New Moms: Breastfeeding & Pumping – Tools & Tips

I breastfed Emil for a year (still counting) and I was lucky enough to have a sister who gave me all the tips and tricks of successful breastfeeding from the moment I was pregnant. I understand milk doesn’t come easy to every mom but I’d like to share some tools that will make your breastfeeding experience successful and hopefully you’ll be able to do so for as long as you want. If breastfeeding & pumping is your plan, read on!

 pumping 101 
1. What you’ll need to pump: There are many brands out there but I decided to go with Medela. I have everything Medela so I’ll let you know what you’ll need and what not to spend your money on.

Hands free pump  – Make sure to call your insurance a month before your due date. I believe all insurance plans cover a pump in the US. There is a version of this pump that comes with a tote or a backpack but I just used my Longchamp bag.
Pumping bra – A must to multitask while you pump. You can be on the computer while you extract milk.
Bottles 5 oz. & 2.5 oz – You’ll need the 5 ounces sooner than you know it but the small bottles are great for storing. I never liked the storing bags because you could never tell the exact amount of ounces.
Cleaning wipes –  You’ll need this if you’ll be pumping outside of you home to keep the parts milk free until you get a chance to wash them.
Valves & membranes – These are extra parts for the pump. You’ll want to have a few more in case you loose them…or someone sends it down your kitchen drain. Ahem!
Cooler  – A must-have to keep milk cool going from work to home.
Bra pads – This is a medela brand but I’ve also used other brands like lansinoh and those are also great. I do not recommend the fabric washable ones but you can get a set for any emergency.
Bottles Soap –  I love Babyganics. I also use their laundry detergent.
Everyday bra – I spent all year wearing comfortable wire-free bras to be able to breastfeed and pump without any hassles. This means that my dressing style changed a lot because I wouldn’t wear any tight tops. Loose tops are great to cover your boobies while breastfeeding in public. I rarely used the fabric cover because it made the baby uncomfortable so that item is not on my list.
Nursing pillow – This was very helpful to me at the beginning, when learning to nurse him, but I stopped using it when the baby started growing and I learned to nurse him laying sideways in bed. Nursing while laying in bed is the best because you get to rest/sleep while the baby is feeding. Just be very careful not to put the baby on the borderline.

2. Producing milk: There are many sayings about foods that make us produce more milk (like hot chocolate, beer, and cod fish) but I just ate and drank whatever I felt like. If you’re looking for teas and supplements, I did drink a lot of Mother’s Milk Tea and used Motherlove More milk plus supplement when the baby was born and later on when I started working. You should also continue to take your postnatal vitamins to replenish all the nutrients your body is giving away to your baby.

3. Caring for your nipples: I already forgot what it felt like but they will hurt and burn a little for the first month. I recommend this cooling pads and this EarthMama nipple butter. Make sure you bring this last one to the hospital. It’s also great for your lips. 

Everything on this long list are things that made my life easier when nursing or pumping. I hope it’s helpful to you and please ask any questions below. Cheers! 

This post is part of a series for new moms.

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