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As many of you know, I am a passionate advocate for breastfeeding. I nursed all three of my children into their toddler years and I continue to see the benefits of that special bonding time even though my own nursing journey has come to an end. That being said, when my friend and fellow writer, Amanda Henderson, reached out to me with this article idea, I was thrilled to give her a little space on my page to share her ideas.
So, without further ado, here are:
6 Essential Items for an Easier Breastfeeding Experience:
Easy to digest and packed with invaluable nutrients for a baby’s growth and development, breast milk is highly recommended when it comes to feeding your infant. But breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally for mom and baby, and difficulties may arise: poor latching, low milk supply, and engorgement are just some of the most common issues that can make breastfeeding challenging. Thankfully, many new and innovative products are now on the market to help moms before, during and after baby’s feeding sessions.
Below, I share some essential items to help you nurse with ease.
Nipple Shields for a More Effective Suckle
In the first few weeks of your nursing journey, you may experience painful chafing, soreness or a burning sensation, and your baby may have difficulty latching onto your breasts and getting the nourishment they need. Nipple shields are designed to remedy those problems. These thin silicon cushions protect sore nipples while allowing your baby to nurse in comfort, and if you have flat or inverted nipples, they’ll help stimulate your little one’s suck reflex. Opt for shields made with BPA-free, food-grade silicone to keep you and your baby healthy.
Even though nipple shields can be a wonderfully helpful tool, they can also be detrimental to your breastfeeding journey if used incorrectly or for too long. For more information, check out this resource from Cleveland Clinic.
A Nursing Pillow to Keep You Comfortable
Breastfeeding a baby often puts a strain on the neck and shoulders, and can make this natural process uncomfortable and even painful for nursing moms. A nursing pillow helps relieve some of that discomfort. This U-shaped pillow is designed to sit on your lap so that your baby can lay closer to your breasts, making it easier for both of you come feeding time. It also turns into a comfy place to safely sit your baby down as it cradles their little body. And you can even use it for tummy time!
Hands-Free Pumping Bras to Help You Multitask
These clever undergarments are simply a game-changer for busy moms. No need to sit still and wait while you’re pumping; an innovative clip allows you to attach your pump to your bra so you can express milk hands-free and tend to other tasks at the same time. You can read a book, complete work tasks, or even fold laundry all while working on your milk inventory. And when you’re not pumping, a nursing bra is a discreet, fast and convenient way to nurse thanks to its drop cup feature.
Storage Bags to Keep Your Milk Stash Safe
You can store your expressed breast milk in regular baby bottles in the fridge for up to four days, but if you need to reclaim some space on your shelves, or you want to start freezing breast milk for future use (up to 12 months), consider purchasing breast milk storage bags. Fill them up with breast milk, seal them, and write the time and date on them before storing in your fridge or freezer.
Apps to Keep Track of Pumping and Feeding Sessions
When you’re sleep-deprived, it’s hard to remember when your little one’s last feeding was and how much milk you’ve pumped and stored. Thankfully, there are apps available that will help you keep track of your nursing and pumping sessions, and they will even keep a record of the milk inventory in your fridge or freezer so you always know where and how much you have stored, as well as the expiration date for each batch.
Nipple Cream to Soothe Your Skin
Cracked and dry nipples are often par for the course when you’re breastfeeding. In order to protect your skin and get some relief, use an ointment containing high-quality ingredients such as olive oil, shea butter or cocoa butter after nursing. Choose a nipple cream that is safe for both you and your little one, and make your nursing sessions a more enjoyable time for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful time for mommy and baby to bond. And, there are products available to make the experience even more comfortable and pain-free, from hands-free pumping bras to helpful apps to track your feedings. So look for what works for you and your little one, to enjoy those precious moments together.
Amanda Henderson is both a mom to two rambunctious boys and preschool teacher, so she knows from experience how quickly a situation can become unsafe. She created and writes for Safe Children to educate parents on how to keep their children safe while also having fun.
Here are a few more items, that I found especially helpful
on my own nursing journey: