Before Baby B arrived, I racked my brains to remember what I thought were breastfeeding must haves with Toddler H. We were quite adamant we should prepare for as many scenarios as possible as we didn’t know how breastfeeding would go given the problems we had with Toddler H’s tongue-tie, if baby would be tongue-tied and also just plain and simple juggling feeding with having Toddler H around. We also knew that breastfeeding doesn’t always go to plan – Toddler H was tongue-tied which resulted in her loosing a lot of weight and us giving her top up feeds using a bottle of expressed milk. So, what products would I recommend for breastfeeding…
(This post contains links to Amazon – if you click and make any purchases I may receive a few pennies)
Breastfeeding products I wouldn’t be without:
- Nursing pads – breast pads like these are brilliant. I leaked colostrum from 27 weeks with Toddler H, and from 36 with Baby B, so was already wearing these. Once you start breastfeeding you also leak as you feed, or, if a feed is later than your body expects (when feeding on demand). So popping breast pads in your bra really helps – there’s nothing worse than leaking over your clothes!
- Latch Assist – I was also sent this by tongue-tieand hoped I wouldn’t need it. It would have been a huge help with Toddler H as we tried everything that was available at that time to compensate for her tongue being unable to do the right movement and enable her to latch on better. I was therefore so glad to know this existed and I could use it at a moments notice if we had latching problems with Baby B. The Latch Assist helps correct flat or inverted nipples and draw them out.
- Bottles – we’ve used a variety from MAM self sterilising bottles to Tommee Tippee Anti-Colic bottles. The one pictures was sent to us by Lansinoh and we’ll definitely be using it with Baby B. This Lansinoh Natural Wave bottle is meant to use an air ventilation system (AVS) to reduce the potential cause of colic, and is also supposed to be a tear that enables baby to switch easily from breast to bottle and back by encouraging a ‘wave-like’ tongue movement.
- Breast milk storage bags – we used these with Toddler H and I wouldn’t buy any others. Lansinoh just make them well, with a double seal and the ability to write on them. I didn’t have any trouble expressing milk, but I still thought every ounce I expressed was precious and didn’t want to loose a drop. I’d hate to use any other storage bag in case they weren’t as reliable.
- Lanolin cream – sore chapped and bloody nipples are very common when you start breastfeeding. You literally brace yourself for every latch and the pain can be excruciating. I had tears streaming down my face with Toddler H, I’d wince and gasp as she tried to latch on, often having blood coming from my nipples along with milk. My nipples were black and the midwife horrified at how damaged they were – however I found that Lansinoh’s lanolin cream really saved them. It’s completely safe for baby and so I used it all the time and they healed me so quickly. I and I know many others recommend this 100% as a must have.
- Medela Collection Shells – these are such simple devices which I used with Toddler H. When you feed or express, just pop a shell in the other side and watch that milk collect! You do have to remember you’re wearing it as there is a spout on the top and they just use pressure from your bra to stay in place so they can easily spill everywhere… Especially if you bend over – oooops #learntfromexperience
- Nipple shields – these are pieces of silicone which create a barrier between baby and your nipple thus shielding you from some of the pain. They also help baby latch and then baby’s sucking pulls your nipple into it and draws out the milk. I did find these helped a lot with Toddler H, and stopped using them once her tongue-tie was fixed as everything improved rapidly from then. I have several friends who also swear by them.
- Breast pump – I had a Tommee Tippee hand pump with Toddler H, bought quickly after being told if we didn’t top her up that day we’d be back in hospital as she was loosing too much weight (all because we were waiting on the tongue-tie snip!). Anyway, it turned out I could express 9 ounces of milk in less than 10 minutes so I stuck with it and didn’t bother upgrading. It’s a bit worn so I’m now scoping out other pumps so I can start expressing as back up. I’d also love to express for the milk banks, but with Toddler H and a newborn I’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
- Good nursing bras – this is agiven, but make sure you get drop down bras as they really do make feeding that much easier
- Cushions – propping baby on a cushion makes all the difference and saves your arms from going dead. They also help in the early days with latching and positioning, something that can be a bit awkward with a teeny tiny newborn. I used a v-shaped pillow and the couch cushions with Toddler H. This time with Baby B I have the Dreamgenii which is a feeding pillo as well as pregnancy pillow, couch cushions and a few extra pillows to prop me up during night feeds when I feed sat up in bed.
- Nursing tops/dresses – I swear by a few options… – nursing tops with flaps and hidden feeding, two tops – wear a vest top under a jumper or other top, shirt with buttons to undo to feed, loose top that you can lift up.
- Breastfeeding cover for out and about – I used a Muslim with Toddler H, or the double top option above, or was quite happy if I was feeding and baby completely covered me. However, this time I’m very aware I’ll also be dealing with Toddler H, chasing her, giving her food and drink out in cafes and also be feeding during her classes. So, I’m using these huge muslins by Ideal Baby (the same make as Anasis ) which I bought in Home Sense that are 1m X 1m. I just tiered corners and pop it over my head, covering us both. Its working well but I think I might have a look fur a proper breastfeeding cover as I’m not sure if Baby B gets a bit warm under a muslin… and these huge muslins are brilliant for those sick moments after a feed!
- Huge muslins – see above … These are brilliant!
- Normal muslins – you can’t have enough of these… They’re vital! We love the Aldi ones – they seem much softer than many other makes we’ve come across… Although, if say the huge Ideal Baby ones above are just as soft, so perhaps their ‘normal sized’ muslins would also be just as soft.
- Vitamins – obviously we’re all aware we should take pregnancy vitamins when pregnant, however less aware that breastfeeding is a huge drain on our stores and that breastfeeding vitamin supplements might be a good idea. It’s not just our energy levels that are affected by breastfeeding, but our folic acid, iron and vitamin B12 to name just a few. When Toddler H was 14 months, I discovered during a routine blood test that I was very deficient in vitamin B12 and had to have a series of 5 injections over the course of two weeks to top me up. Apparently it’s very common due to breastfeeding.
- Seeking help, positivity and being realistic – FED IS BEST! – yes, this is about breastfeeding, but it’s also a post about bottle feeding and topping up, fed is best and if you really are struggling seek help, there are so many organisations out there that can help. Lactation consultants, online resources, midwives and health visitors. Yes, they might believe breast is best, but make that call yourself, a healthy mum and baby is best!
Yes, this post is about breastfeeding products I found useful, and think I will with my second baby… but I’m all about “fed is best”, top up feeds, expressing if you can, formula if you like…. It’s your decision.
Disclaimer: I was sent the 5 Lansinoh items in the first photo to include within this post and to help with my breastfeeding journey with Baby B. This post contains my honest opinion, and my aims and hopes for breastfeeding my second baby.