Let’s cut to the chase. Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing when it comes naturally, but it can also be one of the most challenging things a new mama can face. I struggled with my first daughter tremendously, juggling breastfeeding, pumping and bottle feeding around the clock. Luckily, breastfeeding my second daughter has been a breeze in comparison, but it has not been without it’s own challenges.
I am thankful for 4 particular feeding products, without which I am sure I would have given up breastfeeding entirely in the first few weeks. They are higher end items price-wise, but they’ve been worth every penny! Note that I am receiving no compensation for this post – I simply want to share my love of the things that have supported my choice to breastfeed my daughters for as long as possible, and hope it might help some of you struggling mamas out there!
1. MY BREST FRIEND DELUXE NURSING PILLOW
Retail Price: $51 (deluxe), $44 (regular)
I currently strap on my My Brest Friend nursing pillow at least 6 to 8 times a day to support baby while I breastfeed or bottle feed.
These are my favourite features:
- The large flat surface gives baby room to sprawl out, and the two gentle bumps at either end are strategically placed to support baby’s head at the perfect level for breastfeeding (I prefer this to rounded surfaces on the other pillows I’ve tried);
- The wrap-around feature helps support baby and take the pressure off my low back. It also stops the pillow from sliding off or baby from slipping between me and the pillow (great for middle of the night feeds when I’m barely conscious);
- The buckle release is virtually silent, and I am eternally grateful for this in the middle of the night when baby falls asleep during a feed;
- The removable plush cover is ultra-soft against baby’s skin, has a pocket to stash goodies for mama during a feed (like a snack, cell phone or TV remote), and stands up well to repeated machine washing; and
- There is a blow-up travel version of this pillow that is compact enough to stash in a purse or carry-on bag on a plane, which for me has taken the stress out of breastfeeding while travelling.
Special Note: I just found a coupon code for Facebook fans that provides a 25% discount (FBFAN25OFF) for online orders of My Brest Friend products.
2. MEDELA FREESTYLE BREAST PUMP
Retail Price: $399.99
I used my Medela’s Freestyle Pump at least 6 to 8 times a day for 7 months with my first daughter, and so far at least a few times a week with my second. I have found it to be fantastic for efficiency (pumping both sides at once), comfort (breast shields are soft and flexible), compactness (all parts fit easily in a small purse or backpack) and portability (rechargeable battery with 3-hr battery life).
In my experience, pumping can be particularly useful at the following times:
- right before a feed when baby is having trouble latching (and following up with a bottle of breastmilk);
- when sore/cracked nipples need a break every once in a while in the first few months and mama still wants to feed baby breastmilk;
- when you cannot be with your baby temporarily (due to an unexpected hospital stay or trip that separates you); and
- when mama wants to increase her milk supply by pumping between feeds.
Special Note: While I have never seen this pump on sale, I am happy to report that breast pumps are now covered on a number of extended medical plans in Canada (typically all you need is a prescription from your doctor to have it fully covered).
3. MEDELA CALMA BOTTLES
Retail Price: $21.99
The Medela Calma Bottle is something new I have discovered for my second baby, and I’m glad that it has replaced Medela’s predecessor bottle.
If you watch as your baby drinks from the Calma, you will see that the nipple mechanism closely matches that of breastfeeding (better than any I’ve seen with any other bottles), as baby controls the flow of milk based on suction strength. I believe this has helped my second baby avoid nipple confusion, and we have experienced none of the same split-up or gas problems this time around. The added bonus for me with Medela bottles has also been their compatibility with my Medela pump as a complete feeding and storage system (pumped milk goes straight into the bottles!).
Special Note: While this bottle is definitely on the pricier side up front, over time you won’t need to invest in multiple nipples to accommodate baby’s increasing suction rate (slow, medium, fast), as I’ve had to with other bottles.
4. HOOTER HIDER / BEBE AU LAIT NURSING COVER
Retail Price: $42.99
Part of making breastfeeding work is getting comfortable doing it in public, otherwise new mamas would never be able to leave the house! The Hooter Hider Nursing Cover (which also goes by the name Bebe Au Lait) has dramatically improved my comfort-level in public and I never leave home without it!
Features that make this cover better than others I’ve tried:
- there is enough fabric for great coverage no matter how squirmy baby is;
- you can see baby’s face clearly through the peek-a-boo top without the rest of the world seeing what’s going on in there; and
- the terry cloth corners are perfect for cleaning up post-drink spit-ups.
Good luck with breastfeeding mamas, and please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want any more advice!