The Mini man and I had a rough breastfeeding journey thanks to my emergency c-section and his undiagnosed lip and tongue ties. When the going was rough with biting, mastitis, and bleeding nipples, these 5 must-have items helped me stay strong and stick it out. Read on and pop these on your list of breastfeeding supplies if you’re having struggles.
These GEL PADS made by Lansinoh were an absolute heaven-sent. My nipples were destroyed by a poor latch for 3 months and these patches made the most progress in healing them up between nursing sessions. On one side of the Soothie is a glycerin-based gel that cools on contact. The backing is a soft fabric to help prevent your bra from rubbing (and does a wonderful job keeping the pad in place instead of getting caught up and sliding around). Any mama experiencing cracking, bleeding, or soreness NEEDS to try these (and find a good IBCLC to help you fix the problem).
If you’ve ever perused the breastfeeding section of a store or done a quick search online, you know there are about a billion brands of nipple creams, butters, gels, etc. I tried quite a few brands in my hunt for relief but LANSINOH HPA LANOLIN was the definite winner. The texture and coverage was just right and created the ideal barrier from irritating bras and breast pads. I used this stuff for probably a solid 6 months. The struggle was real.
Lansinoh’s single-ingredient lanolin is not only super effective, but also hypoallergenic, 100% natural, ultra refined, and safe for both mom and baby. I was not at all surprised to see this is the #1 recommended nipple cream by doctors and lactation consultants in the U.S. It was an absolute must-have for me and I kept a tube everywhere- in each room of my home, in the diaper bag, in the car…
This is the #1 breastfeeding item I wish I had found sooner. My Medala breast pump was not my friend. It hurt. It leaked. I couldn’t find the correct size flanges or get the proper pumping technique down… It was such a nightmare that I ended up expressing by hand when I needed to store milk away. (Thank goodness I work from home and never needed much.) At one point during this fiasco, I heard about the HAAKAA. The Haakaa is a magical manual pump that you just suction on to the opposite breast while baby eats, or you pump, and it collects milk.
It took me WAY. TOO. LONG. to buy one and try it. I thought because I didn’t have crazy leakage or intense letdowns, this product would be a waste of money. Eventually a friend shared a link to a knock-off Haakaa pump on Amazon for a price I couldn’t deny so I ordered. I was immediately in love once it arrived. This thing is incredible, ladies. This is seriously one of my favorite breastfeeding supplies must-have items. You need a Haakaa manual pump. I’m serious. Go. Go now. Shop. Buy. Do it. Stop doing so much work for your milk. Thank me later. No, really. Pin this so you can find me and thank me later.
A Carrying Caddy
This silly little thing seriously simplified my life. To maintain a successful breastfeeding journey with our issues, I found Mini and I needing a lot of STUFF: breast pads, nipple cream, Soothies and post-Soothie wipes, sterile water syringes, constant water to stay hydrated, snacks… (priorities, ladies). After experiencing such a hassle lugging these things around from room to room, and quite a few times not having them because I wasn’t able to get up (never wake a sleeping baby), that I decided to pack them up in a simple THIRTY-ONE CADDY. The caddy kept everything together instead of trying to gather individual items and carry them around. Simple time-and-stress saver.
I’m not sure if it was me or my baby or not-so-great products but there was not a single nursing positioner on the market that worked for me. I couldn’t get myself comfortable. I couldn’t get Mini at the right angle. It was pressing on my c section scar. I didn’t understand how to fit my baby on it without suffocating him in my breast. (True story. The large chest issues are serious.)
Finally I gave up on all the easy-fix products and just used a $15 fleece BLANKET to position him. It was soft and gentle and completely customizable for whatever position we needed. This thing came with us everywhere, too, so it was a bonus that it traveled easily. (Imagine me walking from my car into the hospital for our breastfeeding support group: carrying my newborn and diaper bag with a big fleece blanket trailing behind us… messy hair, tired eyes, bleeding nipples- perfect picture of motherhood.)
Super bonus points here: I also used this blanket to support Mini at his back when we used the side lay position at home, as a pillow when I was trying to get comfortable post-surgery, and even during labor as a comfort. It’s the simple things that work the best sometimes.
Alright, breastfeeding mamas! What were your bf’ing must-haves? What do you think of mine? Anything you DIDN’T love?
Important note: Always remember, while breastfeeding may start out uncomfortable, it’s not “normal” to have serious pain for an extended period of time. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding your baby, don’t be afraid to reach out to a board-certified lactation consultant or your local Le Leche League or other support group. Let ladies with experience and expertise help you. You aren’t the first or last mama to struggle. Seek and accept help and pay it forward in the future.