I’ve partnered with Lansinoh for this post.
There is so much to prepare for when you’re expecting a baby! You’ve gotta make sure you have clothes, diapers & wipes and plenty of baby gear! If you’re preparing to breastfeed (which I’d highly encourage!) there are a few items you should have on hand before your babies arrival. Trust me, I should know. I’ve breastfed all of my babies and will be nursing a 4th baby any day now (still waiting his/her arrival!). The following is a list of items I’ve made sure to have on hand before my little one arrives.
For the first few months of breastfeeding, your breasts are going to leak. The leak won’t be constant but I promise you, it can happen very suddenly. You’ll be walking through the grocery store or sound asleep at 2am and all of a sudden, you get a let-down. You can nurse your baby while trying to fill your cart with groceries (yes, I’ve done it before) or wake that sleeping infant to have them eat, but you’re still going to get leakage from the breast that is not being used. After a few weeks, sometimes months, you won’t get the spontaneous let-downs anymore (or at least not as frequently) but you may still have leakage from the breast that’s not being nursed.
Luckily, they make breast pads for this issue and as long as you remember to use them, you won’t be embarrassed by big wet spots on your shirts or a bed that’s drenched with milk midway through the night (yes, been there too!). I love the Lansinoh disposable nursing pads — they are perfect for day or night and individually packaged, making them easy to take in my purse or diaper bag. They just released their brand new Ultimate Protection Nursing Pads, featuring the blue InvisiLock™ Core, which instantly captures and disperses moisture away from the center of the pad. They can absorb 20xs their weight, and yet are still thin and discreet. I’m so excited to be able to try them this time around.
Nursing Bra or Tank
Your breasts are not going to be the same size while breastfeeding that they were pre-pregnancy, so you’re going to need to buy new bras or supportive tanks for the girls. I go from a 32A to a 36D when my milk comes in, then settle into a 34B/C after a few months of nursing, as my milk supply regulates. I personally prefer nursing tanks over bras for two reasons:
- By wearing a nursing tank, when I nurse in public and need to lift my shirt, my stomach is still covered. This keeps me warm in the winter and modest all year long.
- I find that nursing tanks are more comfortable to me and fit my changing breast sizes better than nursing bras. I’ve tried a few brands over the years and absolutely love my Bravado! Designs Nursing Bra Tanks. They are not the cheapest on the market but they really hold up well and, in my opinion, are worth the extra cost.
It can be hard to know exactly what size to purchase which is why I’d recommend just purchasing 2 or 3 bras/tanks to start. I find that the size that fits at the end of my pregnancy (36 weeks and beyond) is the size I end up wearing for the first few days after baby is born (while waiting for my milk to come in) and then again from about 3 months on. For the first few weeks of breastfeeding (thanks to engorgement), I need to go up a size from that.
Every woman is going to be different, but if I was going to take a guess for you, I’d say purchase 1 nursing tank to fit you at about the 36 week mark and then purchase a second one in one size bigger (cup and band). Then once you know for sure what your size(s) will be, you can order more. I keep a stash of Bravado! 34B/C and 36 D/E tanks on hand myself.
Those first few weeks, especially when it’s your first time nursing, can be brutal. In fact, if this is the first time you’ll be breastfeeding, I’d encourage you to read my post about the sucky truth about breastfeeding. I share a lot in that article about things I wish someone else had told me before my first baby was born.
Some ladies experience cracked nipples that literally bleed. While I have escaped that horror, my breasts are often tender for the first 3 months after giving birth. My nipples are always so sore during the first few weeks that when the shower water hits them, it feels like nails. Sure, you might be one of the lucky ladies who doesn’t have to deal with any of these issues, but you don’t want to find yourself cracked, sore, and bleeding without some relief! Lansinoh HPA Lanolin is #1 recommended by lactation consultants in the USA. As an added bonus, if you don’t end up using the entire tube, I find it is also great for treating sore, chapped lips.
Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Gel Packs
Like the HPA Lanolin, these Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Gel Packs are important for your comfort during the early days of breastfeeding. If you experience engorgement (which many moms do) using these gel packs as cold therapy can be a welcome, soothing relief. You can also use it as hot therapy should you develop a plugged duct or mastitis or use them as a pumping aid to help you achieve a let-down.
