As a follow up of my breastfeeding journey post, I thought I would share my list of vitals for breastfeeding.  Before I had children I never knew half of these products even existed, nor how important they would be to breastfeeding.

1) Nipple Shield - For me this is vital.  I think I will be taking one with me to the hospital when I have another child, as I never plan on breastfeeding without one ever again.  A nipple shield is what helped me bear through breastfeeding Drake for the 3 months that I breastfed him before I moved on to pumping.  For Juliet, I think the reason we were able to push through and make it breastfeeding is because of the shield.  While the shield doesn’t take away all the pain, at least not at first, it certainly takes away some of it and any less pain in such a sensitive area is worth it in my book.

2) Boppy – I love my Boppy. I like that I can lay Juliet on something that will keep her close to me and still raised up to feed.  I like that it fits around me so I can easily lift it up and move it with me as I now have a toddler to supervise too, and sometimes this requires me to feed on the go. I like that when I’m done feeding, I can place Juliet in it and it holds her up nicely where she can still see and look around.  I like that I can use it for tummy time to help her learn to support her head more. I like that when I’m tired and she wont sleep, I can use it as a pillow for me as I lay her on my chest.  All in all I think it’s wonderful and I can’t imagine breastfeeding without it.

3) Phone App – I downloaded a phone app to help me keep track of how long Juliet feeds and also which side, as I found that in the middle of the night I am too bleary eyed and tired to remember these things or write them down.  I like having a log of this information, especially when she was losing weight, so I can show the doctor if needed. I also like being sure that I’m alternating sides after each feed so that both sides have a good supply.

4) Burp Cloths – I leak a lot so burp cloths help save me from getting drenched.  I place one under my shirt on the side she isn’t feeding off to stem the flow so I don’t have to change my shirt every time she eats.  Also they are handy for cleaning up the milk that dribbles out of her mouth or when she spits up after being burped.

5) Lansinoh - When I was at the hospital with Juliet, the nurse provided me with some samples of this cream to help repair the damage Juliet inflicted on me.  I used it religiously after every feeding on both nipples, even the side she didn’t feed. I think it helped a lot in repairing the damage, as well as possibly toughening up everything as I currently don’t use it anymore and now the feedings don’t hurt either.  I still have some stocked up in case anything changes, but this might have been the difference between why the pain stopped this time and didn’t with Drake. Next time I also plan on using this right away.

These are my essentials and every time I feed I have these close at hand to use.

In addition to those items, these are a few other things I like to have around. They are nice to have, but not needed for every feed.

1) Breast pump I am breastfeeding for the most part, but there have been a few times when I woke up in the middle of the night so engorged only to see Juliet fast asleep in her bassinet with no signs of waking up.  Because of this I always have my breast pump handy so if she does sleep longer and I need to release some milk, I can without having to worry about waking up the baby.  Also once in a while she will only eat for a short time before falling asleep again or only on one side and I feel like I need to release more milk to be comfortable, so a pump is always nice to have in those moments too.  I think eventually I might want to pump at least once a day so that Mr. Chocolate can bottle feed her once a day to give me a break and also allow them to bond a little too.

2) Nursing Cover - I haven’t ventured out much yet and we haven’t had a ton of visitors either, but once in a while I do nurse in the backyard when Drake is playing outside. While we have a fence and it is my own backyard, I still feel funny about just sitting outside without any cover so in those times a nursing cover is perfect. If anything, it also helps keep the bugs away from Juliet’s face and helps her get used to the cover. I’m sure as Juliet gets older and we go out more this will come in handy.

3) Swaddles - I prefer feeding when baby is nice and swaddled. It keeps roving hands out of the way which can scratch me or knock baby off of my breast. It also keeps them nice and cozy, so I feel as they get fuller it helps them to drift off to sleep easier.  It’s also nice since once they do fall asleep they are already swaddled, so I can place them down for bed quickly and easily and go back to sleep quicker myself.  I prefer the Aden and Anais ones personally.

4) Mittens – If Juliet isn’t swaddled when it’s time to eat, I put mittens on her hands as she has scratched me several times when feeding and her nails are super sharp even after I file them down.  I like these as they have velcro to make sure they stay on. I had another set that wasn’t velcro, and she would have them off within seconds sometimes, and it was too frustrating for both of us to constantly try placing them on only to have her fling them off so quickly.

What were some of your breastfeeding essentials?