These Buys Make Breastfeeding (Almost) Actually Easy
If you, or your partner, or let’s be real pretty much anyone you know, have ever breastfed — you likely know nursing a baby is one tough job. It can be a frustrating, painful and downright crazy adventure whether you’re breastfeeding at home, in public, at work or, you know, while running a half marathon. But it can also be a wonderful, powerful experience of bonding with your new baby. Through all the hectic realities that come with breastfeeding, it’s also beautiful and natural and offers a host of benefits — and, just like any kind of feeding, it helps connect mother and child.
That’s all well and good and lovely, of course, but what about nipple chafing? Plugged ducts? Struggles with low milk production? Or even (god forbid) mastitis?!
Lucky for you, there are plenty of products out there that can help. Some seem like strange torture devices on first glance; some are just plain essentials. Ahead are our top picks for the “must-haves” (or at least “try-real-hard-to-haves”) every breastfeeding parent should register for. They’re basically guaranteed to increase your quality of life — at least until weaning time.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
A version of this article was originally published in February 2016.
The Massaging Bra
The very first pumping bra that works with your pump by massaging breasts in order to stimulate milk production, Lilu’s massage bra is billed by the brand as “your pump’s new sidekick” but we’d do it one better and call it your pump’s new best friend, for sure. Plus, the bra comes with nursing clips so you can even clip it to the top of your nursing bra for when you pump.
A Classic Pumping Bra
While most nursing parents already know the importance of owning a solid breastfeeding bra, the benefits of a pumping-specific bra are often overlooked. Sure, a pumping bra is a nice perk — but it’s not necessary, is it? If you’re heading back to work and/or planning to pump for a long while, it sure as hell is necessary.
MOMANDA women’s underwire lace hands-free pumping bra, $24 at Amazon
TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy
These little rings can be popped from the microwave (or freezer) right into your bra to help relieve soreness, swelling, plugged ducts and mastitis. And, when used warm, they can even help reduce the amount of time spent pumping.
They’re BPA-free, inexpensive and totally reusable.
Breastfeeding Support Pillow
A breastfeeding support pillow, like this adorable jungle-print Boppy, can be incredibly helpful, especially in the beginning.
Seamless Sleep Bra for Nursing
Made from soft, breathable yet completely supportive fabrics, these bras are designed for convenience and comfort.
Sunzel women’s seamless sleep bra for maternity/nursing, $12.99 and up at Amazon
Let me fill you in on a little secret: When you’re breastfeeding, your boobs leak. Yes, milk drips — or squirts — out of your nipples randomly, and at the most inopportune times. But nursing pads, like these resuable ones from bamboobies, will help keep you cool, comfortable and dry.
Bamboobies washable nursing pads (four pairs), $19.99 at Amazon
Double Electric Breast Pump
If you’ll be working away from home or otherwise need to regularly pump and store a large quantity of milk, an electric pump is the way to go. This advanced ‘Pump in Style’ set from Medela is a crowd favorite.
Medela ‘Pump in Style’ advanced breast pump, $199.99 at Target
Manual Breast Pump
A manual breast pump is a great choice for breastfeeding parents who need to stimulate production between feedings or fill an occasional extra bottle or two.
Medela Harmony manual breast pump, $29.99 at Target
Made with milk thistle, fennel and fenugreek — an herb traditionally used to increase milk production — these postnatal supplements are a great way for breastfeeding parents to support (and maintain) a healthy supply.
Postnatal lactation plus, $19.95 at The Honest Co.
Elomi Molded Nursing Bra
A functional nursing bra is worth its weight in gold. Note that you'll want to feel supported but comfortable, and it should open and close easily.
Elomi molded nursing bra, $55 at Bare Necessities
While plenty of women are comfortable breastfeeding without a cover, which is great, some prefer to be a bit more discreet in public. But that doesn’t mean you have to toss a blanket over your boob and babe: Today’s nursing covers are functional and fashionable.
Bamboobies nursing cover, $25.49 at Amazon
Much like the aforementioned postnatal supplements, lactation cookies can boost your supply — but unlike the supplements, these yummies fill your belly, too.
UpSpring Milkflow Lactation Cookies (10-pack), $20.89 at Amazon
Bottle Dryer Rack
For those parents who use bottles along with breastfeeding, this “grassy” drying rack is super functional and super cute.
Bottle dryer rack, $12.90 at Amazon
Nipple cream (or balm) is key, especially in the first weeks. Make sure to get one that will heal sore, chapped nipples but is also food-grade for nursing, like this one from the Honest Company.
Organic nipple balm, $16.59 at Target
These amazing little test strips are basically boob breathalyzers. Of course, the pump-and-dump “rule” has largely been debunked, so talk to your doctor and get the facts, but if you still want to check the alcohol content of your milk, use these handy strips before feeding.
Milkscreen strips, $19.95 at Amazon
These days, nursing necklaces are both fashionable and functional. These innovative pieces of jewelry can help your baby focus on the task at hand, and they're cute to boot. Win-win.
Nursing necklace, $16 at designML/Etsy
Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things when it comes to breastfeeding. It helps promote milk production and can make you feel better, too. Fill up a few bottles in the fridge so there's always one to grab.
Reusable water bottle, $14.99 at Amazon
Along with staying hydrated, another important aspect of successful breastfeeding is maintaining supply. Lactation teas, like Mother’s Milk, can help take care of both. Enjoy hot or cold.
Lactation tea, $7.99 per box at Biovea
Screenprinted Nursing Sleep Top
A cute nightie that also allows you to nurse? Yes, please.
Screenprinted nursing sleep top, $9.97 at A Pea in the Pod
‘Keep Calm & Latch On’ Baby T-Shirt
OK, it's not a breastfeeding essential, but who doesn't love a baby in a cute T-shirt? Even better when it has an adorable pro-breastfeeding message.
"Keep calm and latch on" baby T-shirt, $15 at Sweet Little Kids/Etsy
Boobie Beanie Hat
Same re: non-essentials, but these hilarious (and adorable) beanie hats let others know what you think of their “issues” with breastfeeding in public — without even saying a word.
Boobie beanie hat, $17.60 at peacesbycortney/Etsy
Speaking of cute baby clothes, show off your strength by putting your little one in this perfect onesie.
Adorable onesie, $18 at Little Bundle Co
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