I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding our new baby, Zander, for three months now. For other moms who have been nursing for much longer than that, three months is nothing but it’s already a big accomplishment for me. I was only able to breastfeed my three older kids for a month, and even then it was already mixed feeding from the get go.
There are several factors that contributed to my ongoing success in breastfeeding now. The two most important ones are breastfeeding knowledge and a support group. I know more about breastfeeding now compared to when I first became a mom fifteen years ago. Plus, I now have a lot of friends who also breastfeed.
Aside from those though, it also helps a lot that there are already so many nursing gear available in the market these days that are really beneficial to modern moms like me. I’ve tried some of them already and I’d like to share with you what has worked well for me these past three months.
Take note though that I chose these items because they fit my lifestyle as a work-at-home mom with 4 kids. Two of them are teens, one of them is a five-year-old I’m currently homeschooling and of course our new baby. We don’t employ household help and my hubby works on a graveyard shift. This means that my schedule is always packed and I’m constantly multitasking. So, with that said, some of you may not find some of these items essential for your own lifestyle. Just pick what will work for you.
Here’s My List of Breastfeeding Essentials for Modern Moms:
The first five weeks of breastfeeding was super painful. That says a lot considering I have high tolerance for pain. It was painful enough to make me consider quitting. But thankfully I didn’t and I credit it to this tube of Lansinoh Nipple Cream that I bought at Mothercare.
I was told that I didn’t really need it, that putting breast milk on my nipples will help but in my case it didn’t. This, on the other hand, healed my sore nipples and made breastfeeding a more pleasurable experience. It cost me roughly Php 900.00 but it was worth it. After a month, I actually didn’t need to use it anymore. I haven’t even finished the whole tube yet!
Before I gave birth I really took the time to find good quality nursing bras. I wanted one that is seamless, plain and has no lace because I find them very itchy. I didn’t find nice ones in the department stores. Good thing there are online stores that sell the type of nursing bras I was looking for such as this.
I bought this for slightly less than Php 800 in both nude and black colors from a store I found online called Ellie & Me. I love that it fits perfectly and is comfortable. The removable pads is also a plus. I also bought nursing bras from one other store and I wasn’t very happy with them because the pads weren’t removable. I’m not used to wearing a bra at home but now that I’m breastfeeding I have to. However, wearing them with pads just makes me feel too hot and uncomfortable and so I normally take them out and use disposable pads instead which are a lot thinner.
Not everyone will find nursing clothes necessary. Sometimes at home I just wear my usual tops but I honestly find them inconvenient and uncomfortable because I have to hike up my shirt every time I nurse leaving my belly exposed. So I bought a couple of nursing tops for house use only from Mome Nursing Wear (sorry I have no photos wearing them though).
I was planning on buying more when I discovered this nursing tank from Two Mamas Baby and Nursing Supplies.
I love this! It’s so convenient because it has a built in bra with pads. You only need to pull down the nursing access in order to breastfeed. It’s so comfortable to sleep in because there’s no need to wear a separate bra. Wearing a bra while sleeping is irritating! I’m planning to buy more of this.
For going out, I’ve purchased from several stores already such as Elin, Mome Nursing Wear and Great Expectations. This one below is from Mome, which I got on sale during the Expo Mom event. I love that Mome’s nursing wear are so affordable and comfy too.
Again, some moms prefer to wear their regular clothes and that’s totally fine. I just find nursing clothes easier to use because of the nursing access.
Some people believe that nursing moms need not cover themselves up when breastfeeding. They say this as part of the normalize breastfeeding campaign. I respect their opinion and have nothing against it but I just prefer being a bit more discreet. For the first few weeks I used the regular nursing cover that covers your entire front torso and it worked fine until Zander started pushing the cloth away. He hates his head being covered. Good thing I discovered Seve’s Mom nursing covers.
The nursing covers from Seve’s Mom are actually multi-functional. You can use them as shawls or cover ups when it’s cold. They’re nice and stylish so you can use them to accessorize your outfits. Like you see on the photo above, I just wear it over my neck when not breastfeeding. When I need to breastfeed, I just pull the edges down to cover up. And I can cover up in multiple ways such as over one shoulder like this one below.
Or continue wearing it around my neck and just drape the cloth on the part where Zander’s mouth meets my breast, leaving his head exposed, which is what he prefers. I’ve also used this as a baby blanket too.
I super love these nursing covers that I plan to buy more. That would be okay because I can continue using them way into the future when I’ve already stopped breastfeeding Zander.
Because I’m a work-at-home mom I don’t go out a lot. But sometimes when I do, I need to leave Zander home with the hubby. Or they go out with me but wait for me somewhere nearby until I’m done with what I have to do. During those times, hubby has to be able to feed the baby, which means I have to express my milk. I do it using a single electric breast pump by Horigen.
I chose an electric pump simple because I find using a manual pump tiring. Also, I learned that electric pumps mimic the baby’s sucking more than a manual pump does, which helps you express milk more efficiently. This Horigen pump, for example, has settings that allow you to control the level of expression depending on what’s comfortable for you. I chose this brand because of the nice reviews I found online. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than the most popular brand in the market. I figured this would make more sense to me because I don’t need to pump every day anyway. It’s easy to use and easy to lug around. Plus, it works on batteries too.
Breastmilk Storage Bottles or Bags
I store my expressed milk either in a bottle or a bag. I usually use the bottle when we’re going to use it to feed the baby the next day already. The bottles we bought are not just for storage purposes like other bottles are. They have nipples too which eliminates the extra step of transferring milk to a separate feeding bottle.
I use storage bags as well but usually only when I need to freeze the milk for several days. Our freezer is very small and so using bags make more sense in terms of saving space. Above are some Orange & Peach storage bags given to me by my friends over at BabiestoToddlers.com.
Breast Pump Bag
Of course when I’m out and about without the baby I have to bring my electric pump so that I can express my milk. So what do I use to transport my pump and my milk? This!
I bought this mini breast pump bag from Li’l Kash Mom & Baby Boutique because there’s a compartment for both the pump and the milk. The top compartment fits my pump with some more extra space. The bottom compartment is actually a cooler and that’s where the milk bottles go. The bag also comes with two ice packs already. So hygienic and convenient!
Not Essential but Nice to Have
The following items are not really must-haves in my book. However, they can also be quite useful.
I bought our nursing pillow from Babymama during our first couple of weeks of breastfeeding. Zander was still so small and I needed something sturdy to prop my arms on when feeding him. It was super helpful then.
Now I don’t really use it for breastfeeding. We use it now to help Zander sit up. Haha!
Galactagogues are substances added to food (or drinks) that help you increase your milk supply. I’m blessed to have adequate milk supply but I discovered that I need a little more help whenever I need to express milk. So that I can express more milk in one sitting, I normally take Mega Malunggay.
I’ve also tried the Lactation Brownies from Mommy Treats. OMG, these are so yummy and so effective! I normally only express 3 – 4 oz in one session. It was only when I was taking the brownies that I was able to express 6 oz of milk.
I’m also a coffee addict. I cannot live without having my cup of coffee every morning. But since I have to avoid my usual coffee, I had to find an alternative. Thankfully, I found Mother Nurture also from Ellie & Me.
Mother Nurture 7-in-1 Coffee Mix is made specifically for nursing moms. It’s all natural and safe for breastfeeding moms. It even helps increase milk supply too. Definitely coffee without the guilt. Yay!
So, there goes my list of breastfeeding essentials. I hope this helps other newbie nursing moms like me.
Should you have questions about any of these products, don’t hesitate to ask me or contact the suppliers directly. Happy breastfeeding!