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7 NURSING MAMA MUST-HAVES

Breastfeeding is an amazing experience, full of highs and lows. You can read my post The Truth About Breastfeeding, where I touch on my experience with breastfeeding. But when you are a new mom and you’re learning anything to make it easier helps. I mean, I was around babies my whole life (my extended family is giant), but when someone hands you a tiny little newborn and you have to figure everything out from feeding to diapering to putting her to sleep…any tips are appreciated! These are the things that literally got me through.

 

    1. WATER BOTTLE – Breast milk is 90% water, so if you want to feed a baby, you gotta hydrate the mama. It’s recommended for pregnant women to consume 96oz. minimum per day (compared to the 64oz minimum for nonpregnant women) when you’re breast feeding that’s increased to 128oz per day which is a gallon. MUCH easier to do if you have a great water bottle. I used this one during pregnancy and in the first few weeks postpartum. It’s 34oz so you only have to refill it three times (drink four full bottles) to meet the 96oz requirement. But I’ve since switched to this one, which is 40oz and super convenient for breastfeeding and keeping my water cooler in the summer months. You can also purchase a 2-pack on Amazon. I also purchased this one with the straw lid for my 6 month old. She absolutely LOVES it – and she had zero trouble with figuring out how to use the straw. Plus I love that it isn’t plastic like sooo many of the sippy cups out there.
    2. A GOOD LACTATION COOKIE RECIPE – I don’t know if it’s just a new mama thing to have anxiety about your milk supply…but I definitely did! There were a couple things that really helped me to increase my supply (although, in hindsight I probably didn’t really need to!). One of those was a good lactation cookie recipe. Just having a snack on hand that’s full of good carbohydrates and fats and also easy to pop in your mouth while you’re carrying around your newborn is key. This lactation cookie recipe is by far THE best one I tried – and I tried a ton! There is one alteration I make though, I use the Nestle Special Dark Chocolate Chips instead of dairy-free semi sweet, it makes them a little bit richer. After you have a baby, you’re allowed to have pretty much all the chocolate you want for a while. In my book, anyway.
    3. HENLEY/BUTTON UP SHIRTS – When you are learning to breastfeed, you are not graceful. Well, at least I wasn’t. It is awkward at first, learning how to hold your suckling little babe. The last thing I wanted to be focusing on was holding up my shirt and making sure she had enough air! Maybe that’s dramatic, I don’t know. But what I do know is that it was so easy and convenient to wear shirts with buttons. When I was pregnant, I purchased a few henleys on a whim. They are PERFECT for breastfeeding. I bought three from Aerie, they were flowy enough that I felt comfortable wearing them immediately after Tess was born. Plus they’re a little longer in the back to cover your rear when you’re living in leggings. Bonus. BUT they are currently sold out! So I found a couple that were similar. I’ll keep my eye out for those henleys again this fall and update accordingly! Seriously, those were the best shirts I’ve found to nurse in!
    4. LONG-LINE BRALETTES – These were also one of my Must-Haves for Surviving Pregnancy. I pretty much lived in sweats/leggings for the first 3 months of Tess’s life. But at some point you feel so frumpy and/or unattractive that all you want is just one article of clothing that feels at least the tiniest bit feminine and pretty. Cue long-line bralettes. I wear these religiously. They go on sale for less than $20 all the time, so just watch Aerie for deals! Plus they have free returns on all their bras. These are also a really cute option. Seriously, these are sounbelievably comfortable, plus they offer enough support. I even sleep in them – because when you’re breastfeeding, it never stops. These are padded but I would remove the pads and add nursing pads in and it worked great! They’re perfect for breastfeeding too because they are cut low, so you don’t have to lift them up and over your boobs -you just pull it out of the way. Something you never think about. I mean nursing bras are great and everything but eventually you are just over unhooking and rehooking your bra. That’s when I realized that these were just more convenient! Just be sure that when you are washing these postpartum (like every other day, honestly) let them air dry. They will hold up a lot longer! I’m impressed with the quality, honestly. Because when you’re getting spit up on, pooped on, and have milk coming in, you basically need to wash them every other day.
    5. NURSING PADS – So, I didn’t realize (I don’t think anyone really told me) that I would be leaking every time my child nursed. Literally, if she’s nursing from one side, I’m soaking the other. I’m not even sure if it’s like that for everyone, but if I let down on the left, I’m letting down on the right also. Honestly, I think I had like a 20-pack of these things when Tess was born. I went through those in like a week. Do yourself a favor and order these in bulk! Otherwise you’ll wake up soaked, in the middle of the night and wondering what the heck happened!
    6. NURSING PILLOW – This is something that I hesitate to recommend because it seems like you only use it for a short period of time. But when I was struggling to get Tess to latch on and nurse properly, I could not have done it without my boppy pillow. I had to adjust her and switch positions all the time, with a super impatient, hungry, screaming infant – that’s not easy! This is where the boppy came in. I had something that could help me stabilize her and leave my arms and hands free to stimulate a letdown position so her head had way for a better latch, etc. One thing that I did was order a cute cover for my nursing pillow – I knew it was going to be laying around the house in plain sight for a while so I wanted to have something I didn’t hate! I found this one, and I seriously love it. My husband uses our boppy now as a “giant neck pillow” if I let him. Yes, seriously.
    7. BURP CLOTHS – Like a million of them. You think you know what you’ll need, but you don’t until it’s literally the worst case scenario. You’ve got your perfect seat with your water bottle just within reach, phone and charger close enough, your snacks, book, blankets…and then, the biggest catastrophe happens. It could be spit up, pee or poop. Let’s be honest, if you get a baby with a first-time-Dad-diapered baby, you could run into any number of these issues (or Mama, let’s be honest, we don’t know what we’re doing in the beginning either!). There were so
      many instances where I needed to just clean up one of the above and I had everything within reach…except a burp cloth. Just buy a bunch of them and position a basket full of them beside your “nursing station,” and in several other rooms throughout the house. It’s inevitable that you’re going to need these! There are so many different types of burp cloths, but my favorites were definitely the muslin Aden & Anais burp cloths. They are so absorptive, seriously they could clean up HUGE messes! Plus they’re super cute. These are a little pricier but definitely worth it. I found these several places but the best deals I found were at TJ Maxx – so shop around!

 



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