My Favourite Breastfeeding Accessories

Hi readers!

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!  

I Loved:

1. Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra.

I loved these bras as they are soooooo comfy.  When I first started breastfeeding I could hardly bear anything touching my boobs as they were really sensitive and tender, so I lived in cotton crop top-style, night nursing bras until I found these! They're much better for daytime! The fabric is very smooth so they go under clothes well, and they have a thin layer of padding (which you can remove if you prefer) which hides nipples and breast pads.  They are supportive and my favourite thing about these bras is that they only come in 3 sizes: small, medium, and large, which then stretch to fit you, and stretch as your boobs fill up with milk/are emptier after a feed.  They're just so comfortable!

2) Muslin Cloths.  

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.

3) Grandad tops. I lived in grandad tops (the ones with a button placket at the neckline) when I was still feeding Eric in the day.  You can easily unbutton the neckline and get your boob out without exposing the other boob or your tummy, and as they're not special nursing clothes they're not that expensive.  I also liked blouses with pussy bow necklines for the same reason - easy access! Oh and surprisingly cream is actually a great colour with babies that aren't weaning yet, as their milky sick doesn't show up as much as with dark colours!

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!

4. Sling.  

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
Fi Peacock

This post is part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, which you can read about here

To enter into the Grand Prize Draw, please enter your details below!

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  1. I did use nursing pads for the first couple of months (organic cotton washable) but didn't need them after that.

    I bought a couple of nursing bras but then didn't use them as it was so much faff to unhook the cup all the time rather than just wearing a camisole. And no nursing tops here either, I concur with the buttoned/zipped/V-neck top options.

    I do have an electric pump (I don't intend to leave my daughter but in case of mastitis or engorgement or making breastmilk ice lollies!) but haven't used it yet (at 15 months). Don't think I could pump sufficient quantities now anyway, even with a full supply for direct feeding. I think I might donate it to the local health centre if they can use it.

    In conclusion, my essentials for breastfeeding are:
    -Good advice - so many health professionals are misinformed, a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counsellor are better than most health visitors/doctors/midwives
    -Sling (a stretchy wrap for the first few months, and a soft structured carrier for later)

  2. I adore my little lambs bamboo breast pads, definitely my best nursing buy so far

  3. I love my monkey mama nursing necklace, an absolute must for wandering hands as my little man stops being so little!

  4. My top product would be Lilypadz, silicone breast pads that stick over the nipple, great if you fancy a day or night bra free... just wait till your milk supplies stabilises before using them otherwise you get a pooling effect and it can leak.
    My top tip would be to find your local support/peer supporters/breastfeeding group before baby is born so you can get to know them, this makes it much easier to contact them after baby is born; faces to names and voices. Its good to know you have support from people who you know and are familiar with and that you trust.

  5. I loved the bamboo breast pads too, so soft...but sadly I never had to use them as I have never leaked at all. 'nursing tea' is lovely stuff, I think I might get some more now I'm going back to work and need to express! Lovely post.

  6. Join a breastfeeding support group. The help and advice you receive is invaluable!

  7. I used a My Breast Friend nursing pillow which I found really helpful in the early months when Pickle was much smaller (he's now 9mo) - it saved my back & shoulders.

    I also bought some lovely JoJo Maman Bebe tops & dresses that I have lived in!

  8. I'm 37 weeks pregnant and don't have any tips yet, and all my questions and concerns have been addressed by blog hopping all afternoon/evening reading breastfeeding week blog posts, thanks for some great advice.