Whether by breast or by bottle, you’re going to be doing it every few hours for the first several months so you definitely want to have the right gear. My ten-month-old still nurses regularly but since I work, she has to take a bottle as well. Here are my top picks to help you get the job done no matter how you choose to do it.
#1 – The MVP: My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
At home in the nursery, in the car and everywhere else, this is the one thing I could not have done without. I know some moms swear by their Boppy pillow, but you would never convince me to trade my Brest Friend. This pillow becomes feeding central with a strap that fastens all the way around you, built-in lumbar support, a broad, firm cushion with perfectly positioned mounded head rests on either side and a handy pocket to hold anything you need to keep handy. Whether you nurse or bottle feed, this pillow keeps you and your little one perfectly positioned and comfortable.
While the My Brest Friend pillow was, by far, my most favorite product for feeding, there are a few things that you have to have. No, seriously, you HAVE to have them. From preventing leaks to keeping things flowing, here are some of my favorite essentials.
#2 – Lansinoh HPA Lanolin
All of the doctors and nurses at the hospital where I delivered where obsessed with this stuff. Every single time someone new came into the room, they would rattle off the same questions: “Did someone tell you about the cream? Are you using the cream? Do you need more cream?” It got to the point that I didn’t want to hear another word about “the cream” but it didn’t take me long to understand why they were so fixated on it. If you’re going to nurse, this is a must-have for preventing drying, cracking and other nasty business that can put a serious damper on an already challenging activity. I used it every time I nursed and then right before getting in the shower. And the best part is that there’s no need to wipe it off to nurse—it’s completely safe for baby.
#3 – Johnson’s Nursing Pads
Now you might think, “A nursing pad is a nursing pad, right? What’s the difference?” Well, I found out the answer to that question first-hand. One of the great things about all the prep classes I took at the hospital was the swag. It allowed me to try out a lot of different products without having to invest in them. I must’ve had samples for at least five different brands of nursing pads to try out and they all paled miserable in comparison to good old Johnson’s. If you plan to nurse, stock up on these babies!
#4 – Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra
I was positively lost when it came to nursing bras and being a well-endowed woman independent of all of the sizing changes that come with nursing didn’t help. I wandered aimlessly through the intimates section at Target at about eight months pregnant trying to determine what I needed for my impending arrival. Not wanting to spend the time required in the fitting room (it was hard enough to put my shoes on once a day let alone having to go through the changing required to try on bras!), I grabbed three different kinds of nursing bras and took them home where I could try them on in my own sweet time. I returned the molded cup bras. They would fit at one point and then, right around feeding time, let’s just say the cups “runneth over.” I wish I had returned the second kind. It was a soft cup BUT it was the sort that forms a circle all the way around the breast with a hole in the center. I couldn’t stand this type of bra in the end. As my breasts would enlarge, that little circle of fabric would tighten and tighten. The Bravado seamless bra is the best thing ever. I went out and bought several more and now this is the only type of nursing bra I wear. I know some reviews have claimed that they lack the adequate support to be used as an everyday bra, but I haven’t found this to be the case at all. I sleep in them, nurse in them, I LIVE in these bras!
#5 – Dr. Brown’s BPA-free Bottles
If you have friends that have used these, you’ve probably heard it before—these are the best bottles! We tried a few different bottles in the beginning and now these are the only bottles my husband will use. Go for these the first time and you won’t be disappointed.
#6 – Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Breast Pump
This was yet another case of our preparation classes seriously coming in handy. We attended a breast feeding class where we got to actually play with about six different types of pumps from different makers. Two of them were what’s referred to as “closed system” pumps meaning that the collected breast milk never comes in contact with the pump mechanism. This reduces the risk of milk contamination and the growth of bacteria and other nastiness in your pump parts. After scouring reviews, this was the one I settled on and this trusty pump has seen me through gallons and gallons worth of collection.
#7 – Peri Bottle
Okay, hear me out here. I could put these into a number of categories in this round-up but the bottom line is, they’re awesome and they’re FREE! The hospital is going to send you home with one of these bad boys (at least for standard delivery they will). My advice is, ASK FOR MORE! Ask for a bottle for every bathroom in your house. I had a really hard time getting started with my nursing. It took a good four days to get things moving well and it was extremely painful for the first four or five weeks (this after an au natural delivery). The thought of even low pressure spray in the shower or worse, a wash cloth or wipe of any kind, made me shudder. I would add a couple of drops of baby wash and some warm water to my peri bottle, give it a shake, and very gently pour over my chest to keep my own natural feeding equipment clean.
#8 – Old School Cloth Diapers
At my baby shower, I received these adorable little cotton jersey burp clothes. Each one had a different pattern—white with yellow stripes, green and orange polka dots. And you know what? They sucked. They were cute and terrible at the one job they were designed to do—soak up spitties (yes, that’s what I call it, much less disgusting that way). It’s a very unglamorous job that burp cloths have to do and I find that the humblest design is the best at getting that job done. Save the cute for the baby and some green for your wallet by kicking it old school with your burp cloths.
#9 – Countdown/Stopwatch Timer
If you take a nursing class like I did, they’re going to tell you not to be a clock watcher. To a degree, I’m on board with that idea. Ideally, the baby will tell you when he or she is full. But the thing about babies is they all seem to miss the memo about doing the ideal, reasonable thing. If you’re bottle feeding, you have the advantage of seeing how much your little one has consumed. If you’re nursing (and haven’t been exposed to any radioactive materials), you’re probably dealing with opaque containers. I found this to be problematic when, on the “rare” occasion my daughter decided to be difficult and distracted at feeding time, I didn’t know how insistent I should be. Having the timer gave me some sort of reference point for deciding that enough had been enough. For those early morning feedings after I went back to work, the timer also came in handy because I could set it, doze off a bit, and it would start beeping and wake me up when it was time to wrap things up.
#10 – Dishwasher Basket
You know what stinks (besides dirty diapers)? The smell of a rogue bottle nipple that’s been blown out of its spot in the dishwasher and has met with the heating element. Eeeeew. You know how you avoid that? Put it in a basket! This little guy will keep all your parts—whether bottle or pump—neat, tidy, and a safe distance from your dishwasher heating element.
#11 – Ball BPA-free 8oz. Freezer Jars
We had the good fortune of being in peak summer produce season when our little one graduated to pureed solids. We brought home giant bags of delicious stone fruits and bright vegetables and got to work peeling, steaming and blending. Then came the real work—finding containers to hold it all. First we opted for the cheapie container-and-lid packs you find with the picnic supplies at your grocery store. You know, the ones made by the same folks who make plastic garbage bags. I suppose I shouldn’t have been that surprised when they didn’t work so well. The lids warped, the plastic cracked and we ended up with wasted, freezer-bitten food. We tried a few other things before we found these jars. I had no idea that Ball made plastic jars, but they’re great! The screw-top lids keep the containers securely closed, the 8oz. size is perfect for portioning, they plastic is safe and BPA-free and everything stacks together. Bust out your food processor and get blending!
That’s the list for this installment of the One Mama Roundup! In the next installment, I’ll review my picks for sending your little one off to dreamland in my Sleepy Time Roundup!
1. Target | 2. Lansinoh | 3. Amazon | 4. Nursing Mother Supplies | 5. Target | 6. Got Breast Pump | 7. Amazon | 8. eShopper | 9. Pinterest | 10. Kaboodle | 11. Everyday Food Storage