To all my nursing mamas, you are not alone (obviously, because there is a baby attached to you 24/7). But also, really, you are not alone.
Breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done; it’s also one of the most rewarding. At 6 weeks, I was so sure I would give up. I had come to terms with formula, I hated my breast pump more than anything, and I thought breastfeeding was over. And then suddenly my baby latched. 18 months later, and our breastfeeding journey isn’t over.
I have very little advice to give; what works for my boobs and my baby may not work for yours. But I will say this: you do you, just feed your baby.
That being said, if you’re reading this with cracked nipples and rock hard boobs, maybe give some of my recommendations a shot.
When to purchase: if not during pregnancy (for you early leakers–I was 16 weeks with my daughter), then make sure you have some on hand for those early days
Over the course of my first few months of breastfeeding, I bought 3 packages of reusable nursing pads so I had enough to keep up with my leaky boobs and laundry habits. These were great for around the house and overnight, and I can’t say I didn’t whip one out of my bra to wipe up the occasional spit up. That being said, I also had disposables on hand for times when we left the house, because there’s nothing fun about being out and about and realizing your nursing pad has climbed out of your bra. Plus, that meant I didn’t have to keep a stash of milk-soaked pads in my bag as I ran through them.
These are my favorite reusables, easily snagged on Amazon. 18 months in and they’ve been washed too many times to even consider counting, and they’re still in great shape.
While this link jumps to name brand pads, I honestly haven’t found much of a difference between these and any off brand, so I always grab Parent’s Choice when I’m able to run to Walmart and save a few bucks.
I bought these the first time I got engorged and I was super grateful. I used these all the time throughout the start of breastfeeding. I just kept them in the freezer and had them on hand whenever I was feeling sore.
When to purchase: have prepared for the start of breastfeeding
I put this on my nipples after every breastfeeding session and it helped me to never crack. That being said, for convenience, the next time I have a baby, I will be purchasing the Silverettes.
I don’t have personal experience with these but I’ve heard nothing but great things! Plus, when trying to be as natural as possible, this eliminates the need for another product.
When to purchase: if you feel like support beneath baby would be helpful while feeding
If possible, this is one of those items I would borrow before purchasing. I was able to borrow this from a friend while nursing Evelyn and I loved it so much I bought one in anticipation of my second. Many people prefer the Boppy over the Brest Friend, and every product works different for everyone. The main difference between the two is that the Brest Friend clasps into position around your body, so it stays in place while feeding better than the Boppy. That being said, the Boppy may be more versatile.
These slip into your bra and sit over your nipples, collecting milk that leaks so it can be saved. It’s a super easy way to start establishing a stash from the very beginning.
The general consensus is to put a Haaka on the boob you are not currently feeding on so you can collect milk at the same time as breastfeeding. I ended up buying 2 of these and using them as my only pumping method a few times a day to give myself a bit of relief when my breasts were really full.
When to purchase: before baby
When I was pregnant with Evelyn, I was sure I would breastfeed. I thought it was a choice. But sometimes it isn’t, and Evi had other plans. I ended up exclusively pumping for the first 6 weeks of her life, and I was so grateful someone had told me to order a breast pump in advance, just in case. Most insurance plans will cover a breast pump, often free of charge, and it’s super easy to navigate this with Aeroflow!
When to purchase: once you’ve established that pumping is a necessity for you
You will want to be able to use your hands. Trust me.
I really hope this is helpful! Check out my related posts: