About a month before my second baby was due to arrive, I thought it might be a good idea to get out my nursing clothing and gear from my first baby that I had packed away. Having quick access to your breasts is ESSENTIAL when breastfeeding. All of my tank tops and bras were well loved, a bit loose, but usable. Besides, in the early days of motherhood, it is a lot of just spending time indoors at home and getting to know your baby and learning how to breastfeed.
Yes, I said LEARN. No matter what anyone tells you, breastfeeding is a learned experience (for both you and your baby – it’s new to them too!). I always tell my prenatal yoga students that breastfeeding is like breaking in a pair of Birkenstocks. At first, they give you blisters and hurt your feet, but then they become buttery soft and your favourite pair of sandals. My advice to you is to get a good start to this unique journey. A great way to do this, is buying good breastfeeding gear.
It’s important to feel good about your body and comfortable during your breastfeeding journey (with easy access on the go – babies are not exactly patient when they are hungry). I definitely needed new maternity gear to feel good about my body (old saggy nursing tops where not going the trick) and that meant I needed: nursing bras, tanks and breast pads. It was perfect timing that we (MOGA™ Moms) began a partnership with Medela Canada, who were so generous to share some products for me to try with my new baby.
So here is my list of Breastfeeding Essentials that I reviewed from Medela:
1. Maternity Bras
I suggest you get three of these, but you can get by with two. One for daytime and one for nighttime. I tried out Medela’s Nursing Sleep Bra and loved it! It is soft and comfortable to sleep in. I actually enjoy wearing it in the daytime too if you are ok with the support. I like the support it gives during the day (as it reminds me of my yoga gear). I recommend getting the black one, as you can wear it after baby stops breastfeeding as a comfy bra, and if you get milk stains on it, it won’t matter as it’s black. I recommend sizing up (to your regular size). I ordered a large (36 DD) and I found it snug (which is ok if you like that) but if you want a bit more give, size up. I like how I can throw it in the dryer and it still looks good, although I probably should hang to dry – the second time around, I am just not that kind of mom – everything goes in the dryer now.
(You might wonder, so why do I need three maternity bras? Because you will be using them ALL the time. If you are like me, you will need to wash at least one every day, because no matter what I do, I always manage to get breastmilk on my maternity bras).
2. Bra Pads / Breast Pads:
Bra pads are a must (especially in the beginning). I had so much milk in the beginning that I got an engorgement fever (super painful) and the Medela Sonata Breast pump helped to relieve the pressure, thank goodness. Also, hot Epsom salt baths with lavender helped. I would lay on my side and massage my breasts so milk would go into the tub. Once my supply went down, I was still blasting my newborn with milk in the face (like a showerhead). So much, that my bra pads became little shields that I could hold up to block the milk from hitting her face! Medela’s disposable Bra Pads are great in the beginning, but I suggest switching to re-usable ones, or have both (some in your purse – disposable) and the ones that you keep at home (re-usable).
3. Nipple Cream:
I forgot how sensitive my breasts were at the beginning phases of breastfeeding. Like “breaking-in” those Birkenstocks, my poor nipples took a beating. My daughter also had a tongue-tie, which didn’t help either. What helped me when she would latch on and chomp away (ouch!) was the NIPPLE CREAM that I would put on before and after. Seriously, slather that stuff on! EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU BREASTFEED AND AFTER, it really helps to heal them and toughen them up. Make sure that it’s made from 100% natural ingredients. Medela’s lanolin cream sooths and protects (and it’s made with 100% ultra-pure and natural medical-grade lanolin). I also love Bug & Pickle’s Nipple Cream (which you can get at any Whole Foods markets). If you are sensitive to smells, get unscented lanolin.
(Also, just quickly on latching. Your baby’s LATCH is super important to help your nipples. If you are unsure, be sure to see a breastfeeding consultant in your area, your doula or reach out to La Leche League in your area, or YouTube good latches – seriously though, a baby’s latch is SO IMPORTANT. Night and day to an enjoyable breastfeeding journey.)
4. Breast Pump:
Having a good breast pump really helps throughout your breastfeeding journey. For moms that are on the go, or plan to breastfeed when going back to work, it’s a must. I teach morning Mom & Baby Yoga classes and evening Prenatal Yoga Classes, and I am so grateful for my pump. I have both of Medela’s breast pumps, The Freestyle and Sonata™ Smart Breast Pump. I will do a separate review on these pumps – as it’s a big purchase and you want to make sure it’s the right fit for you!
All the best on your breastfeeding journey! Remember, it’s different for each mama and each baby!