I once read in whattoexpect.com that breastfeeding is 90% determination and 10% milk. Yes, breastfeeding takes a lot of determination (maybe not 90% though haha), especially for moms like me who are not lucky enough to have an overflowing supply.
If you’re like me, don’t give up! Here’s a list of breastfeeding must haves that helped me power through until both my daughter and son are already beyond 2 years old.
A must have if you’re a working mom like me to allow you to pump milk while at work and to build up your stash before you go back to work.
The breast pump I used for my eldest was the Medela Freestyle. It was compact enough to fit in my regular bag, which allowed me to pump discreetly everywhere I needed to – in the office, car, coffee shops. Everywhere. It also comes with a portable milk cooler and ice packs, which helped save my milk even when I didn’t have access to a freezer during the day. I did notice that my milk supply eventually dwindled after a year with the Medela Freestyle.
For my second child, I purchased a Spectra S1 pump since I read that it is better to have a hospital grade pump if you need to maintain your milk supply and you are away from your child for most of the day. I’m hoping this pump can help me maintain my milk supply longer.
I am super shy (sometimes) so I used a breastfeeding cover during the first few months when I was nursing outside of our home. I only got to use it with my baby during the first three months though because my daughter already started to kick and pull the cover when she got bigger. After that, I used my covers when pumping.
Milk Bags and Bottles
I tried both milk bottles and milk bags when I was still pumping. I used the bottles to store the milk during pumping (attached to the pump) and when transporting it home. I would keep the milk in the bottles if it will be consumed the following day but I would transfer it to milk bags if I plan to freeze it for my back-up stash.
For milk storage, I used the bottles that came with my Medela pump and bought NUK bags, which were very durable (no leaks!) and affordable too.
When it comes to milk bottles used by my baby, I used Avent Natural, which did not cause “nipple confusion” for my eldest.
Nursing Bras made breastfeeding and pumping such a breeze because you just have to unfasten the straps and you’re good to go. There’s also a good pumping hack, where you just close your nursing bra around your pump and you can do hands-free pumping!. This worked so well for me that I did not need to purchase a separate hands-free pumping bra (yey!).
This made breastfeeding so convenient for me! It fit around my waist so I didn’t need to constantly re-adjust it unlike a regular pillow. It also allowed me to have one hand free to text, surf the net or play mobile games, which I appreciated especially during the first few weeks when nursing took a looonngg time.
I used the Bossom Buddy nursing pillow, which I loved because it was very firm and gave enough support for my baby. I also purchased the Boppy travel nursing pillow, which converts into a bag. I used this when we were travelling since the Bossom Buddy was a little too big for travel.
Nice to haves
I loved that I was able to eat cookies that made me and my baby happy! Honestly, you don’t need this if you have enough supply for your baby. I personally just liked it because it also helped me relax and enjoy pumping time more when I was at work.
There are great lactation cookie recipes in the internet such as this one but I also liked ordering from Milking Bombs when I didn’t have time to bake during weekends.
Breastfeeding Websites and Support Groups
I had so many questions when I breastfed for the first time. “How many hours before I breastfeed again?”, “This feels weird. Is this normal?”, “How many ounces should I pump?” and so on. My favorite site to visit, which was full of Breastfeeding FAQs was kellymom.com.
I also liked the “Breastfeeding Pinays” Facebook Group, where experienced breastfeeding moms and breastfeeding advocates provide a support system for nursing moms.
What about you? What were your must haves when you were breastfeeding?