For the third time around in so many ways I felt over prepared…finally! And, then I actually felt overwhelmed when I realized how many new gadgets, brands, and helpful tools came out since having my second. There is an almost 3.5 age gap between Sully and Shep, so some time has passed between them and like technology goes, there is always something better and cooler out every single year. I browsed the Walmart Baby section and quickly realized how much time had gone by. That Haaka hand pump was one of the first things I bought since it wasn’t out with my older two.
I am so excited to finally share my favorite breastfeeding essentials with y’all. So many of you have sent me messages asking what my favorite pump, nursing bra, etc that I love and use. And finally, I have a post that will cover it all AND MORE! At the bottom of this post I am answering your questions that you left me in my instastories poll. So excited to share this because there is a lot of good and helpful information that I think you will enjoy. Plus, learning a little more about my breastfeeding journeys is something I’m glad I get to share. My breastfeeding journey with each of my babies has been so different. I’ve had a failure to thrive baby to a 75th percentile baby. I’ve been at each end. And, I’m passionate about helping each of you no matter where you are on your breastfeeding journey.
Comfortable Nursing Essentials
1. Nursing Tank: I love how this tank is flowy in the front. You can totally wear it out and about and feel comfortable in it. In cooler months it would be great to pair with a comfy cardigan.
2. Organic Cotton Nursing Pads: I have 2 stashes of these because I LOVE the reusable kind. Between washing my own clothes + the baby clothes, these are always in a constant rotation. The throw away kind are still great, and I have a stash of those for on the go, but the reusable ones are eco friendly and easy.
3. Muslin Swaddle for Nursing Cover: Truly, I don’t use a standard nursing cover very often. I’ve found that the muslin blankets are way easier. Especially during these hot months, we are both sweating in the other covers that aren’t as breathable. I always have one of these rolled up in my diaper bag and just tie a quick knot or throw over my shoulder to easily cover myself with. I do feel like nursing comes more natural the third time around, and maybe I’d need something more structured with my first, but this is now what I prefer.
4. Sleep Nursing Bra: I cannot say enough good things about these sleep bras by Lamaze. I get sad when I don’t have a clean set bc I’d live in them. I sized up and wear a medium in these. So easy to nurse in and the style is so comfy.
5. Boppy: Tried and true nursing pillow. I’ve been so pleased with my Boppy and it’s just easy. All these years later, it’s still a fav. 6. Un button Nursing Gown: I am a big gown person when it comes to pajamas. I love this sleep gown because it has a wide scoop neckline that is easy to pull down and it has an un snap feature that is so easy.
1. Earth Mama Nipple Cream: I try to stay away from lanolin when nursing, so I love this safe option for mama and baby. I have used this exact cream for all 3 of my babies. Going on 6 years of loving it.
2. Lansinoh Gel Pack: Engorgement is so uncomfortable in the early days. These gel packs are a lifesaver and ease that pain tremendously.
3. Lansinoh Gel Soothies: These are great for the early days when your nips are sore and cracked. Put them on between feedings and place in the fridge for extra cool relief.
Feeding & Cleaning
1. Boon Drying Rack: I’ve had this drying rack since Scarlett was born and its SO great! Easy to just throw anything on to dry! The concept is so genius because you just poke the product into the grass and mold it to stand upright. I love the tree accessories you can buy to dry more things. We put bottle nipples on those. This is a must!
2. Comotomo Bottles: Shep (and my other babies) have really done well in taking ANY bottle. We are lucky. But, if you are nursing, this bottle is the most popular with breastfed babies. I love that it comes in a set of two. Truly these are the only two bottles we own because… less is more. Shep has done well with the comotomo and it’s so easy to wash!
3. Boon Bottle Brush: I love the silicone option for cleaning because it does not harbor bacteria. After inspecting several bottle brushes that had traces of slime and mold, I knew I just had to bite the bullet and grab this one. Love this bottle brush!
4. Muslin Burp Cloths: These are super absorbent and I love how large they are. Some of the more cute patterns just don’t absorb the spit up. All of mine have had reflux, so we carry burp cloths like we carry diapers.
1. Spectra Breast Pump: For my third baby, I really wanted to try the Spectra S2 Breastpump. I had heard how amazing it was compared to other brands and I was really wanting to try since in the past I have done my fair share of pumping. I had Medela with my first two and was satisfied with it. I had nothing to compare to. But, I could immediately tell the difference with the Spectra and I was sold. I always pump almost the same amount on each side which has never happened. I love how gentle it feels. Something I didn’t feel with my other pumps. There is one extra step in the cleaning process with the Spectra, but it isn’t a deal breaker for me. I have been so pleased and feel like it is close to hospital grade.
