Nursing Pads: Whether you choose disposable or reusable, make sure to have some nursing pads on hand. Chances are you may not leak in the beginning since your milk won't come in for a few days, but you never know. The last thing you want is to have milk spots while catching up with visitors. But really, milk spots aren't the worst thing in the world...soon you'll have baby crap on your hands.
Coconut Oil or Lanolin: A very important item to pack is some nipple ointment to help with cracked and sore nipples. Now before you run out and grab some Lanolin, I'd suggest looking into some different products such as regular ole' coconut oil. Some recent research shows that Lanolin may not be the safest thing in the world whereas coconut oil is something that many of us eat. Would we adults eat Lanolin? Nah...
Nursing Bras: Chances are you won't have any clue exactly how big your breasts will be after your milk "settles." In the beginning your breasts are typically large and then around 6-8 weeks postpartum your breasts fluctuate down to a size that they will stay at. Your "breast" bet is to invest in an affordable bra for while your breasts are large and then invest in a good quality bra for when your breasts settle in size. Another idea is to look at this bra that can increase up to two sizes so you can wear it when your breasts are different sizes. It is the best bra ever!
Nursing Tanks: Nursing tanks will become your "breast" friend. If you're like me you may live in nursing tanks for literally months on end; they are so convenient for those early days and middle of the night feedings. Once you realize how easy nursing clothing can be you may find that searching online for nursing wardrobe can provide you with much more than just nursing tanks.
Nursing Pillow: Pretty much everyone registers for a Boppy pillow these days. Whether or not you plan to nurse, they are just fun pillows to have around for newborn babies. However for a nursing mama, these pillows are a must have. We literally used our pillow up until a year, but some mamas only use it in the beginning. This pillow will help support your newborn's head and help with positioning as well as cuddle them close to you.
Support: This is perhaps the most important thing that you need for breastfeeding success. Whether it is a Lactation Consultant, a book or a family member, you have to have support somewhere. Every breastfeeding journey is different and most all are not perfect. You will have moments of exhaustion, tears, joy, sadness and you will likely have a ton of questions. Support is what will get you through the hurdles and the bumps. It is especially crucial if you have a partner who is on board with your breastfeeding goals. Whether or not they have the same breastfeeding goal as you for your child, together the two of you need to take it day by day and they need to support you know matter what.
Goal: Create a goal for yourself to help keep you focused on why you are doing this. Are you breastfeeding for baby's health, for yourself, for attachment reasons or because others insist that you do? Try to start with small goals in regards to your breastfeeding "timeline" and then increase them as you reach them. For example, rather than saying you want to nurse for six months, you can say that you want to make it for six weeks. Once you achieve six weeks of breastfeeding you can then increase your goal to twelve weeks. Just remember that each week counts and each week does something good for your baby!
Always realize that you're doing an amazing job and you're giving your child a wonderful, healthy start. Always be proud of the efforts you gave, no matter what the outcome is!
What are your breastfeeding essentials?
Thanks for reading, Sasha