The must-have breastfeeding products and gear I kept near me at every nursing session.
What is a breastfeeding basket, you may ask? It’s the name I gave to the supplies I always kept nearby when nursing during those first few weeks. When your first begin your breastfeeding journey you may find that you feel a little stuck at times. Literally. Like, stuck on the couch. I wish someone would have told me that breastfeeding was so, well, stationary.
For me though, it was also the pain that came with starting to nurse. Your boobs are sore but mainly its your poor, raw nipples. I would almost completely freeze until I knew baby was latched and suckling, then the pain would dissipate and I could finally relax a little. Once I was there though, I knew I wouldn’t be getting up for a while. A single nursing session for a newborn can take anywhere from 10 minutes to close to a hour. Newborns often drift into sleepiness and fall off the breast or they may need lots of calming before settling down to nurse. Either way, I preferred to be uninterrupted so that both my baby and I could ease into it and take the time needed to get in a good session. One that would leave my baby with a relatively full belly. Or at least not wanting to nurse again in the next ten minutes.
What worked best for me, was to keep the essentials close at all times. These are my top nursing items that I always kept in a basket on the sofa or by the bed.
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Sweet, sweet lanolin. Who would ever know that something that stems from sheeps wool would come as such great relief? I always had at least 2-3 tubes of this lying around the house.
A bottle of water
Hydration is SO important when you are breastfeeding. Your body uses protein, sugars and fat from your blood supply to make breastmilk. It also uses water. Drinking enough water is essential to keeping yourself healthy and your milk supply plentiful and available to the baby.
So speaking of water, you may also find you want some nutritious snacks close at hand. Your body is burning an extra 500 calories per day, if not more, in order to produce breastmilk. I felt like I was always hungry during my breastfeeding days. You’re also still in recovery mode after having recently given birth, so maintaining a health diet will provide you with the energy you need to feed your baby. Don’t avoid the occasional treat either. Lactation cookies, anyone?
A support pillow
There are many kinds on the market now but I always used a Boppy. When your baby is still very small, in the newborn stage, you may find it helpful to have another pillow to wedge underneath the Boppy for extra support. Don’t bend down or slouch over to nurse. You’ll be spending so much time in this position, its best to be comfortable and well-situated.
Not everyone will find these useful but I had inverted nipples and they were a great help to me. You can read my post about that here. If you’re leaking quite a bit you can buy brand that can multitasks like these. Or something like Milkies, which collects your leaked breastmilk.
Inevitably I would either spill something or the baby would spit-up everywhere, so I always kept these on hand just in case. This is my favorite brand because the are super soft and absorbent. Breastfeeding can be a very messy experience at times!
You can find a pack of baby wipes in basically every room of my house. I also use these great Medela wipes for cleaning up sticky breast milk. They are meant for wiping down your pump parts without having to use water.
A hand pump
These silicone pumps are really gaining in popularity. They are inexpensive and effective at collecting your extra breastmilk from the other side while you nurse.
A light blanket
In those early days, if the baby fell asleep on me (which was almost always), I kept a light blanket nearby to throw over us both for a nice little cat nap. Breastfeeding is also exhausting!
Admittedly, breastfeeding can also be a bit boring. I mean, you do it a lot, and if you aren’t sitting in front of the tv, you may find yourself looking for some entertainment. So yes, a smart phone was a must for me.
A support person
I loved that I was given the opportunity to nurse my children, but I definitely did struggle in the beginning. I’m SO thankful I had someone I could talk to about it that was willing to answer my questions and listen to the occasional bouts of crying. From both me and the baby. Find that person for you. Whether it’s your spouse, mom, sister or best friend. It can even be a Facebook group for moms!
Yes, I know you can’t fit your person into the actual nursing basket, but I do believe they are the most important aspect! Your baby may only need you, but you need someone too! Never hesitate to ask for help.
What helped you get through those first few weeks of nursing? Who was your support person? What types of engaging groups or classes did you find? Leave a comment below!