This might seem like an odd item to add to the list, but I have found my muslin blankets to be very valuable while breastfeeding. I keep one with me at all times because they make great nursing covers and double as soft, large burp rags. I also often put one underneath the baby in case he/she has a diaper blowout while nursing, especially if we aren’t home. While you could use any blanket for this purpose, I really like the muslin blankets because they are light and breathable.
Not everyone will experience afterbirth pains with their first child, but I did. No one had ever warned me about them so I was completely caught off guard. It is said that they get worse with every new baby. Afterbirth pains are contractions in the uterus that feel like bad menstrual cramps. Breastfeeding triggers them for the first 24-72 hours or so after giving birth. Truly they are a good thing because they are helping to shrink your uterus, but they can be rather painful on a body that is already sore. I have found that WishGarden’s After Ease tincture helps a lot and I start using that normally the second time I nurse my newborn.
Nursing pillows elevate your newborn to an ergonomic position for breastfeeding, helping to relieve your arms and back. You can use some regular pillows if you can’t afford a nursing pillow, but nursing pillows are shaped perfectly to wrap around your body while you nurse. Look for one that is machine washable (your baby is bound to have spitup and diaper blowout accidents) and/or offers available covers to limit washings of the entire pillow. If you’re a huge fan of muslin, you’ll be happy like me to see that aden + anais has a brand new nursing pillow available!
When I had my first baby, I purchased a cheap battery-powered pump. I planned to be a stay-at-home mom and figured I wouldn’t really need to pump very often, so I assumed any pump would be sufficient. Boy was I wrong. Maybe it was the brand I purchased, but this pump was horrible. I had trouble achieving a let-down with it and even when I could, I still had trouble getting very much milk out. Then I got a new double electric pump from Lansinoh. What. A. Difference! I was finally able to not only achieve a let-down, but get a lot of milk out too. A quality breast pump is now on my list of must-have baby gear items!
Even if you plan to stay home with your child, I’d still encourage you to pump and save at least a small stockpile of breast milk. The great thing about the Lansinoh SignaturePro Double Electric Pump is that not only does it work really well, it’s also very affordable. You never know what might come up.
For instance, while breastfeeding my second child, my grandmother unexpectedly suffered a bad stroke. I needed to visit her at a hospital 3 hours away. Not only did my son hate the car (and would have probably cried the entire time we were driving there), most hospitals don’t want you to bring children into them. Luckily, I had plenty of stored milk for him and was able to have someone watch him for the day. Plus, I had my pump to take with me for the trip.
If you plan on returning to work, you’ll want to start pumping early on so you can have a large stockpile ready to go when you head back to work. If you have a little bit extra to spend on a pump, the Lansinoh SmartPump Double Electric Pump works in conjunction with the Lansinoh app to help you keep track of when you pump and how much you pump, along with your regular nursing session too!
Milk Storage Bags
Obviously, if you’re pumping, you’re going to need milk storage bags for all of that milk. I’ve had great success with Lansinoh’s storage bags. They are strong, large, and BPA-Free. Each bag is sealed upon arrival so that it’s sterile. The bags lie flat for freezing and are easy to pour into bottles once thawed. If you’re looking for a cheap storage system for your milk, check out this DIY Easy Breast Milk Storage System!
If you’re pumping and storing milk, you also need to have bottles on hand. The number of bottles you’ll need will depend on whether you’ll be returning to work outside of the home and away from your baby. Since I work from home, I’ve found that a 3 pack of bottles is plenty for us. Lansinoh’s mOmma Bottle with NaturalWave Nipples are specially designed to ease the transition of breast to bottle and back to breast again.
I’ve spent over 40 months breastfeeding so far in my lifetime. While it can sometimes be challenging and there were times I thought about calling it quits, it’s a beautiful experience that I’m so grateful to have been able to share with each of my children. If you have any questions as you embark on this journey, feel free to comment below or send me a private email at thriftyniftymommy (at) yahoo.com.
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Lansinoh for this post. All opinions are my own. Consult a local lacatation consultant if you encounter any issues while breastfeeding. Amazon links are affiliate links.