My goal when I first gave birth was to make it 6 months of breastfeeding. We are now 7 months into our breastfeeding journey and I feel like I’ve certainly learned of some nursing mama must-haves. It’s pretty crazy how much nursing consumes your mind – even when I’m not with Eastyn my day is often scheduled around pumping or I’m thinking about my water consumption/diet to ensure a good supply.
Overall, it is certainly a labor of love but a journey that I am so grateful to get to be on. I cherish these special times with her so much and I hope that I can stretch it a bit longer. I definitely have temptations to quit but I know once I give it up, there is no going back.
Being a (full-time) working mama does complicate things a little bit and I have noticed a drop in supply since returning. Eastyn’s consumption per bottle feeding is at it’s max (5 oz. feedings) – so I’m doing all that I can to ensure that I can fulfill that for her. The most helpful thing I’ve done to be able to still be ebf is pumping to empty before bed and after her morning feed, maintain certain diet preferences, and to just relax!
Our feeding schedule during the week when I’m at work look (roughly) like this:
6:15 AM – Nurse
9 AM – 5 Oz bottle
12 PM – 5 Oz bottle
2:30 PM – 5 Oz bottle
5:00 PM – Nurse
7:00 PM – Nurse & Bedtime
While at work I pump at 10 AM and 1:30 PM. Combine with the other two sessions at home I typically can provide the 15 oz needed for the next day. Some nights if I feel empty, I do steal a few of those ounces to top her off before bed.
Along the way I’ve done some reading and taken some advice – gathering my list of nursing (and pumping) mama must-haves!
I LOVE this tee – you can get it here: https://kinndproject.com/
Big Bubba Cup (water, water, water)
I have two of these water bottles and I don’t go ANYWHERE without one. The big straw makes chugging water easy and the whole cup is 32oz. I can’t believe something so simple as a good/designated water cup has done for my water drinking habits. Water consumption is critical for maintaining supply!
Hands Free Pumping Bra
I use the Simple Wishes pumping bra and it works great. I slip it on at work and during my night pumping session. This allows me to massage my breasts a bit to increase flow and keeps the flanges in place. Make sure it’s not too tight!
I have a few brands of nursing bras, none of which are perfect. I don’t think a perfect nursing bra exists?! I prefer the seamless, comfortable ones but they aren’t super supportive, but I recently got a padded one and love it. Here are a few that get the job done:
Nordstrom Lingerie Nursing
Sweat & Milk
Lamaze Intimates (these run small!)
Natori Nursing Padded Bra
This little lad is a life saver! You use the Hakaa (basic or deluxe version) to suction to the other breast when you are nursing to catch the letdown milk that some women otherwise soak up using a pad. In the beginning weeks of nursing I would get personally get 2-4 oz per feeding. That slowly decreased and now I don’t use it at all.
Many opt to get the Medela pump (which is still a great option) but the Spectra pump has been incredibly popular as of late. It is hospital grade and there’s a portable version. I bought the Spectra 1 which can be used wirelessly (worth the extra 50$ upgrade through insurance).
- To pump from the Spectra to the Kiinde Bags (1): Kiinde Twist Adapters
- To pump from the Spectra to ComoTomo Bottles (2): Papablic Direct Pump, Papablic Leak-proof
BellaBaby Back-up Portable Pump
This pump is ahhmazing! It is tiny and re-chargable AND I respond way better to it than my Spectra. The bottles always are the same size as the spectra so all of my converters, bottles, and bags fit this pump too. I purchased these universal bottles/caps to pump into because pumping into bags once feeding for the next day felt wasteful.
Nursing Pillow / Blanket
I went with the Ergobaby compared to the popular “boppy” or Breast Friend nursing pillow to support the baby during feedings. To be honest, it is a little too firm for me and I wish I would have went with the popular boppy one. I actually ended up using a big poofy blanket in replace of a pillow. It kept me warm and I was able to move it around to my body and Eastyns’s for the support we need. I still use this method!
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer
Another suggestion by a fellow Mom was our bottle warmer – even if you decide to go with other bags (not kiinde) this one is a solid option.
Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack
THE Drying rack for cleaning all your baby stuff! A necessity. I have the long and narrow one and I’ve been told it holds things better than the square one because things are not toppling on each other.
Sterilizing Bags / Milk
If you decide to get a full bottle sterilizer these won’t be necessary unless for travel, but I just ordered these Medela Steam bags instead as I don’t think a full bottle sterilizer was necessary and I’m glad I didn’t buy one in the beginning. Medela Quick clean soap is also a necessary item for cleaning.
Pumping Bag (Designated)
A designated zipper pumping bag is essential! I was tempted to buy the one that is designed specifically for the Spectra pump by Sarah Wells but I was too cheap for that :). I purchased a zipper bag from Mark & Graham in a fun striped pattern and had it embroidered with my initials. They have some great options! The most important thing is for it to have a zipper and for it to only be used for your pumping materials. This way, the bag can remain stocked with backup and stay clean! Here are the goods in my bag:
- an extra shirt
- milk storage bottles
- milk storage bags for back up (I use Kiinde)
- lunch box and ice pack(s)
- breast pads (don’t use these anymore, but definitely needed them in the beginning)
- a small towel
- disinfectant wipes & hand sanitizer
- nipple cream
- emergency snacks
Pump Parts / Milk “Lunchbox”
Similar to a designated bag, I love having a designated lunch box to put my parts in inbetween daily pumps and also store my milk. I can then put this in the fridge or use an ice pack. I also snagged this from Mark & Graham and had it embroidered with “Stiemsma” on the top. Probably not necessary but thought it was cute! This bag is the perfect size for storing 2 flanges, and 2 bags/bottles. I have heard that using an embroidered bag is super helpful if you plan to send your little one to daycare too.
If you are even slightly concerned with your milk supply I would address it before you need to. I ended up buying these two things to ensure my supply stays up!
– Pink Stork True Milk breastfeeding support pills from Amazon (2 per day)
– LegenDairy Milk Liquid Gold (6 per day)
Two brands that I love for boosting milk supply are Oatmama and Milkful. Oatmama has teas and bars that are also a tasty treat. My favorite recipe for homemade versions that are much more affordable is this recipe for homemade granola. I also enjoyed these blueberry lactation muffins! Be careful with brewers yeast though – the flavor is very strong so do not over use it in a recipe.
If you live near a Fresh Thyme check out their bulk food section for their “organic chunks” these are basically homemade bars made with nuts and other goodness. A great high (good) fat treat/snack.
Hearty Breakfast Foods
I start out my morning everyday with a big glass of my Biohm greens, water and oatmeal. I love the mini to-go oatmeal cups by Quaker or Umpqoa Oats. With every one of those I add in a tablespoon of flax meal and wheat germ – both good foods for boosting milk supply!
Another thing I’ve heard is great for maintaining a healthy supply is a drink like Body Armor. I get the low calorie ones and try to drink one per day.
A robe that you LOVE is essential for nursing! I am someone who lives in my robe, it’s awesome for accessibility to the boob and snuggly skin to skin. My favorite is the barefoot dreams short robe. Worth every penny.
Did I miss anything?