7 Essentials for Breastfeeding Success

Breastfeeding success hinges on getting off to a good start. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. In fact, it can be frustrating, exhausting, and even painful at times. Especially in those first few weeks. Many women lose confidence, get overwhelmed, don’t get the support they need, and end up quitting breastfeeding early on. I want to close those barriers and give you the proper tools to help you be successful at breastfeeding. These 7 essentials will help you get off to the right start in your breastfeeding journey.

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7 Breastfeeding Essentials

1.) Nursing Bras

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You will need some nursing bras, but don’t buy too many before baby comes, as your bra size may change. I preferred these sleeper nursing bras, and honestly, I wear them all the time. They are super comfortable, have easy access, and you don’t have to deal with those obnoxious clips when you are halfway asleep trying to pull your boob out at 2 am.

2.) Nipple Cream 

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Breastfeeding is natural sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any learning from baby and mom. It will take some time to get the hang of breastfeeding, and your nipples have to take the bullet for that.

Your nipples will be sore those first few weeks, and it may be tough to breastfeed at times, but having baby to breast is the only way your body is going to know how much milk to make. Having a good nipple cream is a lifesaver in order to get through those tough first weeks.

I loved Mama’s Nipple Butter (and so did my nipples!). If you are in extreme pain while nursing or experiencing pain after the initial weeks, be sure to meet with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and have your baby’s latch evaluated.

3.) Soothies Gel Pads

Soothies Gel Pads are another lifesaver during those first few weeks. I liked to put mine in the fridge or freezer, so they were nice and cold when putting them on my nipples. They brought such relief!

4.) Reusable Nursing Pads

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Unless you don’t mind having wet circles where your boobs are out in public and going through more bras and shirts than needed, then you will need some nursing pads, because there WILL be leaks. I love these reusable bamboo nursing pads. They are super comfortable, unlike those itchy and irritating disposable ones. Plus, they are good for the environment and cost effective.   Win, win win!

5.) A Good Water Bottle

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Breastfeeding makes you THIRSTY! Plus, staying hydrated is important to keeping your milk supply up. You’ll want to keep a large water bottle near you at all times. Get one with a straw because you aren’t going to have two hands to unscrew a cap. 😉

The hubby and I had a pretty good system worked out for when baby woke up at night. He would change her diaper, and I would go to the bathroom and fill up my water bottle and then come back to nurse to her. My husband also did a great job of making sure my water bottle was full at all times during the day. (See dads can be involved in breastfeeding!) Click here to read more ways how dad can be involved and bond with his breastfed baby.

6.)  Manual Pump

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Manual pumps are great to have on hand for when you are engorged and just need to express some milk for relief. Relieving engorgement will help prevent clogged ducts and mastitis and will make it easier for baby to latch.

Be sure to not pump too much, otherwise it can lead to an over-supply. Manual pumps are also perfect for travelling and work great for a lot of women who don’t respond well to electric pumps.

7.) Nursing Pillow 

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Babies are so tiny and helpless those first few months. You basically have to do all the work for them, and unless you want to be holding baby every time you nurse (sometimes for hours at a time during those cluster feedings!), you will need a good nursing pillow to help support your baby.

The Boppy works perfect for a nursing pillow, and you also get the most bang for your buck, because it can be used for so many other things, like propping baby up, tummy time, and helping baby learn to sit up.

This post should really be called 8 essentials for breastfeeding success, because I am actually going to add in one more, and that’s a SUPPORT SYSTEM. This is a big one for most breastfeeding moms.

Having a supportive husband and family can make a HUGE difference in your breastfeeding success. Surround yourself with supportive people by joining your local La Leche League Facebook Group, attending breastfeeding support groups, and finding a local postpartum play group. Be sure to tell your husband and family how important this is to you that you succeed.

Breastfeeding is truly a bonding experience like no other, and I hope these tips will make your breastfeeding experience successful and enjoyable.

What About You?

Did you find this post helpful? Did you have any tools or tips that made your breastfeeding journey a little easier? Comment below and let me know. Share this post with your expecting mama friends.

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14 thoughts on “7 Essentials for Breastfeeding Success”

  1. Another thing I’d add is BURP CLOTHS!! Because I don’t know about you, but my baby LOVES to pull off while breastfeeding, in the middle of my letdown, and milk goes EVERYWHERE!! ? I’ve sprayed my husband multiple times. I always have a burp rag nearby so I can stop the spray!!! I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t be able to do it without my boppy though, I adore that thing. I was lucky enough to get it at my baby shower and I’ve used it since day one!!

  2. I broke down and bought a manual pump with my 2nd child because I was going to be in the car a lot JUST AFTER she was born. Have to admit I think it gave me carpal tunnel(!) but for sure got a lot more milk when pumping that way. I think it may have contributed to my success in feeding/pumping that year. Out of 4 kids, I had the most milk with that one.

    1. That’s awesome to hear how well the manual pump worked for you! Using a manual pump that much would for sure be hard on your hands! Props to you for breastfeeding four kids! That’s awesome!

  3. All great must-haves for the breastfeeding mama, thanks for this round up! I loved my hand pump (in addition to my electric pump) for long road trips. And of course there’s no way I could’ve made it without my Boppy!

    1. Yes, I found the hand pump nice to use at home and on trips rather than lugging out the electric one, which I mainly used when working. Boppy is a must! My dogs even try to steal the Boppy. Lol

  4. I bought every single one of these items before I had my baby. Ended up not being able to breastfeed for long. Love my boppy!

  5. Staying hydrated is so important when breastfeeding! I loved the Boppy, one of the best inventions ever for so many different baby uses even beyond breastfeeding!

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