It’s August, which means it’s National Breastfeeding Awareness month! I never even realized there was such a thing until recently. Our little girl is 7 weeks old and I feel like the last 7 weeks of my life have revolved around breastfeeding. I even joked to my husband last night that he has his hobbies (hunting & fishing) and I have mine (breastfeeding). With Levi, I suffered from a low milk supply and by this point in our breastfeeding journey, was supplementing him with over half formula daily. This time, I struggled in the beginning a lot with a low supply because of our NICU journey. Going back and forth to the hospital that was 30 minutes a day, a few times a day, on top of recovering from my C-section put my body through a lot. I wasn’t able to pump like I needed to, and I could tell that my supply suffered. Once we finally got our girl home, we hunkered down and I spent most of my time nursing or pumping. We are on a decent schedule now, and I do still spend a lot of time nursing and pumping, but I am trying to enjoy every minute of it since she is my last baby.
Let me say this: I am a firm believer that fed is best. There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby formula. I am so thankful that the technology is there that we have formula available for babies and moms who need (or want) it! If breastfeeding isn’t for you, whether you have health issues that prevent it or make it difficult, or if you just don’t enjoy it and it stresses you out, there is nothing wrong with feeding your baby formula. I’m a huge believer that a happy mom means a happy baby.
I will also say this: the supplements and products that I mention below will work differently for everyone. This is not intended to be any sort of medical advice and I highly recommend you consult with your physician before starting any supplements.
Now, on to the fun part! These breastfeeding must haves are things that I didn’t have with my first child and have made all the world of difference this time. Since I did (and still do) struggle to keep my supply up to where it needs to be, I have tried all the things, but these are the things I truly love.
This is number one on the priority list. The recommendations vary about how much water you need daily, I’ve heard 1/2 of your body weight in ounces or even 1-2 gallons daily. I try to drink about 125 oz (or right under 1 gallon) of water daily. If you get tired of how bland water can become, you can drink sparkling water or even add flavor packets to your water. I personally like the ones below.
This thing is a life saver! I use it mainly at night when I’m nursing and don’t want to turn on the pump. I use it on the opposite side and it catches anywhere from .5-1.5 oz. each time I nurse. We all know that every drop counts, so this is a major help! I have also used it walking around the house while I’m getting ready to go somewhere if I don’t really have time to pump, and most recently, I used it in the car while between errands. It’s so much easier than dragging your pump with you and and using a car adapter if you’re just out for a few hours.
These are delicious! I know they’re a little expensive, but trust me, they’re worth it. I’ve tried making lactation cookies before and while they can be delicious also, they are a bit time consuming. If you need a quick boost for your milk and don’t have time to gather all of the ingredients from the store for cookies, these are a great go to.
Some people say that Powerade or Propel work just as well, and I want to try them (just haven’t had time!).
I am a huge fan of this pump! Our insurance covered a Medela pump which was great and I still have, but this pump is so convenient. Not only that, it’s super quiet compared to the Medela. I also love that it’s rechargeable and I can move it easily around the house if I need to pump while we are downstairs in the playroom, etc.
Not only are these delicious but they help boost milk supply! Their customer service is also amazing, they are quick to respond and ship products out. They have a wide variety of treats, supplements and drinks to help support your milk supply.
Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner
A breastfeeding pillow is a must have. I don’t use mine all the time, but right after recovering from a C-section it is a life saver. I also use it if I want to multi task and work on my laptop while breastfeeding. Although I don’t do that very often, sometimes it has to happen (like on days she spends cluster feeding). It’s also great to use for tummy time for baby (supervised of course) or to prop baby up for a different position when they can’t sit alone.
I personally have these nursing bras and they are wonderful! Now, I will say, they don’t offer the most support (I’m a bigger chested gal), but they are comfy, budget-friendly, easy to wash and work perfectly if you are running errands, etc.