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!

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