2. Haaka: Jumping on the Haaka bandwagon has been a game changers, especially in the early days when you are producing a lot of milk. I will attach this to the breast I’m not nursing on to collect the milk that else wise would have been lost. It only really collects the fore milk, so just be mindful of that if you are giving to baby. Especially if you plan to pump after a feed it’s great to use that fore milk to add to your milk you pumped. The high milk comes after your let down and is higher in fat for your baby. Also be mindful to use with caution, because it can cause an oversupply and engorgement if you are really using it often and pumping milk out of it. I think it’s a great invention and am so glad to have that extra milk to add to my stash that I would have lost.
3. Lansinoh Milk Bags: These have been a favorite for every baby. I even pump into these bags and attach them to my pump to save on cleaning! I’ve spilled lots of milk with other bags and have been so upset. But, these are so user friendly and help prevent that.
4. Pumping Bra: My pumping bra is super old, but I have friends who have this one and love it! It gets great reviews and looks comfortable.
5. Upspring Lactation Packets: I have always felt like I had a low supply of breastmilk or have a slacker boob. So, if I’m not eating lactation cookies or showing oatmeal in my mouth… I’m throwing this packet in my coffee or a small glass of milk. So far I’ve loved them. I haven’t pumped much lately, but I feel like I am fuller at feeds when I take one of these packets.
Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post! I am so glad to be able to share all of my tried and true favorites with y’all. Every single product that we use and love I could find at Walmart, which is huge! It was so easy to search for each item and share with y’all. Every item above (minus the pumping bra) I own and use. Thrilled that Walmart carries so many brands we all love and trust! With the 2 day shipping and same day pick up, it has made life with three kids much easier! I even got one of my orders the other day a whole day earlier. I was so impressed! Check out their entire baby section here to see all that carry!
Q + A
Let’s get started with the questions y’all had for me in my instastories! So excited to answer these because I got some great questions! I have nursed 3 babies now and each journey was so different. Kellymom.com is a great resource I love for all things related to breastfeeding. And you can use La Leche League to find support locally.
Did you do anything specific to increase your supply? I try to drink lots of water, especially in these summer months. The days I don’t, I can tell. Water intake is more important than you think, for several reasons. I do try to make or buy lactation cookies often, because those are always yummy and a deserved treat 😉 And, I started taking the Upspring milk flow packets with coffee or a small glass of milk each morning, and I’ve really like it so far. If you’re worried you’re not producing enough and per your pediatrician, your baby is on the lower percentile, you may consider pumping after each feed to stimulate your body to make more milk. This is something a lactation consultant could help with. They come up with great plans to help you and your needs.
How long did you breastfeed each of your children? With Scarlett, I was determined to make it to a year after our traumatic start. I nursed her to exactly ONE year and cut her off. She did not even blink. She was ready to move on. With Sully, he self weaned at 10 months. He was over it and so was I. I knew I only had to buy formula for a few months and was okay with it. I had some breastmilk left in the freezer so we used that too. Shep is currently 6 months old and he seems like a boob baby. He may be the one I have to wean. But, I always told myself my goal is a year. And it’s okay if we don’t make it. Great if we do. And great if we go a tad longer. Shep may be the one I let go a few months past 12 months since in my mind he is our caboose 😉
When you supplement, what formula do you use? When we supplement Shep, we use Earth’s Best Infant Powder Formula. We used this with Sully as well and both have done so well with it. I am adamant about giving him organic and so far he has done so well with it.
Do you nurse throughout the night? Currently at 6 months, no. He (fingers crossed) has started to sleep through the night steadily and is typically 7-7 with the occasional 5-6am wake up, but I try to let him self soothe before I go in. We went through regression with him from 3.5 months to right at 6 months. Before 6 months we really don’t do cry it out, so I was going in to feed him if it was after 2-3am. Per our pediatrician at his 4 month appointment, he stated he should be able to go from 8 til about 2 or 3am based on his weight and intake. Always check with your child’s doctor if you are unsure.
What’s your favorite on the go pump? Currently, I don’t pump on the go. With three kids, I don’t have the time. I do bring my Haaka with me at times if I need relief. But, I have the spectra car charger and I’ve brought this to weddings or events where I needed to pump when away from baby.
Tips for fortifying pumped milk w/formula? This is probably a question that a lactation consultant could help you better with, but we have always started with half and half when mixing formula with breastmilk. 1 oz formula, 1 oz breastmilk. So far, we have been successful at halving each.
