Essential Products for Breastfeeding Mothers

Although breastfeeding can be a challenge at first, it is one of the best things a mother can do for her baby. It provides your baby with the optimum nutrition while giving you a chance to bond with your little one. Through my own foray into breastfeeding, I have found a few products that have been essential to success.

1) Nursing bras. These innovative bras feature clips that allow you to easily expose your breast to your baby. No struggling with cups and straps! Most have clips that can be easily worked with just one hand, so you don’t have to let go of your baby. After trying a number of styles and brands, my favourite is the Original Nursing Bra by Bravado. They offer 3 different levels of support depending on your bust size. I ordered the “plus” support and it is absolutely great; its my go-to bra. It not only offers great support, but it allows for easy breastfeeding.

2) Lanolin. The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be a bit painful due to your nipples adjusting to your baby’s suckling. Lanolin is a natural remedy for sore or cracked nipples. It soothes and aids healing while not interfering with breastfeeding since it’s safe for your baby and does not need to be removed before feeding. Lasinohhas a great medical grade lanolin that is available at Wal-Mart and drug stores.

3) Nipple shield. While you may not need to use it, I would recommend having one on hand just in case you get a nipple crack. Just one bad latch can cause a lot of damage and, believe me, can make nursing very painful! If you experience a crack, a nipple shield allows you to continue nursing without pain while you heal. It usually takes about 48 hours to heal fully. I used thisshield that I found at Babies’r’us made by Medela and it worked wonders!

4) Nursing tanks. These are great for sleeping in, wearing around the house, or layering under normal shirts. Nursing tanks feature clips like you would find on nursing bras that allow for easy breastfeeding. They are great for keeping your tummy covered when you pull up your outer shirt or can be worn on their own. Many have great built in bras, so you don’t need to wear one underneath! Glamourmom makes wonderful supportive tanks that can be worn alone or as a layering pieces. After trying a number of brands, these are by far the best!

5) A nursing cover. For modest moms who don’t want to leave the room to feed their baby or are breastfeeding in public, nursing covers are a great way to stay covered. Unlike blankets that can shift and fall down, nursing covers have a strap that goes around your neck (like an apron) and a stiff neck opening that allows you to keep an eye on your baby, while shielding him or her from others. My favourite is the Hooter Hider, they have lots of cute material options, it’s light weight, and provides privacy!

6) A breast pump. A breast pump allows breastfeeding moms to express milk so baby can continue receiving breast milk while mom is at work, running errands, on a date with Daddy, or simply needs a bit of sleep! It also allows Dad or another caregiver to feed baby. If you plan on only pumping occasionally, I would recommend a manual pump like the Medela Harmony which allows you to express the milk you need for a faction of the cost of electrical pumps.

7) Breast pads. The first few weeks (or months) of breastfeeding can mean leaky breasts. Wet spots on your shirt from leaking milk can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Breast pads are available as disposable or washable inserts. I find the reusable inserts great for around the house – they are easy to change when damp and can be washed in your regular laundry loads. My favourite are made by Medala and Bravado. Both are soft and absorbent, however I have had them soak through before and wouldn’t recommend them if you are heading out for more than a couple hours. When out and about I use the Lasinoh disposable pads – they’re super absorbent, comfortable, discreet, and stay in place with sticky backs. I’ve never had a leak!

Maternity stores like Thyme and Motherhoodhave a number of nursing bras, tanks, and clothes. However, I find that you can get the best selection online. My favourite places to shop include:
– Bravado (great nursing bras and tanks)
– Glamourmom (the best tanks)
– Amazon (if you live in the US, they have great deals on pretty much every nursing product out there! Unfortunately the Canadian doesn’t carry nursing products)
– Ellabella Maternity Boutique (if you, like me, are Canadian and don’t want to pay border fees, this Calgary based business carries the best brands for good prices and has fast shipping)
– Lasinoh (my favourite brand of Lanolin and disposable breast pads. They also have a great range of breastfeeding pumps, milk bags, etc)
– Medela (great pumps and breastfeeding accessories)

Many companies offer coupon codes and exclusive deals through Facebook and Twitter, so check out what’s available before placing an order.

Breastfeeding your baby is natural and a special time for mom and baby. It’s a great way to bond with your little one while providing him or her the best possible nutrition. Enjoy it!