The theme for this week's Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt is Mum-to-Mum sharing, where we can share our top tips etc., so I want to share with you my favourite breastfeeding accessories. The really brilliant thing about breastfeeding is that you obviously only actually need one thing - your boobs! But there are a few things I bought that I found helpful, some I wish I'd bought, and some things I bought that were completely unnecesary!
1. Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra.
I use these for everything ... stuffing in my bra when breastfeeding, draping over your shoulder when burping baby, mopping up, as a bib, as a warm liner on a cold changing mat, as a sunshade, and some people use them as a cover up when breastfeeding.
4. Medela Swing Breast Pump.
I looooooved my Medela Swing pump. It was so, so comfortable, quick and easy to use. If you are hoping to express some milk for your partner to give your baby a bottle, so your baby can still have your own milk when you go back to work, or to ease your breasts when they are too full when baby drops a feed etc. I'd highly recommend this pump.
5. Fennel tea.
I was worrying about my milk supply and whether Eric was getting enough milk (I think this is a really common worry as you can't actually see how much is going in!) but I started drinking a couple of cups of fennel tea a day, and since then Eric has stuck to his growth centile line in his red book, and I feel more confident, so I can't be sure it was definitely the tea but I certainly feel like it helps my milk supply!
6. Hot Milk lingerie.
Unfortunately Hot Milk don't do bras in my size now that they have gone back to their small, pre-pregnancy size, but when I did have fantastically big, bouncy boobs I loved the beautiful underwear from Hot Milk! Even when I was just wearing sweatpants every day (which was for at least the first 8 weeks after Eric was born, non-stop!) if I had pretty underwear on I felt more confident. Check out their website here. Hot Milk have actually donated a set of lingerie for the Grand Prize so make sure you enter at the bottom of my post!
7. Mamas and Papas nursing pyjamas.
These pj's were really easy to feed in, and felt comfortable but smart enough to see visitors in! The quality is really nice too :)
8. Bamboo washable breast pads.
I didn't want to use disposable breast pads as washable ones are so much cheaper and better for the environment! The best pads I found (and still use) are bamboo ones. They are super soft, anti bacterial and anti microbial! I bought about 15 pairs and layered them up when I needed more absorbency when Eric was younger. I wash them in a net bag in the washing machine (with any other loads of washing).
9. Boob nursing hoodie.
One of the only 'proper' nursing tops I had was a sea green hoodie from Swedish brand Boob. I got it on eBay as they're fairly expensive, but it was worth every penny. They have a horizontal envelope style opening just under your boobs, so it's really easy and uncomplicated to use. It was so comfortable and I could chuck it on over anything!
10. Notebook and stopwatch to time and write down feeds.
This helped me remember which side to feed Eric on at the start of each feed! I fed Eric on demand and watched for his cues so I didn't really feed him on a schedule, but writing down the times of each feeds helped me to be organised about when he might need to feed next and when would be better to go out, put him down for a nap etc. I could spot any patterns, and it also helped when he was ill to be able to tell the health professional any difference in his feeding. Mostly it just helped me feel more relaxed as I'm a very organised (OCD!) person!
11. My necklace.
When Eric was about 4 or 5 months old he started to get really distracted during nursing, but I was given a beautiful silver necklace for Christmas with Eric's handprints, name and date of birth on it. It really helped focus his attention in the right place and stopped him coming off the boob to look around wherever we were, which helped make sure he got a full feed as well as sparing my blushes in public! He still plays with and looks at it when he's feeding now.
I Wish I had bought:
1. Booby Tubes.
I found these on the Earth Mama Angel Baby website earlier this year and really think they would have helped me ease the pain and engorgement when my milk came in.
2. Milkmaid Tea.
I would have loved to try this, and when I decide to stop feeding Eric or Eric decides to self-wean I will use the No More Milk tea to ease the transition.
3. Bamboobies bamboo pads.
As I said earlier I love bamboo pads as they're so eco friendly, and these ones are so cute!
I have a friend who uses a sling alot, and feeds her child in the sling, and I really admire this closeness. I had a ring sling but didn't really understand how to use it or even think about using it in the early days, and ended up passing it on to a new mummy friend. If I have another child in the future I'll definitely plan to use a sling.
I Didn't Use or Hated:
1. Nipple shields. I was given these and didn't use them at all or even think about using them!
2. Proper nursing tops, especially tummy-sucking-in vest tops that were supposed to help your mum tum look slimmer! Ow! I couldn't eat, or breathe, and they rode up annoyingly all the time! I gave up after just a few wears! I found most proper nursing tops too expensive and a complete faff to use.
3. Manual breast pump. OW OW! I had a Nuby manual pump which I got free with a magazine subscription. It was painful and ineffective (sorry Nuby).
4. Cover. I liked the look of some of the breastfeeding covers that you can buy to help you nurse discreetly in public, but I waited a while to be sure I wanted to buy one and I'm glad I did. In practice being discreet wasn't important to me after the first few nerve-wracking feeds, as my boobs are quite small so I think Eric's head was usually shielding me from view, and people rarely looked or seemed to even notice that I was breastfeeding. We also both found it really stuffy and claustrophobic the few times I draped a muslin over us! So a nursing cover wasn't for us.
5. Nipple cream. My early breastfeeding problems were thrush in my breasts rather than cracked nipples, so using nipple cream was unecessary for me (and would have actually made the thrush worse). Lansinoh cream (the one most people recommend!) is also not vegan, so I didn't want to use that particular brand/lanolin-based cream. I wouldn't necessarily buy nipple cream to have in your backup arsenal, as you might not need it, and you can also use breast milk on your nipples and let them air dry to heal them if they do get cracked, whilst you work on getting your latch right.
6. Nursing pillow. We bought a Widgey nursing pillow which you can use to help support your baby whilst they feed, however I found it actually didn't get Eric in the right position at all, so we didn't use it. It was great for wedging him in to support him in the sitting position and helping him learn to sit up when he was older though!
I hope you've enjoyed reading my list of the good, the bad and the ugly of nursing products! If you'd like to read more posts on the theme of Mum-to-Mum sharing, please check out the following blogs:
A New Addition
Ponderings of a Doula
Smiling Like Sunshine
My Thoughts on Things
This post is part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, which you can read about here
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