Do you ever have supply issues? My first baby, was failure to thrive. She did not regain her birthweight until around 7 weeks. It was the most devastating thing to hear as a young 24 year old first time mom. Even 6 years ago breastfeeding wasn’t promoted like it is now and lactation support groups weren’t as popular. So, yes. I have had supply issues. Mainly with my first baby, a little bit with my second, and so far I’ve only felt like my supply has dropped a few times with my third. And I quickly either try to boost it with supplements or pumping more frequently. Or feeding more on demand.
Best Breast pump? This is going to be totally biased, but above in the pumping section, I shared how much I have loved my Spectra S2 pump this time around. Medela is great too. Depends on who you ask, they’ll have their own opinion.
How do you dress when feeding in public and still look stylish? If you follow me in the like to know it app or view my shop instagram page you can see some of my style choices that I’ve worn lately. I really try not to buy actual nursing clothing as most haven’t seemed my style. I gravitate towards button downs, scoop neck tops, stretchy knit tops that can pull down or to the side easily.
When was the first time you left baby overnight? (for girls trip, etc) With my first baby, it was 7 weeks because we had a wedding a couple hours away and I fully trusted that my mom could take care of her. I think it helps so much when you can leave baby with someone you know will take care of them and you can feel comfortable to also be as forward as you want to with their care… especially when they are that small. With my second, I cannot honestly remember. And with Shep, we left him for a night around 10 weeks old for a wedding. It’s just easier for me to commit to a trip if I am done nursing or not nursing but twice a day. I say, go on the trip! Meet up with your girlfriends. Take the trip with your hubby! I promise you will be so glad you did! It may be a pain. But that time away is so needed. I always come back feeling relaxed and refreshed.
How do you deal with anxiety when away from baby? Did you go back to work? How did you deal? It was much harder to leave my first baby, because she was my first. But, now with 3 children, any break time I am offered, I usually take up the offer. I am exhausted most days and my kids love their family and need time with them as well. It’s hard trusting that someone else can do your job. I work from home part time and I have “gone back part time” with my last two boys around 10 weeks. I am a photographer and obviously run this blog 🙂 This blog post alone has already taken me almost 5 hours to complete. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help. If you have anxiety or you are feeling sad, it’s completely normal and they can help you. I’ve struggled with PPA and have taken medication on and off throughout the years for it.
How do you know if your supply is low? Other than your baby not gaining weight, you can weigh your baby after feeds to see how much they are getting or you can pump in exchange for nursing. I bought this baby scale with my second and it brought me a lot of relief to know exactly how much he was getting so I could either relax or take initiative on it. By the way, this scale is SO ACCURATE! I’ve weighed my babies the same day as Peds visit and it was either exact or just an ounce off. This is a good one!
Baby is 4 days old today, is it okay to pump to relieve engorgement or should I hand express? Definitely consult with your local lactation consultant if you can or are in a great deal of pain. I never truly pumped during engorgment because it can cause a bigger issue if you mis regulate and alarm your body your body needs to produce more milk. Your body is learning how much your baby needs and it will level out before you know it. Definitely try the Lansinoh Gel Packs if you are in pain or hand express what you can. If used carefully, the Haaka is also a good option to get relief.
Pumping schedule for stay at home mom? Depending on the age of your baby and how much milk you need, this can vary. Right now, I am creating a small stash of breastmilk for Shep and I pump around 10/10:30 before I go to bed. This is sort of a good time on all fronts to pump because everyone else is asleep and I can pump in peace and wash my parts after in peace.
What do you do when you’re in public and it’s time to feed? My first baby… I would hurry home or hide somewhere (like my car). But, now that I have three older ones who are not going to just volunteer to go back to the car, I have been forced to be more comfortable doing it in public. I will always cover myself, because that is just me and what I feel comfortable with. I’ve noticed now with my third, that is really not a big deal and I don’t think many people care or have noticed. I always try to find a quiet, less populated, shaded place just for the baby’s sake of distraction, but other than that I’ve had to let it go and get over it. Wear sunglasses if you’re nervous. That way you don’t have to look at people if they stare. That has made me feel better, ha.
What are you favorite nursing friendly clothes for out and about? If you follow me in the like to know it app or view my shop instagram page you can see some of my style choices that I’ve worn lately. I really try not to buy actual nursing clothing as most haven’t seemed my style. I gravitate towards button downs, scoop neck tops, stretchy knit tops that can pull down or to the side easily. You don’t have to buy the marketed clothes that are nursing friendly. Sure, a piece here and there may be nice to have, but I’ve found that the non nursing pieces I own are just as easy and often less expensive. And, I can wear it after nursing too. It’s a win win. I’ll definitely be sharing nursing friendly pieces all through fall, so be sure to check my page in the app or on my shop page for inspiration 🙂
If y’all have ANY other questions for me, please leave me a comment and I’ll add them to this post above! Thank you for joining the discussion and sharing all of your questions and concerns with me.