I went to stroller strides last week for the first time. You may have heard of it, it’s a nationwide group called Fit 4 Moms that does workout classes where you bring your baby in a stroller and do a boot camp style workout. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and actually got a membership. It’s just the fitness plan that will most fit in to my life right now.
During the class, the instructors had us repeatedly change partners so we could meet other Moms. I really loved this social element because I probably wouldn’t just walk up to someone I didn’t know (without at least feeling a little awkward). She’d also give us a question to start a conversation. One of the questions she asked was “What is the thing you are most proud of so far as a mother?”
I realize this was a long story just to get to the meat of the post but all this to say, I think I’m most proud of my breastfeeding journey. Pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock in the NICU was not easy. Pumping after every nursing session once we got home was not easy. But I stuck with it and I’m so happy that I did because once we got over those initial hurdles it was smooth sailing. By week 4 or 5 we had no issues. Here’s how breastfeeding is going for us, if you’re interested.
That said, modern technology has made this journey exponentially easier. Today I decided to share a few products that I use (or used) consistently. Some links below are affiliate links.
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
I originally registered for a Boppy (as one does). When Ben was in the NICU, they had boppies at the hospital. For some reason they just never worked for me. They were little too smushy and it seemed like I had to lift Ben up a little as he sank in. He was small too so he kind of fell between the crack of the pillow and my body. In the NICU another mom suggested the my brest friend pillow.
It’s much more firm and it literally clips around your body. Once we were home and settled, I’d often do a morning feeding and fall asleep with Ben snoozing on the brest friend but up against my body. N and I kind of realized that when he was on it, I couldn’t roll over and he couldn’t really get out and Archie couldn’t sit on him or anything. So I’d kind of doze off sitting up in bed.
I stopped using it except at night when Ben was around 3 months old. Then slowly I stopped using it at night also. Still, it was a game changer for me. I refer to it (her) as my “brestie”. HA.
Strapless Pumping Bra
This strapless pumping bra was recommended by my best friend and both of the lactation consultants we saw in the NICU. I honestly don’t know how you’d pump without it. I can’t imagine holding the cup things on the whole time. However would I scroll through way too much social media while pumping?
Breast Milk Storage Bags and Gallon Storage Bags
I’ve been working on building up my freezer stash so I freeze one pumping session every night before bed. I use the Avent Breastmilk Storage bags for no other reason than they had good Amazon reviews (which is basically how I make all my purchases).
At the end of the month we put all the smaller bags into gallon size bag (about two weeks per gallon) and date them with sharpie. This way when we eventually use them, it’ll be easy to know which to grab first (and we won’t have to go digging through dozens of little bags).
I have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. It works. The membranes make me (and my husband) want to stab ourselves in the eye but again, it works. This was paid for by my insurance and actually, the process of getting it was super easy as my insurance uses a service that basically facilitated the whole thing.
Comfortable (and cute!) Nursing Bras
My most favorite nursing bras ever are the Motherhood Maternity Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra. You guys, these are so cute and comfy and look like a non-nursing bralette. I have this bra in three colors! Plus, it’s exponentially easier to feed Ben than anything with clips. I have some regular ones with the clips from Amazon (I bought this 3 pack) but I consistently wear these lace bralette ones.
I need these literally always. I’ve tried three brands now and the Lansinoh ones are my favorite. The Medela were just so so and the Bamboobies I could not stand. They always wound up balled up and thick and looked lumpy. I realize it would be more eco-friendly to buy cloth ones but I don’t really know where to start and frankly, I just can’t create more laundry for myself.
Also, I was shopping for clothes for Ben at a consignment store and found tons of unopened boxes of nursing pads! I wound up getting 4 boxes for $3.99 each. Steal!
Extra Bed Pillows
Oooh, a wildcard! Bet you didn’t see this one coming.
I don’t know how many pillows you keep on your bed but pre-baby, we were at 2. I just hate having so many extras and having to put them on the floor at night. I realized I’d be sitting up in bed a fair amount so I bought the Candice Olson Down Alternative Pillows (2 pack) from Target. I wanted a down feel for a poly price. I love love love these pillows. They do feel almost as good as down and they were a life saver when I was having terrible back pain at 34 weeks (which turned out to be a partial placental abruption). Now I use both every night to sit up in bed for night feeds.
Acrylic Tumbler with Straw
The with straw is key! You won’t be able to use both hands to take off a lid when you’re nursing. Staying hydrated is always important but never more so than when you’re breastfeeding. I shamelessly bought a cute one at Starbucks and use it every day all day.
BabyFeed Timer App
I thought I didn’t need an app at first but then I kept forgetting which side I started on. A friend insisted that this app was worth the money (it’s less than a Starbucks, just think about it that way). She was absolutely right. I love being able to see me and Ben’s days in graph form and all the data it gives me about his eating habits. This does work with the Apple Watch if you have one (I don’t) and I’ve heard it’s awesome.
A Good Support System
Major cheese ball over here! In truth, feeding the baby falls almost entirely on the breastfeeding mama. But having a supportive partner who will help you wash pump parts and most importantly, bring you stuff when you’re trapped on the couch, makes it much easier. I’m so grateful for all the times N refilled my water or brought me a snack or moved my cell phone charger to an outlet closer to me (#truth). I know my body could do it but mentally, I needed him.
So those are my breastfeeding essentials! Now I need help with one – I’m looking for a hand pump. We’ve been on a number of road trips recently and it would be so much more convenient to pump in the car and feed Ben a bottle without stopping. Got a favorite manual pump or another product that helped make breastfeeding easier for you? I’d love for you to leave your suggestion in the comments below!