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If you’re going to be breastfeeding, there’s a few products out there that can make it easier and more comfortable for you and your little one. Here we go…
While the breast pump is the first on this list, not every breastfeeding mom needs one. A breast pump is great to have when:
- You’ll be away from bub at feeding time and someone else will need to feed them with a bottle
- Your breasts become engorged and you need some relief
- You’re having trouble with breastfeeding (read more about that here) and want to continue to give breast milk rather than formula
- You’ll be away from your baby but need to keep stimulating your milk supply
- You’re going back to work which means you’ll need to express a couple of times during an 8 hour workday
For everything you need to know about breastfeeding, pumping, going back to work while breastfeeding etc. check out the breastfeeding section on womenshealth.gov.
Now onto choosing a breast pump…
There are manual pumps and electric pumps, the one that’s right for you primarily depends on how often you will use it. Here’s the lowdown on both types of pumps, and the best ones to buy.
If you just need to pump occasionally to relieve engorgement, or you’re going out every now and then, a manual pump is all you need. At around $30 to $40, these are good to have on hand even if you don’t foresee the need to pump – for a variety of reasons most breastfeeding moms end up needing to pump at some stage.
If you will be getting an electric pump, it’s a good idea to also have a manual pump on hand in the case that you’re going somewhere that you don’t want to lug the electric one along to, or if there’s no power supply.
Which are the best manual breastpumps?
Electric pumps are good if you’ll be pumping frequently, whether that be due to going back to work, troubles with breastfeeding, building up a good supply etc. Basically they take less effort and can make the process much quicker.
You can either buy your own, or, opt to rent one from your lactation consultant or hospital – check out this page on The Bump for more on deciding whether you should rent or buy.
Single or double electric pump?
Electric pumps come in both single and double. The double ones are usually more expensive than a single, but if you can afford a double, they’re the best option. Why? There’s a few reasons:
- You can pump in less than half the time it would take using a single pump
- When you single pump, the other breast can often leak – not an issue with a double pump
- Double pumping is claimed to stimulate milk supply better than single pumping
Here are the four best rated and most recommended double pumps:
1. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote
2. Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump
3. Philips AVENT Double Electric Comfort Breast Pump, 2015 Version
4. Spectra Baby USA S1 Hospital Grade Double/single Breast Pump W Rechargeable Battery No Tote
If you’ll be double pumping regularly, a pumping bra is an absolute god send because they allow you to have your hands free to do other things while you pump. Time is precious when you have a little one!
Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra is by far the most popular and best rated. If you want one with a pretty design that also does the job well, check out the PumpEase Fabulous 50’s Collection hands-free pumping bra.
Breast milk storage
Aside from when you’re pumping straight into a bottle to use within a short period of time, you’ll need something to store all that milk in. Take a look at this chart on kellymom.com for the guidelines on storing breast milk.
So what are your options for storing breast milk?
Storage bags are the most popular option for storing milk in the freezer. They take up less room than bottles, and tend to be easier to defrost by running them under warm water if you need to speed up the process. The best ones are the Honeysuckle Breast Milk Storage Bags, Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags and the NUK Seal ‘N Go Milk Storage Bags.
Bottles will cost more to begin with, but because they’re re-usable they can be more cost effective over the long term. Also great if you like to minimize the amount of plastic you throw out. Most breast pump brands offer extra bottles that you can buy separately for storage. You can also feed straight from most bottles with the addition of a compatible nipple.
Really good for smaller quantities of milk, milk trays work just like an ice cube tray but have a lid and are made from BPA free plastic suitable for breast milk. Check out the Sensible lines Milk Tray and the Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays.
If you’ll be breastfeeding in public and want some privacy, you’ll need a nursing cover. Some moms do get away with using a light weight swaddle blanket to cover up, but it can be difficult to handle when you’re trying to adjust bub and concentrate on feeding.
There’s a couple of different styles of nursing cover, each that have their pros and cons.
The practical ones
The first is the ‘apron’ style that has a strap around your neck, and covers just the front. These have a rigid neckline which allows you to easily look down to see your little one. The downside with these is that they scream ‘nursing cover’ with their bright prints and distinct looks – but they are very practical. Udder Covers are really popular and very affordable, Bebe Au Lait are also excellent and extremely popular but a little more pricey than Udder Covers.
The stylish/discreet ones
If you want a cover that looks a little more stylish and doesn’t scream nursing cover, there are a number of poncho/scarf style covers out there. While this style does look a whole lot nicer, they’re not as practical because you don’t have the rigid neckline to easily see what’s going on. The most common problem with this style is that they can get hot – but here’s two styles that don’t.
The Oslo Nursing Cover By Dria is like a poncho so it covers everything, but the fabric is breathable and light weight. The Reno Rose Pirose Motherhood Nursing Scarf Cover is also a really good light weight option that works well and can also be worn as a scarf when you’re not using it for nursing.
You don’t NEED to have a nursing pillow, but they can make it easier because they help to hold baby in position which means less work for your arms. They’re also designed to stay in place unlike normal pillows.
That said, some moms are fine with normal pillows while others don’t use any at all. If you’re unsure whether or not to get one, you can always wait until your little one has arrived and see if you feel like you’d need one once you have started breast feeding.
If you are going to get a nursing pillow, there are 3 main brands that do the job well and lots of moms love:
Nursing bras and tanks
You don’t want to go overboard with buying nursing bras while you’re still pregnant, as once your little one arrives and your milk comes in, your breasts will get even bigger than when you’re pregnant (usually by about 1-2 cups).
That said, you’ll want to have a nursing bra on hand to wear once bub arrives – the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra is one of the best around which is reflected in the thousands of positive reviews online. These are really good also because you can buy based on your top size, rather than your bra size. So even though you don’t know exactly what cup size you might end up being, this should fit.
A few weeks after your milk comes in and things start to settle down, it’s definitely best to go to the store and get measured for your current size – then you might want to buy some prettier nursing bras 🙂
Nursing tanks can come in really handy for a couple of different reasons.
1. They are awesome to have when you’re breastfeeding in public so that you can keep your tummy covered – without one, you’d more than likely need to lift up your top and expose everything.
2. If you’re smaller busted and don’t need the support of a proper bra, nursing tanks with in built support can work just fine in place of a nursing bra particularly for around the house.
So which ones are best?
Undercover Mama have a great one that doesn’t have any straps, instead it attaches directly to your nursing bra – great if you need the support of a bra but don’t want extra bulkiness of more straps. For a nursing tank with light built in support, Cake Lingerie are really good. For a larger bust (D to G cup), the Bravado! Essential Nursing Bra Tank is highly recommended.
While you’re a breast feeding mama, you’ll more than likely leak milk (some moms are lucky enough that they don’t, but it’s not all that common), so to save your clothes you’ll need nursing pads. Check out the most popular ones here.