Walgreens Infant Gas Relief Drops

 220We went through a lot of different brands of gas drops and this one was our favorite. Our baby girl liked the flavor of it, what can I say? The syringe and bottle design are the best, just tip the bottle upside down, insert the dosing syringe and pull down. And yes I did taste all the other brands… This one tastes like vanilla pudding (the others were a yucky fruity flavor). Most gas relief products out there contain the ingredient simethicone. Simethicone binds all of the small gas bubbles to make a big bubble, so it is easier and quicker for baby to pass. Do not underestimate how much time is spent burping a baby! We liked giving it to our baby before feeding even though the directions say after feeding or as often as your pediatrician recommends.

Find it here.

5. Medela Double Breast Pump

 Breast Pump

I admit that pumping is a bit awkward at first but the sooner you get over that the sooner you realize the many possibilities available. I pumped at first because I got engorged and plugged. I produced more than my baby was eating and I needed to drain, BAD. It just so turned out that pumping turned out to be quite the blessing for my husband because that meant he could feed our baby a pumped bottle at night time. The husbands REALLY want to help us and bond with the baby so ladies, please let them! Also, don’t freak out at the word “bottle”, your baby will still latch fine if you’re breastfeeding throughout the day.

I’m in the category of having a baby know both ways of eating. In fact, the “Sleep Lady” author Kim West said that she fed both her breastfed babies formula at night because it takes longer to digest, thus helping them to sleep longer. Learning both ways also helped in case something ever happened to her and/or her milk supply.

Find it here. Also at Wal-Mart. Please note that Medicaid and all insurance plans now cover the cost of a breast pump. Call your insurance company for more information.

6. Health-O-Meter Grow With Me Baby and Toddler Scale. 

 scaleI would say this is the most reassuring breastfeeding device ever! With this little scale (it really is pretty small) you can do weighed feedings. You simply weigh your baby before you feed, then breastfeed, then weigh again and voila, you can see how much they drank! I literally went berserk before I had this scale wondering if my baby was getting enough or getting too little… This scale is heaven sent and on sale at Amazon. The scale also converts into a toddler scale by removing the infant tray.

Find it here.

7. Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags


Simple enough: if you are pumping and have extra milk, freeze it! Follow the rule of 4. Freshly pumped breast milk can be set out on a counter for 4 hours, in the fridge for 4 days and in the freezer for 4 months. Do not however take refrigerated breast milk and put in the freezer. In addition, only freeze freshly pumped breast milk. Let it freeze lying flat and once frozen you can store it much easier!

Find it here. Also at Wal-Mart.

8. Lansinoh Lanolin Cream

81dm4BC7YfL._SL1500_You are going to want this for sure during your first week at least. Your nipples “may” get dry, cracked and blistered… And hurt… Sorry ladies it’s the truth, aren’t you glad I’m telling you though?! Not everyone experiences this but have it on hand just in case ok? It has the consistency of Vaseline but it does no harm to the baby. So right after a feeding apply liberally to the nipples (and apply a breast pad over the nipple if desired).

Fun tip, since this was always by my side, I used it as Chapstick on my lips and loved it!

Find it here. Also at Wal-Mart.

 9. Dr. Browns BPA Free Baby Bottles


Just trust me when I say we’ve tried other bottles… Save you and your baby the frustration of trying out new bottle after new bottle and just stick with this one! The parts inside this bottle make it so the air bubbles get sucked out before they go into your baby’s mouth. You literally cannot see any bubbles in the milk while your baby is drinking, whereas all the other bottles you could see bubbles plain as day. Sure the little parts will get frustrating to wash every time, but grab a bottle brush and a nice drying rack and it’ll all be worth it.

Find it here. Also at Wal-Mart.

10. Prenatal Pills

Composition with dietary supplement capsules. Drug pillsMost brands will do but check with your OBGYN or nurse to make sure. Women should continue to take prenatal pills while they breastfeed. This will insure your baby is getting proper nutrition especially in that first week of breastfeeding when there is so much going on and you may forget to eat a meal!

Find it: Pretty much any drugstore or pharmacy!

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