My Favorite Breastfeeding Gear

by Chrystal Johnson on January 4, 2010

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I’m just about a month away from being due with Kaylee, so I’ve started thinking about pulling out all of my breastfeeding gear and replacing what needs to be replaced.

I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite breastfeeding gear from when I was breastfeeding Zoë. I made it 13 months with her. I’m hoping I can make it at least that long with Kaylee.

Breastfeeding was definitely a struggle the entire time with Zoë (but well worth it). The first two months were the hardest. Once we got past that, it was much easier, but I learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t work for me. Hopefully it’s easier the second time around.

Nursing Bra

I went through a few nursing bras before I found what worked best for me. I got one from Target and it was never very comfortable. I also got a little bit nicer one at JC Penny. It was a little better, but still wasn’t as comfortable as I would have liked.

So, I finally broke down and spent the money on a Bravado Seamless Nursing Bra. It may have been a little pricier, but it was well worth it! The quality is great. I wore it the entire time I was nursing Zoë and have still been wearing it through this pregnancy (I weaned her right when I got pregnant).

It is extremely comfortable and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable, quality nursing bra. I actually just bought another one.

Nursing Tanks

I bought two Glamourmom Nursing Tanks before Zoë was born, thinking they would be good to have in the hospital. I didn’t wear one until the day I was released from the hospital, but I was instantly in love with them.

I picked up a couple of Gilligan & O’Malley nursing tanks at Target and the quality just wasn’t the same as the GlamourMom nursing tanks. So, I ended up going back to the store pick up a couple more GlamourMom tanks. I think I have about six of them and they get used all the time. I’ll definitely be pulling my nursing tanks out and washing them soon.

Nursing Pads

I started off just using the disposable nursing pads. I tried the Lansinoh and Medela brands, and of the two, Medela was my favorite by far. They didn’t show through my shirt the way the Lansinoh ones did because of the shape.

But after the first month, I decided to explore my other options. A friend gave me a pair of the cotton washable nursing pads and I fell in love. I picked up a few more pairs. They were a little bulkier, so I couldn’t wear them with everything, but they were super comfortable.

Then I read about Lily Padz. I picked up a pair, tried them and realized that they were perfect for wearing with anything. Instead of absorbing the leak, they prevent you from leaking. They are also very thin, so they don’t show through your clothes.

So I ended up with a hybrid model with my nursing pads: Lily Padz during the day, washable nursing pads at night and disposable nursing pads at the gym.

Nursing Cover

I didn’t get a nursing cover before Zoë was born. I actually didn’t even hear about them until she was about a month old. I had a really hard time nursing in public early on, partly because breastfeeding was so painful for me in the beginning and partly because my boobs were bigger than her head and difficult to manage (I went up to a 34G!).

After getting a nursing cover, I felt a lot more comfortable and would nurse anywhere. But, for us, using the cover only lasted a couple of months. Zoë hated being covered up and her comfort was more important, so we didn’t use it much. This time around I’m hoping I have the confidence to nurse in public from the beginning without worrying about looky-loos.

The Bebe Au Lait Nursing Covers
are great, but I wouldn’t worry about the brand too much. As long as it has boning in the top so you can see your baby while he or she is nursing is the most important feature in my opinion.

Pump

Since I was originally planning on returning to work, a pump was a necessity. I was lucky enough that my mother in law bought me a Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump. My husband actually asked her for it for his birthday – good hubby ☺

Of course I didn’t go back to work, but I did use the pump regularly. As much as I hate pumping, I was glad to have a double electric pump. I also had the smaller hand pump that I kept with me when I was away from Zoë, but I can’t imagine having to use it all the time.

While I have only used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced, I have also heard the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump works just as well and is less expensive.

Nursing Pillow

With Zoë, I had a Boppy pillow and I would have said that it was absolutely essential. I sold mine when we moved and haven’t decided yet whether I want to get a new one. I’m thinking I may just try to get by without one to save money, after all women breastfed for centuries without them. I may also try to make one… we’ll see.

Nipple Shield

When I was still in the hospital, Zoë had no problem latching, but the day we came home, suddenly she couldn’t latch anymore. I tried everything. I was in tears because I thought I was going to have to give up.

Then I got on the internet and did a few searches and found a few things to try. I hopped in the car and drove to Babies R Us (still crying the whole way – I think the baby blues had hit). I picked up a nipple shield and a Latch Assist because I had read that both could help with my issue.

I got home, broke out the nipple shield and Zoë latched immediately. I was so happy I cried some more. I had read horror stories about moms not being able to wean their babies from the nipple shield, but I was lucky and only needed to use it for about a day and a half before tossing it.

The trick for me was to just use it to get her latched, let her nurse for a minute or two and then sneak it off. It worked like a charm!

Is there anything you feel is essential for breastfeeding that didn’t make my list?

p.s. I had a lot of supply issues for the first few months and had to supplement with formula once or twice a day for the first 3-4 months. I’ll write another blog about everything I used and did to work on my supply since I realize this blog post is already quite long!

About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Annie January 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Is there anything you feel is essential for breastfeeding that didn’t make my list?
Breasts!

Reply

2 HappyMothering January 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

LOL. I guess those are a necessity :-)

Reply

3 HappyMothering January 6, 2010 at 1:13 am

Great suggestions Nichol!
Just a couple of comments from my experience. Lanolin isn’t helpful for everyone. I used it religiously in the beginning, but still had cracked, scabbed nipples after 2 months. Someone suggested omitting the lanolin, then expressing a little breast milk and rubbing it on your nipples when you’re done feeding and then letting them air dry. Because of breast milk’s natural antibacterial properties, all of my issues were gone within a couple weeks. So, definitely use the lanolin if it works for you, but just wanted to share another option… Maybe I’ll try the Earth Mama Nipple Butter this time. I love their baby products!
I was always told that you use cabbage to dry up your milk when you’re weaning. I actually learned that in a breastfeeding class. So just use caution there, especially if you’re having supply issues.
And I absolutely agree with the nipple shield. They have to be used correctly and very short term or they can cause issues. In addition to what you said, they can cause supply issues if over-used.
I’d also add Omega-3 supplements to your addition of prenatal vitamins.
Thanks again for the great input!

Reply

4 Nichol (faedemere) January 5, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Lanolin!! Super helpful for preventing “dishpan nipples” the chapping that can occur from them being wet/dry/wet/dry all the time.
Nipple Butter from Earth Mama Angel Baby. If you do get cracked, sore, nipples this cream helps them heal and is all natural and edible so you don’t have to wash it off.
Cabbage!! Have a head in the fridge for when after baby is born. The cold leaves are soothing and help reduce the swelling of engorgement.
Booby Tubes! (http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/product/booby-tubes.html) They really help with many of the discomforts associated with breastfeeding.
A sling!!! Having a good cloth baby carrier (not a bjorn or snugglie) like a ring sling, pouch, mei tai (asian style carrier), or wrap makes nursing in public so much easier! And allows you to do other things while you are breastfeeding.
Prenatal Vits Most doctors and naturopaths recommend to continue taking your prenatal vitamins if you are breastfeeding.
That said I would replace the nipple shields on your list with nipple shells that help with inverted or flat nipples. Nipple shields if over used can actually cause the baby to not be able to latch correctly directly on mom. (nipple confusion) This happened to me and I had to reteach my DS how to latch on me.

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5 Nichol (faedemere) January 7, 2010 at 3:47 am

Excellent point about the Lanolin. I had a horrible case of chapped nipples with my 1st and it saved my ability to breastfeed, so I’m fond of it! LOL
As for the cabbage leaves they are only for the initial couple of days when there is excess swelling (not the milk itself) in the breast tissue from engorgement when one’s milk first comes in, and from what I’ve learned from LC’s and LLL leaders as long as baby is nursing ok the need for relief will be short and can be helpful for mom’s if they are really uncomfortable.
Also I forgot to add a product called Soothies (http://bit.ly/2NgSL) as help for the initial cracked, sore, stage. They go in the fridge and are really refreshing!!
I had just about EVERY problem except for under supply you can have when nursing, so I’ve almost tried it all.

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