According to the CDC, only 44.4% of infants are breastfed exclusively through 3 months. Baby A is 4 months old as of August 26. Our goal is to exclusively breastfeed through 6 months and to breastfeed at least 1 year. I am thankful that I have been able to exclusively breastfeed this long, and to be able to pump enough so that I can continue to provide him with breast milk while working.
I credit my success to having a supportive partner, network (friends, lactation consultants, internet), and the following essentials:
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- Manual breast pump: I use the Lansinoh manual pump. This pump is useful for on-the-go pumping. It’s extremely useful during car rides. It’s easy to assemble and operate. It comes with a nipple to easily convert to a bottle for feeding.
- Hands-free breastpump bra: I didn’t get a hands-free bra until I was about 3 months. I now considerate it a necessity. You cannot multi-task without it. This bra allows you to be able to access your hands while pumping to do anything. It is machine washable and is comfortable. I have it in black.
- Nursing bra: Nursing bras are so convenient for feeding time. You can get one with or without underwire, with or without padding, full coverage, full or light support, etc. I find some more comfortable than others, but they all serve the same purpose. I love the clip down function on the straps. The clip down function provides easy access during feeding time.
- Nursing pads: Breastfeeding means that there are possible breast leaks. My breast first started leaking when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. I experienced leakages of a few drops at that time and throughout my pregnancy. That was NOTHING compared to the leaking I experienced after he was born. When my supply came in I would literally soak through my bras so nipple pads became a must have. I recently took a hiatus from using nursing pads because I thought I was in the clear, but this hiatus was short lived after I experienced a major leak while at work. (Yes, it was as embarrassing as it sounds). Personally, I prefer disposable nipple pads over the reusable ones because of convenience.
- Boppy: The Boppy came in handy when breastfeeding my LO. Baby A weighed 8 lbs 3 oz at birth. I found it easier, and more comfortable, to put the Boppy on my lap and around my waist and to rest him on top of it during feedings. We still use the Boppy during most feedings especially when I am pumping one breast while feeding from the other.
- Nursing cover: I’m not that mom that feels comfortable pulling my breast out in public to feed my son yet. What helps me is having a nursing cover. The cover that I use ties around the neck, covers my breasts, and is still breathable for my son. I have heard of some babies not liking the cover and pulling on the cover, but I haven’t experienced that with Baby A.
- Breastmilk Storage: If you pump, you are going to need storage containers for your breastmilk. I use both storage bottles and bags. The breastmilk storage set pictured is by Medela. It included 20 storage bags, 6 small 2.7oz containers, and 6 5oz containers. I also use storage bags by Nuk and Lanisoh.
- Electric Breastpump: I was able to get the Medela Pump In-Style double electric breastpump through my insurance. I didn’t start pumping until Baby A was 2 weeks, but I didn’t start pumping on a consistent schedule until Baby A was 3 months. I find the electric pump to be useful when I’m trying to express a large amount of milk quickly. I use this pump while at work (with my hands-free breastpump bra). I like that the pump has multiple settings for speed. The breastpump can be used directly with both size containers mentioned in #7 as well as with the pump & save bags. I would recommend that you purchase extra parts for your pump. It’s more convenient when you have more than one set of parts.
- Nipple cream: “They” tell you that breastfeeding hurts, but I definitely underestimated that word. My nipples were extremely sore during the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding. I found relief in using nipple cream on them. It also helps that you don’t have to rinse or wash your nipples off prior to feeding your little one. The nipple soreness subsided after the first month or so. However, my little one recently started teething and I have begun to feel the soreness again so I’m back using the cream at those times.
What are your breastfeeding must-haves?